firebyrd: (Default)
2012-10-15 12:14 pm
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(no subject)

Klio is practicing her talking in the other room. Apparently she's gotten pretty good at imitating my voice, as she said, "Enoch," and he came in the office to ask me what I wanted. I am highly amused by this.
firebyrd: (Default)
2012-08-10 05:39 pm
Entry tags:

The Kindle is Dead; Long Live the Kindle.

Alas, I broke my Kindle a few days ago. It slid off my desk a couple of times and I guess one of those times was one too many and hit in just the right spot. Of course, my warranty finished up back in April, so that was that. I figured it wouldn't hurt to call Amazon just in case, though, because of the way they bend over backwards to take care of Kindle owners. Sure enough, it was out of warranty, but if you call in cases like this, they'll give you a discount on a new one. So I got $15 off, which almost pays for my new two year warranty. Since between me and the kids I've managed to have two broken in 27 months, the warranty is extremely worth it, even with as cheap as the new Kindles are.

I was very sad at first, because I've very much enjoyed my 2nd gen. I've played around on my mom's 3rd gen, and while the display was better, I liked the overall design of mine better. I've also not been impressed with the reading app on my Fire (seem to be oversensitive when I don't want to change pages but undersensitive when I do), so I decided against getting a Kindle Touch. I considered getting another one with a keyboard, because hunting and pecking with the joystick does not appeal to me at all, but as I thought about it, it's not like I type into it /that/ often. Book titles are the most common thing and if it annoys me that much, I can do it on my computer or Fire. I decided it wasn't worth paying three times as much just to get a keyboard, and I never listen to audio on my e-reader, so I opted for the plain, simple Kindle.

It got here today and wow. I feel like I entered the market at a good time, when I still got lots of features and whatnot (like not having to pay extra for a wall charger), but wow, these new ones are /awesome/. It's about 2/3rds the size of my 2nd gen and about half the weight. The case I got weighs as much or more than the device itself does. I was hoping that would mean I could stand to keep it in the case all the time and lower the chances of another fall killing it, but alas, at least today I can't. The weight is close to the same as my old Kindle, but because the form factor is different, it's too uncomfortable. We are having thunderstorms that are causing my hands to just hurt a lot, though, so I'll give it another go when I'm in less pain in general. It would be preferable to not have to take it in and out because it's such a snug fit, it's difficult to get out.

In addition to the size, it's wireless only. That's a plus in my book, since our bad cell reception is not limited only to Sprint in our house. I've had trouble accessing the Amazon store through the free 3G on my old Kindle as well. Once I got my network info set up, I was amazed at how much faster things download. Actually, the whole device works much faster, with the page refreshing much faster whether just reading or quickly flipping between lists.

It's supposed to be one of their "sponsored" versions, with ads and the like, which I was not looking forward to. When I requested a non-sponsored one on the phone, though, the guy regretfully told me they didn't have any available for their replacement program. He said the ads weren't that bad, only on the screen saver and the bottom of the home page (not showing up at all when reading), and that most people didn't care, though he admitted Kindle owners from before the sponsored ones did tend to be those who cared. He indicated that there was a way to pay a fee to upgrade out of the sponsored version once I got it, so I went ahead and figured I'd give it a try. I can't speak for what the ads are like, however, because thus far, none are showing up. I'm wondering if I somehow ended up without a sponsored one or if the person who input the actual sale fixed it for me. Either way, I have no complaints so far!

The screen and display are super nice. The screen is the same size, but so much crisper. I'm also thrilled with the weight without the case. Even with the case, I'll now be able to slip it into my purse much easier than before. So, overall, my sadness has abated a great deal. There can definitely be advantages to breaking tech devices!
firebyrd: (Default)
2012-07-28 08:23 pm

Kids!

A little while ago, Eric comes in, asking me if I've seen Bea anywhere. I hadn't. Having looked through all the house, he went outside. Figuring that she'd fallen asleep in some weird spot as she's wont to do in the late afternoon, I go and look through the house everywhere I can think of. No Bea. I just couldn't imagine her wandering off, she's not the type, but I didn't know where else she could be, so I headed to the bathroom to get ready to go out and help Eric search.

I flip on the light and...there she is. Sound asleep on the toilet.
firebyrd: (Default)
2012-06-14 06:51 pm
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Good Chicken News

So after mulling and musing the other day, I went and grabbed the chicken-formerly-known-as-the-black-one. Definitely a much bigger, redder comb than the ameracauna hens, but as I was really paying attention, I finally realized that it was an entirely different kind of comb (yeah, there are different kinds, who knew?). I haven't really paid much attention since they were tiny, at which point they were all nubs and not really obvious what type. Ameracaunas have a pea comb (I misremembered when I called them walnut in my last post) and cochins have a single comb (like with the phoenixes, the kind of comb you think of when you think of a rooster). The black one's comb? Clearly a single comb at this point. And the tail? Extremely fluffy, which when they were younger seemed like it was growing longer, but at this point is clearly a cochin thing (they're very fluffy birds).

At this point, I decided to find some pictures of cochins. When the bird's feet turned yellow and started growing some feathers, the lady at preschool and I started hypothesizing it might be an ameracauna/bantam cochin hybrid, as the farm she got the eggs from had both (and in fact, she bought eggs of both). Additionally, as the other chickens of the same age have grown, the black one has stayed noticeably smaller. I'd briefly seen cochins when the preschool lady brought one of hers in, but I honestly couldn't remember what they looked like, so I hit the interwebs. Sure enough. The hens have a small size single comb, tiny wattles, and fluffy tail. None of them look anything like the black one in coloring, but the coloring is clearly that of an ameracauna, as the rooster and one of the other ameracauna hens look much the same, just with varying amounts of black and white.

So I guess I have eight hens (good thing I didn't pick up more chicks from the preschool lady). I'm extremely curious now what color eggs the black one is going to lay. She came in a greenish-blue ameracauna egg, but that's presumably because of the hen that laid her. So is she going to lay brown cochin eggs or be what's called an easter egger, an ameracauna hybrid that lays the colorful eggs despite the mixed heritage? Hopefully I'll be able to figure it out since her eggs are almost certainly going to be smaller.

The kids don't seem to have a particular favorite at this point, but I have to say I'm relieved to not have to eat the one they were so fond of as a chick.
firebyrd: (Default)
2012-06-09 01:15 pm

(no subject)

Bea had been whining about being thirsty for a while. I had been asking her to make her request for a cup in a nice voice to no avail. Finally, the following exchange happened.

Bea, whining: But I want a cup.
Me: Since you won't talk in a nice voice, I guess you're out of luck.
Bea: I'm not out of luck, I'm not Good Luck Bear!
firebyrd: (Default)
2012-06-04 05:51 am
Entry tags:

(no subject)

This past Saturday was our 11th anniversary. Last year, for our tenth, we took a weekend trip to the Anniversary Inn, a small local hotel chain for couples with themed rooms/suites. We had such a great time that we decided to make it a tradition, so we headed back up there for the weekend. Last year, we stayed in the Caribbean Sea Cave room. It had been a hard decision, though, so this year we picked the close runner-up, the Lake Powell Suite.

Last year, the kids stayed with Eric's parents since my mom was still recovering from her breast cancer treatment. This year they went to my mom's. She had my dad come over and they apparently had a wild weekend, watching movies, going out to eat, going to a petting zoo, and I don't know what all. It was enough that the kids were zombies when we got to her house this afternoon and barely acknowledged our presence (though they must have had fun, as when my mom swung by our house on Saturday to check on the pets, Bea started crying about how she didn't want to go home, she wanted to go back to Grandma's house).

Eric and I, on the other hand, were extremely boring. We sat around in bed and slept, read, and rewatched The Lord of the Rings (making lots of bro and bromance jokes partially influenced by a couple of guys in our raiding group). It was very nice. We did go see The Avengers Friday night before we headed to the hotel, so I guess we weren't completely snooze worthy (fun popcorn flick, though extremely silly, since the Marvel universe is ridiculous if you dare think about it even a little). At any rate, it was nice to rest, have some time together, and recharge while getting to soak in a huge jacuzzi tub and watch fish in an aquarium at the same time. Saturday night, we ate at the Brazilian steakhouse we visited last year, which was yummy again.

In the rooms they leave a little notebook for people to write about their stay. There was a plastic lizard on a ledge above the mini fridge and a lot of people wrote negative comments about him. That made me sad, because he was cute for a cheap plastic lizard. I noted in my comment that he was welcome to come home with us if he was really such a problem. One of the notes really made me facepalm though. The woman (99% of the time it seems to be the women who write the things) first noted that their lives were busy, seeming to be run by school and work. Okay, normal enough. As the note went on, she talked about how they decided to stay for their...nine month anniversary. Really? After a mere nine months you're having trouble focusing on each other? If you're having that problem so early in your relationship, you're likely in for a rough road ahead. At nine months, you should still be in the goo-goo eyed honeymoon stage!

I'd really like to try eating at the Melting Pot one of these days, so next year we might try one of the Salt Lake locations, but we'll see. Logan is so nice and peaceful and is a tad cooler, so it's a nice place to stay. Wherever we end up, I'm sure it'll be great and be fun to celebrate another year together.
firebyrd: (Default)
2012-04-23 02:42 pm

Star Wars: The Old Republic Review

I've been playing Star Wars: The Old Republic the last few weeks. The tl;dr version is that the story is fun the first time through, but the game built around the story is pretty bad. More behind the cut )
firebyrd: (Default)
2012-03-26 07:56 pm
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Chick Update

The phoenix is doing really well. Last night, all four chicks somehow climbed out of the box inside the brooder. Since they were going in and out as they pleased and all seemed to be getting along, I went ahead and just removed it. In addition to climbing, it's visibly more active now, walking and running around and just acting far more like a normal chick. Because the part of the injury that actually bled was around the toenail, I'm watching that to see if it falls off, but so far things are looking really good.

Unfortunately, the silkie died sometime in the past few hours. Its feather development was the least progressed of the new batch of chicks, so I'm assuming it was very young, probably only around a week old. Given that as well as the lack of any signs of disease, I suspect some sort of congenital problem.

I was going to just throw it away, but then was inspired to get the kids involved. I asked Enoch if he wanted to bury it instead, which he agreed to. I had picked up some strawberry plants at the farm store that I hadn't planted yet, so I told them we could plant one with the chick to remember it by. Everything was fine and the kids had fun "helping" dig the hole. Then, after the chick was in the ground and the strawberry planted over top, Enoch became agitated. "But what if the bugs get it!" he said. When I explained that the bugs were going to eat the chick, his face crumpled and tears started oozing down his cheeks. After some hugs and explanation of decomposition, he calmed down. He must be starting to get some inkling of what death really means. This is the first time he's reacted badly to any discussion related to it.
firebyrd: (Default)
2012-03-24 09:52 pm
Entry tags:

I'm a sucker

Eric spent most of the day working on the chicken coop so we can get the chicks outside. They've outgrown their brooder and then some. Alas, he didn't quite get it done enough to make the transfer, but hopefully Monday morning we can get them out there, as the biggest thing that needs to get done to let them be out is getting the lid on the nest boxes.

As it wasn't clear whether he would get done or not today, I went to the store to get a food container for the coop as I hadn't previously done so. Chick season is apparently in full swing now, as they had tons more than when I'd been there last. I was browsing through the various breeds available out of curiosity when I saw a worker poking at a chick. When she caught my glance, she said, "Oh, don't worry, he isn't sick, he's just hurt. He'll be fine."

Wait a minute...he's /just/ hurt? I mean, they must go through hundreds, if not thousands of chicks, but that seems like a pretty cavalier attitude to me. This chick was just collapsed on the floor of the cage, eyes closed, shuddering in what seemed likely to be pain. She made a further remark about how he'd gotten his foot stuck in the wire on the floor of the cage and went off to do something. Looking closer, I could see he even had fresh blood on one of his toes. She came back a couple of minutes later and noticed the blood too, so moved him into a different cage, but one that still had chicks. You know, more of the animals that so commonly pecks its fellows to death that it's extremely common to cut the tips of their beaks off.

I'd been wrestling with my conscience for a few minutes, and at this point, I told her that I'd just take him. She was surprised and a bit dubious, but when I insisted, she went all enthusiastic about how he was going to be fine. Then she moved in for the kill and convinced me to take a silkie chick that was all by itself. They're not good layers, but I felt bad for it and it is a breed I really like, so I let myself be suckered. The hurt chick is a golden phoenix, and to finish things off I got a dominique pullet and a silver wyandotte pullet (who turned out to be the last one, so she probably would have suckered me into taking it if I hadn't wanted to in the first place).

I was possibly going to get some more chicks from the lady at preschool, so this wasn't completely out of the blue, but I wasn't quite ready for more tiny chicks until the big ones are outside, so I had to kludge another brooder together. Given the phoenix's injured status, I wasn't sure whether it should be with the others and so put it in a box inside the brooder, but the other three have somehow managed to all climb inside it. They're surprisingly agile for how tiny they are (and that's another amazing thing, to see the comparison between the old chicks and the new-they grow so fast!). Hopefully the little thing will be okay. Its right leg is mostly just a big bruise. It's sitting up a bit more now, so that's a hopeful sign, but I'll have to keep a close eye for both bullying and pasty butt. I think it'd probably have died to pasty butt at the store even if the other chicks hadn't killed it because it's clearly not going to be moving much for a while and they don't bother to check them. I know they have tons of chicks to deal with, but it seems like they could have a separate container to put checked ones into and just go through them a cage at a time once every day or two.

My dad says he has a friend with chickens, so he's going to see if she can take the black one if he is in fact a cockerel. I think she's one of his neighbors up in the valley, where a great deal, if not most, of the land is zoned for agriculture, so here's hoping she's both able and willing to take a mutt rooster. The phoenix and the silkie are both from straight runs, so there's a 50% chance those are cockerels too, but hopefully they'd be easier to find homes for with phoenixes being less common and silkies being such great pets.
firebyrd: (Default)
2012-03-22 04:38 pm
Entry tags:

Chickens

I was speaking to the lady from preschool again and it turns out the person she got the eggs from bred not just Ameraucanas, but also Cochins...a breed with yellow, feathered feet. So at this point, we think the black one is probably a hybrid with those yellow feet and one line of feathers on them. I'm back from not caring to really, really hoping he's not a boy. He just managed to greatly endear himself to me.

They're mostly feathered at this point and it's really nice out anyway, so they're going to be going outside as soon as the coop gets built, hopefully on Saturday. The kids have been playing outside yesterday and today and loving it, so I thought I'd try taking a chick out and seeing how it did. I took one of the friendlier ones out with Bea earlier, and it hung around a bit before running like crazy for some bushes and trying to hide. I managed to grab it before it ventured too deep into some wild roses and all was well.

After getting Enoch from preschool, though, all of a sudden Bea didn't want to go outside, and when I made her, she threw a fit. So to try to calm her down, I grabbed the black chick to take outside to amuse her. He certainly succeeded in cheering her up, but he just hung with me and Enoch. After a bit, I started moving away from him a bit at a time to see what he would do. After I got five or six feet away, he started exploring for perhaps thirty seconds...and then flew over to me and landed on my shoulder. It was quite clearly deliberate that he was coming to be with /me/. He then pooped all over me, but after almost twenty years with parrots (not to mention almost five with kids), that's hardly a new experience for me.

Must not get attached, must not get attached, must not get attached...
firebyrd: (Default)
2012-03-20 02:54 pm
Entry tags:

Chickens

Thanks a bunch for the replies on my last post!

The chicks continue to grow like crazy. They've got enough feathers now that I turned off the heat lamp yesterday. Their bellies are rather bare and they still have down on their heads, but otherwise, they've got real feathers now. They've also gotten huge. Takes two hands to hold them securely now.

Unfortunately, the black one the kids like so much is almost certainly a cockerel. I was talking to the lady from preschool about him, and when I mentioned his very different behavior, she broke in to insist that didn't mean anything. But when I went on to mention his much bigger, more developed comb, extremely distinct at just two weeks old, she had to admit I was probably right. His legs have also gone bright yellow, extremely different from the greenish tint of the others'. My brain is telling me that's also a good sign of maleness, though I'm not sure where I'm coming up with that from. Since it is so different from every other chick, though, I suspect my brain is right. I mostly feel bad for the kids' sake. What seemed like a friendly, outgoing personality in a two day old chick has actually proven to be pretty wild. The others settle down pretty well when being held, but he freaks like he's being killed.

The lady from preschool came up with all sorts of schemes to get him neutered so I could keep him. Um, no. Aside from the personality issues and the difficulties in finding someone to actually do something like that safely (you can buy kits to do it yourself, which is horrific to even think about), I'm not going to spend hundreds of dollars to neuter a $2.50 chicken that's going to live maybe 10 years max. I also don't want to waste the space and feed on a completely useless bird when I could instead use it for a laying hen. I can't say how practical I can manage to be in a few years when the hens get too old to lay, but at this point, I've deliberately worked to not get attached so I can do the practical thing.

I honestly think the others are probably hens. None of them have a comb as big or the yellow legs. Now that their feathers are in most of the way, the Americaunas are easily distinguishable, which is nice. We've got a dark brown one, a reddish brown one, and black and white ones with differing emphases on the black or white. The sussexes still look pretty identical, though. We'll see if anything on their belly feathers helps as those come in, but I have a suspicion that they're going to become Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum just because I won't be able to tell which is which anyway.
firebyrd: (Default)
2012-03-01 12:48 pm

Bugs!

This is a fascinating story about the rediscovery of a thought to be extinct walking stick and the efforts to try to keep that extinction from becoming a reality. Make sure to watch the video of one hatching, it's fascinating. You can only see a bit of egg but the bug keeps coming and coming and coming. Obviously, on reflection, there must be much more egg buried in the substrate, but it's rather shocking at first to see so much bug come out of such a little egg!
firebyrd: (Default)
2012-02-27 01:20 pm
Entry tags:

(no subject)

While I think the word "privilege" gets thrown around too much, sometimes things just reek of it. A thread on /. devolved into basically calling people who don't eat healthy stupid and lazy. "Eating healthy is cheaper than fast food!" was declared over and over. Some people tried to bring up things such as the opportunity costs of cooking, but were mostly brushed off. What amazes me is that no one seemed to understand that it's not a dichotomy between eating healthy and eating fast food/expensive frozen dinners/pizza/etc. While eating healthy may be cheaper than eating fast food all the time, eating healthy /is/ more expensive than eating cheaply.

Apples are cheaper than many kinds of fresh fruit and veggies. One still costs $0.30-$0.50 each depending on the size. How many people will one apple feed compared to the $0.50 box of generic mac and cheese? How much does ramen cost compared to carrots? And so on and so forth. You have to look at all that before you even consider the opportunity cost of cooking. Throwing a pan of water on to boil and dumping a box of something in takes a lot less time and energy than chopping up vegetables and doing whatever it is that you're going to be doing with them. The variety of cheap frozen veggies is pretty slim, at least around here, consisting mostly of peas and corn, which aren't exactly the healthiest of veggies anyway. California mixes of cauliflower, broccoli, and carrots are usually more expensive. Anything other than those five things are either very expensive and/or inedible (seriously, even when used in cooking, frozen spinach is beyond disgusting, and I /like/ spinach!).

I've had this argument with people before, most notably with someone who lives in San Diego. The privilege just drips from someone like that. Let's see, you live in an area where much of the produce of the Western US, if not the whole country, is grown. You have farmers' markets year round. You don't have the cost of transportation added into the price of things, and you're trying to tell /me/ that eating fruits and vegetables is cheaper than anything else? Drives me crazy.

We're actually going to try joining a CSA this year and have my mom chop the stuff up for me so that I can hopefully use it, since the opportunity cost is as much if not more of an issue for me personally. Hopefully that's going to help us eat healthier at least. But for people who have even less money than us, that live in areas where there is little local stuff available other than in summer, or where there are even no grocery stores, just 7-11 type stuff...eating healthy is most certainly /not/ cheap nor is it is easy.
firebyrd: (Default)
2012-02-16 10:32 am

Words of Wisdom from Enoch

From last night-

Me: Time to go to bed!
Enoch: Not right now, I'm too busy.

Today, after a discussion about how Bea and I are separate people-

Enoch: Me and Daddy are the same person.
Me: No, you're different people too.
Enoch: But I don't want be different people!

Today, after I gave Bea some kisses:

Enoch: Why you kiss my friend Beatrix?
Me: Because I love her.
Enoch: I love my dad.

ETA a bonus from Bea:

Bea: That's okay, Mom, I'm not real.
firebyrd: (Default)
2012-02-10 11:54 am
Entry tags:

Custom Pony Christmas Cactus

Found pictures of the ponies I never posted before, so got them edited and up on my website. I'll be breaking them up into different posts since lots of the pictures are big.

Christmas Cactus )
firebyrd: (Default)
2012-02-10 11:53 am
Entry tags:

Custom Pony Dragon Dreams

Found pictures of the ponies I never posted before, so got them edited and up on my website. I'll be breaking them up into different posts since lots of the pictures are big.

Dragon Dreams )
firebyrd: (Default)
2012-02-10 11:52 am
Entry tags:

Custom Pony Ixion

Found pictures of the ponies I never posted before, so got them edited and up on my website. I'll be breaking them up into different posts since lots of the pictures are big.

Ixion )
firebyrd: (Default)
2012-02-10 11:50 am
Entry tags:

Custom Pony Rapunzel

Found pictures of the ponies I never posted before, so got them edited and up on my website. I'll be breaking them up into different posts since lots of the pictures are big.

Rapunzel )
firebyrd: (Default)
2012-02-10 11:49 am
Entry tags:

Custom Pony Rave

Found pictures of the ponies I never posted before, so got them edited and up on my website. I'll be breaking them up into different posts since lots of the pictures are big.

Rave )