October 29, 2010

A laugh and a thank you

You know you are applying for jobs in Seattle when you come across this:

barista.jpg

Gave me a chuckle.

Plus, I wanted to say thank you to all of the people, new and old (or silver and gold, as the song says), who have jumped into the fray to find me a job, or emailed me or called me to give me moral support, especially to make sure this hasn't sent me into a tailspin and in search of my Preciouses--which it hasn't, cross my heart. I'm feeling the normal amount of anxiety and blooness for this situation, methinks. If you discount the fact that I've painted my room black, gone all Goth, and pierced various parts of my body. That's normal, isn't it?

My resume is flying everywhere. If you listen quietly, you can probably hear a copy whooshing by. Ideally, the next sound would be a job whooshing in the other direction.

Posted by Ryan at 04:18 PM | Comments (2)

October 28, 2010

Well.

Um, yeah, lost my job on Friday. The cats certainly like this new arrangement, but I'm not so keen on it.

So, putting out the word: I have skills in Web content development and editing; technical writing and editing; technical training; 25+ years in management. I spent 10 years in a large law firm as manager of technical training and the Help Desk so I'm pretty savvy in legal environment IT. Would happily consider transcription and word processing.

Ta-dah!

Posted by Ryan at 04:27 PM | Comments (23)

October 25, 2010

Kitty ESP

The cats usually get their bedtime snacks around 10 p.m.

At 10 p.m., Joon was sound asleep.

By 10:02 p.m., the skin on my face was slowing being seared away by unwavering laser beams:

lasereyes2.JPG

Posted by Ryan at 10:45 PM | Comments (4)

October 20, 2010

It's a Small World, After All

snail.bmpThe snail has so far stayed down in the vivarium, although it’s possible I knocked him senseless with the enthusiastic flicking, which explains why I haven’t seen him since. Regardless, since it’s how I roll, he has been given a name: Mo. Short for Molasses, Slow As.

And despite my best Biosphere-2-inspired intentions, the vivarium has already had to be opened. Besides Mo, I discovered the vivarium contained little flying things, midges, maybe, and the thought of something that could fly being trapped in such a small space felt wrong so I released them. (But, being a fallible Creator, not before killing one. Out of general scientific curiosity, and because flicking seems to be the order of the day, I tried to flick some water drops off the plastic wrap and, instead, managed to suck a midge up into one of the drops. Perhaps I will need to add a little cemetery to my vivarium, like the one in Virtual Villagers, as I rapidly flick everything to death.)

The mention of water drops should tell you that the H2O-cycle part of the vivarium seems to be working, which is totally rad. But then I (more correctly, my brain; the rest of me just got dragged along reluctantly) started to cogitate on the CO2/O2 cycle. Like any adult who set even one toe in a high-school science class, I know that plants absorb carbon dioxide and generate oxygen but, then, I wondered, in a closed environment, where did the plants get more carbon dioxide? The answer:

At night, plants use oxygen and release carbon dioxide. During daylight hours, plants use that carbon dioxide for photosynthesis, releasing, in turn, oxygen and water vapor. The photosynthetic process supplies energy for growth, and the oxygen is used again by the plants at night.

(From here.)

That, and I’ve learned that, since they were originally invented by Dr. Nathaniel Bagshaw Ward, terraria/vivaria used to be called Wardian cases.

Despite being irritatingly educational, this has been a lot of fun, more than I expected. The vivarium is currently sitting in my office at work and I find I take frequent vivarium breaks (like a coffee break, only a lot less caffeine). It's great to pull yourself away from hours of staring at HTML and CSS code, crouch down, look through the glass, and lose yourself in the miniature greenery.

As I wait for my frickin', frackin' biceps to start to cooperate, next on my list is a miniature terrarium made in a jam jar. I have a folksy little jar already picked out but, alas, I have to eat the jam first. Is there no end to the sacrifices I'm willing to make in the name of art?

Also, inspired by using my father’s shells, I want to create what I’m calling a memorarium™ in honor of my father, mother and brother. For my father: More of his shells. For my mother: Some of her rocks from her rock collection. For my brother: I’m not sure yet but I think this evocative, abstract, joyful 5" figure he folded out of aluminum foil may have found a new home.

tinfoilman.JPG

OMG. Read the last sentence of this article.

Posted by Ryan at 11:18 PM | Comments (7)

October 17, 2010

Getting Creative

Remember the entry where I said knitting has had to go by the wayside for now because different bits and pieces of my arms had decided to stop cooperating? Alas, I now seem to have developed something called “bicep tendonitis” in both arms which, despite the name, seems to involve the biceps, true, but also the inner elbow and the forearms, and is apparently a stubborn sumbitch. So my life has become an unending round of doctor-prescribed icing of the various parts and wolfing down ibuprofen the way some people eat popcorn.

My theory is that this condition is caused by the death grip I keep on the handlebars of the treadmill, probably motivated by the time I managed to careen off sideways despite the backwards-only g-forces that were at work. Plus your holding on to the handlebars is how the fake-o EKG readout reads what your ticker is up to as you shuffle along.

Which’all proves my theory that exercise is bad for you. Bring on the La-Z-Boy!

The upshot is that the doctor has said I need to avoid doing anything which involves using my biceps which means I can do…let’s see…pretty much nothing. Most frustratingly, that puts the kibosh on the fall yard cleanup which—and I know this sounds odd—I had been enjoying very much. So I turned to my list on 43 Things to see if I had posted anything that (a) was gardening-related, (b) didn’t involve using biceps, and (c) might distract me from my woes, and there it was: make a terrarium. Perfect.

The equipment: A $3 glass goblet-bowl-thingy from Goodwill; gravel; horticultural charcoal; dirt; plants; moss scraped up from the driveway.

terr1.JPG

Gravel layer:

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Charcoal layer:

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Dirt, plants, moss, rocks:

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But, before I sealed this little eco-system in permanently with plastic wrap, I had an idea which “made” the project. I replaced the rocks with some of my late father’s shells from his vast collection. Dang it; now this goofy little project has gone and made itself all emotionally important- and symbolic-like. Hate that.

terr6.JPG

Update: Come to find out I've inadvertently created a vivarium, not just a terrarium.

This evening when I moved the terrarium off the kitchen counter, I noticed something stuck to the plastic wrap. Assuming it was dirt, I flicked vigorously and sharply at the plastic to which it was adhered, but it didn't move. What the...? Upon closer inspection, I discovered why: It was what I can only assume was a baby snail. We are talking tiny, people, seeeee-riously tiny. Fully extended, his pale yellow, slimy little body measured no more than 1/8". I apologized to him profusely for the flicking but then realized that, of all the places for him to be, up on the plastic "roof" of the terrarium was the worst so I reluctantly resumed, even stepped up, the flicking until he finally plopped back down into his little world. (Okay, okay. I may have said, "Boi-oi-oi-ng, boi-oi-oi-ng, boi-oi-oi-ng" while I was flicking.)

If he continues to find his way back up to his Plastic Heaven, I shall release him into the wild but, according to vivarium/terrarium theory, at least, he should have everything he needs. I mean, it's no different from having indoor cats; now I just have an indoor snail. Yes? No? Maybe? Argh. Sometimes being The Great Creator can be a pain in the ass.

Posted by Ryan at 08:32 PM | Comments (10)

October 05, 2010

Intensity

A robin with a severe death wish decided to wander very close to the house, so close that it was straight down from the window next to the microwave where, as we all know by now, the cats spend the better part of their days. I always keep a (mildly white-trashy, jury-rigged) screen in the window when it's open so the cats could only stare, chitter-chitter-chitter...

ear1.JPG

...and origami-fold one ear against the screen out of eagerness, intensity and, I'm sure, frustration:

ear2.JPG

(Dunno what's going on with the weirdly round head. Really, she has a normal head. It's just a combination of her craning her neck, the fuzz of the fur, the black fur against the bright sun, and the angle of the photo. Still, it's a little bizarre.)

Posted by Ryan at 10:53 PM | Comments (4)