stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
Well, summer's over, as far as the university's concerned. "Fall" Semester begins on Monday. I'll be teaching three courses: Introduction to Algebraic Structures (junior-level, basically the rudiments of group theory), Linear Algebra II (we finally get to the theoretical stuff), and Foundations for Euclidean and Non-Euclidean Geometry (which I teach pretty much every year - I think it's been given to someone else once in the last fifteen years). The first two, I haven't taught in quite a while, and the first one in particular is rough on students - it's notorious for resulting in bad-to-mediocre student evaluations. We'll see how it goes.

It was a bad summer for the canine contingent. First Gracie developed an ear infection, and I had to smear goop in her ear for a couple of weeks. Then Buster had an allergic reaction, probably flea-related, and started chewing on his right haunch and tail. Steroids and antibiotics seem to have resolved that one, so it was Gracie's turn again, with an eye infection that culminated in a crust over her entire right eye. The vet removed the crusting (G had to be sedated), and now I have to put ointment in both of Gracie's eyes twice a day. She doesn't like it, but has stopped fighting it. I just hope I'm getting it right. I'll be taking her in again Friday.

I had a lengthy to-do list, not much of which got done. I do have a new toilet in one bathroom and a new faucet for the sink in the other; I have a new bedside lamp, but the stand I bought to put it on came missing a few pieces, and the supplier is so far unresponsive; the fence has been repaired (that one wasn't on the to-do list!); and earlier this week I came up with a new technique for my polygons project, which will come in handy in the third and fourth papers in the sequence. Still need to write a new conclusion for the first paper and get it submitted.

The forecast for Monday in these parts is "partly cloudy". We're just outside the totality zone - 99.4%, I think - and the university has a bit of a gala set up for the afternoon, with eclipse glasses being provided and a couple of video screens. We'll see how it goes; my only class that day is at 6PM, so I'm free to join in the fun.

Life goes on, even amidst catastrophe.
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
So I'm sitting at the computer, websurfing, and the randomized playlist brings up Pat Benatar singing "Out-a-touch". The song comes to the finale, as Pat warbles "I need you ... I need you!" and Buster comes up and puts his forepaws on my leg.
stoutfellow: (Three)
When I got up this morning, it was raining, as expected. I checked Dark Sky, and it forecast "Heavy Rain" for the next several hours. To make my appointment, I would have to leave at 7:30, and at 7:30 it was, indeed, raining heavily. I called the groomer to cancel, leaving a message on their answering machine.

By 8:00, it had stopped raining, and Dark Sky now says we'll have a couple of hours of "Light Rain" starting at 9:00, followed by three hours without rain.


(In fairness, Buster and I would have gotten very wet on the trip over, but by the time the groomer picked up the message, my claim that "this weather is just impossible" must have seemed laughable.)
stoutfellow: (Three)
Yesterday, I took Gracie to the groomer. It was a nice sunny day - a bit on the hot side, but not too bad. She seems much happier now; her fur had gotten long enough to interfere with her vision, and she'd been rather skittish as a result.

Tomorrow morning, it's Buster's turn. The forecast is for rain. (Not "light rain", not "heavy rain", just "rain".) I don't have a stroller that Buster would fit in, and it's a bit less than a mile walk. I am going to arrive at the groomer with a very shaggy, very wet dog.... I think I've figured out how to get there with a large dry towel, but it won't be enough. I hope they'll be good-humored about it.
stoutfellow: My summer look (Summer)
After posting grades last Monday, I spent the rest of the week loafing. (Well, I had to reply to a few students asking why they got the grades they got....) No cooking - just frozen dinners, sandwiches, and cereal. No trips to campus - I did connect to my office computer a couple of times, mainly to look up the grade spreadsheets. It was too rainy, most of the week, to walk the dogs.

However, loaf time is over. I may not be teaching this summer, but I do have a lot of things to do. I have to get a new passport; as of midyear, TSA won't be accepting Illinois state IDs. I have to put the finishing touches on Taxonomy I and submit it, and begin writing TII and outlining TIII (and maybe TIV). There's lots of housework that needs doing. I'm recording my library on the latest version of my library DB (and there's been a story or two I should tell, in that connection). I'm contemplating revamping my finances database yet again. I should also prep for my fall classes; two of them are courses I haven't taught in a while.

There is a big pot of arroz con queso cooking away, for this week's dinners. I want to start using my new stock pot, and to try out some more Indian and Middle Eastern recipes. The dogs need grooming (this week!) and visits to the vet, preparatory to their badly-needed dental work.

I've drawn up a (still incomplete) To Do List. I've done that before. The trick now will be carrying it out.


Apr. 22nd, 2017 12:39 pm
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
The talk went reasonably well; in fact, it was a bit short (only 50 minutes). I don't think I could have added more details without adding too many more, so that's all right. Attendance was smallish - four or five faculty, eight to ten students - but that's what you get when you schedule something on a Friday afternoon. (Of course, any other time, most people would have other obligations....)

Today is Earth Day, but it looks more like Air-and-Water Day here. I was hoping to do some grocery shopping today, but between the chill and the threat of rain, I'm putting it off till tomorrow, which is supposed to be sunny and 15-20 degrees F warmer. Good thought for today's marchers, especially those in weather like this!

The rabbits who visit my back yard are increasingly bold. A couple of evenings ago, I let the dogs out for a romp. As I stood on the porch to watch, I could plainly see a large rabbit off in the northwest corner of the yard, but the wind was out of the east and the dogs couldn't smell it. I watched as Buster quartered the eastern half of the yard and then slowly moved west to the fence, where he turned north. He was just about due west of the rabbit when he picked up the scent. The rabbit, judging from its ears, had been tracking his progress, and as soon as he raised his head it shot for the north fence, escaping several seconds before Buster could get there.

I finished The Obelisk Gate a few days ago, and am eager to read the third-volume finale. I'm close to the end of Death's End, and may comment on the trilogy when I'm done. I'm also reading de Mandeville's Travels and Polybius's History, both of which should take me a while. (I started reading Sumner's Folkways, but found his cultural arrogance offputting and put it back in the pile.) As for dead-tree books, my current project is a re/read of the Ring of Fire books. I'm currently on 1635: The Papal Stakes, after which I'll have to order a couple of the 1635 volumes that I don't yet have. (I have most of the 1636 volumes, but somehow missed these two.)

Blah. Dreary, lethargic day. I'm looking forward to semester's end, two weeks from now.


Apr. 18th, 2017 04:48 pm
stoutfellow: Joker (Default)
It is somewhat hard to hold a bowl of spaghetti remnants so that two dogs can both lick it. (Plates are easier.) This is especially true when one of them (Gracie) is extremely pushy.
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
A few minutes ago, feeling in the mood for a snack despite the lack of snackables in the house, I took a fork and scooped out some peanut butter. As I ate it, I bumped my arm and dropped the fork.

Gracie was almost directly underneath, and there was still a little PB on the tines of the fork. Naturally, she grabbed it by the business end. Mind filled with the image of tines puncturing the roof of her mouth, I yelled at her to drop it.

Or tried to. My mouth, of course, was still full of peanut butter.

(She did drop the fork, and does not appear to be injured.)
stoutfellow: (Three)
In the dog world, humans are elves that routinely live to be 500+ years old.

"They live so long... but the good ones still bond with us for our entire lives."

"These immortals are so kind we must be good friends to them."

"Now I am old. The fur around my muzzle is grey and my joints ache when we walk together. Yet she remains unchanged, her hair still glossy, her skin still fresh, her step still sprightly. Time doesn't touch her and yet I love her still."

"For generations, he has guarded over my family. Since the days of my great-great-great-great-great-grandfather he has kept us safe. For so long we thought him immortal. But now I see differently, for just as my fur grows gray and my joints grow stiff, so too do his. He did not take in my children, but gave them away to his. I will be the last that he cares for. My only hope is that I am able to last until his final moments. The death of one of his kind is so rare. The ending of a life so long is such a tragedy. He has seen so much, he knows so much. I know he takes comfort in my presence. I only wish that I will be able to give him this comfort until the end."

-- from a Twitter conversation, which I saw on Jeph Jacques' feed.
stoutfellow: (Three)
I always enjoy watching Gracie manage the steps to the back porch. Between the length of her body and the height of the steps, she can't really descend them like a normal dog. Instead, she flips her hindquarters into the air and runs down the steps on her forelegs, fast enough that, by the time her hind legs come down, she's clear of the steps. Cracks me up every time.
stoutfellow: (Three)
Most commonly, the treats I give Buster and Gracie are Alpo Variety Snaps, Little Bites. They come in various flavors, and different containers have different combinations. The boxes contain (among others) peanut butter flavored snacks; the big bags do not. Gracie has no problem with the peanut butter treats, but they seem to make Buster throw up, so I make a point of only giving them to Gracie.

The current box is just about empty; I bought a bag today, since I had the big grocery box with me and wasn't buying milk (which usually takes up a good deal of room). Just now, wishing to give out treats, I checked the box. There were only two whole treats left, and numerous fragments. I took out the two whole treats - one PB, one, um, beef I think - and handed the PB to Gracie. She accepted happily and trotted off with it. I then offered the other to Buster. I was still holding the open box in my other hand. Buster sniffed at the offered treat, and then looked at the box. After a moment's consternation, I closed the box and put it back on the counter. When I offered the treat to Buster again, he accepted it.

Did he think I would offer him the remaining contents of the box? (Sometimes I do dump the fragments into their food dishes....)
stoutfellow: (Three)
I'm doing an archive trawl of Three Panel Soul, and I find it kind of charming. I like this strip quite a bit.
stoutfellow: (Three)
As of today, I have been officially Warned about letting my dogs get out. It was Gracie, not Buster, who got me in trouble.

A couple of hours ago, I was sitting sky-clad in my apartment, having just showered, when I heard shouting outside. Something about a dog? I glanced out the nearest window and, sure enough, Buster was loose. I grabbed my bathrobe, hurried to the front door - which was standing open - grabbed a leash and went outside. There was a woman trying unsuccessfully to corral Buster, but as soon as he saw me he ran to me. I thanked the woman and took Buster inside.

I couldn't find Gracie. I checked all of her hidey-holes, in the house and in the back yard; no trace. The bathrobe was too hot, so I pulled on some pants and went outside to search for her. I quartered the area to the point of blisters, then went back home. I dried off the sweat, put on shoes, socks, a new pair of underwear, and the pants and went out for another sweep. No luck. I resigned myself to waiting for a call from Animal Control or the shelter, and sat down to compose an LJ post on the subject. As I was doing so, a police van pulled up, and there was a knock on my door. Gracie was in the van.

The officer was very polite and efficient, getting my information and verifying that I'd never been cited for letting my dogs loose before. He let me off with a warning; next time, a $25 fine and a citation....

I know what happened. If the front door isn't locked, sometimes it doesn't latch, and it can blow open. When I brought the computer into the house yesterday, I forgot to lock the door, and - hours later - the dogs got their opportunity. I will be more careful about that, now that I have been Warned.



Aug. 26th, 2016 08:06 pm
stoutfellow: (Three)
Gracie is lying under my chair, barking (loudly!) in her sleep.

Dreaming of rabbits, I'll bet.


Jun. 10th, 2016 06:02 pm
stoutfellow: (Three)
Today, at long last, I took Buster to the groomer. (Usually I get it taken care of in late April/early May; I don't know what the hold-up has been this year, but a lot of stuff is behind schedule.) As hot as it's been, I made the appointment early - 8AM, when the groomer opens for the day. Even so, it was in the 70s F when we set out. I underestimated the time it would take to get there - Buster wasn't as eager to sniff everything as usual - and we arrived some twenty minutes ahead of time. Buster kept wandering into places with loose sticks and leaves, and I had to keep pulling them off. At one point, he hopped through a narrow fence, and it took some fancy-work to get him untangled....

About two hours later, they called to let me know the job was done. The temperature was already climbing towards 90F. Even without his winter pelt, Buster was ready to flop down a couple of blocks from home.

He always looks so tiny after the groomer's done with him.
stoutfellow: (Three)
Just now I let Buster and Gracie out into the back yard for a romp. (Despite the doggie doors, they still like being let out by Daddy.) It was light enough out that I could watch them. Suddenly Buster started growling and raced across the yard, hot on the heels of a rabbit.

It's not unusual for there to be a rabbit in the yard. There have been quite a few occasions lately on which I've seen a rabbit out there. (I phrase it thus awkwardly in order to make it clear that I have no idea whether it's been the same rabbit....) The fencing is widely spaced enough that they can get in and out easily, as this rabbit did. It squirted through the fence, went about a foot further, stopped, turned around, and looked at Buster. I'd almost swear it was taunting him. He growled again and rushed the fence, and the rabbit hopped away.

I do wonder what I'll do if he ever manages to catch one.


May. 18th, 2016 08:09 pm
stoutfellow: (Three)
1. Microsoft took the debate over whether to upgrade to Windows 10 out of my hands; yesterday morning, I got up and went to the computer, only to be greeted with a cheery "Welcome to Windows 10!" I'm quite sure I never clicked "Yes" on any of those annoying pop-ups, but the fait is accompli. It took me a while to settle in; in particular, getting the right settings for Skyrim was a bit of a pain. (For a while I thought I'd have to drop the project altogether.) At any rate, everything seems to be working satisfactorily (but see below), apart from the aforementioned inability to play DVDs. (I've downloaded what's supposed to be a free fix, but I haven't been able to get it to recognize DVDs yet.)

2. I went onto campus today to plug my computer back in. There was a pre-planned campus-wide power outage on Saturday, and so I unplugged it on Friday. While there, I started the revisions to my paper that I mentioned before. (I was unsatisfied with the section on second-order triangle classes, and came up with a way to improve it by adding a little more machinery. The obvious place for that machinery was at the beginning of the section on triangles; once I started writing it, I realized that some of the material on first-order classes belonged there, and then that I could make the section on first-order classes a little less ugly by using that machinery. I got most of that in today.) What remains to be seen is whether (now that W10 has been imposed) I can still access my office computer from home. I'll probably give that a try tomorrow.

3. Tomorrow is Gracie's turn at the vet. This is very late in the year; this winter and spring were... not hectic, exactly, but they didn't leave much time for anything out of my daily routine. Both of them need to go to the groomer. There's a dog park a mile or two away that I'd like to check out, but I'll need to get Buster a stroller - otherwise he'd be worn out by the time we got there. I've seen listings for strollers on-line; they're not cheap, but I can hack it.

4. Weather's been erratic here; Monday and part of Tuesday were rainy, today has been fair and tomorrow is supposed to be likewise, but the rain is due to return on Friday. Being able to work from home is going to be important this summer....
stoutfellow: (Three)
Much of today was given over to pouring rain, with a smattering of heavy thunder. After the light show moved on, Gracie decided she needed to go out in the back yard.

I opened the door to the back porch; I could see and hear the rain just sheeting down immediately outside the outer door. I looked at Gracie and said, "I'll open it, but you're not going to like it." I did so; she took half a step out and immediately backed away. I closed the door. She went up and scratched at it again. I opened it, and got a repeat performance. I closed the door. She scratched. One more time... It occurred to me then that perhaps I could shield her with an umbrella, long enough for her to do whatever she needed to do. I fetched the umbrella, pushed the door open, stuck the umbrella out so it covered the doorstep - and took a spray of rebounding rain right in the face.

I closed the door, told Gracie to forget it, and went to the bathroom to dry off.

Good Work

Apr. 27th, 2016 07:24 pm
stoutfellow: (Three)
Buster likes to take his favorite toys out into the back yard. He leaves them there. When I bring them back in, he gets all excited and plays with them, but the next time he goes out, they go with him.

The people who mow my lawn are careful to pick up his toys and put them on the back porch before they mow. I appreciate that. (They mowed yesterday, and I just brought Buster's squeaky-bone back inside.)
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
Courtesy of Jim Henley on File 770, a vignette about man's best friend. I'd say the cartoonist nailed it.


stoutfellow: Joker (Default)

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