Saturday, May 30, 2009

This Is Spartaaaaaaah!

We have a new member of the family. He is named Leonidas, after the King of Sparta.

"Leo", for short.

He's 9 weeks old, and as feisty as a little lion:

We've wanted a kitten for a while now, but found it nearly impossible to find one with "no strings attached". Apparently in our area of Pennsylvania, the only place you can get a kitten is through a breeder or a rescue shelter. We ended up driving out of the area to a reputable, old-style pet shop.

The local chain pet stores only sold kittens from the rescue shelters. As I've mentioned in an earlier post, they require you to fill out an application, which asks for information that is, quite frankly, none of their business. For example:

Do you rent or own your home?
Name of landlord?
Name and phone number of a reference who does not live with you.
Do you allow (shelter name) to visit your home after adoption?
How many children and adults live in your home, and what are their ages?
Do you plan to declaw the cat (I know from someone who adopted one of these cats, they do not allow you to declaw anyway).
Please list all your current pets, and include age and sex of pet.
List all pets owned in the last 5 years.

There's more, but I think you get the idea. On top of that, the kittens come pre-named, and they reserve the right to remove the kitten from your household if they're not satisfied with their "inspection" of your house. As I said before, it feels like your "borrowing" their personal pet.

I realize there's a lot of arseholes out there that abandon cats, and this application process probably began as a means to weed out people who tend to do this. I really can sympathize with that. But in some cases, the list of requirements for kitten adoption is getting a bit weird.

As a side note, I read an interesting story about 2 weeks ago. An elderly couple was denied adopting a puppy.

Saturday, May 23, 2009


Caught in the act......

(Click for larger view)

Friday, May 22, 2009


They're predicting a gorgeous Memorial Day weekend here in Northeast Pennsylvania.

85 degrees this afternoon! Refreshing, considering it was 31 on Monday, and I was forced to scrape the frost from the windshield of my car.

Found some baby chipmunks living under the shed steps:

Both were about the size of a golf ball. I was able to get pretty close before they took cover under the step.

This guy's been foraging around the yard for a few weeks now, and I'm sure is responsible for matting down my Snow-In-Summer. I'll allow it though - due to excessive cuteness:

Looks like my Double Mock Orange will finally bloom this summer. I started these from 6 inch shoots 3 years ago. Now I'm going to have to find a permanent home in the yard for them:

Of course, it's also tent caterpillar season as well. Bastards:

Time to put the potted Plumeria outside for some sun. Poor thing goes dormant every winter when we bring it inside, and loses all it's leaves. About a week ago, it sprouted this cauliflower-like growth on top. Google tells me it's called an "inflo", and means we'll have flowers soon!

Once outside, by July it should have a few robust leaves. For now, it looks more like an alien ovipositor, or a giant, green hoo-ha:

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Ant Deo

Yesterday, my mailbox was filled with ants and ant-eggs. Nesting in my mail.

I heard the mail truck around noon, and I retrieved the mail about a half hour later. I opened the box to find several envelopes covered with swarming ants clutching their eggs in hysteria.

I've found all kinds of things in my mailbox, from bees to frighteningly large spiders. This was a first for ants.

It's also very strange that all of the ants were on top of the mail.

As I said, I went to get the mail about a half hour after the mailman delivered it. Somehow, in that short time frame, a nest of ants appeared. If they were there prior to the mailman showing up, the ants would, at least mostly, be UNDER the mail. I think.

After being completely icked out, I whipped out the Raid Ant Spray and coated the mailbox inside and out. And myself. The wind blew back the spray and I got hit as well. Has anyone else noticed that Raid smells perfumey? In an overpowering, gagging, kinda way?

Took a shower. I still couldn't get the Raid smell out of my head. It seemed to be everywhere. Then I realized it was my deodorant.

Lessons learned:

1) My mailman apparently delivers ants, along with the mail
2) Degree deodorant “shower clean” scent smells just like Raid Ant Spray.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Style Over Substance

Spent part of last night helping my daughter cut out pieces of foam board for a “book report mobile”. “Mobile”, as in what hangs over a baby's crib.

When I was in junior high school, a book report consisted of :

a) choosing a book, or having it assigned to you by the teacher
b) reading book
c) writing several pages about the book, by hand or by typewriter.

Book reports are no longer a composition, in the usual 1000-words-or-less style, but arts and crafts projects in the form of collages, hanging mobiles, and papier mache models.

I'm all for inspiring creativity and keeping the kids interested, but this really doesn't prepare them for the real world. What happens when our little darlings have to do college entry essays? I'm pretty sure they don't accept them in papier mache form.

Then again, we stopped preparing our kids for the future when we stopped having winners and losers. Everyone's a winner, right? Try telling that to their future employers when yearly performance reviews come around. Or better yet, when little Johnny is trying to compete with 50 other people for his first job.

Stupid News Part 3

Yay. ABC is resurrecting the 80's sci-fi TV show, “V” for the 2009-2010 season.

This, along with the original Battlestar Galactica are fond memories from my childhood. These are excellent examples of 80's TV cheese that my generation loved so much.

Can't wait to see if the new “V” will equal the travesty that the new Battlestar became.

And also -

Random observation: It's really icky the way the press is hovering over Farrah Fawcett like a bunch of vultures, waiting for her to kick the bucket. Just my opinion though.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Yodeling Cats

Take safety measures if you try this at home:

Friday, May 15, 2009

Stupid News Part 2

Marriage of Reality TV Couple Jon and Kate Gosselin on the Rocks

These people weren't even on my radar until they showed up in the news recently.

According to IMDB, this is a reality show on TLC, about a family raising 8 children. Twins and sextuplets. I think we can safely say this is a stressful household.

As a parent, the first thing that popped into my mind was, why subject your kids to that kind of exposure?

Honestly, why would you even put yourself in that position? For the money?

And if you ARE going to put yourself on display for all the world to see, why not behave yourself until your free ride is over?

Not sure I understand why this show is interesting, except to see if Jon and Kate make it through another day without losing their minds. I suppose that's the point of reality TV – to see how others react, given certain conditions. However, if TLC really wants a nerve-wracking reality soap opera, just wait til the sextuplets become teenagers.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


Whale Fossil Found in Kitchen Counter

I read this headline on National Geographic and thought, “ do I get one?”.

I imagined someone doing a little kitchen DIY; the local Home Depot shows up to install a stone counter top, then: WOOHOO.....fossils! In my kitchen!

But the title is misleading. It was actually the factory cutting the kitchen counter tops that found the fossils in the stone, then called in some archaeologists.

Oh well. I'll have to settle for the shells and trilobites in my stone row.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Where's Spring?

Yes, I'm complaining about the weather again.

It was 32 degrees this morning. There was a frost advisory. Two weeks ago, it was one hundred degrees.

I can't take it anymore.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Stupid News

Tri-marriages. Heard about this on the news this morning. People who want to marry in threes.

Apparently, this isn't just a polygamy matter, where a man marries more than one woman, but three chuckleheads that want to marry each other as a unit.

Then there's talk of the “slippery slope”. Opponents ask where it will end. How about a “marital collective” of 4, 5 or 6? Or farm animals?

As funny as that sounds... think about it. I'm sure there's more than a few activists willing to marry a cow in order to gain “equal human rights” for it.

Monday, May 11, 2009

The New Star Trek Movie

**** WARNING ! ****

** 'Ere Be Spoilers ! **

Saw the new Trek movie yesterday. It was cool.

I thought Chris Pine would be too pretty to play Kirk, and he still kinda is, but he did an excellent job. I heard he didn't watch any of Shatner's performances beforehand (how that's possible, I honestly do not know, unless he's been living under a rock), yet managed to do a convincing Kirk.

The boy that played young Kirk kinda looks like Spaghetti Jimmy from the Visa card commercial, but apparently isn't.

It wasn't until I watched “The Menagerie” again, that I realized how much New Spock really does look like Old Spock. Quinto was perfect for the role. I do wish he'd get rid of the birth control eyeglasses though.

New Zealander Karl Urban is usually known for playing hulking, tough guys in Lord Of The Rings, Chronicles Of Riddick and Doom, and I couldn't imagine him as McCoy, but he really came through. He must've lost half his body weight for this part. He looked and sounded just like him though. “I'm a doctor, not a nuclear physicist!” He nailed it.

Effects were incredible. Of course.

It was cool to see the original Enterprise fly again.

The new time line quandry didn't bother me until the end of the movie when I realized they weren't returning things to the way they were – it was just left as an alternate reality for Trek.

When Nero captured Captain Pike and had him strapped to a slab, surrounded by water, I really thought they were going to make a Hollywood-ized “waterboarding” statement. Thankfully, they did not. It would've ruined the film and franchise entirely, and unnecessarily.

Also, why does Hollywood think every action film needs a love story? Every movie does not need this formula:

Special effects? Check.
Way too handsome actors? Check.
Lots of explosions? Check.
Dopey love story that does nothing to advance the plot? Check.

I am sad that Vulcan is gone. This really kinds screws with Trek canon. I would've preferred they stayed true to Star Trek history, and wrote a prequel around that. But, I can see both sides to this argument.

This movie is well worth seeing, and I am looking forward to more adventures with this “new” crew. I give it an A-

Friday, May 8, 2009

Serendipity Kitteh

Last month our cat died. It was bad. I'm not going to bore everyone with the details, blah blah blah. Besides, I'm saving that one for a different post.

I should at least mention this:

1) she was a “mutt”
2) she was an indoor cat
3) we bought her from a local mom 'n pop pet store for $10.

Best. Cat. Ever.

So we've been thinking of getting another cat, and toyed with the idea of a pure breed. After Googling around, we found that this could cost somewhere between $300-$1200 dollars, and often requires a contract of “things you will do, and are not allowed to do”. If the cost alone isn't a deterrent, the contract certainly is. I can sort of understand this if you're going to buy a show quality cat (snicker), or you're going to breed other show quality cats. But a pretty, pure breed pet? Nah.

Then some friends told me that adopting a regular “mutt” cat isn't too different. A few adopted from a chain pet store, only to find out the store itself doesn't sell the cats. They're just acting as the liaison between the crazy cat ladies and the customer.

It can be expensive too. I know someone who paid $100 for one of their “babies”. And then there's that contract again. Declawing is the biggest no-no. I've also heard: “you must spend at least ___ amount of time with pet”, and “no children under the age of ____ in the household”.

And the people selling the cat had the right to follow up with you and physically inspect the cat to make sure you're taking proper care of THEIR animal. If they find that you've broken the contract, they can take the cat back. No refund either.

Even weirder, sometimes the cats (and kittens) come PRE-NAMED, so if you were hoping for a Fluffy or Whiskers, it sucks to be you. Instead, you're getting a Winslow Forester Bartleby, or whatever other dopey name they came up with. In reality, you're just borrowing their pet.

So we put the word out to a few friends who sometimes have kittens, in the hopes of finding a free (or $10) kitten who needs a good home.

Then last night around 9pm – the first night with no rain and enough warmth that we could open the windows again – I heard a funny-sounding bird calling from the yard. It screeched for a solid half-hour before I decided to find out what it's problem was. So with flashlight in hand, I went trudging out the front door. The noise was coming from the hedge just below the open window, and now I wasn't totally convinced it was a bird.

Hubby came out, pulled back the shrubbery and found a baby kitteh. Eyes were still closed, ears were not up yet, but it was fuzzy – so about a week old.

No momma kitteh to be found though. After scanning the yard with the flashlight, there she was, about 50 feet away under a tree watching us as if to say, “Hey, look what I did!”.

This was one of several strays in our neighborhood; usually found skulking through our yard, eating baby bunnies and pooing in the daffodils.

Hubby and I looked at each other, thinking the same thing. We'd like another kitteh, and look! Here's a kitteh. Delivered right to our doorstep.

Serendipity kitteh?

There really wasn't anything we could do. The kitten needed mother's milk at this stage, and you shouldn't take them away from their mother til they're at least 4 weeks old. So we went back inside and waited for momma kitteh to come back.

And she did. We checked this morning and both were gone. I'm sure she found another place to hide her little one. Except now we want her to stick around so we can “adopt” baby kitteh.

We put a bowl of kibbles by the hedge in the hope she'll come back (I hate it when people feed strays – but I'm willing to make this one-time exception). However, it's quite possible I'll attract every other cat in the neighborhood, but I'll worry about that later.

Right now I have to shoo a large squirrel away from the bowl.

Oh God! Please... NO

For heaven's sake. TopShop has brought back one of the more heinous offenses from The Late Great 80's.

The Harem Pants:

I know we love to rehash and reinterpret fashion from bygone years, but please. Not the 80's.

Just say NO.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Daily Snort

Read this on MSNBC this morning:

Jobless claims at lowest level since January
New Labor Department data show decline of 34,000 in latest week

The number of U.S. workers filing new claims for jobless aid unexpectedly fell by 34,000 last week, sinking to the lowest level since late January, new Labor Department data showed on Thursday.”

Wait, didn't Microsoft just lay off over 3000 people yesterday? What about all the other companies that are laying people off ? The article goes on to say DuPont plans to cut 2000 jobs.

WTF? Are we supposed to be excited about this?

So, YAY, unemployment is momentarily down this week. However more suckage is on the way, when everyone who was layed off this week, files their claims next week?

And then there's this little gem on Madonna:

Mercy’s father questions Madonna’s morals

I personally find this headline hilarious. No need to read any further, really.

See, there's this dude in Malawi (Africa), who's allegedly the father of a child Madonna is trying to adopt. The headline is supposed to be his reaction to Madonna's wacko out fit for The Met gala. Which isn't even one of her bigger calamities.

He's quoted as saying, “What morals can a woman of 50 have, who has no qualms in showing her delicate parts and displaying herself like that in front of her children?”. He does have a point though.

God forbid he sees ANYTHING Madonna did during the 80's and early 90's. His head might explode.

Delicate parts”. He really doesn't know Madonna.

Schizophrenic Spring in Pennsylvania

It's been raining for a week solid now. Just prior to that, we had a 4 day heat wave where it reached 100 degrees. That's right. One. Hundred. 100 smelly, sweaty degrees. In April.

Since then, it's back down to 40 degrees in the mornings, and maybe 65 by mid-afternoon. And wet.

This is one of the many reasons I hate PA. There's never a gradual move into Summer, with cute, light jackets, and kicky new ¾ length tops. Spring is a schizophrenic season where one day you're wearing a down-filled parka, and the next it's shorts and a tank top. If you're lucky enough NOT to get SNOW in MAY, you're waterlogged with rain.

I've lived here all my life, and have never gotten used to it. Someday, I'll move to a state with stable weather.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


I'm so tired of sensationalized news. At this point in my life, I pretty much don't believe ANYTHING written by the main stream media.

This particular story is annoying me because it's misleading, among other things:

Topless photo could cost Prejean pageant crown

1) She's not topless. Side-boob doesn't count.

2) Even if she was topless, who cares? How does that make her unChristian?

3) Apparently she was 17 when the photos were taken. Well then, why wasn't the photographer arrested on “Peter File” charges?

4) 10 points for a dumbass career move (hasn't she heard of Vanessa Williams?). Also, awesome lack of guidance on her parents part.

5) Last time I checked, this country still had free speech. She voiced her opinion. The left may not agree with it, but she's entitled to it.

6) Can the we stop beating up on Christianity already? The MSM preaches tolerance for every other religion, except Christians.

7) Who else is really, really tired of this story??

UPDATE 05/07/2009

Due to the unfortunate circumstances of not being able to avoid this story, I happened across more articles that insinuate there are more photos of this woman, that are actually topless. And it seems she may have taken them herself at 17.

I haven't been able to find an article that definitively backs that up, but since this non-story is getting really boring, I didn't try that hard either.

If it's true, then it just proves dumbass theory #4 above.

Little Friends

Yay! Just had my first spider of the year. Under my desk.

I haven't even seen one in the frickin basement yet. Why under my desk? It's clean... mostly. You'd think the dust bunnies would frighten them away.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Welcome Back To Hell

I'm baaaaack. Like a bad cold. Or the swine flu.

I figured I'd give this another shot, this time with a wider range of topics and general rantiness.

I've changed up the site as well. Less pink and perky - more cranky.

On that note...

Today was worse than a Monday – which is exactly what happens on a Tuesday, after taking a mental health 3 day weekend. I managed a complete meltdown long before I caught up with the 300 emails in my inbox.

My company has a “relationship” with a certain store. When there's a problem, our “relationship managers” open a work ticket to us (IT Department) to investigate the issue.

I've told these “relationship managers” time and time again to open these tickets to our group, not directly to ME. The reason being, if it's assigned to me and I'm not in the office, nobody will work on it. Everyone else in my group will assume I already know about it – simple right?

So invariably I come back from vacation only to find 50 emails from the dumbasses, who are freaking out because the ticket they assigned to me hasn't been worked on (obviously), and they failed to actually read my out of office message.

Of course, they escalate this to Herr Manager the morning I returned from vacation. So now he's yelling for a status on an issue that I've had not five minutes to review – and apparently being out of the office is not an excuse.

I need another mental health vacation.