Thursday, April 30, 2009

Quote of the Week

I'm trying to think but nothing happens. - Curly Howard


Thanks to zoomar's (of Roscoe the Pug fame) Twitter.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Quotes of the Week

He's not the only one:
"What Poe most wanted was never again to answer to an editor." -this week's New Yorker

Good news for scatterbrains!
"Cognitive psychologists have found that there is a trade-off between attentional focus and creativity. And there is some evidence that suggests that individuals who are better able to focus on one thing and filter out distractions tend to be less creative." - ditto

Possibly the best DC conversation I have ever been privy to:
"Cherry laurel, it's in bloom now. You know the guy who exposed Watergate - he lives a couple blocks - Bob Woodward. He has one in his yard."

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

In a bad mood

Originally uploaded by wombatarama

I'd go into detail, but isn't a picture supposed to be worth a thousand words?

Friday, April 17, 2009

The pug mind

Somehow, Lilly knows when I am cooking meat scraps for her in the microwave. She doesn't get excited when I am microwaving something for humans, or when I am cooking meat on the stove. How does she know when I am cooking meat in the microwave for dogs? I suppose she can smell it - but it seems like she also knows that I never cook meat for humans in the microwave.

But she's not as smart as she thinks she is. Because you know what she does, in the remodeled kitchen, when I am microwaving meat for her? She runs over and stands, licking her chops, in front of the counter where the microwave USED to be.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Bizarro Customer Service World

We live two blocks from a fancy new shopping street. They do that very, very evil thing where they have Muzak OUTDOORS. I've learned to live with it, but last week, the music was much louder than before, and also, they'd changed the repertoire to the most annoying Baby Boomer era pop hits that you could possibly imagine.

The Technical Staff theorized that they'd chosen the music to chase away teenagers, who have been causing some problems in the area. I decided to write to the management company and inform them that whether or not they were repelling teenagers, they were certainly repelling us and our more-than-teenage income.

I assumed this was one of those things where all the email would accomplish was getting something off my chest. I figured I wouldn't get an answer, or at least, no more than a form letter.

Well, imagine my flabbergastation when I got an email back almost immediately. The woman said she'd look into it the next morning - it was already after the end of the business day when she answered - and even asked what kind of music I would prefer.

When I walked down the street the next day, nothing had changed, and when I remarked cynically upon this, the Tech Staff opined that they probably had to have a week of meetings first.

And indeed - yesterday, I got the following email:

I just wanted to follow up with you and let you know that we have adjusted the volumne on the Muzak System and we have made some changes to the types of Muzak.

Thank you so much for your comments and please let us know what you think of the changes.

I have not actually checked out what they have done yet - it's been raining, but also, I'm just enjoying the moment.

If this weren't weird enough, I just had an experience with the cable company that was remarkably similar. It requires too much tedious technical detail to explain, but suffice it to say, it was so far beyond their usual level of competence and service that I wanted to say to the woman "Excuse me? Don't you know you work for the cable company? Are you sure you won't get fired for this?"

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Easter Bonnet Misery

Lilly hates wearing outfits, hates it to hell.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Pug theories, 3: Experimental testing

Here's the new bed I mentioned in the earlier post. It occurred to me that I had changed too many variables at the same time: I got a new bed, AND I put the new bed in the spot where the old best bed used to be, changing the position of the old best bed.

I decided to see what would happen if this hallowed spot had NO bed in it. What if there was only one really good bed, but it wasn't in that spot? So I took away the second bed, and moved the pictured bed a couple of feet to the right.

For the couple of hours that this situation existed, Rose chose to lie on the carpet instead of in the good bed in the wrong place.

This suggests that it's not just the bed that matters - there is also a good spot, and all the other spots are inferior. Really there ought to be further testing, but I felt so sorry for her that I had to put the best bed back in the best spot.

(Lilly, of course, just goes and sleeps on the back of the couch if you mess with her beds. She can take care of herself.)

Monday, April 6, 2009

Pug theories, 2

I tried to restrain a pug to trim one nail recently, and realized how stupid it was to do this right when I was about to leave the house. Because when I released the pug I was covered with a perfectly astonishing amount of hair, almost enough to require a complete change of wardrobe.

I believe that this is actually a defense strategy that pugs have evolved. Just the way squid can squirt ink to repel predators, pugs can release astonishing amounts of hair as a means of defense against attacks of nail-trimming and the like. We often see in nature that such mechanisms are exquisitely tailored to a particular opponent, and this is one of them - it only works on a species that cares what its clothes look like.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

spring pugs

spring pugs 1
Originally uploaded by wombatarama

Pug theories, 1

There are two dog beds in the living room and in my office. But in each place, one bed is the good one and the other is the bad one. If the good bed is already in use, the other pug will almost always choose to lie on the couch.

I recently ordered a nice new bed to replace what looked to me like the crummiest bed, and rearranged beds so that two desirable beds were in one room.

What I discovered is that 'two desirable beds in one room' is apparently an impossible concept. In the pug mind, if there are two beds, no matter how nice they are, one is the good bed and one is the bad bed.

This shouldn't have surprised me. I thought of ordering another bed to see what happens when two identical beds are in the same room. And then I remembered: when you give them two identical bones, they still try to steal them from each other, obviously sure that one is good and one is bad.

So I suspect that with two identical beds, there will still be one bad one and one good one. I am still trying to decide whether to spend another forty dollars to test this hypothesis.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Elsewhere on the Internet

The pugs are not the only ones who appear on other people's websites... Candy Addict is back up and running, and I've updated the links over there on the right so they take you directly to my posts.