Sunday, May 31, 2009

Cheeky Bugger

Last weekend when I was watching the birds at the birdfeeders, a squirrel came down and snacked at one, too. I grabbed the camera; I thought I was too far away to get any good pictures, even using the zoom, but last night when I was downloading new jewelry photos for my Etsy shop, the squirrel photos were there, too, and they weren't too bad.

I know I shouldn't have let him do it, I should have shooed him away, but he was cute (for a rodent), and pretty tenacious.

I especially like this one, with the fat little bird sitting on the branch next to him. "Um, excuse me! This is a birdfeeder!"

I went to the library yesterday and came home with a BIG stack of books. The library I normally go to, the one closest to our house, is undergoing renovation, and it's been closed for several months. There's a temporary location at a mall, where I go to pick up books that I have on hold, and return books, but they don't have much of a browsing selection. So I went to another branch a few miles away. It always has a better selection of new books, anyway. The ones I got are mostly paranormal anthologies, with a smattering of other stuff:

I stayed up late last night and read "Killer Cuts," and finished it this morning in bed. I'm sure I won't read all of them, but that's the beauty of the library, I can pick books that I'm not sure of, just gather up an armload, and if I don't like it, I don't have to read it, and don't feel guilty like I would if I had bought it.

Yesterday I spent quite a bit of time beefing up my Etsy inventory. I purchased two showcase spots for today, one for bracelets and one for earrings. I had never done that before, so wasn't sure if I would have a lot of sales or not, and didn't want to run out of things. It's a little after 1:00, and I haven't seen any activity at all so far, so maybe it was a waste of money.

I know you can never tell with advertising. I've tried several different things, but I haven't had a lot of success with Google ads or Facebook ads, so I thought I'd try this. I suppose, if nothing else, it's knowledge.

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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Holiday weekend

The screens on my windows at work are in bad shape, but I'm on the third floor so it isn't like I can just go outside and take them off. I thought the landlord was going to replace them, but they haven't yet. I've thought of just opening the windows and tearing out the screens, but this week I'm glad I didn't do that.

A robin discovered them and has been visiting all week, pulling out strands to use in his nest, I assume, although Bob says it's late for that. The screens are fiberglass (I think), not steel or whatever regular screens are, and they're kind of shredded. The robin comes and hangs on, and pulls out a half dozen or so strands, or whatever he can get, flies away, and then comes back a little while later. It's fun to watch. I wonder where his nest is?

We had a really nice, quiet holiday weekend. Bob was off all three days, too, so it was a nice long weekend for both of us. On Saturday, I got my hair cut and went to the nursery. I wanted to get some geraniums for the front porch, which I did, but I also just wandered around and looked at everything, which I enjoyed a lot. I also bought some birdseed and filled the birdfeeders when I got home.

The birdseed must have been some great stuff, because there were birds out there all weekend. Some of the highlights were a really cute Downy Woodpecker, a red-breasted grosbeak, and lots of pretty finches.

On Sunday I stayed home all day reading; Bob went out and shot traps with a friend, then they had lunch, and he got home mid-afternoon. I had been reading on the bed, and he came up and laid down, and we both ended up sleeping for a couple of hours, which was lovely. When we woke up we went out to Chipotle for burritos. A nice, long, lazy day.

He played golf on Monday, and I stayed home most of the day, watching a squirrel raid the bird feeder--I tried to take pictures, but he was too far away to see well--talked with a friend in Second Life, fixed pasta for lunch, then went out and bought potting soil so I could re-pot the geraniums, which I have yet to do. I also bought pots for the plants at work, but they haven't made it out of my trunk. We went out for ice cream Monday night as a decadent ending to the holiday weekend. And back to work yesterday, which was fine, too.

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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Cute couple

Last night Bob was out in the garage getting ready to consolidate the trash into bigger bags, but we were out of large bags. He said he was going to go get some, and I said I'd go with him. I had already changed out of my work clothes into a big t-shirt that I intended to sleep in, but I changed into some sweatpant capris (about as attractive as they sound) and a different t-shirt. He was wearing lightweight sweats and a t-shirt, too. I stuck my feet into flip-flops and we headed for Target.

We always laugh about it when we do that, and comment on what a cute couple we must make, schlepping to the store basically in our night clothes. When he goes out by himself to pick something up, he usually says he's going out "to pick up chicks," and I said, "Good luck with that." One night last week he had to go get gas or something--I don't remember what--and I went with him even though I already had my nightgown--okay, another big t-shirt--on.

We wandered around Target, picked up trash bags, Cheddar cheese and mixed nuts (how appropriate!), then headed home. Once home, he stayed out in the garage and bagged up trash to carry out to the curb.

Once I'd dumped my purse in the house, I went back out to the garage to help him carry the trash out. It wasn't until I came back in the house the second time that I realized I'd worn flip-flops from two different pairs, one with light blue terrycloth on top and the other lime green and white vinyl. So I was even more put together than I thought!

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Monday, May 11, 2009

iPhone Apps

I keep thinking I should write about some of my favorite iPhone apps. I know that not everyone has an iPhone, but there are several people I know who do, and they might find it useful. (That's my current iPhone wallpaper to the right, made from a Second Life screenshot.)

Pocket God - I mentioned this one the other day. It's my current favorite game. There's a picture of a little island with a palm tree and a tiki god head, and you push a little plus sign to add villagers to the island. You can have up to five at a time, and you can name them whatever you want. Then you can torture them in various ways, like knock them into the ocean, make lightning strike them, or call a vampire bat to bite them. You can get all your little guys back just by pushing the plus sign again.

If you're a benevolent god, you can gift them with coconuts (the coconut seems to always hit someone on the head, though) and a fishing pole so they can fish (although about half the time they catch the shark instead, which doesn't end well).

They do an update about every two weeks, and the one before last dropped a tyrannosaurus egg on the island. The current update introduced the egg's mother, and, of course, a new way to torture the islanders -- crack open the egg and mom shows up! (Ooh, didn't see the association with Mother's Day until just now!)

A total time waster, but fun.

Momo -- Momo (Memo to Self) has both an iPhone and a web component. You can type memos on the computer, then sync to the iPhone, so you don't always have to type on the itty bitty iPhone keypad. I keep recipes there, my dream record, knitting patterns -- just basically just all kinds of things that I want to keep track of. You can tag your memos so they can be easily retrieved.

Kindle -- Amazon recently released the Kindle for iPhone application. I already had eReader, which I've been using to read ebooks for years, and the Kindle app is very similar. The cool part, though, is being able to request short samples of books before you buy them. I went through my Amazon wish list and requested samples of almost everything -- that's the one thing that I struggle with when I'm trying to decide whether or not to buy something if it isn't from an author I'm familiar with. This way I can get a taste of it and decide whether it's something I want to read or not.

A friend of mine who has a Kindle has decided to sell it, because he says he prefers reading on his iPhone. For one thing, it's easier to hold and read in one hand, and for another, the Kindle requires light to read, and the iPhone is backlit. Neither of them are perfect, I guess, but having compared the two, he says the iPhone reading experience is better.

QuickVoice -- There are LOTS of recording applications out there, and I think I've tried them all. I was originally looking for an application that was simple enough to pick up the phone in the car and record something, just so I wouldn't forget it. I chose Voxie, but didn't end up using it all that much. I had tried the free version of QuickVoice, but liked Voxie better. Then last week QuickVoice Pro went on sale, and I heard great things about it, so I bought it and tried it.

The cool think about QuickVoice is that you can record something, then email it to yourself (or someone else) in text. It transcribes your message! I tried it twice; it didn't do too well when I was in the car, apparently the road noise was intrusive. But when I recorded something and there wasn't a lot of outside interference, it transcribed it perfectly. I'm thinking I might use this one quite a bit.

QuickWord -- This one is new, and pretty expensive for an iPhone app--$12.99. But it's the first application (I think) that lets you actually create and edit Word documents. There are a lot of apps that let you view them, but not edit. You can also, by mounting the iPhone as a drive over wifi, drag and drop so that you can share and edit documents between the iPhone and desktop.

iBird -- On Sunday I looked out my window and saw a beautiful bird on the bird feeder, one I couldn't identify. I looked for a bird book, and couldn't find one, although I knew I had one somewhere. I got online, and wasn't successful in searching there, either, since I wasn't really sure what I was looking for. But while I was searching, I saw an ad for an iPhone app called iBird (of course!), so I checked into it.

There are several different versions, but I bought the cheapest one, "iBird Yard." It has about 150 birds in it. I'm not sure whether I found my bird or not, but it was fun to play around with. I went out to my parents' house in the afternoon--my mom is a bird lover--and she had me play the audio of all the birds she could think of. We decided the bird I saw was probably a grosbeak. They have one of those, too -- he was absolutely beautiful! He sits on their bird feeder most of the day, they said. Greedy little guy.

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