And so, we come to the close of picture day here at the Whatever, and I hope you’ve enjoyed our little photographic excursion. I leave you in what I call The Strangest Room in The House:
The story here is that the previous owner of the house decided he needed a bathroom in the basement. Which is fine, but then I guess he got to thinking: Why stop there? So he built a whole, actual room instead of just a little bathroom. Then his oldest child, who was 14 or so if I can remember correctly, had one of those “I’m 14 Years Old And I Need My Privacy From Everyone and Everything” moments and apparently appropriated the room as her bedroom. One questions why one would want to have a bedroom that doesn’t have windows but does have a freestanding toilet. But I guess when you’re a 14 year old girl you make do with what you have.
I believe it was also the 14 year old who painted the room in a sort of multicolor spackle motif, which I have been too lazy to remove because, really, like I spend any amount of time in my basement. Right now the room is used primarily as a place to put my drum set, although I suppose if we every really wanted to imprison someone against their will, this would be the room to do it in. Aside from being coercively detained, it’s hard too see how they could argue. Heck, they’ve got a toilet and everything!
Every once in a while I note that I have a fairly big lawn. Here’s some perspective on that:
The lawn goes out to the telephone poles you see there in the distance. I’m at one end, and from where I’m standing it’s about 500 feet to the nearest of the poles. Bear in mind that this is only the front yard; there’s the back yard too (and a side yard). There’s also the matter that this isn’t the full front yard — there’s a fairly substantial strip of land to the left that you’re not seeing. It’s a big yard.
The reason you shouldn’t construe this as bragging is because all that lawn is a real pain in the ass to mow — it literally takes several days, unless you want to spend an entire day vibrating up and down on a tractor. Which is not a really great idea.
We got a lot of land because of some boneheaded idea I had that what I really needed was a chunk of earth, that whole “You’re not a man unless you have some land” thing that caused America’s European forebears to schlep over the ocean and mug the people who were already here. Now I have a bit of land and I wish I had someone else to mow it. Well, to be entirely honest, I do — Krissy does most of the mowing. But I bet she wishes she had someone to else to mow it.
Too late now. We’re here, we’ve got the yard, we gotta mow. With land comes responsibilities. Let that be a lesson for you.
See, now, this is a dog:
By which I mean that you can look Kodi and say to yourself, “I believe this is an animal descended from packs of killers that brought down bears and moose.” As opposed to, say, a Shih Tzu, at which you look and say to yourself “This is what happens when you put a mop and a stuffed animal in a room with a Barry White CD.” Any grown dog that can fit inside a purse inherently has no dignity. Kodi doesn’t have to worry about that.
Now, bear in mind that the picture above has gotten Kodi at a rather photogenic moment, all big and happy looking and appearing as if at any moment she were to rush off and save Timmy from falling down a well. However, it’s worth noting that most of the time, she’s looking like this:
What’s going on here is that that is the door from which Krissy left the house today. And Kodi really loves Krissy. So Kodi will lay by the door for almost all the day, moping that Krissy is gone and she’s left in the house with me, who is not particularly interesting to her. Eventually Krissy will come home and the dog will undergo spasms of joy which are frankly embarrassing to behold (I am also happy to see Krissy again, mind you, but I have some restraint).
I once told Krissy that the Best Day Ever for Kodi would be one in which she came back to the house every ten minutes. Krissy notes that Kodi would get just as excited about me when I came back to the house, but that would require actually leaving the house every now and again. There’s always a catch.
“Umm, where’s the fence? And the neighbor’s house that needs a paint job? How come I can’t see the car behind your neighbor’s garage with three flats and one wheel taken off? Why aren’t you showing us the crowded street with no parking spots available?”
Actually, Jon, in that first picture (the one with the cherry tree), there is a fence, but it’s not one that works very well, in the sense of keeping anything out. It’s mostly there to prop up raspberry vines and demarcate the edge of my property (or more accurately, the edge of my neighbor’s property, since he put it up, long before I got here). As for the neighbors’ car, it’s better than the piece of crap White Escort I’m still tooling around in (because it simply refuses to die). And as for the street, well, here’s the view looking east:
And the corresponding view looking west:
I suppose you could park on the street, but that would cause the two or three cars that go by every hour (and the occasional Amish buggy) to go into the other lane, and I don’t think that’s very nice, do you?
Athena, showing the world the “I’m Four Years Old and Mugging for the Camera” dance, which I suspect is taught to every four year old through the magic of educational television:
Bear in mind I have some shots here in which the “cute mugging for the camera” level reaches the level of lethality normally reserved for highly radioactive materials or Carpenters tunes. So be grateful I’m showing some restraint.
Here are the cats:
Rex of course has been featured here before (he has his own page on the site, in fact), but this marks the first appearance of Lopsided Cat, who you’ll see to the left. Lopsided Cat is so named because his head is always tilted at an angle. The cause for this is medical — apparently he had an ear infection for a very long time — but now the ear infection has been cleared up and his head still tilts, so we suspect at this point it’s just habit. We got Lopsided Cat because he walked into our yard and started loving up Athena, which is one thing Rex won’t do. We suspect he was a neighbor’s cat first, because among other things he’s missing a couple of things that don’t fall off on their own accord. But he was either abandoned or just likes it here better (or still lives with them part-time, which is possible because he’s primarily an outdoor cat, and who knows what he’s doing out there).
Long-time readers will look at Rex and be surprised at his relative litheness; there was a time when Rex topped 30 pounds, which made him substantially heavier than Athena for much of her life. However, about a year ago, Rex got a tooth infection and dropped quite a bit of weight and has now stabilized at about 10 pounds, which is normal cat weight anyway. Having the tooth infection was no good for Rex, but the end result will probably be that he’ll live longer than if he continued his tub ‘o’ lard ways. Aside from the weight, however, Rex remains the same anti-social, prone-to-random-vomiting feline he’s always been. It’s good to have some consistency, I suppose, although personally I wish it didn’t involve partially digested food.
More pictures coming later in the day. Stay tuned.
A quick deviation from the Picture Day theme:
Here’s the page on The Rough Guide to the Universe from Penguin UK. It’s already out there, so be sure to buy it if you happen to live there. Buy one for your neighbors, too. They’ll like you better then.
Nothing on the Penguin Group (USA) Web site, but here’s the page from the Rough Guides site, which include an ordering link for Amazon (both US and UK). So there you have it.
Since you were all such good sports about not screaming at the condition of my desk, here’s another pretty picture of a tree.
This one’s in the front lawn, and I believe it’s a crab apple tree — it eventually provides small hard fruits which I am told are inedible (I haven’t confirmed this for myself, nor am I likely to since I am an agricultural coward and will only eat plants I recognize and/or can buy in the store, the reasoning for the latter being that if the plant turns out to be poisonous, there’s someone to sue). Anyway, it’s still in the process of blooming and really quite lovely, I think. There are lots of bird that make their home in the tree, too. Which the cats enjoy.
Speaking of which, come back around noon, and I’ll display the kitties.
Allow me, if you will, to provide you a tour of my desk on this Picture Day.
My filing system, needless to say, is opaque to the novice. Be that as it may, there is method to the madness. Current work is at the top of the pile to the right, closest to the computer and where I sit (you can see the papers for the financial campaign I am working for there right now, underneath which is a book I’m using for research for one my own books, and some CDs for IndieCrit. Less critical work slowly moves to the left towards the end of the desk, where it eventually falls off the desk into a pile. See? Curious yet efficient! Underneath all the papers you’ll see my keyboard; to the far left you’ll see my guitar. I play each equally well, and the less that is said about that the better.
The nerve center of the Scalzi empire. The little piggies, incidentally, are swag created to promote my first book, The Rough Guide to the Money Online. I am told the little piggies were a big hit at book fairs, although the book, shall we say, was not an extreme success — something about a book about the Internet coming out when the Internet was imploding. This will not be the case with The Rough Guide to the Universe, however, since the universe is expanding still. Although I wouldn’t put it past the universe to start contracting, just to piss me off. On the actual computer tower you’ll see a pile of IndieCrit CDs I really need to get to, plus the infamous Chocolate Creme Filled Marshmallow Eggs described in this entry.
Lots of interesting stuff over here. Near the top center you can see the stack of DVDs I’ve been sent in my capacity as a DVD critic; in the center middle, more CDs, these relating to Official PlayStation Magazine. Various bric-a-brac line the top shelf, including pictures of Athena, little glass sculptures made by my niece and, my pride and joy, a snow globe representing a plague of locusts. Yeah, how many of you have got one of those? Huh?
My desk isn’t always like this, incidentally. Usually it’s worse.
You lucky, lucky people. Today is picture day, for the following reasons.
1. I just got a new 64MB Smart Card for my digital camera, which means I can take hundreds of pictures without worrying if I’m running out of memory.
2. I just got a Smart Card reader, which means I am no longer a slave to the depressingly slow software Olympus software that came with the camera, and which doesn’t work on my XP-OS anyway.
3. It’s a pretty day at the Scalzi Compound (as was yesterday, when some of these pictures were taken).
4. I’m really busy today and can’t write one of my usual gassy bloviations about the state of the world.
5. It’s the end of the month and I haven’t yet blown my allotment of bandwidth. So here we go!
So your first photo of the day:
This is a picture of the dwarf cherry tree in the back yard. A weekend ago, there were blooms all over it and it was very pretty, but now it just looks not unlike the Swamp Thing, which is not so bad either. To the left of the picture, you can see a portion of the garden that Krissy and her dad are working on. Inside those little green things are tomatoes; underneath the white strips are infant corn stalks. In both cases, the selective application of plastic is designed to keep the plants inside and underneath warn and happy. Because, really, who among us is not happy, when wrapped in plastic?
More pictures soon — about every hour or so. Because, you know, it’s picture day!