Returns, dinosaurs and cat flaps.

Tach, Possums!

I shall refrain from writing another apology and yet another promise that I shall post more regularly.  It seems that every time I write such a thing, the exact opposite happens.  I was in Germany for a terrific 9 months and met some of the most fantastic people.  I also had hardly any internet, thus the radio silence.  Until I moved back to the UK nearly 2 months ago.

ANYWAY.  My new excuse is dinosaurs.  A friend of mine is expecting her first child at the end of the year, and naturally I’ve gotten *slightly* carried away knitting for the poor thing.  In addition to a bear and a starry cardigan, I’ve started on a dinosaur.  Because who doesn’t want a brightly coloured dinosaur?  He’s part-way through construction, has been a joy to knit, and will no doubt inspire a few sibling dinosaurs in time.

knitted dinosaur with legs
HE HAS LEGS

In addition to knitting, my furry adopted little sister had a slight disaster, and ended up spending a week at the vet’s.  I think that in pulling through the ordeal, she may well have used up one of her nine lives.  We suspect the cause was an injury acquired in a cat fight, but because it had healed over before any of the symptoms appeared, we can only speculate.  In short, she was lethargic, off her food, withdrawn and short of breath.  It turns out it was a pyrothorax; a build-up of fluid, in this case caused by an infection, in the chest cavity.  The vets drained 350ml of what I can only politely describe as goop, and she was on IV antibiotics for a week.  Last October she weighed 4.1kg, just to give you an idea of the proportion of fluid drained in relation to her weight.  (For the Imperialists among you, that’s nearly a pint of fluid.)

RIght, so now that we have a partially shaved feline back home, we decided that perhaps we ought to install a microchip-activated cat flap.  I take my hat off to the people who wrote this manual.  Sureflap, kudos to you.  You clearly know what it’s like to be a feline’s chosen human.

The first thing that struck me about the manual was the helpful information for cats on how to use the cat flap:

Not suitable for fancy dress.
Not suitable for fancy dress.  Keep away from kittens.

Now, for those of you wondering why one would splash out on the kind of cat flap that has diagrams of use for your cats in its manual, then you probably don’t have cats at home.  For those interested in the rationalisation, here’s an excerpt:

“This cat flap has been designed […] allowing access to your pet whilst keeping out animal intruders.”

Oops.

But this isn’t just any cat flap, oh no.  This cat flap learns.  But a word to aspiring crazy cat people (it’s not always us women): you can only register 32 cats.  I find this a shame.  Any fool knows that the answer to life, the universe and everything is 42 and for us cat-crazed individuals, cats are that meaning in life, ergo one should be able to have 42 cats, register them all, have one’s cake and be able to eat it, cat fur and all.

But the highlight of the manual for me has to be the advice aimed at the human side of this human-feline partnership under the section on how to get the cat flap to register your cat’s microchip. This point is of such importance, that it even has an exclamation mark in a warning triangle next to it:

“In order to learn a cat’s microchip number, a sensor located in the tunnel must detect a cat’s presence to trigger the microchip reader.  Therefore it is important to ensure that your cat either puts its head into the tunnel or passes through the flap.  No amount of waving your cat in front of the flap will have an effect.”

Whoever wrote that last line clearly has a wealth of experience either dealing with scratched, disgruntled customers phoning customer support, or of having personally tried “waving” a cat in front of anything.

I also suspect that there were a few felines who managed to get their paws on the manual, as in the troubleshooting section on how to get your cat acclimatised to the new cat flap, the author notes that “strategic positioning of food inside/outside the house can also help encourage the initial use of the flap.”

All I can say is that our resident feline would never allow herself to be waved in front of anything, and aside from presently snoring softly on a bean bag whilst I write this, the cat treats have so far been successfully retrieved without the cat flap successfully learning her chip.  This one has cunning.

Damn straight.
Damn straight.
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Chrono-Syntactic Infandibulum Link #11

If you do anything this evening, I ask you watch this. Ladies, it will make you smile. I was actually crying with laughter.

Best quote: “Ladies, maybe you decide vampire lumberjack not for you”

Seriously, watch it.

Oh, and for the Dr. Seuss fans among you:

Chrono-syntacic Infandibulum Link #10

This link here expresses quite nicely the sheer and utter panic that’s been dominating any kind of thoughts about what to do once I graduate in 2013.

I know I still have this year to finish and then another year (now worth a wonderful 50% of my entire degree /grumble) to pass, but it still creeps in.

I’d also like to point out that languages and linguistics don’t actually appear on this; it’s mostly dealing with the Sciences and Pseudo-Sciences.

So, ner.

Here, have a possum.

Harro

Chrono-Syntactic Infandibulum Link #8

Yet another one of my preconceptions was shattered today.

One: there is a German word for fluffy.

Two: there is also a word in German for supercalifragilicousexpialidocious.

If you’re wondering how it’s spelt, it’s “superkalifragilistigexpialigetisch”.

Also, have you seen the marvelous breadfish?

Chrono-Syntactic Infandibulum Link #7

According to The Register, Amazon’s next version of the Kindle is to be an iPad rival using the Android OS but without the Android Marketplace.

Could be interesting. Although I would like to point out that I don’t agree with the article when it says that the device is locked down. I’ve managed to find and use OpenSource software that allows me to buy/download E-Books onto my harddrive, plug my Kindle into my computer and then do a bit of the ol’ drag ‘n’ drop to avoid stupidly high charges from Amazon.

Oh, and in other news, apparently Tony Blair is the godfather of one of Murdoch’s children.

That speaks volumes, although I can’t say I’m particularly surprised.

Chrono Syntactic Infandibulum Link #6

Reading the news, I came across this article on the BBC: Dr. Spock’s Baby and Child Care at 65

Which left me feeling disgusted, horrified and above all, horribly confused.

Spock from Startrek
"What on earth do you call that?"

Somehow, this is the last person I would want childcare advice from…

Needless to say, this isn’t the Dr. Spock the article was referring to – much to my chagrin and amusement.

Just thought you needed to know.

Chrono-Syntactic Infandibulum Link #5

Okay, yesterday was spent revising really hard:

Gardening with my grandmother in silly hats
Gardening in silly hats - the new extreme sport

Speaking of extreme sports, I came across a completely new one today and its own group of eccentrics: Extreme Ironing.

No, you’re not hallucinating. Or going crazy. There are actually people who go to the remotest of places so that they can iron in peace. There’s even a Wikipedia page on it, so it must be true.

Oh, and there’s this video on YouTube of a man ironing on the closed section of the M1:

Makes me look quite normal by comparison – I just whitter on about Cabbits, Horses and all kinds of weird and wonderful things.

Oh, and the next thing I’m most likely to whitter on about is why the term “commitment-phobe” is quite frankly pants. Absolute pants. It should be something like “emotionally claustrophobic”.. But that’s for another time, methinks.

In the meantime, smile :)

Now available in Pocket Size

Chrono-Syntactic Infandibulum Link #4

So I came home from class today feeling rather overwhelmed after it dawned on me that the amount of work that I have left to do just isn’t funny. I’ve started re-writing the content of one of the first pages and decided to try and use HotPotatoes to create a little interactive exercise. I then discover that this creates a separate page – which isn’t what I wanted – and there are a few other little gripey things about it too, which mean that I can’t do what I want with the silly program. So, I moved on to looking at EXE, an equivalent, but has the same issue of creating an entirely seperate page.

Raccoon sticking his tongue out.
Take that, you stupid programs.

Being unable to get my head around this I turned to another problem: the layout of my pages.

Now, I originally intended to use the one CSS sheet for all my pages – that way I make one change and it’s applied everywhere. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Except the way that I want things to appear on my page is in boxes (because of the way I wrote my navbar – bear in mind I’ve written this all from scratch in Notepad without any web editors at all) and because of the way in which you style and position those boxes, it suddenly occurred to me that every darn page is going to look exactly the same. I don’t know about you, but I get bored real quick when everything looks the same.

So whilst I was stroking something furry in an attempt to calm down and wondering how I was going to find a way round this lovely mess, I thought about what the technical guys at work do for the website there – they have a masterpage. This should mean that I can have the same navbar, header and styling etc, but I pick and choose the content in the middle and somehow telepathically tell the computer to suck on that and bung it all together.

I then realise that the site for work is written in ASPX. So I’m now sitting in front of my laptop trying to wrap my head around ASP.NET frameworks and Visual Basic to somehow translate (oh, how ironic) what I already have into what I want it to be.

On the bright side, I’ve found this tutorial which is really helpful for those who know sod all (just like yours truly) about it.

I think I’ll tackle the other problem later. :|

Oooh, random fact:

Did you know that if you look at the printed Hebrew script, each character can be derived from the Magen David (Star of David)? Now there’s something I bet you didn’t know.

Part one of how the Hebrew Alefbet can be derived from the Star of David
(Reads right to left)

Part 2 of how the Hebrew Alefbet can be derived from the Star of David
Part 3 of how the Hebrew Alefbet can be derived from the Star of David

I bet that’s made your day, too.

Chrono-Syntactic Infandibulum Link #3

I was reading through various articles on The Register this afternoon, and I found an article in which Google stands accused of copying up to 43 files of Oracle Java code for its Android OS. Given the recent headlines of plagarism concerning Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg’s resignation following Bayreuth University’s decision to strip him of his PhD, and then the revelation that the LSE are investigating allegations that Saif Gaddafi plagarised his PhD thesis, I thought this was highly ironic. It would seem to be that the latest ‘thing to do’ would be to copy someone else’s work.

Which kind of takes the fun out of it. (Define ‘fun’ as you wish.)

In other news, Firefox’s lead developer has announced that he’s jumping ship to Dug Software once the latest version of Firefox (v4.0) is released later this year. Time to watch share prices, perhaps?

Oh, and I’ve noticed that the searches for raccoons are still popular, so here’s another raccoon fix for all you crazies:

Smiling raccoon
Smile for the camera!