September 25, 2009

Friday Apollo

I've been somewhat busy recently - I had family in town for awhile, and that ate into my time. I played catch-up this week and am back on track. And bonus - I'm nearly done with my second Website (nevermind that the first isn't done). Keep an eye out for the link.

I like this picture of Apollo. The depth of field focus is a shade too tight, but because of how the light is and the general composition of the photo, it works nicely. Softens up the photo even more.

Apollo as Hoover vacuum.

Seeing as this is a Friday Apollo post, ya'all can probably guess what it is - Apollo's hair. Or more specifically, his tail.


September 21, 2009

On the day before first day of Fall

it snowed here.

To be precise, it snowed east, south and west of Denver, but not in Denver proper and some of the outlying towns like mine. I didn't get snow here, but the foothills and the mountains got some.

As I understand it, this is very unusual for Denver - we usually have warm-to-hot, dry weather until November, then it drops to the typical winter temperatures. The real snow doesn't come until late winter/early spring.

Is it one of the global warming symptoms? Who the hell knows? In one of the more recent bouts of global warming, Europe had a mini ice age, during the 1300s and 1400s. Don't ask me how it works - apparently even though the global average temperature rises, some regions of the world can experience extreme cold.

In snowed while it was technically still summer. Freaky.


September 18, 2009

Friday Apollo

I moved here with just what fit in my car - no furniture, no bed, nothing. I sleep on an airbed now, and it's actually pretty comfortable. I sat on the floor for six months to watch tv or read, refusing to shell out hundreds of dollars for a sofa because the odds were good that I might move again with just what fit in my car. I didn't want to spend that money only to put it out on the curb. After I got the jeep, the worry about fitting stuff in the car lifted a bit - it has a towing hookup, and I can rent a little trailer from uHaul for about $15-$20.

Last weekend - six months after moving here, I found a chair that I liked. And I got it for $20. It's straight out of the 70s with green vinyl that squelches everytime you get on or off it. And it sticks to your bare skin. I like it a lot because it's smaller than most furniture currently on the market - it doesn't dominate the room. And bonus - it's on wheels (tacky gold wheels), so I can easily move it out of the way if I want the extra space or to vacuum up Apollo's hair. It's been deemed comfy by my parents who insisted on testing it, and they are picky.

Apollo likes it too. In a week we've had it, we've already formed a new ritual where he'll plop down against the chair's side and stare at me and sighing loudly until I drape my arm over the side to give him a good petting. The chair is lower to ground than most other couches or chairs; it's easy to oblige. And that's how we spend our evenings: reading in the chair with him right by my side getting what he loves the most - attention.


September 15, 2009

U.S. Health Care

My initial impression is that, in short term, it will be expensive/costly - certainly more than $900M that's being touted right now, but in the long run, it will (hopefully) form the bones for an universal health care. And no, a universal health care system isn't bad - I've heard personal accounts from a number of people who live in Canada, Australia, France, Germany and Austria, and they were pretty positive.

The reform is a hot topic right now, and I haven't fully formulated my thoughts on it. I will post a summary of the reform and what it means to us all soon. I know many people are still confused and/or have wrong information about it.

In the meantime, here's a video clip made by Discover about the costs of our health care versus other countries that have universal health care.


September 13, 2009

For the first time in my life...

I knew what it's like to feel short. I am about 5'9". Last night, I went to a get-together at a friend's house and one of the guests there was almost seven feet tall. I actually had to look UP at him to talk, and I've never done that before. It was a weird sensation for me. I can't imagine what it'd be like for someone even shorter than I am. His wife is about 5'4".


September 11, 2009

Friday Apollo

I love Apollo's toe fuzz. I let it run rampant most of the year, except in winters when the snow get caught up on the fuzz and forms little ice balls in between the toes.


September 10, 2009


When he was a young'un, he loved people so much that he would do anything he could to get near them for pets. I remember coming home with a wrenched shoulder several times because he'd yank me - once, literally off my feet - when he saw someone walking nearby. I tried to anticipate it by wrapping the leash around my back and holding it in both hands, but that resulted in me being spun like a top.

As far as Apollo is concerned, people were put on earth to play with him, to give him bellyrubs and to babytalk him. It was his god-given right to go up to each and every one so they could endow this attention on him.

Somewhere along the way, it clicked in his little head that maybe it really wasn't a good idea to yank his poor foodlady becuase it made her kinda grumpy. I'd say roughly about a year or so ago - he's five now. Now, nine out of ten times, when we go walking, he will just look at anyone outside hopefully with those big ol' brown eyes and an eager wag of tail. If the person looks like she or he would like to pet him and if I'm not in a hurry, I'll stop and let Apollo let people give him loving.

The exception to this, however, seems to be people in uniforms. Back east, cops, mailmen, UPS delivery guys, etc would almost always stop to give him some TLC - and often, they would produce a hidden biscuit or treat to give to Apollo.

Because encounters with them are infrequent, I haven't been able to teach Apollo to ignore them unless I OKay it. Which brings me to yesterday's...we shall call it The Incident.

My apartment complex has a particular mailman that comes pretty regularly. He is the only mailman I've met that is actually afraid of dogs. Because of his fear, and because he's a nice old guy, I try to avoid going to the mailbox with Apollo when he's putting mail in the boxes.

Yesterday, while returning from a walk with Apollo, I noticed that he was in the back room, doing whatever it is mailmen do back there, so I figured it was okay for me to quickly check the mail.

When I had the mailbox door open, the mailman came out from the back room. Apollo saw him, and eagerly started toward him, tail wagging. The mailman squeaked (seriously - it was loud enough I heard that), and ducked back into the back room. Apollo tried to follow.

When I go walking with Apollo, I carry my apartment keys on a carabiner, which is in turn attached to the leash. Yesterday, the mailbox key was in the lock, the keys were still attached to the carabiner, which was still attached to the leash. And when Apollo tried to follow the mailman...

I now have a bent mail key and stretched out keyring.


September 5, 2009

Late Friday Apollo

Guess what?

Apollo got a new ride.
About time, he says!
It's an old-ish jeep, but overall, it's in pretty good shape - other than the weird scratches and a couple peeling spots on the hood. But that's just cosmetic and a decent spot-paint job will fix that (an expense for another day). The engine is good, the tires are new. It's been maintained very well. It'll last me a few years, at least.

Yesterday I went to look at cars, and the Jeep dealer, which was second on list of dealers to go to, made me feel so comfortable that I wanted to buy from them. I felt that I was getting a good car, despite the cosmetic blemishes and they also offered me an extended warranty, which other dealers wouldn't do.

Extended warranties, especially on new cars, are largely a rip-off. But for a car that's eight years old, it's an excellent investment if you can get it. Especially on a car that's known to have pricey repairs. While I was waiting for the paperwork to be done, I chatted with the salesmen who were loitering around, and found out that there are a couple parts that are prone to breaking at about this age, and they cost between two and four thousand dollars to fix - depends on what type of jeep. Ouch! Definitely a good investment.

Anyway, after talking about Jeeps, about that particular jeep, getting questions answered, I felt they were not trying to rip me off, that they would take care of me and the car. The original sticker price, I think was either 10,995 or 11,995, and I had actually found a week-old sale ad for that specific car knocking it down to 9,999. I asked if they would honor it (yes). Then I negotiated it down another 2k to 7,999, citing the paint damage as the reason.

For some reason, I didn't check KBB on this car - I usually do before I go check cars. I probably thought I had already done it. I had a little notebook full of scribbled info about various cars at various lots. Anyway, it turned out I didn't, so I didn't know what its value was rated at. After I got home with the jeep, I found out it was rated at 7200 for "Excellent," so I could've negotiated least another 1k off.

Although it's a lot of money, it doesn't distress me too much because, again, I feel very comfortable with this car, and feel I got a good bang for the buck. And I'm just relieved to be done with this car hunting. It's a lot harder than I expected to find a decent car on a tight budget. I was very determined to do it without having to finance it - with unreliable income, it's a bad idea for someone in my boat to take out a loan.

One thing that surprised me about this whole ordeal is that I turned out to be a pretty good negotiator. I sometimes have a hard time saying no to people - it's the Irish guilt - and when I decided to start looking at cars, I worried a little that I would not be smart enough or strong enough to negotiate. Happily, I was wrong about myself and that feels good.

The End!


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