Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Dogs Got Wednesdays?

SUMMARY: How do they know what night it is?

I don't get it. It's 7:30 Wednesday evening, when we have been leaving for agility class in recent months. BUT.

We haven't been to class in 2 weeks. (Anyway we're supposed to be going on Tuesdays but have been rained out.)

We went for a long walk to the park and some frisbee in the rain instead.

They got a full dinner instead of the usual quick snack before class.

I don't do ANYTHING DIFFERENT on Wednesdays than any other day, and in fact did stuff LESS like an agility class night tonight than I would on a normal class night. Why are they in here nudging me and pestering me and telling me it's time to get going? What do dogs know from Wednesdays?

Renter says it must be because he always brings home Chinese food (and always the same Chinese food) on Wednesdays and they always get the same little Chinese food treat (a single bite) from him. Is that really it?
Dogs are amazing. And I can see it's going to be a long evening. They've stopped nudging but are lying there staring at me.

NO CLASS TONIGHT, YOU HEAR ME? If you can identify WEDNESDAYS, you're certainly clever enought to READ MY LIPS: "NO class tonight!!"
Looking to my left:

Looking to my right:

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Friday, November 20, 2009

Friday Morning Thoughts

SUMMARY: Top Ten, bored dogs, nifty dog stuff in nondog catalog, agility class and schedule and training and weaves, dog noses.

Top Tens
  • Why does USDAA have Top Ten Tournament for Championship dogs but not for Performance? I notice this because maybe Tika would have had a chance to be there this year. Maybe.)
Bored dogs
  • I've been finding out what my dogs are like when we're not doing agility. Why? No class Oct 22 (Power Paws Camp preempted it). Class Oct 27. No class Nov 5 (Disneyland). No class Nov 12 (USDAA Nationals.) Class this week. No class next week (Thanksgiving). 
  • We did have agility competition Oct 31-Nov 1. And will have one day Nov 27, then two days Dec 12-13.  Feels like long times between when we're short on classes.
  • Doesn't help that  I've been trying to do an early 6:00 Thursday class; leaving home at 5:00 is still in my normal work day, plus traffic means it's a 45-50 minutes drive instead of 20-30, all of which means I have been getting in 15-30 minutes late, therefore missing class time. Am going to have to switch back to Wednesday 8:15 which means no more Sierra Club hikes until some other later class opens on another day.
  • Meanwhile pesky bored dogs. Walking a couple of miles a day isn't a good substitute for classes & competition, apparently.
Improvements Catalog supplies the well-heeled dog (so to speak)
  • Beautiful folding wooden gates if you don't want to use cheap-looking standard gates to keep your dogs out of certain rooms.
  • Back when I had a Siberian Husky--for 16 years--every year I meant to get around to making a light-up Santa and sleigh display pulled by huskies. Good intentions, not enough time to figure it out. Now I could just buy one! And it's gorgeous, too.
  • Or how about just a light-up doggie holding a gift?
  • Check out their pet listings; a "Paw Plunger" for cleaning dirty paws; an embossed "Potty Rock", beautiful wooden crates, plus several actual useful items.
  • Wish I had implemented click-through payments for this site so that if you went to these locations I'd get 10 cents for it! Ah, well, another opportunity missed. Get in line behind making a husky santa sleigh.
Don't you wish you had a nose like a dog?
  • Boost always knows when one of Tika's  treats has rolled under the closet door at some time earlier in the day.
  • When I sent Boost out to get the paper yesterday morning, she stepped outside and then went into ferocious danger action--hackles up, bouncing on stiff legs while making some serious barking, looking at my porch, my tree, my eaves, my fence--and Tika followed suit, barking up an angry storm.  I saw nothing. It was an hour before I could get Boost out the door without the same reaction. What did I miss?
Agility training
  • My yard is just not big enough for all types of agility practice, for dogs who can cover 18 feet in a single full-speed bounce jump, 60 feet is nothing--not enough space to GET to that kind of striding.
  • Both dogs have been making some nice, tough weave entries in the yard. And in class last night. And then--missing some in the yard. Gah. It never ends.

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Meanwhile Back at the Not-At-The-Nationals Ranch--

SUMMARY: Just sitting here-- well, OK, busy--

It is odd to not be at the Nationals when all the usual crowd is there. It is odd to not be there when Tika not only qualified in everything this year, but qualified in everything in BOTH Championship and Performance. Definitely one of her better years. It's just that random sore-can't-run thing that finally turned me off to making that very long, very tiring, very expensive trip.

Got email from a friend last night who's there, saying "We picked up Tika's ADCH-bronze plaque for you!" Whoaaaa! I had forgotten all about that. First time in a long time there's been anything there for me to pick up, and I wasn't there.

This year, of course (just last month), Tika completed her ADCH-Silver so the bronze was wayyyy back in my memory banks. And, of course as we expected, next year the nationals will not be on the west coast for me to pick up anything.

Caroline Winata posted on Facebook last night: "For those of you not at natl's; Ken just announced that the [USDAA Nationals] will be moving to either Louisville or Philly next year [2010]." There ya go, what can ya do? Anyway, takes the pressure off me to make the decision whether to go.

Thank goodness for facebook--semilive updates on what everyone I know is up to out there in Scottsdale.

Meanwhile--lots going on here, mostly not having to do with the dogs, and they are just insane; still haven't recovered from being mostly alone for 5 days. Doesn't help that we've had no class 3 of the last for weeks (Power Paws Camp, then class, then I was at Dland, now Nationals). Dogs are getting into the trash (never happens!), chewing things up (vacuum cleaner is busy!), barking at things (well, it happens, but this is over the top), hanging out under my desk leaning against my legs. BORED Tika. BOREDER Collie!

Trying to decide what agility to do and when to wrap up the year. I have three options--
* CPE trial in Turlock (2 hrs away) next (not this coming) weekend. I didn't send in my entry and missed the closing date. I have a feeling that they'd welcome more entries because all trials seem to be underattended these days. But I'm liking being at home and getting stuff done.
* CPE trial in Elk Grove (2 hrs away) Thanksgiving weekend, 3 days. I did 2 or 3 days of this for several years, winning the Turkey Trot with one or both of my dogs Friday night. Didn't go the year I had knee surgery, then the following year something else odd happened and I had to pull out, and now I'm out of the habit. But a friend thinks that her dog will C-ATE that Saturday (sort of like an ADCH-gold)--they're pretty reliable Qers in CPE so it's a good bet. Do I want to go all the way out there for one day? Maybe. (If it's still open--just a one-ring trial, I think.) Because--
* Next trial after that is USDAA mid-December. That's a long way for the poor insane agility dogs to wait for some actual agility stuff.


Meanwhile--back to photography.

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Bad Internet Connections Cause Sleepless Nights, or Spiders Got Ears!

SUMMARY: In which damaged technology and neglected cynology don't mix. Plus spiders. (Fair warning. At the end.)
This was supposed to be a very short post because I already wrote a paragraph in response to Team Small Dog's Internet fixing post. Somehow, as usual, it got away from me.

Storm remember

Remember we had a big storm last Tuesday? (How could you forget, I made, like 500 blog posts about it.) The Storm Of The Part of Half A Century Or So. Guess what happened to my internet connection. Yes. Flake city.

Imagine your crappy internet

Imagine sitting with your fingers on the keyboard, staring staring staring at the little "DSL" and "Internet" lights on the gateway, one of which is now red and the other blinking, and wait for that moment when both are green so that you can REALLY QUICKLY try to post something on Facebook, or maybe upload a photo to Taj MuttHall, or say download a 900-MB file that you need for work, or pick up your email, and DAGNABBIT the photo started to upload but then the Internet light turned red again and hte little "working" is now spinning spinning spinning.

Calling the AT&T

Wednesday when I called the AT&T about my internet connection waxing and waning, I discovered that I had an excessively generous quantity of static on the line, which can really hose a delicate data connection. It took me 40 minutes (really, I timed it) of looking things up on the web and dialling numbers and keying in my 9-digit phone number 5 different times and talking to various people and being on hold before I got someone who, when we connected, had a conversation with me like this:

* Person who knows what they're doing: How can I help you?
* Me: My internet connection has been flaky since the storm and...
* PWKWTD: ...and you have a lot of static on your line, which can really hose a delicate data connection.
* Me: Yes.

40 minutes. For a 14-second technical conversation.

After which he said maybe someone can come out next tuesday. I argued that I can't work in an environment where I can't even reliably get or send email. They argued that tough shit. Only he phrased it like, "we're very busy right now [duhhh (that's mycomment about the storm)] and Tuesday's the earliest anyone can come out."

Gone gone gone I've been gone so long.

So I kind of expected that eventually they would tell me WHEN on tuesday. But I can't work with no reliable internet (try downloading a gig of data with a connection that drops every minute or two), so I started commuting (gasp) to Mountain View every day. This means about 15 minutes every morning of packing up and getting ready to go, a 40-minute drive there, an 8-hour work day, and 40 minutes drive home again.

Plus Monday I had an emergency dental appointment, so take me out of the house for an additional 2 and a half hours, and yesterday I had an emergency chiropractic appoinment, so take me out of the house for an additional hour and a half. Make that gone 12 hours Monday, 11 hours yesterday.

Imagine your dogs

Imagine you have two active driven agility dogs who are used to you being home all day and taking occasional breaks to throw the toy and maybe walk for a mile or two and even do some weave pole proofing.

Now imagine that all you've done for 2 days is throw the ball for 5 minutes.

Now imagine trying to sleep at night while the dogs are restless, stand up, lie down, move around, chew on the foot, scratch behind the ear, sniff at your face to see if you're awake, get off the bed, get on the bed, get off the bed, go into the crate, rearrange the bedding in the crate, get back on the bed. In various combinations all night.

Appointment? Not really.

So anyway, yesterday morning I called the AT&T to find out when they'd be here, and they (AT&T being plural) said that I had signed up for a 12-hour window. I said that I certainly wouldn't have signed up for a 12-hour window if someone had asked me about it, and I can't sit here for 12 hours with no internet, so do I have to actually be here when they show up?

The said it would be nice if someone would be here but most of the time they can fix it outside the house and they guaranteed to have it resolved by 8:00 that night but if it isn't resolved ("guaranteed"? huh.) then I can call back and sign up for a one-hour window at some other time.

So I commuted to Mtn View again. When I got home well after 8:00 at night, I appeared to have a new, steady relationship with my internet, and an urgent phone message from the repair guy on my home line, and an urgent message from the repair guy on my office line, and the repair guy's business card stuck in my door telling me urgently to call him ASAP underlined. I guess I should call him to tell him that apparently he fixed it outside the house and I appreciate that.

Imagine gouging your eyes out

And all I had to do was to tear my hair out for almost a week and gouge out my eyes with the dull end of my mouse while trying to download huge files or even post to facebook. But at least I didn't have to open up any walls or any junction boxes and stare numbly at all the wires and try to remember what I did the last time I played with phone wires back in the summer of I think 1826 or so.

Happy endings

I felt so good about having a working internet that I took the dogs for a nice mile and a half walk around the neighborhood in the dark until Boost got to where she wasn't playing tug of war and flying back and forth hanging onto the end of the leash full tilt and had calmed to where she was merely trotting eagerly.

They slept better last night than before, but still. Not perfect.

Spider warning for arachnophobes. But this one won't bite, guaranteed. If it does, I'll call you back Tuesday.

Today, work at home, do some more weave pole proofing. And finally get around to taking photos of the cool Basic California Garden Spider whose lovely web is on my back porch and greets me in the morning when I let the dogs out. For those scientifically minded folks who want to know how big the spider is, I quickly grabbed a ruler and measured his body, and so you know: It is about 2 picas long. Oops. Guess I picked up the wrong ruler. So for you non-type-layout sorts of people, there are 6 picas to an inch, 2.4 cm to an inch--the rest is left as an exercise for the reader.

It was tough taking the photo at times because while I was standing on the bench trying to do macro photography, Tika stood on the porch near me and every time some molecule somewhere popped an electron, Tika would let out with a huge BARK! and the spider would jerk into an erect spider posture with his legs sticking out in the air and the web would vibrate (and so would my head). So apparently spiders can hear BARK!

And here he is (yay, can haz uploaded photos!):

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