Friday, May 19, 2006

I hate moving

Well, it's more or less final. We're moving... across town.

One of my co-workers has a rental house with a fenced backyard and no wall-sharing with a neighbor. It has a beautiful master bedroom with a big bay window (which will probably become our computer room) and lots more closet space than we currently have. Since the rent is about the same as what we're paying now, we decided to jump on it.

I'd love to buy a house, especially since we're finally in a financial position where we could do so. Unfortunately, the real estate prices in Sandpoint are insane. Beyond insane. We're approaching California values here. The market is poised to fall quite a bit -- driving around town you'll see two or three houses for sale on virtually every block -- but it's going to take another year or two (and a good, cold winter) to bottom out. Will we even be here in two years? Who knows.

So we're moving to another rental house. I hate the moving process with a passion, but in the end I think we'll be better off. At least the dog will have a nice yard to run around in. And it's really all about the dog, isn't it?

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

But "tree-sitty" isn't as catchy

I broke down and bought an Xbox 360 over the weekend. After seeing all of the fun people were having with it, I couldn't resist the temptation anymore.

What I didn't expect is that I'd end up spending more time playing with the Xbox Live Arcade stuff more than the actual, physical games I bought for the system. Popcap has several of their mind-numbingly addictive puzzle games available (Hillary's already addicted to Zuma, a 360-degree "Bust-A-Move" style game), and there are neat little action games like Geometry Wars.

The most fun I've had so far is with Uno. Yes, the old card game. They've polished it up and put it online. And let me tell you, playing multiplayer voice-chat Uno with the SomethingAwful goons is a unique (and possibly emotionally scarring) experience. It was a complete blast.

If any of you 360 owners want to add me as a friend, just click on the image below to get my Gamertag info. And feel free to leave a comment with your own Gamertag, so we can all link up online!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

The shaggiest black hole ever

Things Ahboo has tried (often successfully) to eat:

- Grass
- A nylabone
- Two stuffed toys
- A nylon harness
- Various plastic beads from Hillary's jewelry work
- A remote control
- Dandelion puffs (these are a delicacy, apparently)
- The carpet in the computer room
- His plush (and somewhat expensive) bed
- The blanket we replaced the bed with, necessitating an X-ray after he barfed up a bunch of string

I suggested to Hillary that we could start a game show called "What Will Ahboo Eat?". Then we realized that there wouldn't be any element of risk involved, since the correct answer is "Everything".

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Does Amazon know something I don't?

Hmm... If you need any sins absolved, just shoot me an IM.

I am a fancy consumer and you will heed my wishes

Last week, DirecTV pulled a couple of the XM Radio channels off their lineup. One of these is High Voltage, which carries Opie & Anthony and Ron & Fez. Since I tend to listen to these shows quite a bit (especially the latter), I wrote an annoyed E-mail to DirecTV's customer service department.

Apparently a lot of other people did, too. A whole lot.

Dear Mr. Wilson,

We've got great news! Thanks to the many requests from fans of Opie & Anthony, DIRECTV has decided to bring back XM Satellite Radios's High Voltage XL on channel 879. High Voltage XL will be available as a part of our TOTAL CHOICE PLUS package and should be returning in the next few days. If you do not already subscribe to TOTAL CHOICE PLUS or above, you can do so online. Just sign into your account (or register if you have not yet) and click on the Change or Add Programming link.

Thanks again for writing to let us know how you feel, and stay tuned to DIRECTV to hear Opie & Anthony again.

Jim S
DIRECTV Customer Service

Monday, May 01, 2006

Der Wunderhund

Now that Ahboo is getting more comfortable being at home (and peeing outside -- we just have to work on that poop thing), Hillary and I have started on training. I'm amazed at how quickly he's picking everything up, and how eager he is to learn.

Commands we've been learning:

"Go to bed" - This was our first one, since we need to be able to get him to go into the crate pretty often. He still takes some prodding sometimes, but that's more because he doesn't WANT to be stuck in the crate than because he doesn't understand what we want. The look he gives me when he's been out playing and I say "go to bed" is heartbreaking.

"Stay" - The second one we learned. At first, this was just to keep Ahboo in the crate if I had to open the door to change his water or give/take something. After a few days of him staying when instructed, I decided to try it outside the crate (with a treat in hand, of course). It worked! He didn't move an inch until I released him. Now I can even throw a treat right in front of him, and he won't move until I say it's okay. The only thing he has a problem with is if I leave the room, or if I walk around behind him. But considering we've only been working on this for a week, Ahboo's doing amazing with this one.

"Come" - Ahboo will come when we call him. If he wants to. And if he's not distracted. He's gotten better the last couple of days, but when we're out at the park and there are new places and people to see/sniff, we're on the Global Ignore List for a while. He also has this weird thing where he won't come to me if I leave the computer room and call him from the living room. I think it's mainly because this is generally followed by "go to bed".

"Sit" - We just started this one yesterday. At first, Ahboo didn't seem to understand what we wanted. Pushing on a dog's rear is supposed to make him want to sit, but Ahboo just started backing up. Finally we did the old "treat over the head" trick and got him to sit. Now he does it almost naturally after "come" (or if we just stand in front of him with a treat). Unfortunately, he generally doesn't do it without a treat. Yet.

So things are going very well with the new dog. We picked up a couple of toys over the weekend when we were in Coeur d'Alene, including the Kong. If you've never seen a Kong, it's the most ingenious canine torture device ever invented. It's a hard rubber chew toy with a hollow center, which you then put a treat inside. Since the treat is (mostly) inaccessible, the dog goes insane trying to get it out. We put a dab of peanut butter inside, and Ahboo played with his Kong for a good hour and a half. For a dog whose attention span is shorter than most television commercials, this is amazing.