Sunday, January 06, 2019

Golden Globe Nominees

SUMMARY: What I've seen, what I think

Summary: As usual, a fairly small number of films make up the full list of films with nominations.

(Notes Key: M= Was on my list to see; missed it.
? = Don't remember seeing anything about it
N = New, just recently saw previews, not in theaters yet )

NomsMovieSaw ItNotes

2A Private WarM
5A Star Is Born*
1At Eternity's GateSeeing later today
1Beautiful BoyM
3Black Panther*
2Bohemian Rhapsody*
2Boy Erased*
2Can You Ever Forgive Me?*
2Crazy Rich Asians*
1Eighth GradeM
5The Favourite*
2First ManM
5Green Book*
3If Beale Street Could Talk*
1Incredibles 2*
2Isle of Dogs*
4Mary Poppins Returns*
1Never Look Away ?
1The Old Man and the Gun*
1Ralph Breaks the Internet*
1Spiderman: Into the Spider-Verse*
1Stan & OllieN
1The Wife*

Best Movie: Drama
I think Star is the best of the lot (personal preference), but doubtful they'll give it to a remake. Probably won't do a superhero film.  Bohemian Rhapsody was interesting but shallow.  So--I'm guessing it'll go to BlackkK or Beale Street.
* Black Panther
* BlacKkKlansman
* Bohemian Rhapsody
* If Beale Street Could Talk
* A Star Is Born

Best Movie: Musical or Comedy
Green Book hands down IMHO. I just have a weird feeling that the voters will love The Favourite, though.
* Crazy Rich Asians
* The Favourite
* Green Book
* Mary Poppins Returns
* Vice

Best Performance in a Motion Picture – Drama

* Bradley Cooper – A Star Is Born as Jackson Maine
   Willem Dafoe – At Eternity's Gate as Vincent van Gogh
* Lucas Hedges – Boy Erased as Jared Eamons
* Rami Malek – Bohemian Rhapsody as Freddie Mercury
* John David Washington – BlacKkKlansman as Ron Stallworth


* Glenn Close – The Wife as Joan Castleman
* Lady Gaga – A Star Is Born as Ally Maine
   Nicole Kidman – Destroyer as Erin Bell
* Melissa McCarthy – Can You Ever Forgive Me? as Lee Israel
   Rosamund Pike – A Private War as Marie Colvin

Best Performance in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy

Bale and Mortensen: Both showing their amazing versatility as actors; hard to pick between them.  On the other hand, Redford has never won best actor in Golden Globe or Academy, soooo -- maybe? Not sure it's worth it, though.

* Christian Bale – Vice as Dick Cheney
* Lin-Manuel Miranda – Mary Poppins Returns as Jack
* Viggo Mortensen – Green Book as Frank "Tony Lip" Vallelonga
* Robert Redford – The Old Man & the Gun as Forrest Tucker
   John C. Reilly – Stan & Ollie as Oliver Hardy


* Emily Blunt – Mary Poppins Returns as Mary Poppins
* Olivia Colman – The Favourite as Queen Anne
   Elsie Fisher – Eighth Grade as Kayla Day
* Charlize Theron – Tully as Marlo Moreau
* Constance Wu – Crazy Rich Asians as Rachel Chu

Best Supporting Performance in a Motion Picture
Supporting Actor
* Mahershala Ali – Green Book as Don Shirley
   Timothée Chalamet – Beautiful Boy as Nic Sheff
* Adam Driver – BlacKkKlansman as Flip Zimmerman
* Richard E. Grant – Can You Ever Forgive Me? as Jack Hock
* Sam Rockwell – Vice as George W. Bush

Supporting Actress
* Amy Adams – Vice as Lynne Cheney
   Claire Foy – First Man as Janet Shearon Armstrong
* Regina King – If Beale Street Could Talk as Sharon Rivers
* Emma Stone – The Favourite as Abigail Hill
* Rachel Weisz – The Favourite as Sarah Churchill

Best Director
* Bradley Cooper – A Star Is Born
* Alfonso Cuarón – Roma
* Peter Farrelly – Green Book
* Spike Lee – BlacKkKlansman
* Adam McKay – Vice

Best Screenplay
Vice: Too silly and shallow. The Favourite: Didn't like the characters. Green book: Excellent but predictable. Going with Roma.
* Alfonso Cuarón – Roma
* Brian Hayes Currie, Peter Farrelly, and Nick Vallelonga – Green Book
* Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara – The Favourite
* Barry Jenkins – If Beale Street Could Talk
* Adam McKay – Vice

Best Original Score
I'm not into scores particularly; no vote.
   Marco Beltrami – A Quiet Place
* Alexandre Desplat – Isle of Dogs
* Ludwig Göransson – Black Panther
   Justin Hurwitz – First Man
* Marc Shaiman – Mary Poppins Returns

Best Original Song
Haven't seen Dumplin' or Girl.  Of the others, the only one I recall hearing is Shallow, so I have to vote for that.
* "All the Stars" (Kendrick Lamar, SZA, Sounwave, Al Shux) – Black Panther
   "Girl in the Movies" (Dolly Parton, Linda Perry) – Dumplin'
   "Requiem for a Private War" (Annie Lennox) – A Private War
* "Revelation" (Jónsi, Troye Sivan, Leland) – Boy Erased
* "Shallow" (Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando, Andrew Wyatt) – A Star Is Born

Best Animated Feature Film
Spider-Man should win. Fabulous. But I'll bet they won't give it to a superhero film. Haven't seen Mirai yet so have to leave it out for now; 2nd guess: Isle of Dogs
* Incredibles 2
* Isle of Dogs
* Ralph Breaks the Internet
* Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse:

Best Foreign Language Film
Have seen only one of these so can't comment
   Capernaum ( Lebanon)
   Girl ( Belgium)
   Never Look Away ( Germany)
* Roma ( Mexico)
   Shoplifters ( Japan)

Friday, January 04, 2019

Very Cute But Naughty Dogs

SUMMARY: Secret lives.

Does this look like a dog who would stand out in the yard and bark all day like he's bored?

Turns out, he so totally is!  I've been spending a lot of time at home, and guess what: He's outside doing the bored-dog bark all. the. time!

Does this look like a dog who would stand on you in the morning when you're trying to sleep in?

He does! And it's not so nice when the part he stands on is your sore hip.

Just, good thing they're amazingly cute beasts.

Tuesday, January 01, 2019

Happy New Dog Year

SUMMARY: From Taj MuttHall denizens.

Happy Nonalcoholic New Year

SUMMARY: My rambling thoughts on being someone who doesn't drink alcohol.

Seems like a good time of year to mention this--inspired by a Huffington Post article, "It’s OK That I Don’t Drink. It’s Not OK That You Ask Why."

For the most part, people don't harass me about not drinking alcohol. I and many of my friends and family, for various reasons, don't drink or drink very little and only on certain occasions. We've always had a pretty good time.

I learned quickly as an adult that most party hosts provided alcohol and most guests doing the BYOB thing brought alcohol, so if I wanted something other than water, I'd have to bring my own soft drinks--and discovered that there are apparently plenty of closet nonalcohol drinkers, because my 6-pack of soda would be sucked up (I'd see people drinking from the cans) (and so sometimes I took *2* six packs to be nice to those who were afraid to admit that they weren't the "cool" kids who didn't want to drink alcohol all evening). Always alcohol, everywhere.

At a friend's memorial--

I am on occasion baffled by the huge emphasis that our culture places on drinking alcohol; in fact, often glorifying being tipsy or drunk, which baffles me, as I don't see tipsy/drunk as something to glorify but rather a sign of excess (and most people are not pleasant to be around when they've had too much, in very many different ways). But, you know, mostly I don't say anything because people will do what they want to do, and mostly other people treat me the same way.

However, on two occasions that I still resent, people who were close to me thought that for some reason I was just being stubborn and annoying and prissy-face at claiming that I don't want to drink alcohol, and gave me drinks with alcohol while claiming that they were, e.g., "coke," apparently to try to prove to me that I really liked alcohol?!  First sip was obvious. I felt betrayed on both occasions.

More up my alley--

It's a weird world for me--for gift exchanges, or when people come to my house, I so often end up with bottles of wine that I will endeavor to send home with the donee or pass along to someone else. See, to ME, the world is essentially nonalcoholic. Never needed it, never wanted it, don't interact with it, don't hang out with people (usually) who overindulge, would never think of giving other people a drug as a gift.

I know that many other people enjoy it without overindulging, so it is what it is. But, yeah, when someone wants alcohol, I don't believe that I ever ask them why (unless I know there's an issue), so why do people ask me why I don't want it? I get that question far more than I ever am questioned as to why I turn down any other kind of food. And while, for me, it's a simple choice, it's a health issue for so many other people and I wonder how they feel about the implied or explicit pressure to partake of something that's not good (or even dangerous) for them?

(You know what's really weird now--all the research that shows that drinking some alcohol is actually good for most people. Ah, well, I'll just have to try to eat healthy in other ways.)

And, BTW, I am horrified when I see people giving their pets alcohol. Just. Don't. Do. It.


Dogs drink water. Even if others with feathers have been bathing in it first.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

1990s Technology Flashback

SUMMARY: Macintoshes and software and megabytes, oh my!

I'm sorting through old papers again and found this one saved email from 1990 that is a complete keeper-- so many things I had completely forgotten about! And how very much things have changed!

I bought my first mac -- a 512K -- in 1984, and when the drives stopped working and I couldn't get repairs or replacements, I bought my next mac and sent this plea to the company I worked for. I've just had a blast reading through it.

Ellen’s original email asking for info, December, 1990


I've just replaced my old 512K (Mac—Minus) with a IICX but I have a
problem: I bought most of my software 5 years ago and haven't upgraded
it or paid much attention to what's going on Out There since then. As a
result, I have a marvelous machine that none of my software runs on
and I need to (sigh) also spend $ on new software. I'm trying to narrow
down my initial search by asking friends for their recommendations
rather than having to go out and find demos and try everything.

1) Word processing software: The original MacWrite has more features than
I need for 98% of the writing I do--I do a lot of writing but it's mostly
fiction; all I need to do is type paragraphs in and print them out. Macwrite
II looks pretty fancy. . .and expensive. .. what are my other options & why
should I spend $ on which?

2) Desktop publishing: I print things in "newsletter" format 6-12 times a year,
which means I need some sort of page layout thing that also handles
text processing and can at least import graphics. I don't want to spend
more than a few dollars for something that I so seldom use (and in a
purely amateur sense), but about the least expensive thing that looks
reasonable is Publish It Easy (discounted around $110) . Anyone had any
experience with this (it's fairly new), or have other inexpensive
recommendations? I've always used MacDraw in the past, and other than
being pretty inflexible for text processing, it has otherwise met
my needs. (But I'm not sure my old version of Draw works, either.)

3) Database: I spent $50 for Reflex which Borland no longer supports, so
I've got thousands of records of things like household inventory and
savings accounts that I need a new database manager for. A lot of people
have been plugging FileMaker——I've worked 9 years in the Relational
Database Management System world, though, so a little complexity and
programing requirements don't bother me (like 4D or Helix)
as long as the thing is really flexible and cheap. Any suggestions?

4) Project Management: Anyone used MacProject lately? Or any other project
scheduling tools on the mac? Does anyone have a copy I could borrow to
try out?

5) I was forced to buy a system with only 1meg RAM; I’m pretty sure I need
more, but I don't yet have a good feel as to whether 2meg will be
sufficient for most things or whether I should go higher...


Date: Fri, ll Del: 90 15:33:13 PST
Date—Delivered: Fri, ll Dec 90 15:32:38 PST
From: pbk
To: elf
cc : macintosh_users : ;
Subject: Re: Assorted Mac questions
In—Reply-To: !our message of "Fri, ll Dec 90 15:21:58 PST"

To cover both aspects of 1) and 2), I have been using Word for many years,
upgrading to the latest version as they come. I may stop at version
4 since there is not much more thing I dream of that it does not
contain. If you used MacWrite, learning Word is easy. It also contains
fancy features like several columns, columns with strange shape because
you have planted figures in the middle of them, automatic TOC, Index,
a mode that allows "structure editing" (ie. working on the overall
structure of the program), spelling checker is OK (in English), not
so bad in French, It builds table, has a sort of sublanguage to write
nice looking math formulas, etc. ..

One interesting thing: This is probably one of the only program who never
blew in my face (you know the little sad looking guy or the little bomb)
and never destroyed or eaten up hours of typing.

Having owned a IICX I can tell you that pretty soon you’ll discover that
there is not much you can do with 1meq, especially if you want the comfort
of the multifinder, If you have a big screen, etc. ...


Date: Fri, 14 Dec 90 15:12:28 PST
Dute—De1ivered: Fri, ll Dec 90 15:38:56 PST
From: ndw
To: elf
Cc: macintosh users:;
subject: Re: Assorted Mac questions
In-Reply-To: Your message of "Fri, 14 Dec 90 15:21:58 231"‘

1. Macwrite II . .expensive. .other options. . .

If you really don't need much beyond whet is pretty much common to
all Mac word processors, I’m sure I have some bulletin board stuff
that will work fine (for free or ShareWare) . If you have a friend
who is a student at Stanford, you can get Textures (TeX) for about
$125. It solves 1 & 2 if you don't need WSYWIG. It's among the best
TeX implementations I've seen.

2. Desktop publishing. . .

You might want to see what fancy features are in the BBB stuff. I
haven't used any of the new cheap programs. I use FullWrite mainly,
Microsoft Word when I have to.

3 Database. . .

I haven't tried Oracle yet, but 4D is the biggest and bestest database
program besides that I've tried or heard of. If you don’t need all
the add on modules that other developers give away on the BBSes, the
high end scripting capabilities, DB fields that are sub databases,
graphical layouts that can be included in other graphical layouts, etc.,
FileMaker is probably your next best bet. (I haven't used Helix)

4. Project Management. . .

I haven't used MacProject in the last year or so. There are a couple of
PM tools on the BBSes, as I recall. Mostly low end, one or both may
have been DemoWare.

5. Ram…

At under $5 /MB, I would buy at least another 4MB. If you are a heavy
user and use Finder a lot, 8MB is nice.

Date: Fri, 14 Dec 90 15:46:00 PST
Date-Delivered: Fri, 14 Dec 90 15:ll:01 PST
Fran: vnv
To: elf
Cc: macintosh_users : ;
subject: Re: Assorted Mac questions
In-Reply-To: Your message of "Fri, ll Dec 90 15:21:58 PST

I don't know the answers to your questions; but you might find the
following useful if you don't get answers to them from anyone else:

*  Computerware at El Camino and California Ave in Palo Alto is
a great place to buy (good prices) and try out software. They
specialize in MacIntosh software and have a large selection,
knowledgeable staff, and you can try out any of it. ..

* Another great opportunity to see software is coming up in
January at the MacWorld Expo in SF. This is one of the
biggest Mac shows of the year. It runs Wed Jan 9 thru
Sun Jan 13, 1991. The price is a steep $25 to attend
the exhibits. Often times their are booths selling software
at a steep discount there. I plan to attend; if there is
some literature about a product you would like me to pick
up l will try to do so.

Good  Luck, Victor

Date: Fri, ll Dec 90 l5:lB:2l PS1‘
Dete—De1ivered.: Fri, ll Des 90 15:47:37 PST
From: jds
To: elf
Cc: macintosh_users : ;
subject: Re: Assorted Mac questions
In-Rep1y—To: Your message of "Fri, 14 Dec 90 15:33:13 PST

The only thing I can add to what’s already been stated is to avoid
WriteNow at all costs, even though various desktop publishing programs
recommend (or require) it -- it is unusually inflexible, and gives you
few of the options mentioned by PBK. You'll hate your Mac if you are
forced to use that program.

Date: Fri, 14 Dec 90 15:55:03 PST
Date-Delivered: Fri, ll Dec 90 15:52:01 PST
From: mdw
Tu: jds
Cc : ma¢:intosh__users : ;
Subject: Re: Assorted Mac questions
In—Reply—Tc: Your message of "Fri, ll Dec 90 15:18:24 PST”

WriteNow is supposed to be about the fastest for flat out mass changing
stuff. Nisus, which I occasionally use, is also pretty fast. Nisus also
has a lot of confusing features. It tries to be everything to everybody
and  so is a bit down on my list.

From: bobbach@mai1_pc
Subject: Assorted Mao questions
Date: Fri, 14 Dec 90 16:03:00 PST
Date—Delivered: Fri, ll Dec 90 16:04:54 PST

For Word Processing - I recommend using MS Word, mostly because
everyone else uses it, and it might be able to cover your low-end DTP
needs as well. I still use Macwrite 5.01 a lot myself - it should work
fine on your CX. Other good programs are Nisus, WriteNow, and MacWrite II.

For Database SW - I recommend FileMaker Pro (the new version of II and 4) .
It is a flat file manager, but unless you specifically need relational
capacities and features, Filemaker will serve your needs nicely. I also
used to use Reflex myself.

Definitely plan on getting more RAM. I recommend 4 megs  - and for about
$100 you can get Virtual, the virtual memory init that will give you 14
functional megs of RAM with almost no degradation of speed (w/4 megs;
some slowdown w/ 1 or 2 megs). You will probably need an 80 meg HD — 40
will work if you don't fill it up. It is definitely nice to be able to
comfortably use Multifinder.

— BobB

Date: Mon, 17 Dec 90 10:56:51 PST
Date—De1ivered.: Tue, 18 Dec 90 12:52:51 PST
From: egb
: T0: jla
macintnsh_users : ;
Subject: Re: Assorted Mac questions
In-Reply-E0: Your message of "Mon, 17 Dec 90 15:16:36 +0100"

re word processing, I'm a fan of word. I wrote my OOD book entirely on word,
and was able to produce camera ready copy from it (we did the illustrations
in adobe illustrator).

re databases, I  use omnis 5 for all my household files. it takes some
programming, but is pretty flexible.


Date: Mon, 17 Dec 90 13:29:56 +0100
Date-Delivered: Mon, 17 Dec 90 01:25:10 PST
Prom: jla
To: elf
Cc: jla
Subject: Re: Assorted Mac questions
In—Rnp1y—'!'02 Your message of "Fri, ll Dec 90 15:21:55 PST"

Hello Ellen,

I was a user of the Macintosh in my previous job, and I have at home a
Mac SE/30 bought in feb 90. Therefore I can answer some of your
questions. I did not understand for sure if this is for your job or if
you have to buy software on your own money.

I have used both Macwrite II and (Microsoft) Word 4.
Macwrite II is much better than the initial Macwrite, while having the
same user—friendliness. For most documents this is my favorite. It can
export and import files to/from other word processing software (with in
general some loss of formatting information however)

I have used also Word 4, when I needed an automatic summary, or to be
able to modify the formatting of many paragraphs at once. This is
necessary when the document contains more than a few pages. You should
be able to transfer files to Word PC format without any loss of information (I
never checked it on complex documents), and probably from Word PC to any
other PC word processing system, since Word is a de facto standard.

I don't think you need both Macwrite II and Word. I can send you a
disquette with these software, not to pirate them, but to try before buying

I have no personal experience. I think the standards are Paqemaker and
Xpress. In my previous job they chose Xpress for brochures, etc.

I have no personal experience, but this was chosen in my previous job.
If you have no compatibility requirement with PCs, 4D is the standard,
which allows you to build complex applications IF you write programs in
the internal language (not so complex if you have some experience in
programming) . There is also another product, made by the same editor as
4D, which is cheaper because it does not have all the 4D features
(though relying upon the same "engine") . I could find the name of this
product if you wish.

No experience .

You should have 4 Mb. The reason is the following : if you want to cut
and paste between 2 applications (say for instance word and Excel), you
must have in memory : Multifinder, Word, Excel, Word document, Excel
document. With multifinder and one application of the size of Word, 2 Mb
are not sufficient. I know Apple memories are not cheap, but you can
find elsewhere 1 Mb chip for around 100$. Check the access time (I think
70 ns is required for a IIcx, but not sure).

However you can start with 2 Mb, if you use the Finder and only one
application. But it depends on the number of fonts you have, of DAs,
etc. I personally could not work any more with the Finder, I am used to
the Multifinder.

Hope this will help you


Couple of follow-on notes:
  • Memory: My new current Macbook Pro has 16 GB of RAM.  That's 16,000 times more memory than the default 1 meg that came on that new machine!
  • "DAs" - desk accessories, sort of like plug-ins that helped you to do common little things. I think clocks and such were DAs at one point.
  • Finder vs MultiFinder: Used to be that you were either viewing a list of files on your computer (Finder) OR some application. One at a time. No windows!  Multifinder came out and allowed you to have more than one thing open at a time! 
  • Word processing software-- I can't believe how blase I was about anything other than plain text! My whole life revolves around text formatting!
  • Notice no mention by me or anyone about photo editing.
  • By "import graphics" I meant little clip art things, which is how most of us got graphics into a  lot of docs--I bought huge collections of thousands of wonderful little bitmapped images and avidly looked through them all to see what lovely creativity they could inspire.
  • Number of fonts--  used to spend hours perusing  what was available and installing and uninstalling them in carefully curated sets because memory could handle only a few at a time. Now--  I have no idea, might have hundreds or thousands of typefaces and their variants and I never do any management of them at all.
  • $110 seeming like a lot for a word processing tool?  hahahahaha!
  • $25 seeming steep for admission to a big trade show?   hahahahah!
  • coworker's comment "have been using Word for many years,upgrading to the latest version as they come. I may stop at version 4 since there is not much more thing I dream of that it does not contain. " -- hahahaha! "Everything has been invented that anyone could ever want for a personal computer, why expect anything more?"

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Previous Christmases with Dogs

SUMMARY: I haven't taken a photo yet for this year.  So here are some previous years revisited.

Some have appeared in this blog in prior years. Some haven't.







(never before published -- ! )


(Never before published. Apparently took no specific Xmas photos, but this was on Xmas and it has red flowers, sooooo....)


Again, no xmas-specific shots. Instead, we went hiking around Xmas, so this will have to do.


Also 2009


(Tika one is never before published)





Getting into the realm of "not a clue about doing digital photos... need to try to unarchive better versions...."


2001 - A rare three-dog Christmas (Jake, Tika, Remington)

... oops, this couldn't have been both 2001 and 2002. Naughty photo archivist! TBD.

1989 - Well, has both Sheba and Amber in the photo, sort of

Never before published

1983 - Sheba and Amber


Never before published

My fiancé gave me this dog for xmas (His name: Good Doggie Scheff   --  Scheff was fiancé's last name)


Monday, December 24, 2018

I Call This Post: There is No Solution To A Problem That Is So Simple And Obvious That Someone With A Little Bit of Knowledge Can't Overlook It

SUMMARY: Electrical repair

I went outside to plug in my one string of Christmas lights for my garage this year (out of the hundred or so strings that I own), and the plug on the right outside garage wall didn't work. (I tested the lights elsewhere, so I knew they were OK.) 

See, when I bought the house, I had an electrician add a dedicated circuit with outlets in handy places specifically to make it easy to display Christmas lights to my heart's deepest desire.  And now it wasn't working.  I knew that the first outlet before the circuit breaker panel is a GFCI* and that, sometimes, like if there's too much moisture or some other insult to its integrity, it'll switch itself off.

So I pushed its little Reset button, then its little Test button, then Reset again, and nothing happened. That could mean that the GFCI is broken, or it's possible that that could mean that the circuit breaker itself had flipped itself off (or was defective) so the GFCI had no power with which to reset itself. So I went to the circuit breaker panel, where I cleverly, years ago, clearly labeled which breaker belonged to the Christmas circuit. It didn't look tripped (lower right ones in the panel), but I flipped it off and on anyway. Made no difference.

I know how to replace a GFCI outlet, but don't know how to test whether the circuit breaker is bad. I could've just bought a replacement outlet and tried replacing it, but hip and knees hurt too much, so I appealed to Nextdoor for anyone who might be able to help with this, at the going rate.  A very nice neighbor came by with his gear, and he went through the same steps, but also pulled the cover off the GFCI and tested the wires in the wall, and sure enough, no power coming from the circuit breaker.

He asked whether there were other outlets on the circuit, and I said yes, and they don't work (because if there's no power to the first outlet...) and don't have GFCI outlets themselves, but we went around to the front of the house and tracked the conduit for the wire under the porch roof and he double-checked those outlets himself, and  noted where the conduit headed into the wall on the left side of the garage.

And he said, so, can we see where that comes through inside the garage? So, we went into the garage, and traced where the shiny unpainted conduit came through the wall, led across the ceiling, turned and headed towards the back wall where the circuit panel is located (bottom center left below the paper bags on the shelf).  At this point, we've been at it for probably 20 minutes, after my initial 10-15 on my own. And it's starting to rain.

So we walk back to examine where the conduit comes out from behind the shelf, and interestingly, it branches--one branch goes into the wall and down behind the circuit breaker panel to connect to the circuit breaker, as expected. But the other branch descends outside the wall.

 "Huh," he says, looking at the other descending branch, "What does THIS do?"

(Now, refer back to the 2nd photo in this post.)

So, anyway, now my Christmas light outlets work.

* Ground fault circuit interrupter--means if it gets wet, the switch on the outlet pops off so nobody gets shocked and nothing burns down.

Sunday, November 04, 2018

I Am A Member of a Persecuted Minority

SUMMARY: And it hurts, and has hurt as long as I can remember. Please stop it.

In today's climate of increasing racial disparagement in our country, I have something to say. Whether deliberate or unconscious, the biases that come from long exposure to the idea that, because some group is different from us, they are therefore inferior causes pain and harm.

I can't claim to be in one of the groups who suffers the most (although, as a woman, I've encountered my share of men who think I'm therefore inferior). But, still, I am in a minority in this country, and two words are used against me over and over and over . I have argued against it when people say it in my presence. People just laugh. I believe that the prevalence of this two-word phrase has likely cost me and millions of others the ability to be taken seriously in work, activities, and life.

Don't tell me it's just a joke. Words hurt. And I hate hate hate this. Why do people think I'm joking when I say this?

Only about 5% of Americans fall into my group.

There is a similarly classified 5% of Americans who are not stereotyped and denigrated in the same way.

Can you guess? Here I am throughout my life.

If that isn't enough info, here I am with family and friends. I'm wearing the brown jacket.

Yes, I'm blonde. I have never dyed or bleached my hair. It has darkened as I've aged, and now it depends on how much time I spend outside without a hat (not so much any more) and on how the light hits it. But, blonde.

Try a quick google search for these phrases:
  • "Dumb redhead" or "dumb ginger": Redheads make up about the same percentage of the population, but for them: 15,000. (They're stereotyped, too, but not for being dumb.)
  • "Dumb brunette": About 80,000 occurrences. 
  • "Dumb blonde": Over 3,000,000. That's 40 times more often than for brunettes. 
It hurts. I'm not dumb. None of the blondes I've ever known have been any dumber than anyone else, and I feel that sometimes we have to be smarter than everyone else simply to be accepted as "maybe not dumb".

It hurts. It angers me. It has a real effect on people's lives. Read this.

I wish that people understood that other people are also -- people.  The way they look has No. Damn. Relevance. To that fact.   Makes me sad. And angry. And very afraid at the turn this country has taken. Every little step in the right direction can help to take us out of this. And dismissing my feelings and experiences, or dismissing those of any other group, is not a step in the right direction.

Think. Listen. Speak up.

Thursday, October 04, 2018

40 years of agility: Two Crufts Videos

SUMMARY: The sport has changed so much.

Video of agility demo at Crufts, 1978.  Take note of the equipment, the speed and athleticism of the dogs (and handlers), how close the handlers are to their dogs, the complexity of the course, the difference in speed between the different dogs.

Video of agility final round at Crufts, 2017.  (the beginning includes a clear graphic video of the dog's path through the course.  After that, I like the run starting at 21:15 as an example)
Compare and contrast: the equipment, the speed and athleticism of the dogs (and handlers), how close the handlers are to their dogs, the complexity of the course, the difference in speed between the different dogs.

And some context for you:
  • 1978: Dog agility originated as a fun demo sport at Crufts (or possibly much earlier; see the Wikipedia article).
  • 1980: First official agility sport rules definition, by The Kennel Club; first official competition at Crufts that year.
  • 1983: First agility-specific organization founded (Agility Club in the UK).
  • 1984: First agility-specific organization started in the U.S.
  • 1987: First time small dogs could compete at the national level, at Olympia (until then, it was all large/tall dogs).
  • 1987: First agility competition in the U.S.
  • "In 1988, almost no one had heard of dog agility in the United States, while meanwhile in England it had become an extremely popular sport, drawing hundreds of spectators."
  • 1989: with TV exposure, agility started its boom in the U.S.
  • 1991: Power Paws Agility (where I've taken most of my training) was founded in San Jose, I believe the only training facility anywhere near the SF Bay Area at that time, so people came to weekly classes from as far as 2 hours away.
  • 1992: My agility club, The Bay Team, was founded. I believe at the time there was an dog breed club who held events in Fresno, but that's about it.  BT held their first competition in 1993.
  • 1995: I started agility training.
  • 1996: January, my first competition, with Remington.
  • 2014: late in the year, my last competition, with Boost. (Maybe will be able to do again someday. Who knows.)
  • 2018: I still follow agility and occasionally do some backyard training and take classes.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Tricks Dog Zorro

SUMMARY: AKC titles applied for.

Last winter, Zorro and I did Circus Dog classes. Not the intense, full-day classes that you can get in some places, and the tricks were fairly basic--a lot of overlap with what I taught Remington on my own, back in the day.  And Zorro already knew several of them before we got to the class.

He loved the class, loved doing things, the attention, and the treats. He picked things up quickly: In class, we'd work on each trick for about 10-15 minutes, and for almost everything, by the end of that time he'd be doing the trick with little assistance. (Some we really struggled with, though.)  Maybe not spectacularly--for example, he'd hold something on his nose/face for a few seconds, but not a lot longer than that until we practiced a lot more.  We practiced at home on most (those we had the gear for).

At the end of it all, we put together a routine that we performed in front of the rest of the class (required for graduation).  For someone who's spoken in front of sometimes huge crowds in my life, I was by far the more nervous participant of the two of us, and despite having crib notes, left out several things (and left a key component of one of our tricks at home).  (And OMG! What's with my jeans in that video?!)

Still, the instructor verified that Zorro could do at least the minimum number tricks for each of 4 of AKC's Trick Dog titles, so filled out and signed our title application forms for Novice, Intermediate, Advanced, and Performer.

I'm not always a super fan of AKC, and I waffled about this for a long time, but today I registered him with AKC for  his mutt-dog (er, sorry, "Canine Partners") registration number, scanned copies of all the forms, and put them with a check into an envelope to mail on Monday. Then it's just waiting!

Here's the cleaned-up routine that I'm sending in for the Performer title.