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Archive for February, 2010

Happy Caturday – iPhone edition

Posted by Lissa on February 27, 2010

Rajah says he approves of mommy’s iPhone, since she can blog without ruining his lap.

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Posted by Lissa on February 26, 2010

That is all 🙂

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Apps, Apps, Apps!

Posted by Lissa on February 25, 2010

Good morning all!  Welcome to the All Apps, All The Time show!  I’m your humble host, Lissa, newly brainwashed by the Borg and eager to time-suck your soul!

Seriously, it seems like all I’ve done for the last two days is hang out at the App Store to sample its wares.  I look back at the pre-iPhone days — sepia-toned, the edges curling with age — and recall paying $4.99 for a single game of Tetris.  Those days are OVER, my friends.  Over and gone.

Thanks to everyone for the recommendations!  Thanks especially to Breda, who pointed out freeappalert.com.  I’m trying not to run wild like a little kid in a candy store, which means that I’m concentrating on free (often “Lite”) downloads until I sober up.  (How’s that for mixed metaphors?)

Yesterday’s apps:

  • Voodoo Doll — Hypothetically, I may have, allegedly, uploaded a picture of one of the more annoying bigwigs in the company.  I can neither confirm nor deny any poking of pins that may have come as a result.
  • Amazon.com — Hat tip to Mike, it does work a LOT better than the web browser.
  • Popatronic — Fun game, but the game lasted for an awfully long time.  Happily, it will let you go away and come back to your unfinished game.
  • Doodle Army — This one’s . . . interesting.  So far I’ve gotten spectacularly dead.
  • Gorillacam — Wow, the iPhone camera is a lot better than I thought!
  • PillMaster — A quick-flick sorting game, I downloaded it purely so I could call myself the PillMaster.  FEAR THE PILLMASTER, Y’ALL.
  • GlowBrick — Um, it’s Pong.  Not a keeper.
  • And finally, SpinPuzzle — I really like this one!  Sure, the pictures of waify anorexic emo elves is a little silly, but this slide-and-rotate-the-pieces-around jigsaw is very entertaining.

That’s all from today’s All Apps, All The Time Show!  Thank you, please tip your waitress, and come back soon!

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Random thoughts

Posted by Lissa on February 24, 2010

  • The Borg has sucked me in.  The dishes in my sink look on accusingly as I go about my Borg-mandated web surfing.
  • Which apps are worth actual money?  I’ve been downloading boatloads of free apps but am reluctant to fork over actual cash unless I know the product is going to be awesome.  Your thoughts?
  • I did spend money on Pocket God, and have been quite a cruel and vengeful God!  I keep accidentally tipping the poor suckers off the screen.  And letting them explode from a buildup of internal waste.  And failing to defend them from barking spiders.  Apparently I need to brush up on my God-skills.
  • Speaking of actual cash, I realized last night why I had enough in my allowance to buy an iPhone — I haven’t bought a pair of heels in at least six months.  My inner fashionista cries out in pain and demands a Stiletto app.
  • Rajah prefers the BirdSounds Lite app to the Kitty! app.  I prefer that he not launch himself off my lap in a panic — ouchie claws — so I guess I prefer BirdSounds as well!
  • From last week — a shattered crystal goblet = God’s way of telling you Why yes, you SHOULD mop the floor, you lazy git.
  • Of course, I also think cold, rainy days are God’s way of telling us to go back to bed and stay there.   My boss has proved disappointingly immune to such cold hard logic.
  • It’s official — Mike wants an iPhone!  EPIC lightsaber battles will commence next week.
  • Does everyone remember this?  You know, the Bugs Bunny/Elmer Fudd opera?  I made a reference to it in Facebook to a 23-year-old and fear he had no idea what I was talking about!
  • Speaking of Facebook — yes, Breda, I check Facebook, but only my “real” identity one.  Trying to also keep a LookingForLissa one became exhausting!
  • Life sucks at Ye Olde Financial Company right now.  I really look forward to Monday.
  • God, did I just SAY that?  I definitely need more coffee.
  • Coffee app???

Happy Wednesday, all!

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Lissa joins the Borg

Posted by Lissa on February 23, 2010

Lissa lost her Apple cherry!  Yes folks, I am the proud owner of a 3G S iPhone.  SQUEEE!!!

You see, my husband is the bestest, most generous, most wife-spoiling sweetie EVER.  (Duh.)  When I mentioned that I really wanted a smartphone and was sad that I didn’t have an upgrade until October, he selflessly offered me his upgrade, available this week, to steal if I wanted.


I’ve wanted an iPhone since they came out, really, but

a) I hate Macs.  Hate’ em with fiery fiery passionate loathing.  The buttons are all wrong and the keyboards are too small and no external disk drive and HATE HATE HATE.  (No, I did NOT just describe my perfect happy little Eee.  Shut up.)

b) I NEVER get technology when it first comes out, as the price will drop (as will the number of bugs) within the first few months.

So I’ve eyed them wistfully and longingly until now.

And, just like the Lasik, Mike took a passing “Gosh I wish I had . . . ” remark and turned it into action.  He is SUCH a keeper 🙂

Oh, and the really happy part? When I went to the phone store they said that, since my line migrated in February (we moved my single line to Mike’s line for a family plan), I counted for my own upgrade.  Yay!!  There’s a decent possibility we’ll be back at the phone store this weekend using Mike’s upgrade for a second iPhone.  Just sayin’.  🙂  (He still gets full brownie points though, because 1) he was *willing* to give me his, and 2) I wouldn’t have gone to the store and found out I was upgrade-eligible if he hadn’t.)

Seriously, this thing ROCKS!!!ELEVENTY!!.  I fell asleep last night with the assistance of the Sleep Machine (free), combining the sound of a fan and the sound of a beach.  It was a perfect way to climb down after playing the virtual piano (free), Skeeball ($0.99), Battle Bears (free, and if you’ve never kasploded the heads of pink zombie teddies and watched rainbows shoot out of their necks, well, then, you haven’t LIVED), popped some bubble wrap (free), caught some eggs (free), scared my cat with Kitty! sounds (free), used my phone as a lightsaber (free, and purely for Mike’s benefit), read some of my book on the Kindle app (free), checked some comments on the WordPress app (free), listened to music with Pandora (free), and checked Today In History (free).  Before I’d climbed out of bed this morning I’d checked email and the weather, Skype’d my husband and looked at Facebook updates.  I’d have stayed there longer except the coffee was patiently awaiting me to put it in my face.  If an iPhone dispensed coffee, I’d be in bed till next week.

Is there an app for that?

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Range report: Charlotte edition

Posted by Lissa on February 22, 2010

Greetings all!  As you might guess from the title, I spent Friday flying down to Charlotte.  Well, not ALL of Friday, as that would be a very slow plane flight, or a very interrupted journey, but you know what I mean!  We ate enormous burgers that night and we had dinner Saturday with my old friend S, my college choir conductor and his lovely wife, and it was an absolutely marvelous weekend.

Of course, any weekend that you get to try three new guns is slated to be an awesome weekend!  We went down to the local range and glutted ourselves on $5 rentals.  (All target pics have my target on the left, Mike’s target on the right.)

First up: The Kahr P9 —

The larger sibling of the MA-approved PM9, this petite lil’ gun was surprisingly pleasant to shoot.  Not as buttery smooth as a Sig, mind you, but WAY outclassing snubbies; you felt some kick but the shots went on the paper.  They didn’t go WELL on the paper, but I think that’s just because the sights were screwed up.  They were fine at 15 feet —

— but at 25 feet all my shots missed high and left (you can see those groupings).  I had to disregard the center of the target and instead aim for the center of the lower-right quadrant; once I did, all the shots hit the center:

Verdict: I think this might be the most awesome tiny-gun EVAH.

Next we tried the Smith & Wesson M&P9:

Although the gun can hold 17 rounds, the grips were much narrower, and therefore more comfortable, than I had anticipated.  With less kick than the Kahr (but more than Sigmund), the gun did a fine job punching holes in targets:

The biggest problem I had with the M&P?  The recoils kept bonking me in the face.  Seriously, hot brass off the nose, glasses and forehead can screw your aim if you’re not concentrating!

The third and final gun we played with was the Springfield XD Tactical in .45:

The XD had an ambidextrous mag release, which was weird and fooled me into thinking it had an external safety.  Despite being a .45, the grips weren’t too wide; it was a nice accurate gun:

Mike thinks he won this target; I think I did! What do you think?

The biggest problem?  The force of fire was great enough to knock my left thumb off the gun with every shot.

Final thoughts:

– .45 is fun, but I have a hard time investing in a gun that I’ll never be able to carry.  Also, it goes BLAM!

– I’d almost forgotten how QUIET Lissaville Gun Club is!  It took me a few minutes to acclimate to the noisy-noisy firing at the Charlotte range, but I think I did okay.

– BAD RANGE MANNERS!  BAD!  BAD!!!  There were two young women at the end of the line who:
a) transferred their guns off the firing line to the table behind us to reload them
b) did so with the slides closed
c) were careless with their muzzles as they did so.
Seriously, Mike and I were horrified.  The second time they did it (that we noticed), Mike was at the firing line and I was taking notes.  The woman retreated from the firing line with a closed gun held sort-of-aimed towards my knees and I hastily took an exaggerated step back, my eyes wide.  The woman immediately pointed the gun at the floor and apologized, which mollified me slightly, but the only reason we didn’t inform management was that they left shortly thereafter.  I can’t imagine such behavior at Lissaville Gun Club or Manchester Firing Line; they’d have been tackled!

– I look at my shooting results with strange guns at a noisy range, and I’m proud of myself.  My marksmanship has improved immensely over the last few months (as has Mike’s).  Hooray!!

Happy Monday, all!

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Posted by Lissa on February 18, 2010

Apparently Rosie “First time fire melted steel” O’Donnell and Janeane “That is nothing but a bunch of teabagging rednecks” Garofalo had a little chat the other day.  It was about as lovely as you’d expect, but this is the part that caught my eye:

GAROFALO: But here’s another thing with the type of mindset, like, like, I keep saying rightwinger, I don’t know what else to call it. A person that lacks empathy…Karl Rove, Frank Luntz, the guy who comes up with the talking points at these meetings. Grover Norquist. They have no shame. You can’t embarrass them. They have no problem, and they know that they, who they’re lying to. The base if you will. It need not be given facts, need not be fair-minded or open-minded to anything. And you, when you talk that way to people, the way Rush talks to people, the way he lies to people, you can’t have respect for him. You couldn’t possibly respect who’s listening to you if you lied to them the way that they do. They use these people as a blunt instrument.

“Truth”, to Janeane, is apparently what is agreed-upon between her and Rosie O’Donnell.  Anything that Rush Limbaugh, Brit Hume, Greta van Susteren, etc. says is not “truth” and is a lie.

A mindset like that nicely excuses the listener from ever watching, let alone researching, the hated Fox News.  Or really to any opposing viewpoint.  Why bother to listen when you already “know” the opposing viewpoint is lying?

It made me think of this fairly well-known Carl Sagan quote:

“A fire-breathing dragon lives in my garage.”

Suppose … I seriously make such an assertion to you. Surely you’d want to check it out, see for yourself….

“Show me,” you say. I lead you to my garage. You look inside and see a ladder, empty paint cans, an old tricycle—but no dragon.

“Where’s the dragon?” you ask.

“Oh, she’s right here,” I reply, waving vaguely. “I neglected to mention that she’s an invisible dragon.”

You propose spreading flour on the floor of the garage to capture the dragon’s footprints.

“Good idea,” I say, “but this dragon floats in the air.”

Then you’ll use an infrared sensor to detect the invisible fire.

“Good idea, but the invisible fire is also heatless.”

You’ll spray-paint the dragon and make her visible.

“Good idea, except she’s an incorporeal dragon and the paint won’t stick.”

And so on. I counter every physical test you propose with a special explanation of why it won’t work.

Now, what’s the difference between an invisible, incorporeal, floating dragon who spits heatless fire and no dragon at all? If there’s no way to disprove my contention, no conceivable experiment that would count against it, what does it mean to say that my dragon exists? Your inability to invalidate my hypothesis is not at all the same thing as proving it is true. Claims that cannot be tested, assertions immune to disproof are veridically worthless, whatever value they may have in inspiring us or in exciting our sense of wonder. What I’m asking you do comes down to believing, in the absence of evidence, on my say-so.

The only thing you’ve really learned from my insistence that there’s a dragon in my garage is that something funny is going on inside my head. You’d wonder, if no physical tests apply, what convinced me. The possibility that it was a dream or a hallucination would certainly enter your mind. But then why am I taking it so seriously? Maybe I need help. At the least, maybe I’ve seriously underestimated human fallibility….

Now another scenario: Suppose it’s not just me. Suppose that several people of your acquaintance, including people who you’re pretty sure don’t know each other, all tell you they have dragons in their garages—but in every case the evidence is maddeningly elusive. All of us admit we’re disturbed at being gripped by so odd a conviction so ill-supported by the physical evidence. None of us is a lunatic. We speculate about what it would mean if invisible dragons were really hiding out in garages all over the world, with us humans just catching on. I’d rather it not be true, I tell you. But maybe all those ancient European and Chinese myths about dragons weren’t myths after all…

Gratifyingly, some dragon-size footprints in the flour are now reported. But they’re never made when a skeptic is looking. An alternative explanation presents itself: On close examination it seems clear that the footprints could have been faked. Another dragon enthusiast shows up with a burnt finger and attributes it to a rare physical manifestation of the dragon’s fiery breath. But again, other possibilities exist. We understand that there are other ways to burn fingers besides the breath of invisible dragons. Such “evidence”—no matter how important the dragon advocates consider it—is far from compelling. Once again, the only sensible approach is tentatively to reject the dragon hypothesis, to be open to future data, and to wonder what the cause might be that so many apparently sane and sober people share the same strange delusion.

If you firmly believe in the fire-breathing dragon, what would it take for you to seriously consider that the dragon may not be there?

If you firmly believe the opposing viewpoint is nothing but lies, what would it take for you to seriously consider that they might be considering the same facts as you, just coming to a different conclusion?

It was the war in Afghanistan that did it for me.  Body counts were simple enough to be widely predicted before and during the invasion and easily fact-checked some years later.  It was pretty clear that the doomsday prophecies by the media didn’t come true (at least not back then; there’s still room for disaster).  That was enough to snap me out of the comfortable assumption that everyone who disagreed with me was lying.

What would it take for Rosie and Janeane?

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A perfect day

Posted by Lissa on February 17, 2010

It was, really.  I complain enough about my bad days that I should share my wonderful days, no?  So let me tell you about this past Sunday . . .

  • Woke up to smell the roses.  No really, I brought home a vase of beautiful roses that a Certain Someone sent me at work:
  • Played at the shelter with some fabulous kitties!  We’ve had a great start to 2010 for adoptions, but as soon as we free up space, more come in.  It just so happens that the current batch are almost all sweet and friendly — a rarity!
  • In fact, the only trouble was with one little girl named Cherie.  A five-month old black female weighing perhaps five pounds, she FLEW at me when I opened the cage!  Seriously, the door was only open about four inches when she LAUNCHED herself at my shoulder.  She bounced off and I caught her halfway to the floor while involuntarily shrieking “OH MY GOD!”  But all she wanted was a snuggle, so I wrapped her up in my shirt and held her with one hand while tidying with the other.  Want want want!!!
  • Came home to sip delicious coffee and nibble bakery pastries with my sweetie.
  • Had a good day at the range!  My double-taps are still problematic — I can drill the first shot, but following it quickly with a second shot tends me to make me veer off to the right — but still, I’m getting better, and that’s fun!
  • Humiliated my cat (always something to make one’s day!)
  • Got all gussied up and headed off to town for a romantic Valentine’s Day dinner!

    We went to a lovely little place called Bistro du Midi — the food is fabulous! And the portions are small, so you can try more things and not feel horribly guilty about it 🙂  For appetisers, we had fried artichoke hearts with aioli, as well as prawns provencale (with dried-tomato butter and fresh pesto):

    For our entrees, Mike selected venison with roasted chestnuts and I feasted on beef filet; we shared our dishes as well as the ratatouille (not served by a rat, sorry) and a side dish of mushrooms and chestnuts.  Everything was absolute divine!
  • And as for what we did for the rest of the night . . . well, that’s just none of your business 🙂

Happy Valentine’s Day, sweetie!  Thanks for making mine perfect!

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Movie Review: Zombieland

Posted by Lissa on February 16, 2010

Short review: Gross but funny!

Longer review: No, seriously, the special effects part of this movie were GROSS.  Gross enough that I looked at the chili I was about to heat up for dinner, and looked at the screen, and asked Mike to kill the movie and put on a TV show until we were done eating.  That gross.  Slobbering-blood-and-gnawing-tendons gross.

Whoever thought up and executed this movie had a pretty wacky sense of humor.  It was enjoyable . . . but have I mentioned I’m a scary movie wuss? Complete and utter wimp when it comes to anything creepy or crawly or blood-and-guts-y.  The Shining makes me keep lights on at night for weeks.  Ditto The Sixth Sense. (It’s been long enough that I can watch Sixth Sense and still be functional, but I’m ONLY allowed to watch it in the daylight.  Same goes for Sin City.)

So, when I popped awake at 3 AM, the first thing I did was frantically check Mike’s mouth for signs of blood.  (Thank you Lasik!)  Seeing as how he was not drooling nasty bodily fluids, I assured myself he was still human, movies were only movies and I was a childish moron, and closed my eyes.

I did the same at 3:03.

And again at 3:05.

And again at 3:08.

You get the picture.

It took me until 4 AM until I was brave enough to get out of bed and go use the litter box.

Thank God Mike is a sound sleeper.  Because if he’d rolled over and gnarled at me, I swear I would have screamed.

And possibly elbowed him in the face.

I would not have used any deadlier force than that, because I’m not that stupid.

Only a wuss.

So — funny movie, don’t plan on eating chili while watching it, and check your loved ones for blood during the night as necessary.

Happy Tuesday!

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Happy Caturday – Breda Sponsored Edition!

Posted by Lissa on February 15, 2010

Yes, it’s still Caturday — I have the day off work, so it’s still the weekend!  Mike was home for the long weekend, and so he was able to assist making an Elf.  It’s like Cupid, only sillier!!

Teh Rajah is not amoosed:

Many many thanks to Breda, who sent Rajah the lovely costume.  Remember, it’s not “cat-torture,” it’s “enrichment” — she told me so!  Thanks Breda!

UPDATE: Breda links with a mea culpa.  Yes, it’s all your fault (or credit!) but no worries – the cat blames only me 😉

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