Monday, July 29, 2013

No wonder Bogie catches so many pigeons.

These pigeons must be daring each other to be the last to fly away.

Bogie is not exactly hard to see.

  He's less than 6 feet away from them.
  He's big.
  He's mostly bright white.

As a friend of mine suggested - maybe Bogie is a pigeon whisperer.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Taking Bogie to the wash was a bad idea.

My house backs up against a wash.  For non-Arizonans, that's a required, undeveloped area with depressions intended to capture rain runoff.  We don't get much rain, but what we get comes in torrents.  The washes, or retention basins, are there to prevent flooding of streets and houses.

Our wash is bordered with a 2-rail metal fence to keep motorcycles and four-wheelers out. When I had my other dogs, Rags, Peanut, and Angel, we would go out into the wash once a week.  I would let them off-leash and each dog would explore at its own pace.

After Peanut died, Angel didn't want to go to the wash any longer. When I first got Bogie, his leash training was negligible and I couldn't trust him off leash. So we hadn't been out in the wash in over a year.

Someone recommended a long lead leash for Bogie to see how he would react.  It sounded like a good idea. I bought a 50' leash.  Today seemed like a good day to do it.  Angel's knee was recovering nicely. The weather was decent.  I took Bogie on a normal two mile walk to tire him a little.

We were all set.

The walk went well at first.  Bogie was aware he was on a leash and behaved accordingly.  The lead only got caught on a low shrub twice.  And each time Bogie came to the 2-rail fence, he turned away.  He turned away even at a low spot where he could have gotten under without much ducking.

As we got to the end of the metal fence where we would turn back to our house, Bogie decided to crouch and go under the fence.  That's when I realized that a 50 foot lead is not an effective deterrent.  Too much delay.  By the time I stopped him, Bogie was on the wrong side of the fence.

In the Cholla cactus. 

I kept the lead tight as I moved hand over hand toward him.  He didn't want to come back to my side of the fence and fought me.  Which got him into more Cholla. 

When I finally got him to come back to me, I pulled the green, fleshy Cholla pads off right there.  Thankfully I had put on leather gloves so the leash wouldn't hurt my hands.  Some of the spines stuck in my gloves, but that was better than sticking to the skin of my hands.

I took him back to the house, kept him on the leash while I went out to the garage for pliers and to the kitchen for a bowl.  I kept him on the leash so I could prevent him from trying to pull the spines out with his mouth. 

Out to the patio to remove the spines – from all four paws, his right hip, and his tail.  The pliers were useless on the small spines.  I used my fingers. 

He fought me part of the time, but I wouldn't let go of the paw I was holding.  Finally, he gave up and laid down.  Until I switched paws and we struggled again.  And he laid down again.

I ran my hands over his body until I was sure I had all the spines removed.  The last spine was a tiny piece in his tail that took several tries to get.  Not once did he whine or cry. 

I think that is our last visit to the wash.  

Friday, July 26, 2013

No more alphabetical listings for businesses.

I was out walking the dog the other day and saw a truck with a business name A-A(something).

I know in "the old days" it was assumed that people looking up a business in the phone book would select the first business on the list.  Or the last.

That caused businesses to adopt creative names for their businesses.  When businesses began listing names starting with "AAAA", "Z-Z", and even "AA,AAA", the phone companies required a justification for the multiple letters.

I would think that is no longer an advantage when so many people look up businesses and phone numbers on the Internet.

If I Google "plumbers in mesa az", I don't get an alphabetized list.  I get plumbers who've paid Google money first, then sites that list plumbers, and a geographical list of plumbers.

Not a "AA" in the bunch.

If I go to Yelp, I get a list by customer rating.  Yellow Pages seems to list by ad, then by rating. Better Business Bureau seems to list Sponsored businesses first.

You get the idea.  Alphabetical listings seem to be relegated to the past, like Conestoga wagons and high-button shoes.

Believe me, I like this method better than picking a random name out of the phone book and hoping the business is reputable.

I was just pondering.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Progress on the new dog feeding regimen

The new dog feeding regimen (new dog feeding-regimen) is progressing well.

For the dogs.

For me, there is a boat load of guilt involved.  I feel like I am mistreating them by depriving them of food when hunger strikes one or the other.

Factually, Angel is probably eating more now than she did free-feeding.  It's apparent from Bogie's weight gain that more often than not, he was the one finishing off her food.

We've settled on twice a day feedings.  I tried more frequently, to more closely replicate what I thought Angel's feeding schedule was, but more often than not, she snubbed the food.

Angel seems to prefer to eat when I am eating.  This has the additional advantage of my presence to protect her food from Bogie.

He doesn't try to bully her into giving up her food.  He just - lurks.

He waits for Angel to turn away from the food so he can finish it.  But sometimes, Angel likes to take a mouth full and go a few feet away to drop it on the floor, then eat it one piece at a time.   I can't explain it.

By feeding them when I am eating breakfast or dinner, I am there to keep Bogie from co-opting her bowl until she is truly done.  Angel is done when she walks away from the bowl and goes outside.

Then Bogie is welcome to clean up the few pieces Angel may have skipped.

I wish I could say that Bogie looks like he is slimming down.  He doesn't.  Maybe I am not compensating enough for the treats I give them.

Sigh.  It was so much easier when my dogs could eat whenever they wanted.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

No news is good mood

Earlier this year, I stopped taking the print newspaper.  I figured I could get all my news on-line. 

Only, I don't.  

I've found that I remember to check the on-line news once or twice a week at most.  I don't even check on my favorite columnists, even though I went to the trouble to save links to their columns. 

The only thing I do keep up with is the comics.  That's because GoComics sends them to me in an email every day.  Which I really, really like, by the way. 

If something newsworthy happens, I will see it in my Facebook or Twitter feeds.  Then I check out the on-line news.  

But overall, I am in the dark on current events.  

I have noticed that I am happier, more optimistic, and more contented lately.  

Could these two things be related?  


Saturday, July 13, 2013

New dog feeding regimen

The last 5 dogs I've owned have self-fed.

The only dog that had a problem with that was Rags.  He was seriously underfed when I got him.  When he had food available at all times, he ballooned up.  But only for a while.  Once he realized the food would always be there, he stopped gorging and slimmed back down.

I've had Bogie for a year now.  And the self-feeding isn't working with him.  At our last vet visit, he weighed 142 pounds.  That's 24 pounds more than he did a year ago.

Now, he was expected to gain 6 or 7 pounds since he wasn't considered full grown.  But not 24.  The vet says the extra weight will shorten his life.  Great Danes don't have a very long life span as it is.

So, it was time to switch to scheduled feedings.

Which does not suit Angel, at all.  She is what the vet called a grazer.  She likes to eat a few bites at a time throughout the day.

At this same vet visit, she had lost three pounds.  I realized Bogie must be eating Angel's food.  I'm not sure how this happens.  I swear that when I checked, many times Angel's bowl still held food.

Still, he must be the one finishing it off for him to gain weight and her to lose.

It's only been a week, so I am still working out the details.  How much food at a time?  How often should I feed?  How much to subtract for treats?

Bogie is fine with this.  Put a bowl in front of him and he eats it.

Angel is emphatically not fine with this.  Her typical behavior is to get up and go outside as soon as I set a bowl in front of her. Then I have to pick it up and put it away where Bogie can't get to it.

The other night she walked into the laundry room.  This was where her bowl used to be.  After a moment, she came back out and looked at me.  She walked as far away as she could without leaving the room and laid down.

And glared at me.  

Twice now, I've set Angel's food down and guarded it from Bogie.  After a few minutes of resistance, she comes and eats her cup of food.  When she walks away, Bogie checks to see if she left any pieces.

Maybe this will work after all.

I hope.

Monday, July 8, 2013

New office arrangement

So the new job I started on June 17 allows me to work from home half the time.  The first day I worked from home, I quickly realized that my existing office arrangement would no longer work.

When I worked from home in my last job, I accessed my work computer from my home computer.  In this job, all my work applications are on a laptop that I carry back and forth.

There wasn't room on my desk for a comfortable placement of two computers.  Nor did I want to detach the monitor from my computer and move it to the laptop every time I worked from home.  I bought an inexpensive second monitor.  And then needed someplace to put it.

I did a makeover on my loft office. The one wide, long desk with drawers was replaced by 2 narrower, shorter desks plus a file cabinet and a corner piece.  The corner piece wasn't needed for space, but more to keep me from knocking things off the desk onto the floor.  It turned out to be a great place to put the trash basket to keep Bogie from getting into it.

The printer and modem had been located on the built-in cabinet by the window.  I moved them to a third desk.  This places the modem more centrally in the house and keeps the modem cords from tangling up on the counter.  The keyboard drawer is a great place to keep extra printer paper.

Despite my earlier rant about 29" desks, I didn't really like the desk I cut down.  That's the one that now holds the printer.  I decided to try the two desks at the 29" height and look for a couple of decent looking foot rests.

The pieces were all Winsome Wood ready to assemble pieces purchased on Amazon.  I put it all together on July 4th so it would be ready to try out on Friday the 5th.  So far it seems to be working out just like I intended.
The old arrangement.  The cloth bag on the chair holds my laptop. Classy.

New arrangement.  

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Bogie, the apex predator

According to whomever wrote the Great Dane page on Wikipedia, "They generally do not exhibit extreme aggressiveness or a high prey drive." 

I would like that contributor to meet Bogie.  He's not at all aggressive, but the prey instinct is strong in this one. 

When we are out on our walks, he is ever alert for cats or bunnies.  If it moves, Bogie wants to chase it.  He cries when I prevent him. 

This Tuesday, Angel came in all excited. She kept looking toward the window. I looked out and Bogie seemed overly involved in something in the grass. 

As I suspected he had caught another pigeon. I have a love/hate relationship with the pigeons.  I feed the smaller birds.  They, in turn, spill seed on the ground that attracts the pigeons.  I wouldn't mind if it was only one or two pigeons.  Or even five or ten.  

But when 20 or 30 pigeons gather around the ground under the feeder, I get irritated.  Bogie chases the pigeons away when they gather.  But he leaves the smaller birds alone.  Maybe they aren't big enough to be a challenge?

The healthy pigeons have no trouble escaping the Bogie predator.  He's huge, and he's white.  It's not like he is camouflaged in the forest somewhere.  It's the wounded or aging pigeons that he manages to capture.  I don't like it, but such is life everywhere in the animal kingdom.  And the only way to prevent it would be to stop feeding all the birds. 

Occasionally, pigeons visit that are not the standard gray.  One month last year, I had a domestic, feather-footed pigeon among the flock.  I could never get close enough to read the metal tag on its foot.   For a long while there was a pretty white pigeon among the flock. 

This time Bogie caught the only pretty brown pigeon that visits. The pigeon had seemed to be reacting more slowly the past couple days. He’s been around here a couple years or more. I have no idea what a pigeon’s life span is.

Bogie tried to come in through the doggy door with the dead pigeon in his mouth. The end result of that is always feathers all over the floor. 

I yelled, Out and pointed outside. He backed out the doggy door.  Only a couple minutes later, he came in before I could yell at him. 

I yelled Out and pointed at the doggy door. 

He walked over and stood in front of the patio door, holding the pigeon, and looked at me. 

I pointed at the doggy door again and yelled Out. 

He looked at the doggy door, looked at me, then at the patio door. So I opened the patio door and let him out.

If only the pigeons would gather somewhere else. 

Saturday, July 6, 2013

My philosophy in one sentence - Be nice.

“I don't care if you're black, white, straight, bisexual, gay, lesbian, short, tall, fat, skinny, rich or poor. If you're nice to me, I'll be nice to you. Simple as that.”

I've seen this quote attributed to Morgan Freeman and to Eminem.  I don't know who originally said it.  I do know that I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiment.  

Only I would also add "alien, or mutant" because they deserve respect, too.

I've found that the converse is true as well.  If I am nice to you, you will be nice to me.

Of course, there are always exceptions.  Some people are just asses.  But I've been lucky that they have been few and far between.

Wil Wheaton has a similar philosophy - "Don't be a dick".

There is always a choice on how to behave in any given situation.  I've found that choosing to be nice has much better consequences than choosing to be nasty.

 "If you're nice to me, I'll be nice to you. Simple as that.”

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Short apology for not posting lately

I realize I haven't posted much since I started work.  It's amazing how much time and energy it takes to start a new job.

I have the advantage of having worked with everyone on my team before, so at least I don't have the trauma of learning new names and personalities.

I'm getting into the rhythm of working again.  Except I can't quite get home in time to take my usual gym classes and I haven't had the energy to figure out new classes to take.

My brain is too crammed full with new information that I doubt would interest many people to write any pithy posts.  Unless you are aching to hear how I progress in learning to use the Telerik automated testing program.

Or how I fare learning to use a Mac after a lifetime of Windows use.  I've decided to be stubborn and use the Apple keyboard I was given rather than request a Windows keyboard like the guys on my team did.

Or how walking two blocks from the parking lot to the building in the morning when it is 80 degrees is pleasant whereas the return trip in the 110 degree afternoon is a harder trek.