helen99: Hand in compost (Hand)
A ranger came out today to look at the damage. He spent all morning and a cup of coffee with us. By the end of the morning and after much interesting discussion about all kinds of subjects with [personal profile] rialian and his dad, he declared total loss of all three hives and estimated the reimbursement at $650.00. Apparently all the frames had been chewed to pieces (around 80 frames between the three hives). The bees in the top bar were added to the loss since they'd swarmed away. The other two hives had their entire brood destroyed, so they were totaled as well.

Whoa. Things always cost a lot more than I would have ever imagined.
helen99: A windswept tree against a starlit sky (Default)
From email sent to Ri by new Baltimore guy at permaculture night:

"i like your style a lot, you talk like i think. being with you is like being with my mind personified."

I'm not exactly sure what to make of that :D

In other news, taxes all day, brainfry. Still two more pieces of info before I can efile, so will have to wait until after the holiday to send
helen99: A windswept tree against a starlit sky (Default)

The corn snakes are probably hungry by now and need their water checked - I didn't do that last weekend. Weather permitting, I will need to spring for mice today. We will also need to get rats for the bigger huggy wuggies.

I can easily pick them up on my way back from my client this evening, or on my way there (and have a cooler in the car for the frozen things...that do not need launching...though a trebuchet might be a nifty concept...)(lol)

We'd have to oil the trebuchet with linseed oil if we wanted to strategically place it in the front yard. I wouldn't want it to warp. It shall be paced near the front fence, perhaps partially hidden by the large juniper. Thus, the frozen mice could be launched stealthily into the midst of any 'rumbles' that occur within launching distance. We could call the trebuchet "Duck". Eventually, 15 head of Duck could be created, but that may have to wait until we have more land!

"15 head of Duck," lol. (I'm easily amused)...
helen99: A windswept tree against a starlit sky (Default)
Idea spawned out of an early morning laughfest with [livejournal.com profile] rialian after finding our book on the uses of Kudzu: Carnivorous Invasive Species Permaculture Garden (complete with self-sustaining cycles), which would, among other crawling horrors, contain the product of splicing a giant venus flytrap with kudzu...
helen99: A windswept tree against a starlit sky (Default)
A few years back, I was at a holiday get-together at [livejournal.com profile] rialian's parents house. I think it was Easter. At any rate, it wasn't Christmas, because this year was my first Christmas with them. That day during dinner, I happened to notice an odd ornament situated on top of a large china closet across from me. The ornament looked like a horse. Never mind that the "horse" had antlers, and there were shiny christmas balls attatched to said antlers - I was not associating this ornament with Christmas, since it was months away, and I was actually thinking about something else when I saw it. That was when I absently remarked to the room at large, "That horse looks like its brain exploded."

Well, Rialian's mom doesn't forget such a grand opportunity for endless mockery. So when I opened up one of my Chirstmas gifts today, I was surely not surprised to see...what I saw.

Of course, it was Rialian and Stove Top who pointed out the fact that it appeared to be "anatomically correct" (we don't know if Rialian's mom noticed this or not, but we suspect maybe she did...)

The Drag Stags have nothing on him )
helen99: A windswept tree against a starlit sky (Default)
I realized after I got my laptop that it didn't have a PS-2 port -- only USB ports. Although I have plenty of USB to PS2 adapters all over the house, I don't have one single PS2 to USB adapter. Therefore, all my PS2 keyboards were unusable on the laptop. I needed a USB keyboard. There was one in the house (Rialian's) but the keys are a bit sticky, so I wanted a new one just like it.

I went to the most convenient place that has keyboards (Best Buy), to find a generic, 20-buck USB keyboard,. That was when I found out that Best Buy didn't carry any USB keyboards - only expensive cordless ones that were $50 and up. For one thing, I am not impressed with cordless keyboards - the one I did try kept losing its connection whenever anything (like a cat) got between it and the box. For another, I wasn't willing to spend over $50 on anything that might fall victim to a spilled drink. I left.

Later that same evening, I decided to clean out the attic. After the last camping trip, I had not really reorganized it, and I had been missing a VCR that I wanted to use to digitize some of my old VHS tapes. We had recently bought a piece of hardware for that purpose, only it wasn't compatible with Ubuntu. Now that I had the laptop, that wouldn't be an issue anymore. Hence the inspiration to find it. Wellp, I didn't find the VCR in the attic, but I did find ... a Logitech USB keyboard.

I don't know if it came from the same place as the Accordion. Probably not. That seems to be from a slightly different dimension than the Keyboard. It was also spawned from a different storage area. So we have one storage area that spawns musical instruments and another that spawns technology that is being phased out.

I can't complain, even though I never did find my VCR... The keyboard was an exact duplicate of Rialian's...
helen99: A windswept tree against a starlit sky (Default)
Our sink got clogged yesterday evening. Not sure with what exactly, but it was situated above the main line, and it was a pretty tough clog. I tried to get it unstuck with a plunger and a wire coat hanger. After a few minutes of this, the water started going down. "Hey, it's getting unclogged," I thought. Then I felt water splashing on my socks. Oops.

A rusty area had developed in the J-shaped pipe segment under the sink, and had just succumbed to teh pressure. Water poured out onto the floor by the sink (and my socks). Rialian detached the corroded pipe segment and attempted to dislodge the clog with a small plumbing snake I have, but the snake wasn't strong enough for it. We sadly mopped up the sludge, thinking that maybe it would cost a lot to fix...

Then, while I was at work today, [livejournal.com profile] rialian went to the hardware store to buy a new segment of pipe and sealant, as well as a better plumbing snake than the one I had (which hadn't been able to get past the clog last night). The end result was, he unstopped the sink and replaced the corroded pipe segment himself. I don't have to spend several hundred to get a plumber out here or miss more work.

Many thanks to my sweetie... You are the best.
helen99: A windswept tree against a starlit sky (Default)
Last weekend the cat peed on [livejournal.com profile] rialian's bed, so [livejournal.com profile] rialian had to run a load of wash consisting of his entire set of bedclothes (including pillow). Then we both forgot about it. I noticed it a couple of days later and ran it again. Again, neither of us remembered to put it in the drier. Then around Tuesday I found it still there, so I ran it again. There it sat for another 2 days. Then the cat peed on his second pillow, so it, too went into the wash, along with a towel that had fallen to the floor and had also been peed upon.

Thus, last night I ran the wash again. This time I remembered it should go into the drier. I opened the washing machine lid, and noticed something weird. It appeared that a billion feathers had innundated the wash. Uh oh. Sure enough, one of the pillows had burst and dispensed its contents, which were now inextricably woven through the towels and clothing. [livejournal.com profile] rialian commented that I had been invoking ducks by saying that I wanted to obtain ducks at some point, so this infusion of duck feathers was the result. I protested that I had specified ducks that go QUACK, but he was not convinced.

I located a containment unit and gathered as much of the erstwhile pillow and its contents into it as possible (I'm preparing to reassemble the pillow, but that hasn't happened yet). I shook out the clothes, swept the resulting avalanche into the bag, and cleaned out the drier as much as possible. Then I put the clothes on air fluff, opening the drier frequently to remove any additional feathers as they were dislodged by the motion. More feathers tumbled out until finally the number of feathers had diminished to a few stragglers. Then I left the clothes on air fluff so the remaining feathers wouldn't burn, removed the feathers from the bowls of catfood, dustmopped a few times to pick up more feathers, and left for work.

Needless to say, I did not call my office and tell them why I was late this morning...
helen99: A windswept tree against a starlit sky (Default)
Tonight is a meeting of the Montgomery County Beekeepers Association of Maryland. We can't give rides unless you meet us at the house by 6:45 (no time to collect anyone after work) but if anyone's interested, here's the information:

"Our meetings are on the second Wednesday of the month, 7:30 PM at the Brookside Nature Center, 1400 Glenallan Rd. Wheaton (right next to Brookside Gardens). In addition to socializing, we discuss the latest beekeeping and management appropriate to the season. We always welcome guests. Bring a friend." .

Here's the best part: [livejournal.com profile] rialian will be teaching a meadmaking workshop there tonight at 7:30 pm. Anyone can show up.

As an added attraction, they have an indoor observation beehive on the premises, which is most wonderful to watch - they've dotted the queen with a white spot so you can see where she is in the buzzing tummult. It's interesting to see different bees doing different things like building the wax compartments, feeding the babies, polishing the eggs, polishing the queen, dancing, laying eggs (queen only), and flying too and from the hive through an exit in the wall.
helen99: A windswept tree against a starlit sky (Default)
I'm reading "The Jesus Papers" by Baigent. Several new twists on the Jesus story and such. Fun to speculate.

The thing that had me chuckling this morning, however, is this:

Execution by crucifixion was reserved for political seditionists, not religious dissidents. Heretics were generally stoned to death. So ok, that's not very funny, but bear with me.

According to reports, Jesus was crucified along with two thieves. However, the older translations do not use a word that means "thieves". The word is "Listai" which means "Terrorist" or "Political Dissident" (Insurgent, if you will).

Baigent goes on to make a case that Jesus, who was of the bloodlines of both David (King) and Aaron (Priest), was thus qualified to become king of Judea, and was being promoted as such by the Zealots. The Zealots were revolutionaries who wanted to install legitimate priests and kings of the Aaron/David bloodlines in positions of power in Jerusalem. They also wished to violently depose the usurpers that were installed by Rome. The Zealots were definitely considered to be Listai. So it is looking more and more like Jesus was an Insurgent, a political dissident, a terrorist, otherwise known as a Listai.

It's only missing one little R, folks. One measly little R, and we have Listari.

That's really the only part that was funny, but I'm still chuckling in light of the fact that one of [livejournal.com profile] rialian's college friends once went temporarily delusional and thought Rialian was Jesus. She was under the influence of 3 weeks of sleep dep, caffiene, and nonstop studying for finals. They tried to hide the car keys, but she had a spare set. They found her some days later in a motel. By that time, she accused another guy of being Inuit Eskimo Satan (which I think is even cooler than accusing someone of being Jesus). She ended up marrying Eskimo Satan, and is much better now.

But seriously, kidding aside, this sounds a bit familiar - the part about the Zealots who were trying to kick Rome out of Jerusalem in order to purify their religious environment, and being considered, well, Listai. Ironically, the same person they were trying to promote as the one who would save them from the usurpers later became the religious weapon of choice that has been used by many of the power elite to subjugate the population.
helen99: A windswept tree against a starlit sky (Default)
To do

Mail package to Secundus
Meet with side job people and start side job
Pay bills
Buy birthday gift for someone whose birthday is 8/19 (located but not yet purchased).
helen99: A windswept tree against a starlit sky (Default)
The Silver Elves contacted [livejournal.com profile] rialian recently and told him they wanted to send him a gift. That was really sweet. I hadn't been following their stuff for about as long as I haven't been reading the lists, but [livejournal.com profile] rialian is still on their listserve. I hadn't realized it, but he'd been receiving their "Magical Elven Love Letters" to this day! He was happily surprised when they said they wanted to send him something - who knew that they would ever do that. They eventually sent three books: a collection of the Magical Elven Love Letters from 1979 through 2001; Elven Runes; Elven Book of Spirits. We had expected some stuffy theosophical BS, but in fact they aren't like that at all.

While he was reading one of the books, Rialian quoted a couple of lines that typify their tone:

"When we Elfin walk in the foodstores of man, we find aisles of bloody and cut up carcasses of animals wrapped in celophane. And men think that we are strange."

"Beware of people who are always sure of themselves... They're probably crazy".

"If you ask the fae what our favorite architectural buildings of man are, we most often answer, "Ancient Ruins".

"We Elfin do not believe that we are better than other people, we simply believe there are some folks who could do quite a bit more to their full potential."

I tend to agree. I'm glad they like us. Maybe some day we'll even meet them. Some day.
helen99: A windswept tree against a starlit sky (Default)
Last Friday we visited my mom and brother Jason, who bestowed his old defunct G4 Mac on [livejournal.com profile] rialian in hopes that he could get it running. [livejournal.com profile] rialian had been able to use some parts from his fried IBook to upgrade an IMac to do things it was never intended to do, so we had high hopes for the G4. No power was getting to the system, so we'd initially thought that it may be the CMOS battery. We bought a new battery (found the exact one at Radio Shack), but the computer still didn't work after it was installed, so it wasn't that. The other (relatively) cheap thing it could have been was the power supply, so that was the next thing we tried to find. Mac power supplies are apparently not meant to be replaced, because nobody had the one we were looking for. We even found a used G4 and looked inside - and the power supply had a different connector configuration. That G4 was selling for $350.00, so it would not have been worth it to buy that one for parts. The only other place that may have the power supply doesn't open until Tuesday. We shall see if they have one, if it works, and if it's under $50 (not worth it otherwise). We found one on eBay for $65, but that was too expensive plus there was no way of testing it.

We looked online and found out that a new one costs $200, so that was Right Out. We don't even know if the power supply is actually the problem - it could be the motherboard. But even if we were certain, $200 is still way too much for a @#$@$ power supply! Lower end PC power supplies are $30 brand new.

So far the Quest has not been successful. Tuesday maybe we can go to PC Retro Computer Warehouse and they might have one for a reasonable price.
helen99: A windswept tree against a starlit sky (Default)
Her (out of context, after changing a litterbox): "That litterbox had gone so far south that its poles had flipped."

Him (trying to drift off to sleep after a long day): "Nite NAIEEET! Thank you for giving me that visual just as I'm going into the Dreaming"...

Later that month:

Her: I put pennies on top of the litterbox in case it needed to cross the River Styx.

Him: I love you. I love you very much. But in case I haven't told you, you're a goofball.
helen99: A windswept tree against a starlit sky (Default)
Rialian is back home after having a wonderful time at some friends' wedding! Congratulations go to [livejournal.com profile] amberite, [livejournal.com profile] heron61, and their significant other. He finally got to meet [livejournal.com profile] metaphorge and [livejournal.com profile] xanadumalion, both of whom he has wanted to meet for a long time. He also got to meet the designer of the game Nobilis, an RPG based in a skillfully crafted world with superb artwork.

But while he was gone, a bunch of weird stuff happened.

The first thing that happened was that my mom landed in the hospital. She has been having intermittent partial blackouts that she thought were strokes. I didn't even know this until Saturday when she told me. Usually they pass in a few seconds, but this weekend my brother called and said she'd had a partial blackout that seemed somewhat worse than the others. She didn't lose consciousness, and was able to function normally during the entire episode, but had no recollection of what happened during the episode. He said she was having trouble getting re-oriented afterward, and it took about a half an hour for her to be able to think clearly again. We took her to the emergency room where they conducted a CAT, MRI, and other tests - all negative so far. No sign of a stroke, no sign of alzheimer's or any of that. No brain damage, no sign of neurological problems of any kind. They did a cardiac test this morning and we're waiting for the results of that. I'm thinking it could be blood sugar. I hope they find out what it is and that it's something treatable.

Also while he was out, I did a really dumb thing and let Matilda (my ball python) see my hand which was holding the feeding tongs (the tongs were holding her dinner). She got distracted away from the dinner and toward my hand (oops). Already in "feeding" mode, she calculated a precise trajectory through the chink between the lid and tank where the feeding tongs were entering the tank, and struck. Next thing I knew, she had grabbed my middle finger with her needle-sharp teeth and proceeded to wrap my hand and attempt to swallow my finger (my finger tip looks like vampire victim). Hopefully she decided I tasted awful. I used suction on the finger and dowsed it in alcohol and antibiotics. It wasn't at all infected by this morning, so I think it'll be fine. However, it's very bad to allow something like that to happen - snakes aren't the sharpest pencils in the pack, and once they associate something with "food" it's difficult to convince them otherwise.

The next thing that happened (much less serious) was that our Siamese cat went into heat and was waiting to yell at [livejournal.com profile] rialian when he got back. We unfortunately can never have her fixed, because we determined that she's very allergic to innoculations which are required for neutering. We're also afraid to risk anasthetic because we're not sure which other chemicals she might be deadly allergic to. She was done with the preliminary presenting and well into "shriek week" by the time he came home. I usually make a special effort to remind him that, well, you know, his cat? She's in heat. (In case he missed it). His usual response to that is "Thank you, thank you very much. That's really ... helpful."

Anyway, I'm glad he's back...
helen99: A windswept tree against a starlit sky (Default)
Rialian has arrived at Point B safely.

April 2010



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