Sulk

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I am drooling on my desk.

A couple of times I've looked down at my notes and there has been spots of spittle slowly spreading the ink.
Lovely.

I've been to the dentist, for what they euphemistically call 'deep cleaning' - periodontal cleaning, followed by the fastest and most expensive part of the session, the thirty seconds of inserting four antibiotic microspheres, for the princely sum of $300.

That's one hell of an hourly wage there, Bob.

There are a couple of things that feel wrong here.

First, I've all of a sudden become bad with the dentist. I never used to be. I was totally fine with everything from cleaning to the huge bunch of extractions that happened before I got my braces. But now those days are gone, I'm not so self assured. There's been a resurgence of how I used to feel before the age of about fourteen - couldn't stand the sight of blood, hated injections and the doctor. Today I felt lightheaded and a little panicky in the chair as the anaesthetic was coming in.

I have two excuses;

1) The dental surgery was showing horror movies in the waiting room, where I had to sit for twenty five minutes beforehand. 40" of flat screen high definition stabbing, gushing blood and panicking screaming children did me no good. I was already nervous.

2) The dental surgery uses hypodermic cartridges or something that are inserted into a reusable polished steel plunger assembly. So it looks a bit like this:

bioshock syringe

Which really doesn't help.

(Hint to non-video gaming readers - this is a youtube sourced screengrab from the game 'Bioshock'. This needle is about to make the lead character able to shoot lightning out of his hand whether he likes it or not. No one knows if it's meant to be pleasant. The character doesn't opine on the subject, not even so much as a "blimey look at that". But still. Scares the living crap out of me when it crops up during a lunch hour dental stop.)

The only silver lining (other than the obvious dental health benefits) is that every time I sit down in the dentist chair and close my eyes for a second or two, I have the overwhelming urge to giggle like a loon as I remember this post from JonnyBs private secret diary, which is one of my favourite blog posts of all time and probably one of the funniest things on the internet.

Second, there was a lot of blood and bits. Bits are probably worse than blood, because blood is fairly ubiquitous in a pumping-jollily-around sort of way, but bits are frighteningly specific bits and bobs of your body that were previously sitting around metabolising and supposedly doing something useful.
Blood and bits by themselves are not the problem. The fact is that I went into the dentist, I got injected all over my mouth, I was gouged at for forty five minutes (cost to me $30.40) and worked on by the specialist for thirty seconds (cost to me $300) and I produced blood and bits in plentiful abandon, but...and here's the thing that feels wrong...it was all over inside of my lunch hour and I'M BACK AT WORK.
No afternoon off, no endless cups of tea, no soup lovingly microwaved by Mum.
Not so much as a sugar-free lollipop.

Surely for all that drama and expense I should be made a fuss of?

Come by, come by lad

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I've never owned a dog before, and I was very scared of getting one.

My little sister has always wanted one, and my parents were always against it because they knew Jemma would not be the rock of responsibility and reliability she swore blind she would be, and they would end up doing all the work. So they fobbed her off.

"Well we're not sure if you're responsible enough. It's a big responsibility, you know, a very big responsibility. Tell you what, we'll get a hamster, and if you can feed that, and clean it out, and look after it, then we'll know you can be responsible."

Sure enough, even though she loved the hamster, after a month or so my sister's interest waned and my Mum cleaned it out and played with the little lass.
It happened again a few years later with an adorable rabbit called Bungie.

And all the time when my sister would ask, "It's a HUGE RESPONSIBILITY!" was wheeled out.
Consequently, at the age of 28, with a job, a marriage and a mortgage, I was scared.
In terms of responsibility, Getting A Dog towers over all else.

I bought a book on Monday of last week, 'Your Adopted Dog'. A marvellous source of information it may be, but it's not very well organized and it's written from the point of view of people who really really love dogs. I mean really. So much so that the book was packed with case studies of happy adoptions...all involving people who worked in dog shelters and already had three, four or in some cases five dogs. This was not terribly inspiring.
The chapter on illnesses and medications was ENORMOUS. So much so that by the end of it I was considering dropping the whole idea and avoiding dogs on sight for the rest of my life. Do you know about coccidia? Heartworm? ANAL SACS?

Yep. Some dogs need their anal sacs emptying manually. Regularly.
WITH YOUR HANDS.
Here is a handy animated page that explains it all..
I'm sure you will find it awfully interesting.

But then there was Nano.

Nanohead

So that was alright. And he shows no signs of needing his anal sacs drained.
We toured the ASPCA for three hours and found Nano and another Chihuahua hanging out in the staff offices. The other dog was there because he was due for heart surgery soon, and Nano was there because he was so nervous he couldn't cope with the regular shelter glass kennels and all the passersby. He was very edgy, jumping at every sudden sound or movement, but he had a lot of energy and despite being scared of everything, that didn't stop him being curious about it all. He would scamper up to something, say, a cardboard box, and sniff it as he approached. When his nose actually made contact he would skip backwards, as if surprised that something he could smell and see was solid as well. This struck me as pleasingly existentially unassuming, like the Ruler Of The Universe in the Hitchhiker's books:

He picked up from the table a piece of paper and the stub of a pencil. He held one in one hand and the other in the other, and experimented with the different ways of bringing them together. He tried holding the pencil under the paper, then over the paper, then next to the paper. He tried wrapping the paper round the pencil, he tried rubbing the stubby end of the pencil against the paper and then he tried rubbing the sharp end of the pencil against the paper. It made a mark, and he was delighted with the discovery, as he was every day. He picked up another piece of paper from the table. This had a crossword on it. He studied it briefly and filled in a couple of clues before losing interest.

So now Krissa and I are dog owners.

What does that mean?

It means that our hopes and fears are tied inextricably to the bowel movements of a small animal.

It means listening to strange, subdued, pelican-like warbling sounds in the middle of the night and wondering if Nano needs to take a crap, or if he's just pissed off that we're trying to sleep rather than keep him company.

It means me acquiescing, for the good of the pack, to Krissa's insistence that Nano walking around the apartment sniffing things is in fact 'pacing' and that Nano needs to go out to have a shit.

It means worrying because Nano doesn't finish his food.

It means idly wondering if lowering your eyes as you walk through a bunch of subway workers would be considered submissive behaviour if you were all dogs.

It means worrying because Nano has discovered the sofa, and this is where he runs whenever he sees us, because it's where most of the petting happens. Is this healthy?

It means sitting watching TV and having a little golden bundle slump down next to your leg and sigh, and put his head on your knee and look up at you with enormous eyes while you stroke him.

It means playing with a green paisley fish, a red rubber cone with a biscuit inside, and a rope.

It means smooshing someone's ears during the commercial breaks.

It means seeing the fabulous New York City harbor view at dawn from the top of Sunset Park, watching the Tai Chi practioners, squirrels and pigeons together with Nano in the half light.

It means enormous praise and pride when Krissa got Nano to start playing fetch, rather than just pouncing on the thrown object and then losing interest.

It means having someone very excited to see you in the morning.

It's generally pretty awesome.

I've just been chatting to a coworker about Nano and explaining that we named him for the measurement prefix nano- as in ten to the power of minus nine, as in really really tiny - and NOT for the iPod Nano - when he said, "That's funny, because you know why nano is used as a prefix? because in Greek Nanos means dwarf."

So...sleep deprivation notwithstanding, I'm happy we got our dwarf.

A Tale of Two Thumbnails

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There's a new Analogous Jones strip up on flickr! Click the image to see it in full there:

Analogous Jones on Flickr

And this is Nano, our new dog (click for more):

Nanothumb.jpg

Emails From Myself

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The following is an e-mail from the past, composed on Wednesday, October 18, 2006, and sent via FutureMe.org:

Dear FutureMe,

I am very busy. Hope you are not so much.
Have fun this evening.

Yours temporally,

Stuart

The following is an e-mail from the past, composed on Thursday, October 19, 2006, and sent via FutureMe.org

Dear FutureMe,

Last night you and Krissa went it a restaurant called Ludo for your anniversary. On the phone they forgot to tell you that the restaurant was under renovation, that half the menu was unavailable, there was no music, and that you would be the only people in the place apart from some of the barman's friends. You had a wonderful time. They gave you wine and free desserts, you and Krissa talked about the day you got married and what you wore, things that have happened in the past two years, Douglas Adams, and rumours of other people's proposals.

This morning I'm sitting here getting steadily later for work, wondering if your daily routine is as different as mine is to the 2005 me. I get up at 7am, shower, have breakfast when we have it, sit on the computer reading fark.com and leave just after 8am. Work as a junior engineer until 6pm or as needs must with a deadline, come home. At the moment we're watching Buffy, Krissa and I, and our current meal du jour is tortellini with sauce with garlic bread on the side while watching it. There's rumors of 24, which you might still be in the middle of.
I'd better best get ready for work.

Be you soon.

Prizing Myself

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Everywhere you look these days, computer graphics are merging with real photographs and film.

Like many people (I expect) I've always prized myself on being able to spot the difference. It used to be a lot easier. Both the long sweeping shots of the deck in Titanic and the approaching Godzilla-ettes fell sour of traction slip - the feet of the CGI implants slipping on real (or also CGI) surfaces. Dead giveaway. Too many movies to count fall prey to flat colours or too-simplistic light sources. Uniform textures. Crunchy edges, unusual interactions between objects. Everybody's an expert at spotting CGI humans, but when it comes to the inanimate world, animators and programmers have an easier ride.

So I approached this quiz with interest. It compares real photographs with shots from the upcoming Playstation 3 game, Gran Turismo 5. The shots of the cars are very tightly framed, so you can't use the backgrounds or landscapes as much of a guide, but still.

I got 12 out of 15, but holy crap if most of those weren't guesses.

How many can you get?

Take the quiz
(via Digg)

Little Arithmetics

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It slipped by almost unnoticed, but yesterday marked three years since I touched down to stay in New York City.
It's two days to my 28th birthday.
It's ten days to our third wedding anniversary.

Hiya.

So we have another Analogous Jones comic. This and the previous one I'm lumping together as a 'Prologue'...mostly because nothing really happens apart from some smokin', drinkin'...and internal monologuin'. Also because I have a story arc already rudimentarily planned and I'm excited about it.

So here's the quick plug and we can get on with some blogging, maybe, if we're lucky. Click on the pic here for the full comic on flickr:


And thankee kindly.

So!
Krissa and I went on vacation to the Catskills, which was absolutely brilliant. The first day without a computer or television I was a little jumpy, like a cat whose ball of wool has been taken away, but that sense of involuntary mental spasms went away very quickly and we had a wonderfully relaxing time. We hung out at the little yellow cottage that we rented, sitting in the garden looking at the mountains while the chipmunks tried to figure out how to detour around the new big animals in the garden chairs. We learned to play Mancala, played cards, and we read and I drew. It was wonderfully peaceful and a really, really welcome break.
We ventured into Woodstock, where a few hardcore residing hippies from the late 60s moved like fragile marionettes on the sidewalk, decked out in psychedelic colours and fulsome facial hair. We sort of climbed a mountain.
We went to a Garlic Festival in a town called Saugerties, and it was appalling. For those Caulkhead readers who will know what I was hoping for in my heart of hearts, only you will be able to appreciate just how bad it was. Everyone else will have to simply imagine.
It was roughly 8,000 people shuffing from queue after queue in front of stalls to eat free garlic, honey, dip, garlic, vinegar, garlic, herbs, honey, garlic and one guy doing a roaring trade selling popcorn. People were fiercely territorial about their staked spots in front of certain stalls...always grabbing, scooping, making snippy comments about lines and turns, walking aggressively. The festival consisted of just the food...and two bands. For some reason I was really sort of traumatized by this.
ANYWAY. We stopped off at a liquor store on the way back to the cottage and bought some nice wine to get us over it, in the blessed peace and cricket-thronged quiet of the Catskills evening.
That night the stars were breathtaking.

Krissa took plenty of photos, and they should be up on her flickr stream soon.

My friend Josh and I went to a comics exhibition opening last night and I (briefly) met a few people who I've read for some time. It was different to, say, a meeting of people whose blogs you read, because you actually know very little about them, beyond discussing their comics.
So it was really sort of awkward. Well...to be more honest, I was really sort of awkward. So I had a minor case of the state of mind I have when in the presence of celebrities and/or other people who make me nervous, and I was less than erudite. But anyway, it was nice to finally meet Sarah Glidden, and Julia Wertz, if only briefly, and good to be hurriedly chatting to Jason Estrin, whose work was gorgeous, and to see some really marvellous art generally.
The exhibition has a site here.

So...yeah. Athlete have a new album out that I'm getting into, so does KT Tunstall. I've also been listening to Gene again. Not sure why.
Krissa and I did a huge clean of the apartment today, and we're a bit knackered.
It's my birthday on Wednesday.
Um.

I'm out of practice at actually writing posts, it seems.

Hello again.

Analogous Jones

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Analogous Jones

Click the picture for the full version of the comic on flickr.

Er...something more bloggy than hand-drawn comics soon, I promise.

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