Month / August, 2011

As it should be

Why hello there, long time no see!  I had assumed you had forgotten I existed and proceeded to dump me out of your life.  But I see you haven’t!  And for that we should celebrate!  Brandy and blog posts for all, how does that sound?  Good, then let’s proceed.

Things that have happened recently

  • My parents closed on their new rental property.  So now it is being worked on.  Which started off with just painting and then removing the carpet.  The hope had been that the hardwoods underneath would be okay, but they aren’t.  They are littered with staples and nails and covered in splattered paint.  So now it is a matter of economics whether new carpet is put down or the floors are refinished.  I’m hoping for refinishing.
  • I have moved some stuff to my parents’ house.  These stuffs are all the easy things.  What is left are the knicknacks that take FOREVER to pack.  It seems like as I make some progress on them it just keeps piling up.  Which is probably why I hate moving — it just seems to take forever.
  • I have posted my car’s old (broken) instrument cluster, an r-bike tank bag, my futon, and the two large speakers in my living room online.  So far the cluster is going to sell for at least what I want out of it … And no bites on anything else yet.  I did just post the futon and speakers so I can’t get down on them yet
  • I started graduate school on Monday!  That is pretty exciting.  Thankfully I have a pretty good schedule that should make studying and any travels pretty easy to accommodate.  I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous though.  Just lots of reading and seemingly intense coursework.  Plus, I never liked the way grades are set up in post secondary education — everything rides way too much on 2 tests a semester that really don’t adequately reflect real world working conditions and put pressure on that impairs information recollection.  At least that is how I feel about it.  Plus it is likely every class’s test will be the same week.  Which will be awesome.
  • Serena seems to be well on her way to recovery.  She is getting more and more active.  She had a bad bought of throwing up this past weekend and I had meant to call the vet on Monday but forgot.  She threw up more Monday evening and night and so I meant to call today … But I forgot again.  However she hasn’t thrown up today so I’m holding my breath that this is the light at the end of the tunnel.

Other exciting news? HP announced that they were going to can hardware production for webOS.  Talk about a body blow to my electronic psyche!  You can ask any of my friends (and especially my girlfriend) about my feelings towards webOS and my Palm Pre of old.  I would talk about it and how much I loved the os for hours on end, but then have to caveat it all with the phrase “if only the hardware were better”.  When the touchpad was announced I figured that my prayers had finally been answered, and aside from the really long time from announcement to launch, they have been.  webOS 3.0.2 is exactly what I always wanted after getting my pre (except I still want my gestures!).  Apparently not enough other people thought the same though because HP didn’t want to keep at it.  This would not have been so bad if at the same time HP had announced a license agreement with a large 3rd party manufacturer, but they didn’t.  So we the webOS faithful were left was … Nothing.  We had nothing to go on but hopes and dreams (pretty standard fair actually for us).  Then the fire sales started and every available touchpad has been sold.  Every. Single. One.  Of course these prices were crazy low but now there is an amazing number of users out there and webOS buzz is really high!  So hopefully that actually will show some android phone/tablet manufacturers that the market for webOS isn’t actually dead, it just needs products that come to market in a timely manner and with competitive specs.  Or just really low price points.

Obviously I bought my touchpad before the fire sale so I paid more than the $149 for my touchpad.  And I bought it on august 5th but wasn’t able to call staples until august 21st to see if they would price match the change.  Technically they didn’t have to since it was beyond the 14 day window, but the customer service lady did!  So I too am one of the cheap touchpad owners (and to think I thought I was doing good getting it for $200 off sticker price!).  With that refunded money I have purchased a keyboard, touchstone (so freaking awesome, should have gotten one for my original pre back in the day) and the case.  While I still think the touchpad on screen keyboard is phenomenal (especially with the changing sizes), a physical keyboard is really useful at home for some tasks.  I do wish there were keyboard shortcuts for things like copy, paste, swipe left, swipe right, etc.  But what is there is pretty darn good and I have faith that the homebrew community may find a way to add them in.  I think I may not use the case much around the house because when the touchpad is off the touchstone I’ll just use the on-screen keyboard.  But when I’m out of the house of course the case will be on.  It isn’t bulky by any means, and the folding (dare I say it) apple like features are very nice, but it gets in the way of the touchstone.  And that ain’t cool.  😉  sure I can charge through the case but it isn’t as elegant.  Below is my current setup on top of my dresser.

And well, that is all I have time for.  I gotta get to bed soon so I can get up early in the morning and do a track workout before then changing the oil on my car and other fun exciting things before heading to lawrence for a team meeting and then classes.

Everything in its place

As promised, here is the all important “packing update”. It makes me feel a little like notch when I name an update. The difference being he is a multi millionaire and I’m not … Yet.

So what will this “packing update” bring you, oh trusted reader? Tales of daring-do! Fantastic feats of courage! And tiny servant howling monkeys! And a minor status update on my moving situation.

I have managed to complete my kitchen packing beyond any necessities. All that is left to pack is my silverware, some plates and bowls, and some cups. All my pots and pans have been packed along with one set of dishes. Same with all non-refrigerated food. I probably didn’t need to pack the bread since I will need it tomorrow for lunch. At least it is a trivial effort to get it back out.

Further, I have completed cleaning the shelves in both closets. This does mean there are boxes of sorted things sitting on my bedroom floor, but at least they will be easy to move now. Also there is a very full trash bag in my room containing all the odds and ends I seem to keep around for no reason. Many product packages and papers that I never needed in the first place. Next to that bag is a box of things destined for donation. In there are books I’ll never read again and some av cable I bought a long time ago when I first got my ps3.

What’s left you ask? Well I’m glad you did! I need to pack:

  • My garage stuff
  • My clothes, both hanging and in the dresser
  • The odds and ends small things sitting around my room and closet
  • My living room electronics
  • My computer

Not much really. I would say that the first three items will probably require a large tub each. Thankfully I have all the original packaging for my living room stuff. I figure, if it is good enough for Sony and Microsoft to use to ship across the ocean, then it must be good enough for me to move with. Of course that doesn’t count my tv, but nothing I can do about that. Same goes for the pc, but I do still have the packaging for it. I should probably just get a medium sized tub to replace the big box.

I keep saying tub because I have graduated past packing cardboard boxes. My significant other suggested the switch to plastic tubs because they are longer lasting and more aesthetically pleasing than boxes. I still have some boxes, bit those are old wine boxes from a liquor store to transport my glasses (credit: my mom). So far I’m liking the tubs because I can see in and easily stack them.

My actual date for moving is still in the air, but that is a story for a later date.

PS: I hate moving. If I were moving far enough away I would try to take only my clothes and vehicles. 

She eats!

It is true! Serena is eating again! This is big news considering she hadn’t been for nearly a week.

Yesterday she threw up and that gave me hope. I figured that if she were throwing up then it probably meant one of two things — she was eating or the cortisone shot was causing problems. I wanted to believe the former since that was the best case (and I have been chided for not being positive enough recently, which is true). After that I spent as much time as I could putting the cat near food and/or vice versa. She eventually started to sniff at the food but would then turn away and try to escape my gaze. This was both heartening and discouraging because I took it to mean she wanted to eat but that something was wrong; but, being a cat that has decided against learning English she couldn’t tell me what.

My solution? Get a normal plate from the kitchen and put a little of the two types of food on it and some torn up ham yo see if it was an issue with the bowl. At first this seemed a step back because she didn’t even look at the plate. So I threw the ham out but left the cat food on it and set it next to my bed when I went  to sleep. 

At 2:30 I woke up for some reason, probably because of the train passing by (I left my window open so it was pretty loud) and looked over to the plate … Some of the food had been eaten! Of course this could have been Athena, but after a couple seconds Serena came over and started poking around and took a couple bites.


Today she has been steadily eating more and more. Thankfully she seems to be keeping it down. I would have taken some throw up in exchange for her eating, but that hasn’t been necessary. Prayers (so far) answered! And as a result she has gotten much less lethargic and is back to being a bit vocal.

And since I haven’t before, here is a pic of my little girls: 

On the left is Serena and on the right is Athena. It isn’t super obvious in thus picture, but Athena is much bigger than Serena. 

I was going to throw in an update on the packing, but this has gotten long enough as is and I’ll save that for another entry.

Getting ready for school

The school year is just around the corner. In fact it is here sooner than I expected. I knew that once I left my job I would have three weeks before school started to do what ever I needed to do, but two of those weeks are gone now and I feel like I may have not used them as wisely as I should have.

I have gotten things done, I haven’t been completely worthless, I just maybe could have done more. I have cleaned a lot. In fact, I have cleaned more recently than I have probably the whole two years I have lived here. It just never seemed to be that big a deal until I realized that the place was going to be shown by the landlord and I didnt want people to think I was some sad slob. Also I have worked on a programming project that has interested me and may have some financial potential. It is at a state I could probably start showing it, but I haven’t yet. So I need to get on that. I got my car all paid off and insurance fixed up to be cheaper. That felt really good to do. This week I also reviewed a couple topics that I had forgotten so that I’m not completely lost when I go back to school. 

However, things I should have been doing include: 

  • Contacting ku financial aide about my student loans and how their status (my girlfriend tells me everything will be fine because it has worked for her, and I believe her, I just like to check up and make sure)
  • Packing
  • Moving things to Lawrence to my parent’s house until my place opens up
  • Review more school material 
  • Run and go to the gym
  • Look into potential part time employment
  • Apply for full time jobs for after I graduate

I bought my books today and was reminded about the worst part of engineering school – stuff costs way too much. Seriously, I had conveniently forgotten how much books cost. That really sucked and kind of stressed me a little. Oh well, it will all be okay. 🙂

Sick cats and things of that nature

As my bio states, I have 2 cats. They are about 7 years old, I think. I don’t know their exact age because I got them from the Lawrence humane shelter around Christmas of 2005. When I got them I figured they were bound to bigger cats. Not because I was determined to feed them excessively but because they already had some bellies on them. Aside from the first couple days of their occupation of my living area we have gotten along very well, or at least in typical cat-servant manner.

They are Athena and Serena. Athena is a pretty large cat and she behaves as such. She eats a lot and likes to throw her weight around. That can manifest as whining or fighting. Serena is smaller, but only compared to Athena. She is very talkative and friendly. She follows me around the house almost all the time and always jumps on my lap when I’m on the computer. Both of them are very soft to the touch … and dumb. They just don’t really have a lot going on upstairs which probably helps them be so cute.

However, over the past year Serena has been fighting some illness. At some point she started to throw up, a lot. It started so slow that I can’t pinpoint when it started in fact, all I know is that it had gotten pretty bad before I really caught on. I like to think I’m not a bad owner, but in this situation I really was. Anyhow, I did finally take her to the vet.

After listening to my story and running tests the vet was not able to determine what was wrong but we started a medication to help with what he thought was the problem and I started the cats on a hypoallergenic food. The initial thought was inflamed bowls caused by a food allergy. Supposedly this would take 4-6 weeks to flush her system and show results, but after a couple weeks of continued puking I took her back in for reevaluation.

I think this was where the prednazolone dose was upped and some other blood test run. I went home not really sure what to expect. I was still early in this so I wasn’t yet jaded. At first the upped dose seemed to be helping but then she relapsed again. So back I went.

This time my normal vet wasn’t in and the vet I saw thought he felt in her abdomen something that could possibly be cancer. So I scheduled a sonogram for soon after. And I waited for the results very anxiously … Nope, not likely cancer just clumps of fat. I could have told them that. So back to the one med plus a second that should have helped her digest food.

Still no dice.

So I decided to go for the more invasive procedure of a biopsy. I had this done right before my vacation so Serena could stay at the vet’s office while I was gone and receive any medicine and treatment. Apparently she had the bacteria that causes ulcers and they treated her for that.

When I brought her home after vacation she did seem to be much better, she wasn’t throwing up food but instead a little fluid and even then just once a day. To me this was HUGE progress and surely the light at the end of the tunnel! And it was.

Until this past weekend. On Saturday she started to sneeze a lot. This probably had nothing to do with anything since I think she has allergies, but she did it on Sunday too. That was a little unusual because it doesn’t happen so often. Then on Tuesday I noticed that Serena didn’t come to get breakfast and was just lounging in the office. So I brought her down and she ate a little and walked away. Nothing real special about that. But she didn’t move much the whole day and eventually decided to take up residence under my bed. So Wednesday morning I took her back to the vet and left her to stay overnight because they wanted to run some tests and give her an iv due to her being dehydrated. The tests showed nothing but really elevated white blood cell counts which apparently means not the pancreas problem they expected but something else like a blood parasite. She’s home now, but still not eating and not very active.

And yesterday Athena decided to not eat much also. She is still drinking plenty of water, just not eating as much as usual. Otherwise she is acting normal, still runs to the food bowl and sniffs the food, but just decides to not eat it. I just pray she isn’t getting sick.

So that is a “quick” overview of my pet situation. Oh, and it hasn’t been cheap. That wasn’t much of a problem when I was employed; but now that I’m unemployed and heading to school it is becoming a real issue. Good times. 

Hello world!

This is my first post. I have been inspired to start this blog by getting my HP touchpad. I started Twitter when I got my epic 4g so had to find something new!