Friday, October 23, 2009

Escape! Escape!

Well, there was a little excitement around here last night! Leo tried to introduce himself to Treelo a little earlier than planned!

I decided our two new kittehs had been cooped up long enough, so I hatched a plan to let them out so they could explore most of the upstairs area of the house. Given the configuration of the hallway I could block off the kitty gate at the top of the stairs and put Hubbard in the master bedroom and close the door. So, I set up a seven-foot tall "wall" of moving boxes to block off the hallway and figured that would be ok for their outing. Wrong-o, moose-breath!

It took Leo less than ten minutes to figure out how to circumvent the box blockade, and he then very quickly and quietly jumped over the 48-inch high gate without me seeing him. I was watching Rocky at the time, and the only thing that worked in my favor is I heard an ever-so-slight rattle from the gate as Leo cleared it. So, I hurriedly put Rocky back in the guest room, and went after Leo.

After getting downstairs, I could see neither Leo or Treelo. So, I started calling. I walked over and turned on the light in the living room, and here is Treelo under the coffee table, hunched down, ears back, and she starts growling. I followed her gaze and found Leo sitting in the dining room, next to the sliding glass door that goes out to our sunroom. Oh, joy.

So I quickly grabbed Leo and threw him over my shoulder. He immediately dug all his front claws into my skin and began hissing angrily. I then hot-footed it through the living room, avoiding stepping on Treelo, who is by now following me trying to get to Leo. I managed to make it up the stairs and through the gate with Leo clamped to my shoulder, hissing all the way.

As I opened the door to the guest room, Rocky makes a break for it. I threw Leo on the bed by the door and just managed to catch Rocky by the tail. After another short struggle, I had them both back in the guest room.

Then, it was time for damage control. Checked in on Hubbard...he's sleeping on the bed...good. Went downstairs and started looking for Treelo. After calling her a couple of times, she very cautiously looks around the corner of the couch in the family room, and on seeing me, comes trotting over wanting loves and reassurance. Ok, that could have been worse. So, I sit down with her on the couch for a while and pet her until she falls asleep. Then I head upstairs to see how the boys are fairing. They both are very happy to see me, and both want loves and skritches just like normal. Whew! Looks like I avoided a nasty "incident" this time.

So, I went downstairs and poured myself a double scotch. *grin*

I'm now working on a better way to block off the gate, so they can't get downstairs anymore until formal introductions are in order!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Well, Now We've Gone And Done It!

I would like to introduce to the world, the two newest members of our clan.

Meet Rocky...

And Leo...

I apologize for the crude pictures, but they were all I could get tonight. I will have some better ones as they begin to settle down and become calmer.

We met these two on Saturday and they just seemed like a natural pair. They were hanging out in a big box pet store, waiting for a home. They actually both came from a no-kill sanctuary in the area, and were just sorta "on display" to get more exposure for adoption. Well, looks like it worked!

To be fair, we did look at other shelters in the area, including the one where we adopted Ziggy, but none of the other kittehs "spoke" to our hearts like these two did. I think we made the right choice. Time, however, will be the ultimate judge.

They are quarantined in our guest suite for now, with all the comforts of home. We also have the Feliway running and have added some Rescue Remedy to the water. The combination of the two seemed to help ease the transition to the new family for Ziggy, as well as the move for Hubbard and Treelo. I see no reason it will not work for these two. And both seem to like a pinch of the 'nip, so we have used it liberally in their space. *grin*

My ESM is going to visit her parents this weekend, so we are planning on a vet visit early next week for FIV tests, and general check-ups. They both seem healthy, despite being in kennels for the last week or so. We'll keep a close eye out for signs of "shelter croup" or any other upper respiratory problems...but we've seen none so far.

I'll post more as we learn more about these two. For now, stop by the comments section and say your hello's to them!

-- Sundown, Out

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Garage Near Completion, and New Basement Plans

One more car to go! I just got one half of our garage cleared out so I can put one car away. I still have some more to do with the other side, but most of the boxes and stuff there is going down in the basement next weekend. My ESM is going to be gone then to visit her parents for a few days, and I plan to use the time to move stuff around and get the garage together for the winter.

The house is coming along pretty well. With the garage in shape for winter, now all we have left is the bedrooms, my office and ESM's art studio. *grin* Oh, and the basement! Can't forget the basement!

Speaking of which, I have a couple of ideas together for the basement remodel. Nothing is firm yet, but the demo is going to happen as soon as the weather gets cold and we have no yard work to do. Should only take a weekend or two to get the old stuff out. Anyone that wants to help, and get free passes to the home theater I'm planning to build, speak up! *lol*

Sunday, October 4, 2009

A Short Geek Diversion

This weekend, we took a break from working on the house, and went to one of my all-time favorite annual events here on the Eastern Slope of Colorado. The three-day high-end audio extravaganza known as Rocky Mountain Audiofest.

This is the largest consumer audio show in the country, and one of the best if you believe all the press this show has gotten over the last six years. They basically take over a high-rise hotel in the Denver Technological Center, clear the furniture out of over 180 guest rooms, and the exhibitors then set up all their gear in the rooms. This allows anyone who pays the ticket price ($10 per person for one day, but multi-day passes are available) to come through and hear some audio systems that most of us will never have the money to afford!

I have gone every year since the show came into being in 2003. And I always have a good time! And yes, my Everlasting SoulMate goes with me occasionally. She likes music, but tends to spend more time in the audio recordings room, pawing through vinyl and CDs.

One of the things I really enjoy about the show, besides looking at all the gear, is you can bring your own music and most exhibitors will allow you to listen to a song or two on their gear. There is something about hearing a pristine vintage recording of Tito Puente’s “El Cayuco” coming out of one set of speakers and amps that together cost more than a Cadillac CTS-V. *evil grin*

Now, I know some of you are thinking, “How come they charge so much? Is the gear really that much better?” In a word, yes. However, there is a caveat to that. You must be one of those people whose ears work differently than most to even think about paying that much for audio gear. Accomplished musicians know what I’m talking about. Most of us can listen to, and appreciate, the music we like. But, some folks can process much more information contained within the music and hear small nuances that others cannot. This show is full of this kind of gear that those folks would appreciate.

Now, before some of you all get huffy with me, I’m NOT an audio-snob! I’m not one of these boorish, elitist, nose-in-the-air snobs who walk around the show with a bundle of old jazz vinyl under their arms (“because digital music is sooo over-rated”), who won’t listen to anything without tubes in it (“Oh, digital electronics take so much away from the music!”), and would never even look at something that costs less than my car (“If it isn’t expensive, how can it be any good?”).

I do appreciate the value of good vinyl LPs. I have them. I listen to them. There are certain vintage recordings that will NEVER be released in a digital format, so the only way to hear them in on vinyl. My dad has a whole stack of those in his collection. But, I also understand that digital music is very, very good these days, and the convenience and overall ruggedness compared to an LP is much higher.

I am a geek audiophile. I appreciate not only the musical qualities and audio nuances of esoteric gear, but the technological innovation going on as well. I like to see a piece of equipment doing things in a new way, something that no one had thought of before. And, I appreciate the design aesthetics of the gear too. Follow the link above to the RMAF site and check out the pictures to see what I’m on about.

I have a somewhat eclectic taste in music. I like a LOT of different stuff. I have most everything in my personal collection, from classical symphonic and jazz music to oldies from the fifties to some of the hardest heavy-metal/thrash around. And I listen to it all, depending on my mood. Witness my taste by what I took to the show in my CD holder:

  • Michael Aggson – Objects In Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear (A good friend of mine who writes and records his own music, and is an accomplished guitarist)
  • Herb Alpert – Definitive Hits
  • Andy McKee – Dreamcatcher
  • Andy McKee & Don Ross – The Thing That Came From Somewhere
  • SouND MiNDS – Jazzorros (An uncle of mine played in this band as the keyboardist)
  • Men of Steel – Live: Men of Steel (Steel-string acoustic guitar music by four of the best players, Dan Crary, Don Ross, Beppe Gambetta and Tony McManus)
  • Chuck Mangione – 20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection
  • Various Artists – Windham Hill Records Sampler ’82
  • Phil Keaggy – Acoustic Sketches
  • Shaw-Blades – Influence (Tommy Shaw from Styx and Jack Blades from Night Ranger)

Obviously, I don’t take really wild stuff to the show. Some people’s tastes are not as broad as mine, and Metallica or Green Day just aren’t heard very much at the show. You tend to hear a lot of jazz, new-age, some classical, and just a smattering of rock.

There are always new companies at the show, and I enjoy seeing what is new this year. However, I also make sure to stop by a few rooms of those who have some of my favorite gear. YG Acoustics has made appearances at the last several shows, and believe me, if I could afford it I would have a pair of their floor-standing Anat Reference II’s. They have some of the cleanest, most accurate sound I have ever heard. Awesome.

Ok, another short geek moment. I stopped by the room of Obad Imports. They are a small company in Canada selling, amongst other things, KingRex class-T amplifiers. These are some of the most interesting devices to come around in a long time. They are an inexpensive (by high-end standards) digital amp, that sounds for all the world like a $10,000+ single-ended valve tube amp. The music produced is wonderful! I have been reading about them online, but this was my first chance to listen to one of them with my own ears. I will be getting one soon!

This year, my time at the show was a little shorter than normal. The hotel, with almost 200 rooms full of amps and audio gear, had a major power failure, complete with fire alarm and a full evacuation of the building! That’s the first time I’ve seen that at the show! *grin*

Anyhow, I did have a good time as always, came home with a few new SACDs to listen to and a whole bag full of swag. If you get a chance in early October, and love audio gear like I do…make plans to come out to Colorado and attend RMAF. You definitely won’t be disappointed. And, who knows, maybe you’ll see me there!

Happy Birthday, Grandpa!

My one remaining grandparent, my dad’s dad, just turned ninety. That’s right, 9-0! And he’s still in pretty good shape for being almost a century old. His mind isn’t as sharp as it once was, and he isn’t quite so fast on has feet anymore, but he’s still the loveable grandfather I remember from my youth. He actually had his party the day after our housewarming (see the earlier post). We went and had a good time with the whole extended family and a lot of his friends who are still around.

My aunt, who has dedicated a good portion of her life to doing genealogy for our family, had several poster-sized boards made up for the birthday party with pictures chronicling his life all the way back to when he was a boy. What wonderful images and memories! We asked for copies of a few, and I’ll post them when I get them.

Here are the men of our family, posing outside my house during our housewarming party. That’s me, my dad, my grandfather and my one uncle (left to right).

Happy Birthday Grandpa Bert!

Time Flies When You're Unpacking

Wow, it’s been three weeks since I posted! Where did the time go?

Well, I’ll tell you! *grin*

We spent the first two weeks preparing for our open-house/housewarming party. We decided even before we moved that we wanted to do an open-house to show off the new digs, and we wanted to do it very soon after we moved. Now I know what you’re saying, “That sounds like a lot of work for just after moving!” Well, it is. But, I had an ulterior motive. If we had to get the main living areas ready for a party, they would get finished! See, without the proper motivation, it would have taken us six months in our busy lives to get it done. This way, it only took one!

The party itself was, unfortunately, not quite as well-attended as we first thought it would be. One of Everlasting SoulMate’s friends had their family come down with flu. We’re not sure if it was piggy flu, but they were in NO shape to come. And we had a couple of other families that didn’t make it at the last-minute for other reasons. So, we’ve had plenty of leftovers to eat over the last week.

Follow the link here to a few shots from before and during the party.

This last week, we’ve been cleaning up from the party *grin* and taking a well-deserved rest. Before the party, we painted several rooms (including the kitchen, which was a job and a half!), did a ton of electrical work to replace switches and outlets and make sure the downstairs was up to snuff, finished hanging pictures and decorating the main living area, did yard-work and outside cleaning, etc. But, the place really looks like it’s coming together!

Oh, BTW, the jelly-making hasn’t happened yet. ESM got the juice made, but then the party prep started in earnest and she hasn’t gotten back to it. We have plenty more grapes to work with though.

Now begins the work on the garage (so we can get our cars under cover before the snow flies) and upstairs in the bedrooms, studio and office.