Sunday, September 30, 2012

Day 1020

I initially thought that today’s golf tournament was going to get rained out, but we got lucky. Although it rained all the way from Dallas to the Bridlewood Country Club, the skies started to clear as soon as we pulled in the golf course parking lot. Dalmatians are always welcome at Dalmatian Rescue events, so we took Dot and Dash with us this year. Dash actually did pretty well in the car, considering that this was a lot longer trip than he was used to.

There were at least 16 Dalmatians at the event. I think we had 70 players this year, plus all the people who stayed behind at the clubhouse to take care of the Dalmatians while the golfers were out on the course. I spend the afternoon like I usually do: driving around the course in a golf cart and taking pictures of each team.

It’s hard to believe we’ve been doing this for eleven years now. The golf courses change periodically and the weather is never the same, but the people who support our tournament have been very loyal. A lot of the people who came to our very first golf tournament were still here today.

I think everybody had a good time. Bridlewood was a very nice club, and once the skies cleared, the weather was beautiful for the rest of the day. I definitely prefer the crisp, cool Fall afternoon we had today to the scorcher of a Sunday we had last year. Dot and Dash were really patient. They let everyone pet them and didn’t complain once. I think they were ready to go home around 3 PM, but both dogs were troupers and stuck it out to the end.

It was a long day for everyone. By the time we all finished dinner, passed out trophies to the winners, bid on a few silent auction items and drove home again, it was time for bed. Luckily, I had time to sweep the water from last night’s rain off the roof before we left for the tournament this morning. I may have avoided a leak this time. Dot and Dash would probably have preferred to stay at home and gone to sleep on the bed, but it was good we took them with us. Instead of worrying about getting home in time so we could let them out to poop, they just pooped on the golf course. We cleaned it up of course.

Tomorrow’s just another Monday. I’m not sure what I’ll be doing tomorrow, but I imagine it will involve writing something. I think I’ll start the day by sleeping in late.

Thelma is today's Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Day 1019

I wonder why people like to make lists? I've never been much of a list maker myself, but I seem to wind up on a lot of them. The last time I checked, I had been added to over 600 Twitter lists. I never thought all this list making mattered until I noticed that just being added to two widely read Google lists resulted in thousands of new Google+ followers almost overnight. The only reason I mention this is that this whole list making thing seems to work both ways. Now that Entrecard has disappeared, I seems to be disappearing from a lot of lists as well. There must have been a whole infrastructure built around the inflated traffic that blog communities like Entrecard, Adgitize, and CMF brought. Now that all three of these communities are gone, I think some of the blogs and bloggers and list makers who depended on these services are starting to disappear as well. Oh, well. It was probably all an illusion in the first place. I used to think I had over 400 regular readers every day. It was probably closer all along to the 40 that Google Analytics has been reporting recently. Easy come, easy go I guess. You can still add me to your next list though. Blogs that nobody reads might be a good category.

We gave the dogs a bath today, so they'd look nice for tomorrow's Dalmatian Rescue Golf Tournament. Since it's been raining cats and dogs all day, they won't look nice for very long if I take them out for an evening walk. The park is a giant mud-hole right now. Hopefully, the rain will quit soon. The dogs still won't poop in the yard. I need to clear the water off the roof before it gets completely dark as well. Most importantly, the golf course needs time to dry out before tomorrow's tournament begins.

The Dr. Who season finale is this evening. How can you have a season finale with only four shows? I missed one of those shows too. I'll be sure to watch this season's final episode tonight, but I can't help thinking that it wasn't much of a season. I've only seen two episodes so far. Didn't there used to be 26 shows in an average TV season?

I can't hear the sump pump running up on the roof anymore. Hopefully, it's just a circuit breaker that's been tripped. I'd hate to buy yet another new pump. It seems like I have to replace these things almost every year. Unfortunately, it's still raining too hard to go up on the roof and check things out. The last thing I need right now is to get struck by lightning.

Sweet Pea is today's Dalmatian of the Day

Watch of the Day

Friday, September 28, 2012

Day 1018

I'm getting really tired of all the political rhetoric. I've never seen such a disingenuous bunch of people in my life. Everyone wants to save the middle class. I'm right in the middle of the middle class. Why do I keep feeling like nobody is talking to me? I think the Republicans like to use the words middle class so people won't think they are talking to the privileged elite. On the other hand, I think the Democrats like to use the words middle class so people won't think they're talking exclusively to Walmart lowlife. I don't trust politicians. I've spent too many years sitting in advertising focus groups to believe any of them. Politicians love focus groups. They like to find out what people emotionally respond to and then that's what they say. Whether what they say is true is irrelevant.

I think the restaurant with good bacon knows I'm taking pictures of their food. Today, the chef brought my bacon to me carefully arranged in an artful star shape on a special plate. That's never happened before. Nobody said anything about this interesting bacon star, but I did think the whole thing was a bit strange.

I think I made it through a very challenging work week with no major damage. A few things came back for revisions today, but the re-writes were minor and quite reasonable. Most of my website revisions are still up as well. I always look at this as a good sign, since sometimes the revisions go up and then come right back down again. Usually, I always worry where next week's work is coming from. Truthfully, I wouldn't mind if people forgot about me for a week. I need a little time to recharge.

I've had my new phone for a week now. I still haven't made a call. I don't think I've received any calls either. This is par for the course. I think I had my first iPhone almost a month before I actually called anyone. I have received four text messages though. They were all from AT&T, asking me to take a survey.

Spanky is today's Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Day 1017

I've pretty much caught up on things again. Even though I'm continually busy, I'm having increasing difficulty remembering who my clients are. I never see them anymore. I turn on my computer in the morning, check my e-mail and find out what I'm going to be doing that day. There isn't a connection to real people or real companies anymore. I do my research on the Internet. I do my work sitting in a quiet room with two Dalmatians. If I'm lucky, at the end of the day I send the finished results back where they came from using YouSendIt. If you've ever wondered if you could make a living in total isolation, I guess I'd have to say the answer is yes.

I kind of miss the days where you had to have five meetings before you could do anything. Maybe you guys still go to meetings. Not me. People stopped paying me to come to their meetings long ago. Maybe I wasn't attentive enough, or didn't take good notes, but most people eventually learned that I wasn't really necessary at their meetings. Once they discovered that I did just as well with no input whatsoever, they quit inviting me to their seminars and strategy sessions. Oddly, I still do almost exactly the same things that I've always done. I just don't talk about it much.

I wonder if I could even go to a meeting anymore. Most of them are a monumental waste of time. I think one of the primary reasons I started my own company is that I hated bosses who scheduled status meetings at 7:30 AM. Why? I don't think anything useful has happened before 9 AM in my life. I guess I can't have it both ways. If I snub my nose at meetings, it's a pretty safe bet that I'm going to continue working alone. Nobody likes people who rain on their parade.

When I finished my work today, I drove over to the doctor's office to schedule my annual physical exam. The nurse looked at my chart and told me to come back around Thanksgiving. Evidently, I had arrived way too early for my physical. I don't know why I've been feeling that I was overdue for this thing all week. Maybe I should have made an appointment to talk with the doctor about memory loss.

Sophie is today's Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Day 1016

I promised Janet I'd print something for her today. Somehow, to make a single 8x10 print, I ended up running an hour-long cleaning cycle, replacing three $55 ink cartridges and putting in a new maintenance tank. When I finally got the image printed, I found out it was the wrong size.

Most of the rest of the day was spent writing. Writing is a fairly peaceful activity. When I'm writing a longer piece, I usually compose all the headlines and sub-heads first and then use these as an outline to fill in the text. I never try to do anything in a single draft. The first draft is just to get something down on paper. The second is to correct major contextual errors and logical flaws. All the other drafts are just nit-picking to refine sentence structure and bring things in at the required work count. I enjoy this part of the process. The inevitable revisions that come after the piece is submitted aren't nearly as much fun.

My eyes were watering so badly from Fall allergies that I could hardly tell what the dogs were doing at training class this evening. Once the Spring allergy season is behind me, I completely forget that there is also a Fall allergy season. Everything is fine during the Summer, but it is usually way too hot to really enjoy the relief from my perpetual sneezing and wheezing. It's a shame that the nicest weather usually coincides with the worst times for seasonal allergies. Maybe allergies just get worse with age, but I don't remember having these problems before I moved to Texas. Colorado air was crisp and clear. Seattle was damp and rainy, but I still didn't suffer from seasonal allergies. The dogs have allergy problems too. They don't sneeze or have watering eyes, but their skin itches. I don't know which is worse. When I see them scratching and rolling on their backs on the carpet, I sympathize. I know exactly what they are going through.

The holiday pet photo season will be here before you know it. I'm gradually replacing faulty equipment and getting ready for this year's events. Since many of the same people come year-after-year with their pets, it's time for a new set as well. The pets are the same, so you've got to do something to make each year's pictures a little different. While I'm shopping for a new backdrop, I should shop for a comfortable chair to sit in as well. Yeah, I know you can't really take pictures sitting in a chair, but it would be nice if you could. These events are murder on my knees.

Suki is today's Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Day 1015

I won't bore you with what I did today. Why? Well, maybe because I did exactly the same things as I did yesterday. Tomorrow will be the same as well. It's going to be a very busy week. My activities ranged from steam turbines to a 40 pound cat, but it wasn't as interesting as it might seem. Basically, days like this are just a lot of typing.

My Google Analytics stats have been depressing lately. Now that Adgitize and Entrecard are both gone, my blog traffic has slowed to a trickle. I know that some of you think that visitors from these blogging networks weren't really interested in reading your blog, but I beg to differ. Almost every interesting blog I've ever discovered came directly as a result of participating in the Adgitize and Entrecard networks. Without them, it's just going to be a bit harder to keep up with my favorite bloggers.

It's time for my annual physical again. I'm pretty good about eating the right foods and getting plenty of exercise, but I still don't look forward to these physicals. I'm just tired of hearing that my blood sugar and PSA levels are on the high side. I'm tired of wondering about the differences between good cholesterol and bad cholesterol. I definitely don't want to add any more meds to the growing pile I already take every day. Truthfully, I'm in better physical shape than I was fifteen years ago, but it's hard to feel that way. I've had to give up drinking and lost my tolerance for alcohol in the process. Now, even a glass or two of wine with dinner will keep me up half the night. The statins I take are starting to cause muscle atrophy. For the first time in my life, I'm feeling old.

I kept thinking I heard the raccoon last night. When I got up and looked out the window, there was nothing. Maybe I just dreamed I heard the raccoon. I have a feeling that the raccoon and the armadillo may have moved on to greener pastures. The backyard is so torn up right now that I don't think these animals could do any more damage if they tried.

Rosie is today's Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day

Monday, September 24, 2012

Day 1014

People must have spent the weekend thinking of things they wanted me to do. Usually Mondays are completely dead, but today there were a ton of little projects that needed to be dealt with. There were new things that needed to be written. Old things that needed to be revised. And of course, there were confusing things that made no sense at all. As I methodically worked my way through this lengthy to-do list, I kept wondering when the fun was going to start. It never did.

I learned a bit about steam turbines today as well. Steam turbines are pretty dull. Even though these complicated and very expensive pieces of machinery are essential for everything from making electricity to making paper, they are only slightly more exciting than a farmer's windmill. Actually, a farmer's windmill is a type of turbine.

Our backyard armadillo has been joined by a backyard raccoon. I saw the raccoon on the porch this morning when I woke up early and went out to the kitchen for a glass of water. I don't know if the raccoon has joined forces with the armadillo to tear up the yard, but it is stealing things off the porch. Raccoons will steal virtually anything. They are also carriers of rabies and will attack dogs and cats. I've got to get rid of this raccoon.

I missed last Saturday's episode of Dr. Who, so I thought I'd record it on the U-verse DVR so I could watch it later. I've never used the DVR, but it couldn't be that hard, could it? I set the DVR to record the show when it was replayed at 2AM this morning. I must have done something wrong though, because when I got ready to watch the episode this morning, I discovered that nothing had been recorded at all. Oh, well. My Instagram photos aren't being recorded to the Camera Roll on my new phone either. That's the trouble with technology. You've got to learn how to use it.

Scout is today's Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Day 1013

I can't believe I spent such a beautiful Fall day doing a laundry list of disagreeable tasks. They had to be done though, and today was as good a day as any. I finally took off all the switch plates and outlet covers and applied the bait that is supposed to rid our house of bugs. It's been dry for over a week, so I also went up on the roof to look for tiny cracks that might let water in and patch them with Henry 209. I mowed the grass. I patiently talked with tech support until I finally got the voicemail working on my new phone. Of course, it wouldn't have been a laundry list without doing a couple of loads of laundry as well.

Before I started my chore marathon, we took the dogs to the dog park. Dot and Dash both had brand new harnesses that we were trying out for the first time. We were hoping that this new style would work better with Dash. I call Dash the Harness Houdini because he manages to effortlessly slip out of every harness we have ever put on him. This new model didn't fare better than any of the rest. Somehow, he managed to slip out of his harness sitting in the back seat of the car before we even arrived at the dog park. Oh, well. At least we tried.

My input material for the new steam turbine project arrived today. It took about 20 minutes just to download it all. Now I've got to digest over 600 MB of facts about the turbines in the next several days. I know nothing about these things now, but I have a feeling that by the end of the week, I'll be a walking encyclopedia.

It's hard to believe that it's almost the end of September already. This month just zipped by. Actually, this entire year has just zipped by. Next week is the Dalmatian Rescue Golf Tournament. This is the eleventh year we've done the tournament! After that, it will be time to make the dog's new costumes for the annual dog training class Halloween Party. There's an election in November, and then it will be time to hunt for the Christmas decorations in the storage warehouse again. At some point between now and then, the skies will get very pretty on our evening walks and I'll start taking more sunset pictures. It doesn't sound all that exciting when I describe things this way, but I'm sure I'll have something new to tell you each and every day.

Sage is today's Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Day 1012

The Dalmatian Rescue group has another casino party today. We use these casino parties as fundraisers to help the dogs. Often the people who hire us to put these events together are other charities conducting their own fundraisers. I've worked with animal rescue organizations for a long time and it seems like most of what we do involves raising money. Money is the gasoline that fuels practically everything we do in society. If you start looking at things this way, you'll soon start seeing your own job as just another fundraiser with you and your family as the beneficiaries. You just can't do much without money these days.

I have traded services with one client of mine for over a decade. There are no invoices or bills. No money is involved whatsoever. I just do what they want. And they do what I want. This odd arrangement works because we are lucky enough to trust each other and we have mutually beneficial skills. I often think it would be nice if everything in life worked this way. It would be nice to just walk up to a gas pump and fill my tank, confident that I was doing something equally beneficial for the oil companies in return. One of the great things about the Internet is that at least conceptually, the whole thing is free. Since the ability to connect people together has real tangible value, you and I have access to an enormous wealth of knowledge for free. I don't really know how a world without money would work however. First of all, everyone would have to be totally trustworthy and they would have to have real useful skills.

I'm not sure I have any useful skills myself. I'm an advertising man. The only way I could repay the world for my free gas, electricity and food would be to use my communication skills to convince others to use real money to buy things they don't really need. Oh well, it was a nice thought. Until utopia arrives, I'll just continue helping with fundraisers and trying my best to earn a living.

It was a beautiful day. As I was doing my weekly shopping, I was struck by the fact that the year is already winding down. There are already Halloween items for sale all over town. In one store, I even saw a stack of Christmas lights. By the time I hang my own Christmas lights, the election frenzy will be over. I don't know who's going to win, but I have a feeling that when I wake up on Christmas morning, the world is going to look pretty much the same.

Sadie is today's Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day

Friday, September 21, 2012

Day 1011

If you want to get a new iPhone on the day it is released, be prepared for an all day experience. You'll spend most of the morning just getting the phone. Then you'll spend most of the afternoon trying to figure out why it doesn't work quite like you expected.

I really didn't spend that much time in line. Instead of going to the big Apple store in the mall, I went to a small AT&T store right in my neighborhood. There were only about 15 people ahead of me in line when I got to the store. Incredibly, five or six of the people ahead of me had camped out overnight. What was the point of that? I got my phone at the same time they did, and I didn't go to the store until after breakfast. The line I was in would have gone really fast if it weren't for the fact that half the people wanted to look at every single case in the store before deciding what color they wanted. The AT&T folks let people in the store one at a time. Every time someone came out with a shopping bag containing a phone, someone else got to go in. I feel sorry for the folks who stood in line all the way to the end, only to discover that they weren't authorized to use the phone they were trying to upgrade. These folks got sent away with nothing. The guy right behind me waited until he was only three people away from the door and then abruptly left, saying that he had to go to a meeting. He didn't get a phone either.

When I got the phone home, I discovered that several apps had simply disappeared. I tried to download them again from the iTunes store, but they were gone there as well. Apparently, not every app is compatible with the new phone. I couldn't find my address book for a while and then realized it had been hidden away inside a utilities folder. Apparently the iCloud backup process doesn't backup passwords, because I had to enter all my passwords again. Some of them I couldn't remember anymore, but that's just the way it goes. All in all, the whole process was a lot less painful than a major system upgrade.

The dogs were mad at me when I got home with my new phone. Their morning walk was several hours late, and they like to stay on schedule. They did get their walk however. I never shortchange the dogs. In retrospect, I wish I'd walked the dogs first and then gone to the store. Our cool Fall weather disappeared overnight and it ended up being pretty hot outside today. It would have been more pleasant to walk early in the morning.

It looks like Entrecard is officially dead. I heard from fellow bloggers Dave Lucas and Mike Golch that service to the once popular site will not be restored. Personally, I'll miss Entrecard. I discovered lots of great blogs and bloggers on this site and since dropping on the Entrecard widget was such a convenient way to blog hop, I'm not sure how to systematically visit this many blogs again. I noticed that my own traffic is down since the Entrecard demise, but I hope you guys will keep visiting.

Rowe is today's Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Day 1010

I must be a glutton for punishment. Even after being stuck in customer service hell with an AT&T call center agent this afternoon, I still think I'm going to go get a new iPhone tomorrow. Yeah, I've heard all the arguments on Google+ that the Android is better, but the Samsung Galaxy phones are simply too big for me. It's like putting a small tablet in your pocket. Definitely not for me. I've used Apple products since the original 1984 512K Fat Mac and see little reason to switch horses this late in the game.

Maybe I can get that new Siri personal assistant thing to be my friend. I really don't have many questions to ask, but if I could set the phone to just let me ramble on and have Siri interject with an occasional "I agree completely" or "You're a genius" it would make my day.

That's the problem with the dogs. Even though they're both as friendly as can be, neither of them think I'm any smarter than they are. I'm convinced that they think I'm just another dog. Although Dot and Dash may be right about my abilities, it would still be nice to have someone look up to you. If I get than new phone, I'll have to work on getting Siri to think I'm a genius.

I might as well throw my rototiller away. The armadillo that visits our yard every night is doing a much better job of tilling the soil than I ever did. I can't believe how destructive this little creature is. After less than a week of hunting for grubs, the armadillo has totally destroyed what was left of the backyard grass. I don't even know how the animal is getting in and out of the yard. The yard is completely fenced with no gaps large enough for an armadillo to crawl through. I don't think he's still in the yard during the day though, or the dogs would have found him by now.

Hey, at least it's Friday tomorrow. Maybe I'll get a brand new phone. Maybe I'll just get a big stack of pancakes with a side of bacon. Either way, the day will probably be more interesting than it was today.

Rosie is today's Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Day 1009

Don't let me near an electronics store when I'm bored. I stopped by AT&T on the way back from the post office and let the sales guy give me the pitch on the new iPhone 5. I really don't need one of these things, but I'll probably end up getting one anyway. The phone store guy tried to convince me that I needed their new Mobile Share plan. He said it was a great plan and would save the normal user a lot of money. The only problem was that I'm not a normal user.

I already have a gazillion rollover minutes. Last month I think I sent one text message. Why would I want a plan where the key feature is unlimited voice and text? The guy said "You're definitely going to want our protection plan, in case you drop your phone in the water, or break the glass." I never get these type of plans. The stores push them so hard because they are very profitable for them. My experience is that if your gizmo breaks right away, the factory warranty is pretty good, and if it lasts longer than a year it will probably run forever. I find all these calling plans confusing. Generally, when I add up the numbers, most of these money saving plans end up costing me more than what I'm already paying. I wish AT&T had a calling plan for someone who just wanted a pretty phone, but rarely used it.

I got a new writing assignment from one of my European clients. I'm supposed to write several articles about steam turbines. Do I know anything about steam turbines? Nope. This isn't as much of a problem as you might think. New subjects are usually more interesting than things you've done hundreds of times already. I guess I'll be learning a lot about steam turbines in the next several weeks.

I wish Dash would learn to go through the tunnel at training class. Dogs who have already had some agility training zip through the cloth tunnel, but Dash won't get anywhere near it. I wonder if he'd even go through a doggie door? He really doesn't like to go through anything small. Last year at training class, I couldn't even get Dash to jump through a hula hoop. Dot loves this sort of stuff. She sailed right through the tunnel tonight.

Do any of you other bloggers know if Entrecard is down again? I haven't been able to access the site for several days now. If I haven't visited your blog today, that's probably why.

Rhett is today's Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Day 1008

When the dogs and I were out in the back yard today, we heard a loud crash that scared us all. While Dot and Dash ran back inside, I tried to figure out where the noise came from. It didn't take long. Almost immediately I saw that a large pane of plate glass had fallen off the side of the greenhouse and broken on the brick patio below. It's a good thing that the dogs were on the other side of the yard when the glass fell. There were broken shards everywhere. After I made sure the dogs were safely secured inside, I set about picking up the pieces. I'm glad that Dot and Dash instinctively avoided the glass. Petey, an earlier Dalmatian of ours, had a disastrous encounter with glass. He saw a squirrel outside on the porch and made a flying leap right through a large glass picture window. He cut himself very badly. Luckily, our vet was only four minutes away or Petey would have died. After that incident, I replaced all the glass in the house with special tempered safety glass. I never dreamed that glass could be so expensive.

There is certainly nothing special about the greenhouse glass that broke today. There is nothing special about the greenhouse itself. I thought it was pretty neat to have a greenhouse when we first moved here. After a couple of seasons of watching squirrels and Norwegian Roof Rats eat everything I tried to grow, I just gave up. Critters from the park love the greenhouse in the Winter and it is very difficult to keep them out. An explosion of feral cats in the neighborhood seems to finally be keeping the rats under control, but I've lost interest in gardening. The greenhouse is mostly just a place to keep the lawnmowers now.

It's sad to see the greenhouse deteriorate. On closer inspection, it looked like the glass had fallen off because a piece of the molding had rotted and come loose. I got a bid once for remodeling the greenhouse, but it was quite high and I ended up spending the money elsewhere. Now, the aging structure just reinforces the feeling I have that everything around me is crumbling to dust. The house, my car, even my own health is slowly, but inexorably deteriorating.

At least Dash is in good shape. He was a skinny little thing with bad skin allergies when we first adopted him. With each succeeding year, he seems to be getting stronger and healthier. Today he went to the vet for his bi-weekly antigen shot and his nurse complemented him on how nice his coat looked. I told the nurse that I wished I had paid as much attention to my own health as I do for the dogs. She laughed and said she was the same way with her own dog. Truthfully, the dogs are probably the only thing in my life that gets the attention it deserves.

Puppies are today's Dalmatians of the Day
Watch of the Day

Monday, September 17, 2012

Day 1007

I went to the pest control store and got some more roach bait to replace the tube of gel that had gone bad. Hopefully, I won't wait seven years to use the stuff this time. I find bug guys oddly comforting. There are very few ambiguities about professional exterminators. They don't salt and pepper their conversations with words like sustainability or multiculturalism. Ask these guys about getting rid of pests though and they'll pragmatically tell you the best way to kill virtually anything. I've always thought if we were in a war we really needed to win, it wouldn't hurt to put a few bug guys in charge of things. They'd get the job done.

When I'm working up on the roof, I can see over the neighbor's fence. Today, I noticed a very brown and very dead Christmas tree tossed right outside the neighbor's back door. It was obvious that when they took the tree down after Christmas, this was as far as they got. I guess I find this comforting as well. It's nice to know that as disorganized as I've become, the neighbors are even in worse shape than I am. Since it's September, I don't know why I never noticed the dead Christmas tree before. I'm sure it's been out in their back yard for a long time. Probably the tree escaped my attention in exactly the same way as that tube of roach bait that expired in 2003.

The FedEx guy delivered some business cards I'd designed this morning. It continues to amaze me how easy and inexpensive printing has become. There really isn't much need for people like me anymore. When online printing first arrived on the scene, I would carefully prepare Quark Express files to upload, just like I would for a traditional printer. This time, I was in a hurry and used the handy online design wizard on the printing company website instead. I had everything completed in a matter of minutes and the results were just as good as if I had done everything by hand.

It's starting to get cool in the mornings now. It isn't exactly jacket weather yet, but it won't be long. This leaves me wondering what to do about the furnace. As some of you may remember, my furnace is kaput. I either need a brand new furnace or some very expensive repairs. Last Spring when the furnace broke, I decided to postpone making any sort of decision until it got cold again. Pretty soon, I'm going to wake up shivering and realize that once again, my chickens have come home to roost.

Princess is today's Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Day 1006

There was a time when I would have spent a day like today curled up with a book. It was a grey drizzly day and I couldn't think of a single good reason to go outside. Janet and Dash went to a Dalmatian event, but Dot and I stayed behind. What has happened to me? Instead of reading, I cleaned the house. After vacuuming, cleaning the electrostatic furnace filters, and doing some laundry, I thought it might be a good time to apply the insect bait that was suppose to eliminate the roaches that come inside on damp days like this. I'd had the roach bait for a long time, but had always postponed using it because it involved taking off the base-plates to all the electric outlets and applying the bait inside the walls.

When I found the tube of gel, I could tell there was liquid inside. This didn't seem right. I had used this stuff once before and it was a thick white gel. I squirted some of the stuff out of the tube and it was now a thin brown liquid. Clearly, I had waited too long and the bait had gone bad. When I got out a magnifying glass and looked at the fine print on the tube, I saw a use by date of October 2003. Oops! I guess I did wait a little too long.

It's a good thing I stayed home though and didn't go with Janet to the event. While I was trying to figure out what had happened to the roach bait, I  heard what initially sounded like someone peeing on the living room floor. It was a bad roof leak. I immediately got out the plastic buckets and started cleaning up the mess. This leak surprised me, because the rain outside was fairly gentle. It had been raining a long time though. As you might expect, there was a change of plan and I spent the rest of the afternoon getting the water off the roof.

When Janet got home later later in the day, I asked if she and Dash had fun at their event. Nope. They had a bad day too. They both got trapped in an elevator at a downtown parking garage and never even made it to their event. Luckily, the elevator finally opened and the water finally quit splashing on the living room floor.

It's just a normal Sunday evening now. A normal Sunday evening means the weekend is almost over and neither of us is looking forward to Monday.

Phantom is today's Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Day 1005

I'm quite familiar with the concept of luck. I've spent a lot of time in Las Vegas and my favorite charity likes to use casino parties as fundraisers. I'm usually the roulette dealer when we have these casino parties. I can tell you one thing about roulette. If you play long enough, it is a mathematical certainty that you will lose all your money. Sure, the odds are pretty good in roulette. Sure, some lucky people do win huge amounts. The arithmetic works against you though. If you play long enough, you will lose.

The winners in roulette are those who put a huge stack of chips on red and then walk away when the ball lands on red. The same can be said for most games of chance. The winners are those who make a conscious choice to leave the game after they get lucky. Of course if you have the resources to stay in the game longer, your chances of getting a random lucky break improve, but it's still a game of chance.

I think politicians are like gamblers. Sometimes good things happen and they have the good fortune to be able to take credit for them. Sometime bad things happen and they take the blame instead. In both cases, the politicians are not nearly as much in control of events as they think they are. I like to imagine politicians sitting in the basket of a hot air balloon. There is a big wheel attached to the basket which they love to turn. They think they are controlling the balloon's direction, but you and I both know it is really the wind.

Dalmatian Rescue has another casino party tonight. People always have fun at these events. I think people basically like to gamble. How else could you explain the choices many people make. I'm not much of a gambler myself. I'll take a sure thing any time I can get it. It's a sure thing that I'll be tired tonight when we return, so I'll post a little early today. I'm a methodical person. I'll spin the wheel for other people, but I certainly don't want to take the chance of missing a post myself.

Spot is today's Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day

Friday, September 14, 2012

Day 1004

Yay! I began my day with a delicious stack of pancakes. Boo. After the pancakes were gone, nothing much happened.

It was just a routine Friday. I corrected spelling errors on the new website pages I created yesterday. My clients may not be good at providing direction, but they are all experts at finding spelling errors. I changed out one of the employee pictures for a girl who didn't like the photo I had selected. Hey, I try to pick the most flattering pictures, but I don't always get it right. I suspect that a lot of people I photograph wish they had been given the opportunity to wear something nice. I've shot a lot of fashion and I can't say that hospital scrubs bring out the best in most women. Photographing dogs is so much easier. Dogs never have to worry about what to wear.

I think my favorite grocery store has been invaded by an efficiency expert. The cashiers no longer say "paper or plastic" when they ring you up. They just try to give you a chintzy plastic bag unless you protest mightily and demand a paper bag. When I was picking up dinner at the deli counter, I noticed that they now want you to place your entire deli counter order at once. I've been used to ordering one thing and then when it was sitting in my buggy, it would give me the idea for what to order next. Today, they guy behind the counter wouldn't give me my stuff to put in the buggy until I had finished ordering everything. Maybe this was more efficient for the store, but I found the whole experience disorienting. I kept forgetting what I had already ordered and asked for several things twice. It was much better for me to put one thing in my buggy and then think of what would go well with it, adding tasty new items one at a time.

So, that was my day. I didn't worry about the Middle East or wonder who would be elected president. I just corrected spelling errors and got confused at a grocery store. The Dalmatian Rescue group has another casino party fundraiser this weekend. I guess I'm up for the challenge. All I have to do is say "place your bets" over and over again and then spin the wheel.

Nicholas is today's Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day