August 25th, 2005

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I deserve a dope slap!

Obviously I was not thinking clearly...

For over a week, except for a brief respite on Sunday, I've been without my regular highspeed Internet. Woe was me! I have a dial-up account but ughghghg, does it make my work hard. The other night I had to download 60 MB off an FTP site. I just left the computer on for a few hours...

The problem I had:

The computer kept telling me I was connected to a network, only there was no response. This same thing has happened half a dozen times before: I'll boot up or restart the computer only to lose the connection. It doesn't just happen in the middle of working or anything, but only after I've turned off the computer or restarted it. It's happened three times after vacations.

Anyway, the way I got it working Sunday was to unplug the cables on my hub, blow on them, put them back in, then shake the hub. It was pretty much a "magical gesture" like kicking a machine that doesn't work, but it DID work. But then I restarted the machine the next day and the connection was gone again.

The solution:

So last night I was telling Caleb about the problem, and was saying how I was going to get a new hub, since mine is seven years old and maybe it was acting up. Then sddenly he says to me, "Why do you have a hub? You only have one thing plugged into it." Now, I've been living alone here for four years and it NEVER occured to me that since I live alone (no Caleb sharing the broadband) that I could just plug the machine into the wall! I just kept the same set-up, for no reason whatsoever.

Well, plugged the computer into the wall and restarted. Now network is fine. The hub is apparently whacked. When I get my laptop I'm getting a new one, as the one I have is old and not the right speed for new computers (or maybe the network I'm on).

Obviously I was not thinking.
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Kindergarten Cop

So this morning I got my first exercise as enforcer of the "Don't Eat the Birds" rule.

I woke up groggily around 8 and heard some sound. I got up and as usual my first thought was to find the kitten. My second thought (previously my first thought) was to uncover the birds. So I got up and called the kitten as I walked to the birdcage, and... you guessed it, kitten pops up from under the sheet covering the birds.

Um, I don't think so!!!!!

Luckie just sat on the windowsill by the cage after that, so I went for the water squirter and zapped her. She got down, but then jumped right back up again. So after that I spent a half an hour doing aversion therapy. I wound up squirting her five times. She finally seemed to get it and sat on the armchair just looking. And whenever she stood up to jump or something, I picked up the bottle and that cat was like, "Oh, sorry, don't want to get zapped."

I know the cat is never going to lose her natural drive to attack the birds, but I can be smart about it.

Another example:

After that half and hour of training, I distracted Luckie with her new toys -- a scratching strip, "fishing line" toy, and a paper bag. She took out her aggression on those things -- and my two potted plants -- instead of pouncing on the birds. Then she went to the litter box.

This was the perfect opportunity for me to separate her into the "private" area of the house and let the birds out. I took Luckie and her toys into the bedroom and shut the door behind behind me. Then I went back and opened the birdcage. Luckie will stay in here with me every morning while I do morning Internet stuff and take my shower, and meanwhile the birds get exercise. Once they're done their morning "run" I will close them up again.

Meanwhile I'll mention that yesterday I did a big shopping run for Luckie.

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Abbie and Luckie, BFF

I would wonder if it's possible OD on Cuteness but then again, I've had the guinea pigs for about 20 months now and it hasn't "gotten old" so I guess not.

Meanwhile she and Abbie are pals. I know, it sounds bizarre, but kitten and guinea pig like to chill out together, even play together! Last night Caleb and I set up another "encounter" between them and to our surprise, Abbie likes Luckie's "fishing line" toy and they basically were both playing with the same toy. So weird. Additionally, when Luckie flops down in front of Abbie and rolls around (kitten language: let's play wrestle!), Abbie comes over and... plays! She sniffs the kitten's paws, butt, and even paws her. Abbie is not freaked out by the kitten at all, not even when Luckie starts jumping and pouncing on the toy! She is normally so startled by sudden movements, but is totally OK with the kitten, just sits there like normal, grooming herself, making kind of happy chortling sounds. We said, "WTF?" but God, it was so cute, why question it?

This morning I experimented more. In addition to the same stuff as last night, today Abbie groomed the kitten -- she came up and licked Luckie's ears and paws. Abbie also followed Luckie around, like a little puppy. (She does this with YinYang too.) During one bit of wrestling, Luckie got kind of excited and kicked Abbie a few times, but the guinea pig doesn't seem to care one bit, just acted totally tolerant. Even though my guinea pig book says cats don't bother pigs, it does seem odd. I mean, there was a paper bag there, which Luckie had been playing with, and Abbie ran inside. Instead of pouncing on the bag, as I feared, the kitten sat there looking in and crying, like sad her friend had gone away.

Throughout all this, I've noticed Abbie acting a lot different than normal. She doesn't seem frightened OR stupid, but more like relaxed and smart in a way she normally isn't. I think this interaction is actually teaching her more than she learns with YinYang. This would not be unprecedented, as when YinYang had her baby, the baby taught Abbie it was OK to hop around and eat vegetables. Abbie doesn't seem to learn that much from YinYang because YY is aggressive and dominating. She will learn from "peers," however.