Climbed to the Top of Hump Day, Gonna Slide on Down to August

I’m listening to one of my Rhapsody playlists (Come on and play that funky music, White Boy) as I blog you the latest news chez nous

Yesterday was barf on the carpet day.  Bright and early (7:15) the white one started the day off by hocking up a hair “ball” that was the size (and shape) of my index finger (yeah, too much information).  On my way into the kitchen after dealing with that one, I found that someone had gone all Jackson Pollock in the Liberry.  (Leave it!) Since a section of the flight path between the Liberry and the kitchen was now damp from a thorough Woolite and Febrezing, I went round to the kitchen through the living room and found another puddle of former kibbles by one of the end tables.  Finally, I made it to the office and booted up both computers so I could check mail and read blogs on one, and work on the other one, should there be any work (there was). (Welcome back, my friends …)

The day kind of got better after that.  There was work and I did what I call “playing the Rootbeer Rag,” which is what I call transcribing the little 6-minute and 16 minute, and 10 minute sound files. I don’t mind them too much because they don’t take that long and you don’t get bored with them like you tend to with the longer ones, but you have to do a whole bunch of them to make any kind of $$$ at all.  I kept finding good ones and ended up typing all night. (No fuses left ….)  Soon as I finish this post, it’s beddy bye time for yrs. trly.

Made a whopping $3.58 this time selling books on Amazon which their email informed me will be deposited in my account within the next three to five business days. (We are the Champions, My Friend)  I took a break from typing and made a new trash bag holder out of corrugated cardboard for my LitterMaid — a new improved design that is notched on the side with the front edge cut down so it goes underneath the end of the litter tray.  No more litter falling between the bag and the tray. I believe I’ve got it right this time. (We’re the Princes of the Universe).

Got my order of Flower Lady Incense (Me-Tok-Ma) and decided I wanted to make an adapter so I could use the lotus dish that I use for the “stick” incense that is molded around sticks. Flower Lady incense is pure incense, no sticks, (You Gotta Roll with it Baby) and if you have the right holder, it will burn completely leaving only ash. I made one out of a piece of bailing wire (How are you going to fix stuff with Band Aids and bailing wire without you got no bailing wire?)  that sits on a plate and holds the stick at an angle. (Straighten Up and Fly Right). I made another one that holds the stick upright, since the lotus plate is not very big and I don’t want ash all over the place.

2013_07_30-3 2013_07_30-4 2013_07_30-5This incense has a light floral/herbal scent that is not overpowering and that doesn’t beat you over the head with patchouli or such like. (Ahhh-oooh) The incense is made in Nepal with Kesar (Saffron), Tsampaka (White Champak) and Pangpoey (?) and other traditional Tibetan herbs according to the Men Ngak formula.  I have a collection of Goddess images — Danu, Arianrhod, Freya, Ceridwin, some RO icons of the BVM, a couple of Guanyin, and some prints of paintings by Susan Seddon BouletNa’ashjéii Asdzáá (Spider Woman), Ix Chel and some of her beautiful white unicorns mares.  (O Fortuna, velut luna!)  They are, of course, in the southwest corner, for proper feng shui


It’s going to be another hot one today (I dream of rain ….).  I’m going to be working a lot in the next two weeks.  Got another $200 utility bill and premiums is due on my car insurance and dental insurance.  (I got one more silver dollar ….)

The kitties like their new water fountain, which accommodates both stream drinkers and bowl drinkers.  It’s going to be a whole lot easier to keep clean.  (Take me to the river ….)


At some point, I’m going to have to get busy in the back yard. It’ll be mass herbicide, like Sherman marching to the sea. (Get up, John!) In the meantime, I’m staring down the barrel of two loads of laundry, which I can’t do until I can find the clothes line without getting lost in the woods.


All the songs I’ve reference are on this one mother playlist (191 songs) that runs the gamut from disco to waltz, to southern rock to boogie to Brit pop.  From a Boogie Woogie Choo-choo trains to the Marrakesh Express to a 455 Rocket with a Baby Driver, from a lake full of swans to a Lear Jet full of Byrds, to a sea full of whales, from Joe Cool, to Maria Caracoles, to St. Judy’s Comet, from Cupid packing heat, to Yidl with a fiddle,  from swimming to boot scooting to polkas.  Now, it’s time for this cowgirl to hit the bunkhouse.  So, tell it like it is, Freddie.


Happy Birthday To Pu

TV table on wheels, with optional cat
TV table on wheels, with optional cat

Gobi Gobotiputtitatti, alias Emperor Pu An Yu turned 14 this month.  He is the only kitty left who lived in the previous location, before I moved to my current digs 12 years ago this September.  We’ve been playing stealth fetch with the cat toy we got as a freebie in the box of kitty litter.  I toss it someplace in the house.  Eventually he finds it and brings it to me, singing the Mighty Hunter song betimes, and puts it by my chair.  He’s half Siamese (the ornery half) and half Godknows.  His four litter mates were completely black.  He was born white, with pink skin and light green eyes.   He has a splendid set of whiskers which are up to six inches long, hanging parenthetically from his nuzzle, all except one, which curves upward (see below).  In due time, it is shed, and in due time, it grows back turned upwards.  This is his wild hair.


He is the reason every wastebasket in my house has a lid on it. If it didn’t, he would turn it over and root through it looking for paper. To eat. Regular printer paper, bills, magazines, paper towels, tissues. He is an equal opportunity paper muncher.2013_03_25-3 It doesn’t matter if he’s at the other end of the house.  Such is the miracle of a cat’s hearing that just let me cut some paper with a scissors and he comes running, whining and rubbing for me to give him a piece to eat (which I don’t, because it doesn’t stay eaten. About an hour later, it invariably gets refunded on the carpet.)

When I get a tissue, I have to push the next one back down into the box, or this happens.  I have to keep the doors to the bathrooms closed.  Toilet tissue is always on the menu . . .

Being part Siamese, he has an opinion about everything, especially an empty food bowl.  He pretends to be grouchy and cantankerous, but let me sit down to watch TV and he’s either on the foot stool lying by my legs or lying beside the chair. Let me sit down at the computer, and he is underfoot, literally.  When I go to bed, I fly off to dreamland with my wingman at my side. IMG_0074

For his birthday, the kitties got a new drinking fountain. The one they had was plastic. Our water is hard as a rock and it was next to impossible to get the lime scale off that plastic one. Consequently it became more and more difficult to keep clean. This one was a bit pricey, but it’s glazed ceramic. I can run it through the dishwasher, no problem.  It’s also delightfully easy and simple to assemble and disassemble.  It has two filters, one coarse and one fine charcoal to keep the water sweet.   We like it.  We are currently having our afternoon snooze.6-2008 glunked out in the living room
Yeah, he’s an old Pu, but he’s a good ol’ Pu.


This is my 300th post since starting the WordPress incarnation of The Owl Underground on January 2, 2012.  So, several things:

A Child's Garden of Verses,  illustration by Jessica Wilcox Smith
A Child’s Garden of Verses, illustration by Jessica Wilcox Smith

“The best books are the ones that you discover when you are young, that grow with you and within you, budding and leafing and flowering in your mind, drawing you back to them again and again. As your experience of life broadens and deepens so does your understanding of the story. The best books are the ones you never tire of, no matter how many times you read them.  WOL”

You may quote if you attribute, thank you.


At rest by Carl Larsson
At Rest by Carl Larsson

Apart from the blanket, yeah. That’s been me lately.  Lost in a good book, while being slept on by at least one cat, with the others close by. Companion animals are companionable.  Companimals.  Why has nobody started calling them that?

I finally cajoled my mom into getting WiFi.  The 2Wire456 modem AT&T shipped them came last Thursday.  Yrs. trly. beetled over and installed same.  Called tech support because the computer wouldn’t believe it didn’t have DSL any more.  Called tech support two more times because I couldn’t get a WiFi signal on my Kindle sitting not three feet from the modem.

Went back over again Tuesday after an appointment with the dental hygienist for a cleaning, because of the mysterious buzzing noise my mom was hearing in the computer room.  It started Saturday, two days after I hooked up the new WiFi modem.  She was convinced it was the WiFi signal interfering with her hearing aids; oh, and she was having trouble with Windows Live Mail (WLM).  It wouldn’t open half the time, and not only that, about half the time her computer wouldn’t turn off unless you made it.

Apparently, from what I read on the internet, WLM will sometimes keep trying to sync even though it has nothing to sync to (Microsoft would reeelly, reeeelly like you to use Hot Mail so WLM can sync to it, pleeeeeeze!), and while it’s trying to sync, the program won’t open, and it won’t let the computer shut down because it’s still busy trying to sync.

My mom lives for email.  Five or six times a day, she would go open WLM and read her email and close the program.  I told her, if you’re going to be reading email all that often, why close the program?  Why not just leave it open all day until you get ready to shut the computer down?  So, we’re going to try that.   Still couldn’t get a WiFi signal off the modem even sitting right next to it.  They’re going to send a new one out.  It’ll arrive Saturday.  I’ll be going over to switch them out. Hopefully, I’ll be able to get a signal off this new one.

The buzzing noise? She was convinced that it had something to do with the WiFi signal setting up interference with her hearing aids because the buzzing went away when she turned her hearing aids off.  Turned out, her hearing aids had nothing to do with it.  It just happened that when she turned her hearing aids off, she just couldn’t hear the noise any more.  I could hear it just fine.  Took ol’ eagle ears about five minutes to locate the culprit.  It was one of the chime units from their wireless doorbell, plugged into a plug across the room from the computer.  I unplugged it.  Problem solved.  She says, and I quote, “I don’t know why we have it plugged in here anyway.  It doesn’t work.”  Actually, it works fine.  It just wasn’t turned up loud enough for her to hear, even with her hearing aids in.  Now that I’ve shown her how to play the TV sound through their stereo receiver, when the TV is on, it’s like walking in on a rock concert.

While I was at the folks house Tuesday, mom showed me an email from my brother informing her that the reason she hadn’t heard from them lately was because he and his wife had just bought a new house.  When the guy across the street from them found out they’d bought a new house, he told their next door neighbor, who was looking for a house for her mother, and my bro and SIL sold their old house before it even had a chance to make it to the real estate agent.  We haven’t had a chance to see it since they won’t close on it until the 31st.  Right after I read the email, my mom wants me to open this jicky website she has bookmarked that if you type in your address, it “shows your house in a snow globe” and put in their new address.  It was a tiny picture.  The street view on Google Earth shows it much bigger. (I am the Google Queen!) We knew they’d found the house through a real estate agent, so we looked it up on the real estate agency’s website.  There were pictures.  We looked at them.  We’re shameless.

In other news, I applied for a PayPal MasterCard debit card, and it arrived yesterday.  Now I don’t have to wait three to five working days to be able to get my little hot hands on the pittance I get from working for this jive outfit transcription company I work for.  Since they pay through PayPal, I had had to open a savings account at my bank for PayPal to transfer my funds to (I’m not about to give them my checking account info!). Then I was having to wait three to five business days for the money to be transferred to my bank.  I’d get paid on Monday, but couldn’t actually use the money until, if I was lucky, Thursday.  It’s been very frustrating.  It’s my money and I need it now! – to coin a phrase.  Now I can use the PayPal debit card to get instant access to the dough.

As for HRH George Alexander Louis Mountbatten-Windsor, Prince of Cambridge, welcome to the goldfish bowl.

Today is the 93rd anniversary of the birth of Rosalind Franklin “who is best known for her work on the X-ray diffraction images of DNA which led to the discovery of the DNA double helix. Her data, according to Francis Crick, were ‘the data we actually used’ to formulate Crick and Watson‘s 1953 hypothesis regarding the structure of DNA. [When] Crick and Watson started to build their model in February 1953, they were working with critical parameters that had been determined by Franklin in 1951, and which she and Raymond Gosling had significantly refined in 1952, as well as with published data and other very similar data to those available at King’s. Rosalind Franklin was probably never aware that her work had been used during construction of the model, but Maurice Wilkins was. Franklin was never nominated for a Nobel Prize. She had died in 1958 and was ineligible for nomination to the Nobel Prize in 1962 which was subsequently awarded to Crick, Watson, and Wilkins in 1962. ”


And that’s my 300th post.  Yee Haw.

Just Wanted to Clear That Up

When I sign into WordPress, I always check the “Remember me” box, but it never does.  (I think they just put it there to mess with you.)  As annoying and productive of existential angst as it is, being chronically disremembered by computers does not qualify as a reason to sing the blues.  Just to set the record straight, mind.

In the local news, at this jive transcription job I have, they are going to make me learn how to spell “Abu Dhabi” and “Addis Ababa” off the top of my head, will I, nill I. Seems like one or the other turns up about ever third sound file.  Fortunately, I am the Google Queen.  Took me three tries to turn up “Mubadala” uttered in a thick accent over a bad cellphone connection.  And today I learned all about the vicissitudes and pitfalls of international divorces from a top-gun Texas divorce lawyer.  Yee Hah.

IIt's a boyn world news, on 22 July at 4:24 p.m. GMT /10:24 a.m. Local,

It’s boy, Mrs. Windsor. It’s a boy.*

Oh, yez. Oh, yez.

Third great grandchild of HRH the Q.

I’d bet his little HRH’s guardian angel is a blond.

*Your musical allusion for this evening, provided as a public service.

Putting This Where I Can Find It Again … and Again

deer-page-blogDeer Dance
(from Rounding the Human Corners)

This morning
when the chill that rises up from the ground is warmed,
the snow is melted
where the small deer slept.
See how the bodies leave their mark.
The snow reveals their paths on the hillsides,
the white overcrossing pathways into the upper meadows
where water comes forth and streams begin.
With a new snow the unseen becomes seen.
Rivers begin this way.

At the deer dance last year,
after the clashing forces of human good and evil,
the men dressed in black,
the human women mourning for what was gone,
the evergreen sprigs carried in a circle
to show the return of spring.
That night, after everything human was resolved,
a young man, the chosen, became the deer.
In the white skin of its ancestors,
wearing the head of the deer
above the human head
with flowers in his antlers, he danced,
beautiful and tireless,
until he was more than human,
until he, too, was deer.

Of all those who were transformed into animals,
the travelers Circe turned into pigs,
the woman who became the bear,
the girl who always remained the child of wolves,
none of them wanted to go back
to being human. And I would do it, too, leave off being human
and become what it was that slept outside my door last night.

One evening I hid in the bush south of here
and watched at the place where they shed their antlers
and where the deer danced, it was true,
as my old grandmother said,
water came up from the ground
and I could hear them breathing at the crooked river.
The road there I know, I live here,
and always when I walk it
they are not quite sure of me,
looking back now and then to see that I am still
far enough away, their gray-brown bodies,
the scars of fences,
the fur never quite straight,
as if they’d just stepped into it.

Poem © 2008 by Linda Hogan

Mo’Better Internet Radio

I was nosing about Sleepbot’s Environmental Broadcast website looking for an email addy so I could give him some very positive feedback on his stream, and discovered this: the.zzzone  I’ve only been listening to it for a little while, but so far it does what it says on the tin:  Ambient music.

BlueMars Radio is still offline and has been for a couple of weeks now, as is its “sister station” Radio Ultimae.   They’re both in Lyon, France.  I’ve emailed Ione at BlueMars.  It’d be nice to get a reply.  It would be even nicer if BlueMars would start streaming again.  I absolutely loved the Cryosleep channel and I miss it.  Radio Ultimae was another favorite station. Good “pure” ambient stations are hard to find.

And, for your viewing pleasure, stars and a smile.   night milk way Night man and milky wayFaces Hiya

A Cool Desktop Widget

A Steampunk Orrery Calendar Clock.  This is seriously cool.

Steampunk-Orrery-Calendar-Clock_1It’s resizeable so you can have it as big as your whole screen or as small as 2-1/2 inches across.  It also has a memo feature so you can keep a to do list, or notes to yourself, or whatever. It requires the Yahoo Widget Engine to run, but once you have the widget engine, you can download other cool widgets, too, including clocks, weather widgets, CPU monitors, etc.   If you’re really into Steampunk there’s the Steampunk Clock Calendar, and even a Steampunk weather widget.

That is, if you’re into Steampunk. . .

The Problem with Pandora

A commenter on a previous post (you know who you are) talked about making a Pandora account.  I have some problems with Pandora.   One is that they hold you hostage to advertising:  Pay us money or we will infest you with advertising.

Another problem I have with them is that they only offer an in-browser player.  That’s because of yet another problem I have with them.  They are intrusively interactive.  They’re always wanting you to like this or that (or “thumbs down” it, if it’s something you don’t like).  Yeah, they say it’s so they can “tailor make” a station for you, and I get that.  But it’s still intrusively interactive.

Another problem I have with them is that they don’t offer all the artists I like, artists that Rhapsody does offer, like Zero Ohms, A Produce, Formaria, Brannan Lane, Farfield, Kevin Kendle, etc., because they don’t offer really cutting edge stuff, or new artists, or little known artists.  You have to be commercial to a certain extent to get on their radar.

Also, they won’t let you upload an avatar picture, unless you import one from Facebook, and I loathe Facebook.  I won’t say I wouldn’t have a Facebook account if you paid me, because I would, but you’d have to pay me a substantial sum — like four figures.  A month.

One positive thing, though, is that there’s a Pandora app for Kindle Fire.

OK.  So today I decided to give Pandora another chance.  Oddly enough, I’ve called my channel “Radio WOL.” I suspect I’ll put up with it until I get tired of flipping over to it and unliking anything with a didjeridu in it, because I find their sound particularly annoying.

Edit #1: On the serious minus side, they only allow you to dislike/reject so many tracks during a specific time period.  Once you’ve gone over quota, when you dislike a track, instead of skipping it then and there, they make you finish listening to it.  AFTER it’s over, they’ll never play it again.  This is seriously annoying.  I dislike the track because I don’t want to hear any more of it, period, not just because I don’t want to hear it again.  That right there is about an inch shy of a deal breaker.

Edit #2: The Deal Breaker: If you don’t interact with it (like or dislike something, or add an artist to your stream) for a couple of hours, it turns itself off because they’ve decided you’re not listening.  You have to click on a button that says “I’m still listening” to get it to play again.  At the same time, they have the cheek to offer you the option of playing an advertising game for the “reward” of uninterrupted play for four hours.  Like I said, they’re intrusively interactive and they’re almost as bad as Hulu about ramming advertising down your throat.

That’s it.  No more Pandora for me. As far as I’m concerned, instead of opening a box, Pandora has opened a can of worms.  I’m going back to my internet radio stations that give me music for hours at a time without my having to do anything but access them and listen.

Internet Radio Update

For unknown reasons, both BlueMars and Radio Ultimae (They’re “sister stations” in Lyon, France) are down and have been for over a week now, which is a bummer as they are two of my most favorite internet radio stations. However, I have picked up a few more, although none of them had the great “no beat” lineup of BlueMars’ Cryosleep channel. When I’m working, I need music that has no singing, and that has little or no percussion.  I did find Ambient Sleeping Pill, which has good stuff.  But most of the other stuff I found has other genres mixed in with Ambient, like Chillout, New Age, or Electronica, which are OK if you’re just listening, but which  makes it unsuitable to work by.

Of the “mixed genres” stations, these stand out:

moonlitedancerz36k[1]Sven Radio originates out of the UK and plays Ambient, Chillout and New Age music.  The selection is nice, and they are very “Green,” supporting Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth.  In addition to an in-browser player, Sven Radio offers streaming through Winamp, Windows Media Player, RealPlayer, QuickTime, and iTunes. They also are available through TuneIn Radio Android App — Sven Radio is  listed on there.

AnotherPlanet is dedicated to playing ambient, dark ambient, psychedelic and new age.  In addition to an in-browser player, they stream through Flash Player, Winamp, Windows Media Player and QuickTime.

GhostBox Radio is “dedicated to dark ambient” but they also play downtempo and some solo piano.  In addition to an in-browser player, they stream through Winamp, Windows Media Player, RealPlayer and QuickTime.  However, they do station identifications about two to three times an hour, which may not bother you as much as it bothers me.

RePlayScapes offers two streams, “Ambient” and “Beat,” has an in-browser player and streams through Winamp, Windows Media Player, iTunes, and RealPlayer.  As of this writing, the “Beat” stream is unavailable.

HBR1 Radio offers three streams:  I.D.M. Tranceponder which offers Psychedelic, Progressive Trance and Full-on; Tronic Lounge which offers Tech House, Progressive House, Electro and Minimal; and Dream Factory, which offers Ambient, Chillout, Downbeat and Trance.  HBR1 has an in-browser player, and allows streaming through iTunes, Winamp and Linux G-Streamer, or any other player that streams Ogg Vorbis or AAC+.

Of the “pure Ambient” streams I’ve listened to a lot, Major Ursa, Stillstream and Sleepbot are still going strong, and now that BlueMars and Radio Ultimae are down, these stations are getting heavy play while I’m working.

Still Squirreling Away

In addition to my utilities bill, which was higher than giraffe’s ears owing to over a week of 100+F/38+C temperatures in June(!), my car registration expired June 30th.  Another $63 bucks I don’t have.  (I could get a ticket for driving with expired registration.  My mom’s a whole lot more worried about it than I am.)  So, I’m squirreling away transcribing, and popping 8-hour acetaminophen like candy.

This transcription outfit I’m working for pays through PayPal and it takes PayPal three to five working days to get my money from their pocket to mine.  I get paid on Mondays, and even if I catch it in PayPal and transfer it before it’s even bounced once, it’s still Thursday or Friday (if I’m lucky) before I can get my little hot hands on it.  Of course, once it gets into my savings account (I’m not about to give PayPal my checking account number!) I can transfer it to my checking account in a matter of minutes, since my bank has internet banking.   I guess I’m spoiled having worked for so many years for companies that do direct deposit straight to my checking account.

Not to put too fine a point on it, this morning I tore off the nail on my left little finger about 1/16th of an inch below the quick (and barked the knuckle on my middle finger in the process).  So now I’ve got an owie on the tip of my CTRL/Shift/1/q/a/z finger.  Fortunately, my keyboard has a very light touch and my pinkie is so short I end up using the flat of the finger and not the tip to press the key.   I’ve already typed 54 minutes today, and I’m calling it quits for the day.

In other news, I got a letter from RB, the lady who managed the duplex I live in, saying she’s no longer going to do it as of July 1.  RB’s managed it for at least 15 years. But the lady she was managing it for died about 7 years ago, and her nephew inherited it.  He lives in another town and is only interested in the rent money getting into his account.  We needed a new roof when I moved in 12 years ago.  She’s tried repeatedly to get one for us.  The carport roof is leaking and ruining the wood.  She’s tried to get that fixed, but he won’t answer her letters or return her phone calls.  Now we’re just supposed to send our rent directly to him.  She gave us the address, and his “last known phone number” — but because he never returns her calls, there’s no way to know if it’s any good.  Unit A’s air conditioner is leaking coolant and needs to be replaced, but he won’t replace it.  The guy’s just supposed to come out and refill it with coolant every week.  The way I feel about it, if something breaks, I’ll pay to have it fixed, and take the cost of it out of the rent, and send him the receipts.

I spent 4th of July afternoon with the folks.  My dad is very frail, almost blind, and is what is called a “marginal ambulator.” He has to have a walker even to stand, never mind walk.   Mom was telling me that dad has fallen several times and she hasn’t been able to get him up by herself.  A couple of times, she’s called one of the neighbors across the street to help her get him up, but the other night, she wasn’t paying attention and when he was coming back from the bathroom, he somehow  ended up on the floor between the couch and another chair.  It was 10 o’clock at night, too late to call one of the neighbors, so she called 9-1-1.  She explained the situation, and the next thing she knew, she had a fire truck as well as EMS ambulance show up.  The ambulance people got him back on his feet and into the bedroom, checked his blood pressure and talked to him to make sure he was still “with it.”  He has had some small strokes, although none affecting his speech or movement so far, and he obviously has mild multi-infarct dementia, but he can understand speech (if you talk loud enough for him to be able to hear it — he’s very hard of hearing) and respond appropriately to it.  His continued mobility is problematic, and the alternative is even more problematic as their house has several doorways that are too narrow for a wheelchair, notably both bathroom doors.  As callous as it seems, I find myself wishing that one morning here soon, he just won’t wake up.  I would rather see him go like that than to just waste away in a bed in some nursing home somewhere.  He’ll be 91 this year.