Milk Is Amazingly Gross When You Can’t See What It’s Doing

Steve’s naked singing milk-drinking guy made me think of this milk commercial, and some thoughts I had about it.

I’m sure what’s happening there is there is a waterfall of milk and maybe a cow off to the side mooing. But that is not the image that the sound conjured up for me, who couldn’t see what was going on. Because I have a sick mind, it made me think of the noise that happens on the Incredible Dr. Pol when a calf is born and all this afterbirth slime slorshes out of the cow. Am I the only one? Please say I’m not.

Milk: It Does A Body Better Than Whatever Else He Put In There

Homeowner finds naked man singing in kitchen, drinking milk

Authorities say a Pennsylvania homeowner who heard someone singing inside his home found a naked man drinking milk in his kitchen.
Erie police say the homeowner heard the singing around 3 a.m. Monday. He grabbed his pistol, went to investigate and soon found the man sitting on the kitchen floor.
The homeowner called police and the man was taken into custody.

Neither his name, how he got inside nor what song he was singing were reported. No charges had been filed at the time this story was written.

Another Large Entry in the Shmans Chronicles

It’s time for another Shmans update, complete with new songs she likes sprinkled throughout. I’ve accumulated a surprising amount of stuff even though we haven’t been exactly leading an exciting life.

She is definitely enjoying all this chill time. Now that we’re not going out nearly as much as we used to, she is enjoying more vigorous games of tug and fetch, even growling at a toy or two. But I have noticed that it’s an either-or situation. Either she can work or she can play. If she does one, she is done and probably won’t do the other. When we were working every day, she would hardly ever play. Now, she has more frisky in her, but it doesn’t last super long, and if we do work, there isn’t a lot of play after. She used to be the Energizer Doggy and could never get enough of either! How the times have changed. Occasionally, if things have been super slow, she will get super excited about any sort of work, but most times, she is fine with this routine of going out to do business, walking around a bit and coming back.

Also, even though her play is vigorous, it’s in shorter bursts. She will run back and forth after a toy and chew the hell out of it, but she only needs a few rounds to be content. It’s funny. The first round is super fast, and usually the second, but then the pace starts slowing down more and more, and sometimes she stops for a drink in the middle.

Sometimes, she does what we call the Bradbury fetch. Long story time. At the beginning of the pandemic, Shannon Bradbury, the local weather reporter was doing her segments from home I think. Wherever it was, it was somewhere remote. Once she got talking, the connection was strong, but there was always a delay between what they said in the studio and when she spoke. So in the case of Shmans, sometimes we would throw a toy, and for a few seconds nothing would happen, and then she would run after it as if she just noticed it got thrown.

But the poor thing still manages to scare little kids. The Seppa-Tebby-Tebby nephew very clearly told her that he didn’t like it when she licked his face. While riding Steve like a “cat-pony” whatever that is, shmans bounced up and tried to lick them. Steve said that the doggy said hello by giving him a kiss, and then he made a noise like ‘Hupe.’ Seppa responded by saying “But I don’t like ‘hupe’!” Go the other way, Cat-Pony!” The poor little guy’s not afraid of much, but Shmans is one of the few scary things he knows.

When we do work, I’ve noticed something. She is definitely slowing down. In the old times, I would know when she really had to go pee because she would move super fast until we found a dog potty. Now, most of the times when I’m really enjoying her speed, I realize that she might have to pee. As soon as that’s taken care of, the pace drastically drops. So now the new super speedy is just the old nice pace and the new nice pace for her is slow.

Tansy’s retirement definitely is going to be the strangest. Probably, if the pandemic hadn’t happened, she would have been retired months ago. But because we haven’t had to do nearly as much stuff, she has been able to do more little bits of work. I still have no idea when I’ll be going to class, but first, the borders need to open, and second, we need to be in a phase of vaccination where I would be eligible to get it. Those things need to happen before I would even hope for a class date. Before that, it’s a non-starter. But after that, they need to find a dog that is a match, so just because borders are open and I’m vaccinated doesn’t mean a class date could be soon after that. So it’s going to be a while, and potentially, there could be a time before everything falls into place when Tansy says she doesn’t want to do any more work, or can’t work anymore for whatever reason.

And if by some miracle, life resumes before they’ve found a match for me, and Shmans still insists she’s up for the challenge, she won’t be going to all the places all the time. She is definitely semi-retired and I’ll be thinking about every outing and whether she’s up for it. I’m not so sure about all her decisions anymore, so if she’s going, I need to be able to compensate for her a little more than I used to. When she’s good, she’s great, but I never know when she might slip a little.

I can tell that I haven’t had to be as on top of her about every little thing as I used to, and the goofball is taking advantage. Usually when someone comes to our door, she knows to go into her crate. But one time, when I got a delivery of prescriptions, she goosed the delivery person! I was mortified. I apologized profusely and we stepped up the reinforcement of going to her crate when someone comes to the door. I still screw up every now and then, and every now and then the goofball takes a liking to someone. Oops.

I also notice that when we’re out for trips to dog potty land, she does things that are just…not that smart! It’s like she thinks she’s a plain old dog again. For one, if she sees a wheeled thing coming along, she feels the need to try and jump in front of it. These things are usually skateboards or scooters or carts, but still! That’s not the brightest idea you’ve ever had, Shmans!

But she hasn’t completely lost her self-control. We were coming down the hall one day, and a neighbour offered her a shween. She picked it up and dropped it. We walked past it again and a third time. But when we let her go get it, she ran to it like a shot! She knew what she was after and waited for permission.

I was thinking about how Shmans hadn’t had her annual round of Barf Bingo and was wondering if it was brought on by the stress of working. Then she proved me wrong. In a week where we hadn’t done any work and all she’d done was go out to do duty, she left us a puddle of yuck right in the bedroom doorway. Thankfully it was small, but still. Yuck! Shmans, you mystify me.

She had to have her annual physical in these weird times. That sucked. Everything was rushed, I was late getting there because she had decided to walk slowly and I didn’t budget for that, and I couldn’t go in with her. I knew I was in trouble when they came back out with her and I could tell that they were carrying meds!

I had a feeling that she had a skin infection because I’d noticed some weird swelling around some of her nipples and some scabs too. But they surprised me and said she had a doozer of an ear infection involving two kinds of bacteria and yeast. She couldn’t have had it for long because I never noticed her shaking her head or anything. My best theory is she got the ear infection from her last bath a few days before. I was still getting used to how that soap feels when it’s rinsed out, so maybe I spent a little too long trying to rinse out her ear flaps. Whatever it was, she had ear drops and antibiotics. She loved the antibiotics, but she was not a fan of he ear drops. But we got it all cleared up.

You’d think, with all Shmans’s lumps, I would be able to know what is and isn’t a lipoma. Apparently not. At her physical, I pointed out a lump in her armpit that felt like some swelling or irritation to me, even though she didn’t complain too much when I pushed it. Nope, it was just a lipoma. They keep telling me that I don’t have to bring her in for every new lump. But how can I not when I can’t tell a good one from a bad one? Now, at least, I accumulate a few before I bring her in…unless they do something weird like grow or ooze or something else gross.

Weather never used to phase her. But now, as she gets older, she is hard to settle when there’s an especially big storm. She doesn’t shake and puff like Trix did, but you can tell she is not happy. She paces back and forth, stands near the windows and stays near one of us at all times. I wonder what changed her mind about weather.

Sometimes, it seems like she has a senior moment. She’ll be walking around, doing her thing, and suddenly she’ll stop dead in her tracks and just stay there. It’s like she forgets where she’s going or something. Sometimes we don’t know she’s stopped midway through wherever she’s going and slam into her because she’s just standing in some random place. One night, we went to bed and then we heard her whining out in the living room. But she wasn’t trapped by anything and could come to bed if she wanted to. When one of us got up to check, she excitedly pranced around and followed us to bed. I hope that’s not a sign of some kind of doggy dementia. But otherwise, she seems mostly ok.

Another thing she does lately is randomly chatter her teeth. I was worried because I have heard that teeth-chattering is a sign of some kind of pain. But she does it very rarely and I haven’t noticed any other signs of pain. Sometimes she does it if she’s excited and is trying to hold in her excitement. She will start shaking like she always does while trying to fight the urge to greet someone, but now it sometimes comes with an audible chatter. At other times I wonder if she’s cold, like the time she did it when we were outside visiting people back in September, or when she did it the other day after a bath when I hadn’t fully dried her ears off and they were a bit wet. But those are the only patterns I’ve noticed. I hope I’m not missing something.

Tansy isn’t the only pooch getting older. The place where we’ve been going for food for almost 7 years has a store dog, and I found out that she’s pushing 11 years old. She’s such a fixture there. She always stands on the counter and loudly greets us with these teeny tiny bark things.

I also realized that Sandy, The teeny tiny Trixter-terrorizer, has turned 12 years old. Time really marches on.

And I think that’s about it for now. I hope you enjoyed the Shmans stories and musical interludes, bizarre as they are.

Stop, Listen, Think

Guelph woman loses $3,800 in bitcoin scam involving fake government official
Forget for a moment that the government or police or whoever is telling you to send them bitcoin in order to sort out a court case. Don’t ever send it, but for now that’s the least of our problems. What I’m more concerned about is the idea that this here official is aware that your SIN number has been compromised, yet he still wants *you* to send money or risk having *yourself* go to jail. Yes, you’ve just heard some disturbing news, but try to slow down and process what you’re hearing. That’s an obvious red flag that you’re being scammed, because that’s totally not how things work.

The woman received a call Tuesday morning at 10 a.m. The male caller informed the woman that her social insurance number had been compromised and had been used to rent a car. According to the unidentified male caller, the car had been stopped by police and was found to contain a large amount of cocaine. 
Police say the woman was told to send bitcoin or risk going to jail. She went to a store in Guelph and made the transaction.

I’m posting this not so much to make fun of anyone as I am to offer a reminder of just how preventable this sort of thing should be.

Nobody legitimate will ever call you out of the blue and then threaten you with arrest unless you send bitcoin or gift certificates to some strange address. The CRA doesn’t take payment in the form of iTunes promo codes funneled through India, for example.

And watch those details. If your identity has been stolen from you, why would you be the one that the real police would be coming after? You’re the victim here. Not to mention that if the rented car in this case has been stopped and has been found to contain a big pile of drugs, there’s about a 100% chance that it also contained at least one real criminal who was arrested. How else do you suppose they knew about your stolen social insurance number?

Bringing down these scam operations isn’t always easy, but stopping your own self from lining their pockets isn’t nearly so hard. Do your best to put the scare tactics out of your mind so that you can use it for logic. Importantly, if you’re ever in doubt about what you’re hearing, get off the phone and get in touch with the agency the scary government fellow is claiming to represent directly. Oh, and even if the number on your call display is the same one you find for the real office, you’re still very likely being taken for a ride. People can fake those.

Be careful out there. There are some real pricks in this world.

Slow And Steady Wins The Race, Or At Least Might Prevent You From Having To Run The Race Again

Admittedly I don’t know shit about shit when it comes to the safe and proper administration of vaccines, so maybe there’s a solid reason for all of this carrying on about how reserving doses so that people are able to get their second COVID shot is all of a sudden bad. But what I do understand are logic and common sense, and they tell me a few things:

  1. If it takes two shots a few weeks apart for the vaccine to work as intended, you should go out of your way to ensure that anyone who gets the first one gets their second one when they’re supposed to get it. Anything other than that would be a waste of valuable resources. Yes, vaccinating lots of people quickly is also good, but we don’t exactly have reams of data about how well only getting the one shot actually works and for how long.
  2. Relying on what you do have generally works better than relying on what somebody tells you you’re supposed to have, especially when dealing with a stressed and unproven supply chain during an emergency.
  3. Things going well is often preferable to things going fast.

This comes after Ontario announced on Monday that it’s changing its vaccination plans following a growing consensus against reserving doses and instead vaccinating as many people as possible. 
According to the province, clinical guidance recommended using half the available vaccine supplies while reserving a second dose in the event of supply chain disruptions during the initial rollouts in Toronto and Ottawa. 
But in a statement issued Monday, Alexandra Hilkene, spokesperson for Health Minister Christine Elliott, said the province is scrapping that plan, instead counting on confirmed shipments of the vaccine set to arrive in the coming weeks. 
“We’re going to keep our eye to make sure that the second dose for those individuals is on our … horizon,” Hillier said.
“We know that it’s coming and if it’s not, we’ll just slow down a little bit so we do have that second dose.”

Wherever I Go, I’ve Got Beams In My Ears

I read about the idea of Sound Beaming technology and I couldn’t decide what my predominant initial reaction was. I had two extreme reactions: one of thinking this was the most awesome thing ever and one of the shivers.

Imagine a world where you move around in your own personal sound bubble. You listen to your favorite tunes, play loud computer games, watch a movie or get navigation directions in your car — all without disturbing those around you.
That’s the possibility presented by “sound beaming,” a new futuristic audio technology from Noveto Systems, an Israeli company. On Friday it will debut a desktop device that beams sound directly to a listener without the need for headphones.

Whaaaat?

I like the idea of having a headphone-like experience without obscuring the real world sounds. That would be freaking cool, and perhaps even better for walking around and getting GPS directions than even bone-conducting headphones. Plus, it sounds like there wouldn’t be any of that sound leak everybody hates. In some instances, I like the idea of immersive sound. I always thought it was cool when I went to those movie theatres that had the really awesome 3D sound. These days when we can’t see our families, I’ve been saying it would be awesome if we could have true VR. Maybe this would be great.

But…but…I don’t know! This is spoken from the point of view of someone who has never tried this out, but how would I differentiate between the real world sounds and the beamed ones if there’s no physical thing that I can perceive the sounds are coming from? Would I start getting the real ones confused with the virtual ones? Would it mess with my head in terms of what is real and what isn’t? I think about the intensity of TeamTalk where everything seems to be everywhere and wonder if this would be even weirder. I also have visions of my many nightmares where no matter what I do, I can’t get away from a certain sound. I hope I wouldn’t feel that way with this.

The article says there are demos which include swans on a lake, bees buzzing and a babbling brook. If I’m going to try this out and it’s supposed to be super realistic, please don’t give me the sounds of bees buzzing. I might start screaming and running around the room.

But I guess in some circumstances, this could be pretty cool. It’s nice to see more attention being paid to sound instead of just the video.

But on the other hand, I don’t know if I like the idea of people walking around in their own personal sound bubbles so much. People are already in their own little worlds as it is. Do we need them to be even more cut off from the world? Yep, I’m still torn.

Help Earl And Kelly Harrison

I just saw this and wanted to link to it.

I used to listen to Earl Harrison review technology on ACB Radio’s Main Menu years ago. I also ran into him at a GDB convention once. I was on a mailing list with his wife some time ago.

Now I just read that he is having a hell of a go-round with COVID-19 and he needs our support. As cases of COVID go, he got a doozer, complete with needing kidney dialysis and being on a ventilator. He’s slowly headed in the right direction, but it’s going to be a long road. By the sounds of it, before COVID dropped in to say hello, he was a healthy, active guy.

I hope they get the money they need. They don’t need to be worrying about insurance coverage and financial things when he has such a fight ahead of him.

The Dumbest Smart Laundry System Ever

Ten years ago, I wrote this frustrating rundown of trying to refill my laundry card. That was 10 years ago! And the sad thing is very little has changed. We have made some improvements, but the system still has some pretty big flaws in it, and the flaws are brain-snappingly stupid.

Back in November, for reasons nobody can explain, the building replaced the payment boxes on all the laundry machines, making us get new laundry cards and transfer our balance over. They also didn’t feel the need to let us know this detail, so we had to discover it when we went to do laundry. What could possibly go wrong there? But I was excited because maybe now, after 10 years of more and more things having online payment options, maybe Coinomatic would get with the times. They kind of did, but in the stupidest way possible.

So, as that other post said, all our laundry cards have specific ID numbers, and I have since learned that they also have CVV numbers. So, they are uniquely identifiable. You can also set up an account with Washboard, har har, where you can add credit cards to your account with which you can top up your laundry card. Yea! But you still can’t see your balance so you know when to top it up. Boo! And this is the stupidest boo of all. If you go online and use your credit card which you have associated with your uniquely-identifiable laundry card, you still need to physically go down to the laundry room and put your laundry card in the money-topper-upper machine and press buttons to verify the transaction that you have made on your own account with the credit card which you associated with said laundry card. *grits teeth and screams* Whyyyyyyyyy?!

The worst part is when you add money online, the website leads you to believe that money has been successfully added. It doesn’t mention that you still have to verify the money at the machine. So in theory, I could then march downstairs thinking I had new money, and then try and fail to do laundry. Seriously! This is a known function of the system that I have to take the card to the payment booper and boop it. Tell me that little nugget of goodness. The only reason I knew it was a thing was because I was on the phone with the Coinomatic people and was informed of this little wrinkle.

Another thing is even if you do manage to find a page on how to add value to your card, the information is wrong! It claims that you have to go down to the card-topper-upper machine and enter the code you are given. That is not what happens. When you put your card into the machine, you are told that you have a code and would you like to add it now. All you have to do is hit ok. I should be pleasantly surprised by this development. I don’t have to do as much work. But if I didn’t have Aira, I would have tried to enter the code that I didn’t have to, and who knows what might have happened. Please, people, if you’re going to have an arcane system that we must use, at least have the decency to write good instructions.

Also in the list of stupid things that this system does, money that you add at the card-topper-upper machine doesn’t show up on your Washboard transaction history, you know the history that’s supposed to be tied to this uniquely-identifiable laundry card that I have, complete with a login ID and password.

Seriously, Coinomatic, you are soooo cloooose! Just connect the machine in the laundry room with the online stuff, and allow me to see a balance in both places, and you would be golden! Oh, and learn how to return phone calls. I’m still waiting for that call you were going to return from 10 years ago, and I’m waiting for a call you promised me a month ago.

Royalty-Free, I’ll Sing A Song, Rickety-Tickety-Tin

Back when I was at university, I discovered Tom Lehrer. I can’t remember if it was because of the song “Poisoning Pigeons in the Park” or the Dectalk version, but I decided I was going to learn everything I could about him. I went down a great big Tom Lehrer rabbit hole. I bought albums. I read lyrics. I listened to every song I could find. I was pretty certain I knew every Tom Lehrer song there was to know. And then along came Tom Lehrer Songs.com!

Yes, every song I ever knew is on there, but there are so many more. Steve and I were going down the list of songs and we were amazed at how many songs we didn’t recognize.

There is a bunch of downloadable sheet music up there for unrecorded songs. I wish there was a way to convert that sheet music to a midi file so I could know the tune that the lyrics were set to. I know it is possible, but I’m not sure how, and I think this sheet music is just in a PDF.

The weirdest part about this site is apparently it’s only going to be around until 2024. So if you’re a wacko like me and care about obscure stuff like this, go nuts.