Friday, January 15, 2010

My cat wears cement overshoes

Almost since the day I got here, Radar (my Emergency Backup Cat) had provided oversight while I take my shower in the morning -- every single time I get out, she's sitting there on the bathmat, waiting for me. After I step out and begin to dry off, she jumps into the tub to lick up some of the water. Satisfied that I'm still as sweet as I was, she jumps back out a couple of minutes later.

The past few days, her exit from the tub has included a detour: walking with her wet feet through the litterbox full of clumping cat litter. Of course, the litter sticks to the wet fur, and it doesn't take long for it to dry and harden into little clumps of what amounts to cement.


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Pushing too hard

Once again, the Chinese (People's Republic of China, the commies) have pushed things too hard.

It seems that they've been caught hacking into Google (which helpfully blocks search results the little commie bastards don't want their citizens to see). In response, Google has finally announced to World + Dog what the PRC has been up to -- and then gone so far as to say that they're damn well ready to pull out of China completely because they're tired of all the crap.

If you're interested in some reading material, you might be interested in this report on Chinese "infowar" strategies, policies, and events (PDF download). It isn't too long, and makes for some interesting reading. When you're done, though, you might find yourself asking "Now, just exactly why do I need to buy my crap from this country?"...

I was aware that the PRC was engaged in a lot of attempts to gain unauthorized access to various computer systems, but not really aware of how broad and deep that activity extended. One report I've found indicates that nearly TWO HUNDRED computers were infected to become part of a single information-gathering operation against Tibet activists and the Dalai Lama; Computer Week reports that Googles revelation is, basically, just the tip of a much bigger iceberg.

People, how much longer are we going to keep buying their crappy products so they can use our money to turn around and try to treat the rest of the world the same way they treat their own people? Does "Tiananmen Square" ring a bell for anyone? How about that airplane of ours that they screwed up, forcing it to land in China, where they held the crew hostage for a week (and kept the airplane)? Poisioned toothpaste and dog food? Date-rape drugs in the toys they sell us? Highly toxic cadmium and other heavy metals in the playthings for our kids? HELLO?

Boycott Wal*Mart, because the shift from American manufacturing to China can be laid directly at their doorstep.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Secrets of High Technology

Just had an "interesting" experience:

Got a call from someone that turned out to be a wrong number.

Fine, no biggie, it happens. But what does the shipdit that made it do?

How about hit "redial" on their phone, thinking that they'll get the number they wanted, and not the number they actually dialed? The mooron actually ASKED me why their 'redial' didn't work right...

Proving once again that there are people who's ancestors shouldn't have come down out of the trees...

2 plus 3 equals purple

Okay, sports fans, try this one on for size:
  • The city of Billings has an ordinance (Sec. 22-406) that states that property owners are responsible for removing snow from their sidewalks within 24 hours of the end of the snowstorm.
  • Said ordinance is "complaint-driven", meaning that one must call a specific number and provide the address of the guilty party.
  • On such complaint, the city will mail the owner a notice that they have to remove the snow.
  • If the property owner fails to do so, the city has the option of either removing it and billing the owner, or issuing the owner a fine up to $500.
  • When we get a snowstorm, the city promptly dispatches the snowplows to deal with the major thoroughfares (i.e. "snow routes").
  • The current procedure is for the snowplow drivers to redirect the snow onto the sidewalks so as to keep the roads clear.
Now, if some enthusiastic or motivated person goes out and clears their walks and the city plow then comes along and buries the sidewalk in snow, who's responsible?

This is not an uncommon occurence, and I can easily imagine the city sending a nastygram to property owner, who does one of the following:
  1. Re-shovels, then bills the city for the extra effort. When the city doesn't pay, take them to court.
  2. Ignores the city's notice, and gets fined or billed as appropriate. The aggravated property owner then rears back on their hind legs and sues the city.
  3. Tells the ordinance enforcement people what happened, and to get lost, followed by (2) above.
None of the three options above has happened that I know of, but considering the problems Billings has had with lawsuits over the past few years, I think it's only a matter of time before someone DOES get fed up with the stupidity. When it does, I'm betting that a court will side with the property owner. Any lawyer types out there care to express an opinion?

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Torture... sweet, sweet torture...

Just had a nice game of "Laser Tag" with the cats.

Well, cat, mostly. Elf is old enough that she doesn't go after the dot from the laser pointer with all the enthusiasm Radar does, though she does make a few attempts to catch it when it gets close enough.

No, it's Radar that has the most fun with it. When she follows it across the floor, I can get her almost a quarter of the way up the wall as she tries to keep up with it; you should see her trying to get alternate paws on it when it zig-zags across the carpet. I'll try to get a video of it, if I can keep from laughing at the sight.

Of course, it's obligatory for me to torture her with it. She makes these little disgusted chirping noises when she pounces on it, only to have it immediately re-appear right NEXT to where her paws are. It also aggravates her to no end when she's laying there trying to catch her breath and the damn dot keeps meandering across her paws, tormenting her.

The funniest part of all, though, is what happens when I can see she's getting too tired: I'll wait until I see the little butt-quiver right before she's going to pounce, and take my finger off the switch so the dot disappears. Her head comes up in wonder at where the hell it went, and she'll spend a good five minutes wandering around my apartment trying to find it again before coming to me and complaining about her missing toy.