Updates On the Two Black Beasts

I have some time, so I figured I should write about the two black beasts I know so the post doesn’t grow into a monster.

Tansy went to the vet for her annual checkup a month or so ago, and they said she looked great. They did comment that she does have a tiny bit of grey under her eyes. Nobody else comments on it, so it must be pretty subtle. Yes, Shmans does age. This is a big difference from Trix, who looked noticeably grey when she was only 3. Tans is 6, almost 6 and a half. This is good.

You can tell that Tans is ever so slightly settling down. She’s still nuts, but she calms down faster and tires out easier. Even the vet noticed that she was a smidge calmer. I didn’t think that was possible.

I also noticed that she’s not quite fearless. If we’re out on the balcony and the wind picks up in a certain way, she becomes insistant that we get our butts inside. You know what? As much as we’re probably safe out there, she has a point.

But I think she’s having a bit of a midlife crisis, or going through a late rebellious phase right now. Like I said before, she sometimes forgets the rule that she should stay in bed until I get up. She only does this if Steve is on the couch. I try to remember to tie her down if it looks like he’s going to stay on the couch. I tried only doing it for a short time, but as soon as I didn’t tie her down, she still got up and exuberantly greeted him at 3 in the morning when he was trying to sleep.

And just this morning, even though she knows the kitchen is out of bounds, she trotted in there like she owned the place. When Steve busted her, boy did she run back to bed and stay there.

Our buddy J was down for a visit. It was nice having him around. It felt like he had always been here. It was nice to think back on old memories. But I think Tansy loved having him around even more than we did! I swear, she would have gone home with him without a second thought! It was something else to behold, especially since they met once before without Tansy showing him all this affection. But this time, all she wanted to do was snuggle up to him, play with him, act like a total wackjob around him. It was a little spooky, since he said he was thinking about getting a guide dog, and it was like Tansy had decided she was the salesdog for GDB, trying to make it as appealing as possible.

Shmans is definitely quirky. Someone who sits near me started bringing their dog in. The dog seems perfectly good, and the person keeps the dog on a leash. It is interested in Tans, but it’s a dog, of course it is. But it behaves itself. Tans, on the other hand, started acting weird. Without provocation, she would get up from her bed and run to me. I would say hello and send her back to bed, and she would go back there, but this would keep happening. Then one day, Tans was playing with a couple managers that work nearby, they came over to see us. She got really excited, sprinted over to the other dog, played with it for a minute, and then came back. Now that I think about it, after she did that, she hasn’t been running to me every so often. Was she asking permission to go say hi to the dog, and that’s all she wanted?

She did something else weird, and slightly disturbing, at work. The fire alarm went off one day. Instead of just coming to me so I could leash and harness her up, she ran to some colleagues across the way. Um, chief? This is one of those times when I need you in a hurry!

I know I talked about Tansy barking at the door when she wanted to come back in when we were at the raisers place. Apparently, she will do it anywhere when she wants to get back in. When we were visiting Brad a few weeks ago, we went inside while the dogs were playing outside since Brad’s yard is all fenced. All of a sudden, we hear this squeaky yelpy bark at the door. There’s Tans, wanting to be back inside. Very very interesting. At least she doesn’t scratch the door or do other obnoxious things.

On the subject of Trix, she’s still doing well, but you can see that she’s 12 and a half. When we were there, Brad commented that it’s nice to see a dog making full use of the yard, since Trix just sort of sticks close.

Also, I saw how little Trix likes to chew bones. Shmans made short work of a chew that had been laying on the floor that Trix hadn’t touched in a long while, and found a bone that had just been laying out in the yard. We were sitting outside, and suddenly I heard “chew chew gnaw gnaw” and said “Um, what has Shmans found?” It was just a bone that Trix had left alone. That would not have been possible previously.

Trix has been nicknamed the bearded lady, since she has a definite white beard.

I could be crazy, but it seems like Trix feels the heat even more than she used to. After we came in from a walk, and had been in for a while, Trix was still going “puffa puffa puffa.” She would even do it if we hadn’t been out. I know it was hot that weekend, but woe.

But Tans still managed to annoy the heck out of Trix on our walk because she wanted to sniff every square inch of space, and Trix wanted to go go go! Brad says Trix likes to do that, but does not approve if she’s not the one calling the shots. Well well well.

It’s weird to see the dogs get up in the morning and not make a heap of noise. They just got up, I fed Tans, and put her outside to do her thing. Trix just sort of paced around and waited for Tans to get back in. I think she might have gotten fed. Then she went outside. Then they both came back in, puffed and snorted at each other and that was that. That would not have happened a few years ago. There would have been much chasing, wrestling, lion growling and roofing.

So here’s a scary factoid for the long-time readers. This coming Saturday, Trix will have been with Brad for 5 years. I had Trix for about 5 and a half. Wow. I’m so happy Trix has had a long, happy retirement.

I think that’s about it for now. I wish I had pictures, but I’m lame and didn’t even think of taking some when we had both dogs together and might have been able to convince someone to take them. Hopefully I’ll have more beast updates sooner rather than later.

It’s All Fun And Games Until Someone Draws In Their Eye

When I heard about this woman and her eyeball tattoo gone wrong, all I could think of was this really old post.

I guess this woman is really into body modification, i.e. adding and subtracting things from her body just for fun. She’s even had her tongue surgically split. Yeesh! So she thought tattooing the sclera of her eyeball was the next big thing she should try.

The problem was she didn’t realize how risky it would be, and that not everybody should be allowed near her eyeball with a needle. Allow this sentence to run through your head for a moment.

It was deduced that the artist had made a series of mistakes, including over-injecting her eye, failing to dilute the ink with saline, using a needle that was too big and going too deep into the eye.

Those are some big mistakes that could prove rather costly. At best, she could have vision problems for the rest of her life. At worst, they might have to remove the eye because the ink could start an inexorable march toward her brain. Yeah, this sounds like a good idea!

*shiver*. There are people who need injections in their eyes for medical reasons. I cannot understand why someone would voluntarily go for them just to make their eyes look different or something. And, if you did, for the love of Pete, pick someone who knows what they’re doing!

Every time I write one of these, there’s a tiny voice that wonders if some day I’ll do something that warrants one of these posts to be written about me. I guess if it happens, I’ll deserve it. Until then, I’ll shiver at the thought of what people will do to their bodies just for looks. Eek.

I’ve Got A Trombone To Pick With You…

This story, although kind of sad, makes me laugh. It’s definitely odd.

It seems this fellow who just moved to a new apartment discovered that someone in his midst has a hate on for trombones.

Sam and a lady friend had been living in Dixon. But this summer she got a job offer in Peoria, so they found an apartment near Pioneer Parkway. In mid-July, they began moving in stages: they brought a small number of items (including the trombone) about a month ago, while a maintenance crew cleaned and painted their place. Then they returned with more items at the end of the month.
On that second trip, Sam glimpsed the bedroom closet. That’s where he’d placed his trombone, zipped inside its canvas case. But the case had been torn open — “They didn’t even bother to use the zipper,” Sam says — and the trombone left disheveled.

So he didn’t even manage to play it in his new apartment and tick off his neighbours before someone decided to wreck it? There’s a part of me that wonders if the damaging of the trombone was a bit of, ahem, preventative maintenance. You have to wonder, since it later says there was no signs of forced entry, and maintenance crews were in there when he dropped it off.

I used to play the trumpet, although if I picked it up now, it would probably sound like a wounded cow had gotten loose in the apartment building. I have to wonder, if I’d continued to play, if my poor trumpet would have been messed with.

It seems like the trombone does him some good, so I hope he can fix it. But maybe he should figure out how to sound-proof his apartment too.

This Boils My Potatoes

Gill has a question. I’m not going to answer it myself since complaining about shit is one of the reasons this place exists and anything that’s already happened has likely been covered, but the rest of you can feel free to have at it.

Do you have pet peeves, or things that make you just want to dump a glass of ice water on someone? Of course, everyone does. If you have a disability you might have some of these potato boilers as I call them.

In Someone Else’s Shoes

One day I was talking to a friend of mine, and he asked what my pet peeves were. I told him that I hate when people assume:

  1. That I know or want to hang out with their blind cousin.
  2. That I don’t wash frequently, and bring bed bugs.
  3. That because I’m blind it’s ok to say something like “wow! Your smart` in a tone that means “you don’t have brain damage? I thought all blind people did.”
  4. That I always have someone with me.
  5. That it’s ok to violate me with out asking. E.G. if I’m standing minding my own business at the street corner don’t just grab me!

He thought about it for a moment and before I get to his I must give background. My friend was born in Cambodia in 1979 during the reign of The Khmer Rouge. At three weeks old a bomb hit his home leaving him with severe burns to 70% of his body and traumatic brain injury. Here’s what he considered his potato boilers.

  1. When someone suggests that it’s a good idea for him to go kill himself to end his pain.
  2. That he’s Chinese, even though some relatives of his came from there hundreds of years ago, he self identifies as Cambodian.
  3. That his mom could give a good pedicure, come on people it’s 2017 let’s be civilized here!
  4. That one or both of his parents committed horrible sins and that’s why he is the way he is.
  5. That he can’t speak English very well.

My challenge for you is to tell me some of your potato boilers {pet peeves} let’s start a discussion.

Come On, Man! You Lied About Everything Else!

I don’t wanna be that guy, but fuck it, I’m gonna be that guy. Now where’d I put my tiny violin?

A Mexican man who spent almost two decades living in the United States was deported back to his home country late Tuesday, separating him from his US-born wife, who voted for President Donald Trump.
Roberto Beristain, 43, had been in custody since he was detained on Feb. 6 during a routine check-in with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers. After spending almost two months in detention centers across six states, the Indiana resident was suddenly taken alone to Juarez, Mexico, late Tuesday night, he said in a statement released by his attorneys, who had filed legal petitions requesting his release.

Under Obama-era directives, ICE had concentrated mainly on deporting criminals and those who posed a threat to public safety. However, following President Trump’s signing of an executive order in January on immigration, emboldened ICE agents have been detaining hundreds of undocumented immigrants, including those not charged with any crimes.
Helen Beristain told Indiana Public Media she voted for Trump, believing he would not deport “good people.”
“[Trump] did say the good people would not be deported, the good people would be checked,” she said.

Huh. So you can’t trust a mentally unstable bigot. How about that.

Don’t get me wrong, I feel pretty terrible for Roberto. Sure he technically broke the law, but in the process he seems to have made a better life for himself and his family, something everyone should strive to do no matter where they are or how they got there.

But Helen? She can get fucked. Trump didn’t exactly hide who he was on the campaign trail, and anyone who had been alive for more than ten minutes could see that an immigration system under his control wasn’t going to have the word restraint in its mission statement unless it was in the shackling section. If you voted for him based on that track record, you deserve to live in your own private hell when the bulbous sack of Cheeto dust decides he’s going to follow through on something and it bites you on the ass. It’s just too bad you had to take one of the “good people” there with you.

Keister Surprise

I know in the grand scheme of things Kinder Surprise eggs are pretty small, but you know what’s even smaller? Your exit hatch. So the fact that now current Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre resident Damian O’Reilly seems to have set an unofficial record by managing to fit eight of them into his is, in its own way, almost as impressive as it is stupid.

O’Reilly figured the quickest way to get arrested would be to throw a rock at a police cruiser in front of the courthouse and, sure enough, he got the job done in minutes flat. It helped that he was already on probation, so when he was arrested, he was held for bail and shipped off to the old Innes Road jail. 
And that’s where his plot unravelled.
It’s not known if the guard noticed O’Reilly was in some discomfort but whatever the reason, the guard had suspicions that O’Reilly might be smuggling drugs. The young inmate was escorted to dry cell No. 9. A dry cell has no plumbing and guards will either attempt to seize the contraband or wait for it to be expelled.
In this case, it was O’Reilly himself who, once alone in the dry cell, removed eight Kinder Surprise eggs from his rectum. A guard had to then collect the eggs and photograph them before securing them inside the Ottawa police drug safe at the jail.

In all, the eight eggs contained 59 grams of marijuana, a gram of MDMA, tobacco, rolling papers and matches.

Earlier reports that O’Reilly *was* the drug safe are erroneous.

by the way, if Drug Safe isn’t his nickname by the time I hit publish on this, there’s something wrong with this world.

Anyway, O’Reilly pleaded guilty to drug trafficking and was sentenced to sit in jail for a year and some change, although standing may be more comfortable for a while.

As for the possible record mentioned above, he doubled it. The previous mark was set by an unidentified man in 2010 who only managed four, the friggin amateur.

My Love For This Team Is A Burning Love. To The Second And Third Degree, To Be Specific


There’s nothing wrong with making a friendly wager on a sporting event. I’ve been known to bet a few bucks or a dinner here and there. And if fire didn’t scare the living shit out of me and if the things weren’t so god damned expensive, I could maaaaaaaaaaybe see myself making a loser burns the jersey bet like this couple made on last weekend’s Cowboys Packers game. I could also see myself perhaps getting a little buzzed up while watching said Cowboys Packers game because hey, why not? But what I absolutely, positively, 100% cannot see myself doing is lighting the poor sumbitch on fire and then putting it on.

A witness told Sebastian Daily, “He was set on fire after losing a bet on the Cowboys game … Skin was hanging off his arm and back.”
The man suffered third-degree burns on his right arm and right hand and second-degree burns to his back.
When the woman’s team won, her husband went outside to light his jersey on fire. He told deputies that he was drunk and tried to put the jersey on while it was burning.
Family members pulled the jersey off the man at the Vero Beach residence and rushed him to the Indian River Medical Center.

The Site Was Hacked, But You’re Probably Ok

Never have the words the system is down been more appropriate. Ug.

If you happened to stop around these parts yesterday, you’re probably wondering where the hell we went. The short answer is offline, because we got hacked. Twice.

The first one happened on Sunday. I learned of it while I was on a train and couldn’t do anything about it, which is an amazing feeling, let me tell you. Fortunately fixing it was a pretty simple matter once I got home, so simple that most of you likely didn’t even notice it. The site didn’t even have to go down for more than the time it took me to make some necessary edits.

But that, it turns out, was just a warm-up.

Monday morning I awoke to another email from DreamHost, the wonderful (I mean that sincerely) company that keeps us running alerting me to a second hack, complete with a list of potentially compromised files as long as your arm. Happy Thanksgiving to us. After a wee bit of panic and substantially more investigation, we discovered that somebody somewhere had designs on making us into a hub for all sorts of nasties. Malware, porn, a haphazardly knocked together fake version of Fox News…you name it. But between DreamHost’s security monitoring detecting and locking things down, me when I was around, Carin who was sick and really should have been resting and our buddy James who is far beyond awesome, we *think* everything is ok now. Time will tell, but so far so good.

Alright, Steve. We’re glad you’re back, but what does this mean for us?

Not much, more than likely. If you’re worried I’ll give you the standard advice about scanning the devices you come here with for viruses and spyware, but best we can tell none of you should have been harmed in any way. But since we’re not precisely sure how whoever this was backdoored their way in, what you may notice are some site features possibly coming and going from time to time. Right now you can’t get comments by email, for instance. Aside from that though, you should be able to carry on tolerating our existence/hatereading us as you always have.

If for some reason you do have any questions or concerns, leave a comment or drop Carin or I a line. I’ll be getting nervous every time my email goes off for a little while, but don’t let that stop you from sending one.

The Only Cranberry Sauce Recipe You Will Ever Need

From wherever we are, Carin and I would like to wish all of you a happy Thanksgiving. Seriously, we don’t know where we are right now. If all has gone according to plan we’re at home, resting off the weekend trip we took in order to play with babies and eat turkey with her family and preparing for the start of a day trip to play with babies and eat turkey with mine, who live much closer. If things haven’t gone according to plan, then well…I dunno. Your guess is as good as mine. Actually that’s a lie. My guess will be better because we’re there and you’re sitting here wondering what the hell I’m talking about.

But as you sit there wondering about that and awaiting whatever the holiday has in store for you, please enjoy our best wishes and this lovely cranberry sauce recipe courtesy of Rex Murphy, a Canadian institution if ever there was one.

Talk to you all soon…probably.

Take WebAIM’s 2017 Screen Reader User Survey

If you use screen reading software for any reason, you might want to take this survey and have your say about the directions that accessible technologies may head in the future. It’s 30 questions long and should take you 10 to 15 minutes to complete, it says here.

The following survey is a follow-up to previous WebAIM Screen Reader User Surveys conducted December 2008, September 2009, December 2010, May 2012, January 2014, and July 2015. This survey is primarily intended to collect new information and track updates/trends from previous surveys. By completing this survey you will help inform development choices for those creating accessible web content and web standards. All screen reader users, even those who use screen readers only for evaluation and testing, are invited to participate.
The survey will remain open through November 1, 2017. No personally identifying information is collected. When submitted, your browser version and operating system will be collected. Results will be reported as aggregated summaries and will be published late 2017. Your participation is purely voluntary and you can choose to stop at any time. This is a research study that is of minimal risk. It has been approved by Utah State University’s Institutional Review Board (#8809). There are 30 brief questions that will take approximately 10-15 minutes. The benefit in taking this survey is that your experiences and opinions could help the field better design for accessibility. The risk includes the time you will take away from your day.

The data collected here is widely read by and very valuable to many organizations, so that risk is certainly one worth taking.