Thursday, May 31, 2007

Tiredness, town and a toad

The last 24 hours have been exhausting, but fun.

We - Kelly, Shireen and I - got back from my parents' place around 10:30 pm last night. Shireen and I had some cocoa while we sat and watched 'The Cramp Twins' on TV. Then I told Shireen it was time for bed.

After putting her to bed, I washed up our cups (and the stuff Wayne had used throughout the evening, while he was watching Kero), then I read a chapter of my book, and went to bed myself. It was a little after midnight I settled for sleep, I think.

I got up at 7:00 am, took Kero out in the yard for a pee, and thought, "Awesome! I'm going to get to have a nice cup of tea in peace before Shireen gets up." WRONG! About the point the kettle clicked, I heard the bedroom door open. Before I even had the water in the cup, I heard Shireen coming towards the kitchen, talking to the cats on her way to me. Oh well, never mind.

Anyway, all of us - Kelly, Kero, Shireen, and myself - went to Ammanford to get Chance's new bed, and while we were there, I got Shireen a scooter to ride on in our yard, and while she comes with me to walk Kero. I got Shireen a pasty, and Kero a sausage roll, and Kelly got himself a cheese and bacon puff, and me a tuna, sweetcorn, cheese, and onion baguette. Then, Kelly went off to Swansea, while I took Shireen and Kero back to my place.

Apart from when Shireen and I took Kero for a walk, Shireen and Kero spent most of the afternoon playing in the yard. I played a bit with them, and I took some photos, but mostly I just watched.

It was during that time that Shireen spotter 'Mr Toad' and insisted on pointing 'him' out to me. She wanted to take a photo, and I let her. As you've probably figured out from this, 'Mr Toad' is the toad in the photo for today's post. Personally, I think she did an awesome job of taking 'his' photo.

Shireen and I watched a few movies today. Around lunch time (right after we got back from town) we watched 'Rugrats: The Movie'. Then we sort of half watched the first two Harry Potter movies (in between play sessions in the yard). And, before Shireen went to bed, we watched 'A Simple Wish'. I've seen them all before, but I didn't mind watching them again. Shireen wanted to watch 'Home Alone 4' but it's on video not DVD, and where I almost never use my VCR, I couldn't remember what channel I'd tuned it in to, and I couldn't be bothered to mess about trying to figure it out, so I asked her to pick something else. That's how we ended up watching 'A Simple Wish'.

I love having Shireen, but it's exhausting going from having no kids in the house, to having a VERY active eight year old in the house. You'd think I'd be dreading having kids because of that, wouldn't you? But I'm not! Having Shireen come stay with us only makes me wish even more that my body would hurry up and let me have kids of my own. Even if it means I'm going to spend the rest of my life being tired. LOL!

Tori

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Interesting Years - 1981 & 2005

A friend of mine e-mailed this to me, and I thought I'd share it.

Interesting Year 1981

  1. Prince Charles got married
  2. Liverpool crowned soccer champions of Europe
  3. Australia lost the Ashes tournament
  4. Pope died

Interesting Year 2005

  1. Prince Charles got married
  2. Liverpool crowned soccer champions of Europe
  3. Australia lost the Ashes tournament
  4. Pope died

Lesson Learned?

  • The next time Charles gets married, someone warn the Pope!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Shopping & Stuff

I haven't done a blog post in a couple of days, because I've not really had much to say. I haven't really done anything since Saturday. Until today anyway.

Today was, as those who know my routine well enough will know, shopping day.

I've been enjoying shopping a lot more lately than I used to, for some reason. I didn't enjoy it much today though. It wasn't so much the shopping part I didn't enjoy, it was the fact that, where it's half-term, everyone seemed to be in town, and every person seemed to have a baby or toddler with them who had either missed their nap, or was bored. Now, I don't really mind babies and toddlers crying, and throwing tempet tantrums, but the parents (or Grandparents, or whatever) had obviously had enough, because all I heard was adults yelling at the kids to, "Shut up!" Haven't they learned by now that yelling at the kids achieves nothing? All you get from yelling at a screaming toddler, is a sore throat!

Anyway, the actual shopping part was fun.

I got both my Mam and myself a sports bottle with a sort of cooler pouch that zips around it to keep your drink cool. Mine has a blue cooler case thing, Mam's has a pink one. I also got a ton of other stuff. Way too much to list! And then, of course, there was the usual weekly shop. Food, food, and more food! Not to mention, enough juice (orange, apple, and grape flavoured) to keep a whole army from getting thirsty. LOL!

I thought I was going to be taking Chance to the vet. He cut one of the pads on his left, front paw, and it was sore, and looked like it might have been infected. But, we cleaned it up, and it looks like it's healing OK by itself. Plus, he's not whining as much, and he's letting us touch that paw again. So, I'm not going to take him, I'm just going to keep an eye on it. If it starts to look like it's not healing though, or if it seems to be bothering him too much, I'll take him in. Thing is, all the vet will probably do, is charge me nearly £20 to clean his paw, and stick a needle in him "to stop it swelling before it starts" or something like that.

Kelly and I are going to my parents' place for dinner tomorrow night. And probably to mess about on the game, or watch a movie or something too. Then I have Shireen from tomorrow evening until Friday morning. I was meant to only be having her from Thursday morning to Friday morning, but we - Kelly and I - didn't see the point in me going all the way up there to fetch her on Thursday morning, when we were going to be there tomorrow night. So, we asked if we could have her from tomorrow instead.

For those who don't know, Shireen is my Mam's Goddaughter. She is also, my honorary sister (Elizabeth)'s biological sister - try saying that three times fast, lol! She's also the daughter of a family friend (Jackie). Jackie, Shireen, and Elizabeth are now living in Stevenage, but they are here on one of their many visits to my Mam at the moment. Well, Jackie and Shireen are, Elizabeth isn't.

It's my Uncle Philip's birthday tomorrow (May 30th). I don't know if he reads my blog or not (probably not, or I'm sure he'd comment). But, I'll say HAPPY BIRTHDAY to him for tomorrow anyway.

Tori

Saturday, May 26, 2007

More on Thomas Edison

Early life

Edison's birthplace
Thomas Edison was born in Milan, Ohio, the seventh and last child of Samuel Ogden Edison, Jr. (1804–1896) (born in Marshalltown, Nova Scotia, Canada) and Nancy Matthews Edison nee Elliott (1810–1871). His family was of Dutch origin.

Thomas Edison as a boy.
In school, the young Edison's mind often wandered, and his teacher the Reverend Engle was overheard calling him "addled." This ended Edison's three months of official schooling. He recalled later, "My mother was the making of me. She was so true, so sure of me; and I felt I had something to live for, someone I must not disappoint." His mother then home schooled him. Much of his education came from reading R.G. Parker's School of Natural Philosophy.

The cause of Edison's deafness has been attributed to a bout of scarlet fever during childhood and recurring untreated middle ear infections. Edison around the middle of his career attributed the hearing loss to being struck on the ears by a train conductor when his chemical lab in a boxcar caught fire. In his later years he modified the story to say the injury occurred when the conductor, in helping him onto a moving train, lifted him by the ears.

Edison's family was forced to move to Port Huron, Michigan when the railroad bypassed Milan, but his life there was bittersweet. He sold candy and newspapers on trains running from Port Huron to Detroit.

Edison became a telegraph operator after he saved three-year-old Jimmie MacKenzie from being struck by a runaway train. Jimmie's father, station agent J.U. MacKenzie of Mount Clemens, Michigan, was so grateful that he trained Edison as a telegraph operator. After three months of training, Edison mastered the skill and was hired at a Western Union telegraph office. Edison's deafness allegedly aided him because it blocked out noises and prevented Edison from hearing the telegrapher sitting next to him. One of his mentors during those early years was a fellow telegrapher and inventor named Franklin Leonard Pope, who allowed the impoverished youth to live and work in the basement of his Elizabeth, New Jersey, home.

Some of his earliest inventions were related to telegraphy, including a stock ticker. Edison's first patent was for the electric vote recorder, (U. S. Patent 90,646), which was granted on June 1, 1869.

Marriages and children
On December 25, 1871, Edison married 16-year-old Mary Stilwell, whom he had met two months earlier. They had three children,
  • Marion "Dot" Estelle Edison (1873–1965)
  • Thomas "Dash" Alva Edison, Jr (1876–1935)
  • William Leslie Edison (1878–1937)

Mary Edison died on August 9, 1884.

On February 24, 1886, at the age of thirty-nine, Edison married 19-year-old Mina Miller in Akron, Ohio. They also had three children:
  • Madeleine Edison (1888–1979)
  • Charles Edison (1890–1969), who took over the company upon his father's death and who later was elected Governor of New Jersey
  • Theodore Edison (1898–1992).
Mina outlived Thomas Edison, dying on August 24, 1947.

Beginning his career
Edison and early phonograph, 1877
Thomas Edison began his career as an inventor in Newark, New Jersey, with the automatic repeater and his other improved telegraphic devices, but the invention which first gained him fame was the phonograph in 1877. This accomplishment was so unexpected by the public at large as to appear almost magical. Edison became known as "The Wizard of Menlo Park," New Jersey, where he lived. His first phonograph recorded on tinfoil around a grooved cylinder and had poor sound quality. The tinfoil recordings could only be replayed a few times. In the 1880s, a redesigned model using wax-coated cardboard cylinders was produced by Alexander Graham Bell, Chichester Bell, and Charles Tainter. This was one reason that Thomas Edison continued work on his own "Perfected Phonograph."

Thomas Edison was a freethinker, claiming he did not believe in "the God of the theologians," but did not doubt that "there is a Supreme Intelligence." He is quoted, "I believe that the science of chemistry alone almost proves the existence of an intelligent creator." However, he rejected the idea of the supernatural, along with such ideas as the soul, immortality, and a personal God. He maintained a position on the supernatural and the Christian religion that was best described as "truculent agnosticism." "Nature," he said, "is not merciful and loving, but wholly merciless, indifferent."

Menlo Park

U.S. Patent #223898 Electric Lamp
Edison's major innovation was the first industrial research lab, which was built in Menlo Park, New Jersey. It was the first institution set up with the specific purpose of producing constant technological innovation and improvement. Edison was legally attributed with most of the inventions produced there, though many employees carried out research and development work under his direction.

William Joseph Hammer, a consulting electrical engineer, began his duties as a laboratory assistant to Edison in December 1879. He assisted in experiments on the telephone, phonograph, electric railway, iron ore separator, electric lighting, and other developing inventions. However, Hammer worked primarily on the incandescent electric lamp and was put in charge of tests and records on that device. In 1880, he was appointed chief engineer of the Edison Lamp Works. In his first year, the plant under General Manager Francis Robbins Upton turned out 50,000 lamps. According to Edison, Hammer was "a pioneer of incandescent electric lighting."

Most of Edison's patents were utility patents, which were protected for a 17 year period and included inventions or processes that are electrical, mechanical, or chemical in nature. About a dozen were design patents, which protect an ornamental design for up to a 14 year period. Like most patents, the inventions he described were improvements over prior art. The phonograph patent, on the other hand, was unprecedented as the first device to record and reproduce sounds. Edison did not invent the first electric light bulb, but instead invented the first commercially practical incandescent light. Several designs had already been developed by earlier inventors including the patent he purchased from Henry Woodward and Mathew Evans, Moses G. Farmer, Joseph Swan, James Bowman Lindsay, William Sawyer, Sir Humphry Davy, and Heinrich Göbel. Some of these early bulbs had such flaws as extremely short life, high expense to produce, and high current draw, making them difficult to apply on a large scale commercially. In 1878, Edison applied the term filament to the element of glowing wire carrying the current, although English inventor Joseph Swan had used the term prior to this. Edison took the features of these earlier designs and set his workers to the task of creating longer-lasting bulbs. By 1879, he had produced a new concept: a high resistance lamp in a very high vacuum, which would burn for hundreds of hours. While the earlier inventors had produced electric lighting in laboratory conditions dating back to a demonstration of a glowing wire by Alessandro Volta in 1800, Edison concentrated on commercial application and was able to sell the concept to homes and businesses by mass-producing relatively long-lasting light bulbs and creating a complete system for the generation and distribution of electricity.

The Menlo Park research lab was made possible by the sale of the quadruplex telegraph that Edison invented in 1874, which could send four simultaneous telegraph signals over the same wire. When Edison asked Western Union to make an offer, he was shocked at the unexpectedly large amount that Western Union offered; the patent rights were sold for $10,000. The quadruplex telegraph was Edison's first big financial success.

In just over a decade Edison's Menlo Park laboratory had expanded to consume two city blocks. Edison said he wanted the lab to have "a stock of almost every conceivable material." A newspaper article printed in 1887 reveals the seriousness of his claim, stating the lab contained "eight thousand kinds of chemicals, every kind of screw made, every size of needle, every kind of cord or wire, hair of humans, horses, hogs, cows, rabbits, goats, minx, camels...silk in every texture, cocoons, various kinds of hoofs, shark's teeth, deer horns, tortoise shell...cork, resin, varnish and oil, ostrich feathers, a peacock's tail, jet, amber, rubber, all ores..." and the list goes on.

With Menlo Park, Edison had created the first industrial laboratory concerned with creating knowledge and then controlling its application.

Carbon telephone transmitter
In 1877 and 1878, Edison invented and developed the carbon microphone used in all telephones along with the Bell receiver until the 1980s. After protracted patent litigation, a federal court ruled in 1892 that Edison and not Emile Berliner was the inventor of the carbon microphone. (Josephson, p146). The carbon microphone was also used in radio broadcasting and public address work through the 1920s.

Electric light
Main article: History of the light bulb
After many experiments with platinum and other metal filaments, Edison returned to a carbon filament. The first successful test was on October 22, 1879; and lasted 13.5 hours. Edison continued to improve this design and by November 4, 1879, filed for U.S. patent 223,898 (granted on January 27, 1880) for an electric lamp using "a carbon filament or strip coiled and connected ... to platina contact wires." Although the patent described several ways of creating the carbon filament including "cotton and linen thread, wood splints, papers coiled in various ways," it was not until several months after the patent was granted that Edison and his team discovered a carbonized bamboo filament could last over 1200 hours.

Edison in 1878
In 1878, Edison formed the Edison Electric Light Company in New York City with several financiers, including J. P. Morgan and the members of the Vanderbilt family. Edison made the first public demonstration of his incandescent light bulb on December 31, 1879, in Menlo Park. It was during this time that he said, "We will make electricity so cheap that only the rich will burn candles."

On October 8, 1883, the U.S. patent office ruled that Edison's patent was based on the work of William Sawyer and was therefore invalid. Litigation continued for nearly six years, until October 6, 1889, when a judge ruled that Edison's electric light improvement claim for "a filament of carbon of high resistance" was valid. To avoid a possible court battle with Joseph Swan, whose English patent had been awarded a year before Edison's, he and Swan formed a joint company called Ediswan to market the invention in Britain.

Electric power distribution
Edison patented an electric distribution system in 1880, which was essential to capitalize on the invention of the electric lamp. On December 17, 1880, Edison founded the Edison Electric Illuminating Company. The company established the first investor-owned electric utility in 1882 on Pearl Street Station, New York City. It was on September 4, 1882, that Edison switched on his Pearl Street generating station's electrical power distribution system, which provided 110 volts direct current (DC) to 59 customers in lower Manhattan. - Earlier in the year, in January 1882 he had switched on the first steam generating power station at Holborn Viaduct in London. The DC supply system provided electricity supplies to street lamps and several private dwellings within a short distance of the station.

On January 19, 1883, the first standardized incandescent electric lighting system employing overhead wires began service in Roselle, New Jersey.

War of currents
Main article: War of Currents
Extravagant displays of electric lights quickly became a feature of public events, as this picture from the 1897 Tennessee Centennial Exposition shows.

George Westinghouse and Edison became adversaries because of Edison's promotion of direct current for electric power distribution over the more easily transmitted alternating current (AC) system invented by Nikola Tesla and promoted by Westinghouse. Unlike DC, AC could be stepped up to very high voltages with transformers, sent over thinner and less expensive wires, and stepped down again at the destination for distribution to users.

Despite Edison's contempt for capital punishment, the war against AC led Edison to become involved in the development and promotion of the electric chair as a demonstration of AC's greater lethal potential versus the "safer" DC. Edison went on to carry out a brief but intense campaign to ban the use of AC or to limit the allowable voltage for safety purposes. As part of this campaign, Edison's employees publicly electrocuted dogs, cats, and in one case, an elephant to demonstrate the dangers of AC. AC replaced DC in most instances of generation and power distribution, enormously extending the range and improving the efficiency of power distribution.

Though widespread use of DC ultimately lost favor for distribution, it exists today primarily in long-distance high-voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission systems. Low voltage DC distribution continued to be used in high density downtown areas for many years and was replaced by AC low voltage network distribution in many central business districts. DC had the advantage that large battery banks could maintain continuous power through brief interruptions of the electric supply from generators and the transmission system. Utilities such as Commonwealth Edison in Chicago had rotary converters, also known as motor-generator sets, which could change DC to AC and AC to various frequencies in the early to mid 20th century. Utilities supplied rectifiers to convert the low voltage AC to DC for such DC loads as elevators, fans and pumps. There were still 1,600 DC customers in downtown New York City when the service was discontinued in 2005. The New York City Subway system is still run by DC power to this day.

Work relations
Frank J. Sprague, a competent mathematician and former naval officer, was recruited by Edward H. Johnson and joined the Edison organization in 1883. One of Sprague's significant contributions to the Edison Laboratory at Menlo Park was to expand Edison's mathematical methods. (Despite the common belief that Edison did not use mathematics, analysis of his notebooks reveal that he was an astute user of mathematical analysis, for example, determining the critical parameters of his electric lighting system including lamp resistance by a sophisticated analysis of Ohm's Law, Joule's Law and economics.) A key to Edison's success was a holistic rather than reductionist approach to invention, making extensive use of trial and error when no suitable theory existed. Since Sprague joined Edison in 1883 and Edison's output of patents peaked in 1880, it could be interpreted that the shift towards a reductionist analytical approach may not have been a positive move for Edison. Sprague's important analytical contributions, including correcting Edison's system of mains and feeders for central station distribution, form a counter argument to this. In 1884, Sprague decided his interests in the exploitation of electricity lay elsewhere, and he left Edison to found the Sprague Electric Railway & Motor Company. However, Sprague, who later developed many electrical innovations, always credited Edison for their work together.

Another of Edison's assistants was Nikola Tesla, who claimed that Edison promised him $50,000 if he succeeded in making improvements to his DC generation plants. Several months later, when he had finished the work and asked to be paid, Tesla claimed that Edison said, "When you become a full-fledged American you will appreciate an American joke." Tesla immediately resigned. This anecdote is somewhat doubtful, since at Tesla's salary of $18 per week the bonus would have amounted to over 53 years pay, and the amount was equal to the initial capital of the company. Tesla resigned when he was refused a raise to $25 per week (Jonnes, p110). Although Tesla accepted an Edison Medal later in life and professed a high opinion of Edison as an inventor and engineer, he remained bitter. The day after Edison died, the New York Times contained extensive coverage of Edison's life, with the only negative opinion coming from Tesla who was quoted as saying, "He had no hobby, cared for no sort of amusement of any kind and lived in utter disregard of the most elementary rules of hygiene" and that, "His method was inefficient in the extreme, for an immense ground had to be covered to get anything at all unless blind chance intervened and, at first, I was almost a sorry witness of his doings, knowing that just a little theory and calculation would have saved him 90 percent of the labor. But he had a veritable contempt for book learning and mathematical knowledge, trusting himself entirely to his inventor's instinct and practical American sense." When Edison was a very old man and close to death, he said, in looking back, that the biggest mistake he had made was that he never respected Tesla or his work.

There were 28 men recognized as Edison Pioneers.

Media inventions
The key to Edison's fortunes was telegraphy. With knowledge gained from years of working as a telegraph operator, he learned the basics of electricity. This allowed him to make his early fortune with the stock ticker, the first electricity-based broadcast system. Edison patented the sound recording and reproducing phonograph (or gramophone in British English) in 1878. Edison was also granted a patent for the motion picture camera or "Kinetograph". He did the electromechanical design, while his employee W.K.L. Dickson, a photographer, worked on the photographic and optical development. Much of the credit for the invention belongs to Dickson. In 1891, Thomas Edison built a Kinetoscope, or peep-hole viewer. This device was installed in penny arcades, where people could watch short, simple films. The kinetograph and kinetoscope were both first publicly exhibited May 20, 1891.

On August 9, 1892, Edison received a patent for a two-way telegraph. In April 1896, Thomas Armat's Vitascope, manufactured by the Edison factory and marketed in Edison's name, was used to project motion pictures in public screenings in New York City. Later he exhibited motion pictures with voice soundtrack on cylinder recordings, mechanically synchronized with the film.

Officially the kinetoscope entered in Europe when the rich American Businessman Irving T. Bush (1869-1948) bought from the Continental Commerce Company of Franck Z. Maguire and Joseph D. Bachus a dozen machines. Bush placed from October 17, 1894 on the first kinetoscopes in London. At the same time the French company Kinétoscope Edison Michel et Alexis Werner bought these machines for the market in France. In the last three months of 1894 The Continental Commerce Company sold hundreds of kinetoscopes in Europe (i.e. the Netherlands and Italy). In Germany and in Austria-Hungary the kinetoscope was introduced by the Deutsche-österreichische-Edison-Kinetoscop Gesellschaft, founded by the Ludwig Stollwerck of the Schokoladen-Süsswarenfabrik Stollwerck & Co of Cologne. The first kinetoscopes arrived in Belgium at the Fairs in early 1895. The Edison's Kinétoscope Français, a Belgian company, was founded in Brussels on January 15, 1895 with the rights to sell the kinetoscopes in Monaco, France and the French colonies. The main investors in this company were Belgian industrialists. On May 14, 1895 the Edison's Kinétoscope Belge was founded in Brussels. The businessman Ladislas-Victor Lewitzki, living in London but active in Belgium and France, took the initiative in starting this business. He had contacts with Leon Gaumont and the American Mutoscope and Biograph Co. In 1898 he also became shareholder of the Biograph and Mutoscope Company for France.

In 1908, Edison started the Motion Picture Patents Company, which was a conglomerate of nine major film studios (commonly known as the Edison Trust). Thomas Edison was the first honorary fellow of the Acoustical Society of America, which was founded in 1929.

Later years

Edison celebrates his 82nd birthday with President Herbert Hoover, Henry Ford, and Harvey Firestone. Ft. Myers, Florida, February 11, 1929.

Edison became the owner of his Milan, Ohio, birthplace in 1906. On his last visit, in 1923, he was shocked to find his old home still lit by lamps and candles.

Influenced by a fad diet that was popular in the day, in his last few years "the only liquid he consumed was a pint of milk every three hours." He believed this diet would restore his health.

Edison was active in business right up to the end. Just months before his death in 1931, the Lackawanna Railroad implemented electric trains in suburban service from Hoboken to Gladstone, Montclair and Dover in New Jersey. Transmission was by means of an overhead catenary system, with the entire project under the guidance of Thomas Edison. To the surprise of many, Thomas Edison was at the throttle of the very first MU (Multiple-Unit) train to depart Lackawanna Terminal in Hoboken, driving the train all the way to Dover. As another tribute to his lasting legacy, the same fleet of cars Edison deployed on the Lackawanna in 1931 served commuters until their retirement in 1984. A special plaque commemorating the joint achievement of both the railway and Edison, can be seen today in the waiting room of Lackawanna Terminal in Hoboken, presently operated by New Jersey Transit.


Edison purchased a home known as "Glenmont" in 1886 as a wedding gift for Mina in Llewellyn Park in West Orange, New Jersey. The remains of Edison and his wife, Mina, are now buried there. The 13.5 acre (55,000 m²) property is maintained by the National Park Service as the Edison National Historic Site. Thomas Edison died on October 18, 1931, in New Jersey at age 84. His final words to his wife were "It is very beautiful over there." Mina died in 1947. Edison's last breath is reportedly contained in a test tube at the Henry Ford Museum. Ford reportedly convinced Charles Edison to seal a test tube of air in the inventor's room shortly after his death, as a memento. A plaster death mask was also made.

Seminole Lodge
In the 1880s, Thomas Edison bought property in Fort Myers, Florida, and built Seminole Lodge as a winter retreat. Henry Ford, the automobile magnate, later lived a few hundred feet away from Edison at his winter retreat, The Mangoes. Edison even contributed technology to the automobile. They were friends until Edison's death.

Trivia

  • Edison was a strong supporter of Montessori schools in the United States.
  • While working with Alexander Graham Bell to discover words of greeting, Edison is credited as creating the word "Hello" as a telephone greeting in 1877. Bell, however, preferred "Ahoy-hoy" as a greeting. (Hello is a variant on the old word hallo.)
  • Edison was so fascinated by Morse Code that he taught it to his girlfriend Mina Miller, proposed marriage to her in the code. He nicknamed his first two children "Dot" and "Dash" (from his first marriage to Mary Stilwell).
  • Edison's company was considerably late in the business of releasing music on phonographs. Reportedly, Edison considered his invention to be limited to a business dictation machine, and the concept of pre-recorded music never crossed his mind.
  • At the turn of the last century, Edison saw modern medicine at the crossroads. In 1902 he wrote of Medicine being "played out" which prompted his oft repeated quote: "The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will instruct his patient in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease." he continued in that vein: "There were never so many able, active minds at work on the problems of diseases as now, and all their discoveries are tending to the simple truth — that you can't improve on nature." for full quote see wikiquote.
  • Mrs. Thomas Alva Edison was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

Stopping by on a Saturday

Today has been a pretty good day.

It's been a nice day, weather wise, despite the slight chill in the wind, so we - Mam, Willow, Jackie, Shireen, Kero and I - went to the park for a picnic. Usually when we go to the park for a picnic, we take sandwiches. But, this time, my Mam made us up little individual salad packs. We also had a yogurt each, and a little fairy cake thing with 'Bob The Builder' pictures on them. Mine had Dizzy (the little cement mixer) on it. I wanted the one with Pilchard (the cat) on it, but Shireen asked for that one, so I let her have it. After all, she's only eight.

After the picnic, we - Mam, Jackie and I - watched Shireen and Willow playing with a ball, then we all went for a walk around the park.

Then I spent the rest of the afternoon tidying up the kitchen cupboards, and watching TV. There hasn't really been anything interesting to watch on TV though. Although, I'm watching 'The Shaggy Dog' right now.

Tori

Alexander Graham Bell & Thomas Alva Edison

Alexander Graham Bell (3 March 1847 – 2 August 1922) was a Scottish scientist, inventor, and innovator. Born and raised in Edinburgh, Scotland, he emigrated to Canada in 1870, and then to the United States in 1871, becoming a U.S. citizen in 1882.

Bell was awarded the U.S. patent for the invention of the telephone in 1876; although other inventors including Antonio Meucci had claimed the honor, the Bell patent remained in effect.

__________


Thomas Alva Edison (February 11, 1847 – October 18, 1931) was an American inventor and businessman who developed many devices which greatly influenced life around the world, including the phonograph and a long lasting light bulb. Dubbed "The Wizard of Menlo Park" by a newspaper reporter, he was one of the first inventors to apply the principles of mass production to the process of invention, and therefore is often credited with the creation of the first industrial research laboratory.

Edison is considered one of the most prolific inventors in history, holding 1,093 U.S. patents in his name, as well as many patents in the United Kingdom, France and Germany.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Lions & movies

"The lion (Panthera leo) is a mammal of the family Felidae and one of four "big cats" in the genus Panthera. The lion is the second largest feline species, after the tiger. The male lion, easily recognized by his mane, weighs between 150–250 kg (330–500 lbs). Females range 120–150 kg (260–330 lb). In the wild, lions live for around 10–14 years, while in captivity they can live over 20 years. Though they were once found throughout much of Africa, Asia and Europe, lions presently exist in the wild only in Africa and India. They enjoy hot climates, and hunt in groups."

Anyway...

We've been having some beautiful weather this past week. This morning, it was a bit wet, but by about 11:00 am (ish) it was back to being dry again.

I've not really done much over the last few days. I've just been reading, watching TV, walking Kero, and playing World Of Warcraft.

I watched 'Madagascar' and 'Robots' yesterday. I've seen them both before, but when I saw they were on TV I decided to watch them again. I also watched two movies that I hadn't seen before. One was 'The Break-up' (with Jennifer Aniston in it) and the other was an older movie - a movie from 1985 - called 'D.A.R.Y.L.' Both movies were really good.

Tori

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Kero's 3rd Birthday

As I have mentioned a fair few times over the last week or so, today is my Kero's 3rd birthday.

I took photos of him with his stuff so you could see it all.

This first photo is of Kero with the squeaky phone, squeaky champagne bottle, rawhide tubes, and tuggy giraffe thing that we got him. And, the birthday card we got him too, of course. The red blanket he's sat on was another birthday present we got him too. Plus, he had the new, blue collar, and the extending lead that I gave to him on Saturday.

This second photo is of Kero with all of the stuff he got from his Great-Grandma (my Grandma) and her 'babies'. The blue card is from his Great-Grandma, and the white one is from Jo-Jo (Canary), Jayde (Yorkie), and Zig & Zag (fish).

The orange and black ball, and the red, black and white bone - which are soft toys with a squeaker in them - are what we got him with the money his Great-Grandma put in his birthday card for us to buy him something nice with. We'd originally hoped to get something else, but when we went to fetch it, they didn't have it. So, we got him these toys instead.

And this final photo is of Kero with the birthday cards that he got from his Mamgu and Dadci (my parents), and from Willow. I actually took this one on Saturday, but decided not to post it until today's blog post.

Kero seems to be enjoying his birthday so far.

He's sound asleep in the middle of the living room floor right now. But not long ago, he was happily alternating between chewing on a rawhide treat, and throwing his toys up in the air. At the moment, it looks like the dog toy section of a pet shop exploded in our living room. LOL!

Tori

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Our 4th Wedding Anniversary

Today is our fourth wedding anniversary.

Kelly and I went out for dinner with my Mam and Dad. We paid for Mam and Dad's dinner as a late anniversary present for them. We had a lovely meal, and a good time all round.

After dinner, Mam and I went to Asda to look in the George section, and I got a pair of black 'pedal-pushers' for £6. I also got a treat for Kero, because I ALWAYS buy him one in the weekly food shop, but I forgot today for some reason, and he was NOT impressed that I forgot. My Mam got a pair of white trousers, and a yellow vest top, which cost her £15 for the two items.

Then, we went back to my parents' place for a while. We were going to watch a movie, but while we were waiting for my Nan to finish watching her soaps, we got into sorting quests and such on World Of Warcraft, and ended up spending the evening playing that instead.

We ended up with about seven cards, plus some money (about £30 each). And Kelly got me a beautiful diamond Eternity ring. A couple of weeks ago (around his birthday) I got him a GameBoy DS, a game he wanted for it, and the book he needed for the game, plus some Warhammer type figure things that he picked out, which I just gave him the money for. So I never got him anything for our actual anniversary.

OK, well, I'm off to bed. Night!

Tori

Monday, May 21, 2007

TV talk

The guy called last night (Sunday night) to tell me that he'd be coming between 12:00 pm and 3:00 pm. He actually never showed up until 3:15 pm. He sorted the wire out - the box turned out to be fine - and was gone by about 3:30 pm.

About half an hour or so later, the little sod - meaning, of course, the kid that I mentioned yesterday, who keeps on at the wire - was back at it. So, my Mam went out to tell him to leave it, and he ran off before she even got out of the gate that's at our door. So, while we knew he was out of the way, we had a look in the tool box to see if we had any of those wire clips for tacking wires to the wall. We did. So, we used some to secure the wire inside as well. Then we put some sellotape over the clips to give a little bit of extra support. Mam went out and gave the wire an experimental tug, and it never budged. That should stop him. For a while anyway.

The man from Sky said that if they do it again, specifically tell them that he said that the wire has to be completely reinstalled, and put up differently so that he can't reach it.

At least we can watch TV now!

Tori

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Lemony Snicket - The Miserable Mill

This afternoon, having little to do, what with the lack of TV at the moment, I decided that, as a break from playing World Of Warcraft, I would sit down and read some of my book. Doing so resulted in me finishing the book. The book in question was, of course, the fourth book in Lemony Snicket's A Series Of Unfortunate Events, which, as the title of this post suggests, is called 'The Miserable Mill.' And which, I hasten to add, was just as good as the first three in the series. While these books aren't the most cheerful of books - as both the title of the series suggests, and Lemony Snicket himself points out on several occasions - they are very enjoyable. Or, I think they are, anyway. I have now started reading book five, which is called 'The Austere Academy.'

Sofa & Sky

OK, firstly, if you want to read about Kero's party, scroll to the next post, because I did it in a separate post to this one.

Secondly, remember I said I got "us" a new sofa? Well, I would like to correct myself, because it would appear I actually got the cats a new sofa. On more than one occasion, one of the cats has nudged me until I ended up off the sofa, then promptly curlded up and gone to sleep where I was sat! Hm... I wonder who's house this is, anyway?

Even poor Kero's been shoved off the sofa by the cats!

I have to admit though, this photo of Chance on the sofa is beautiful!

Anyway...

I phoned the people from Sky yesterday morning, and they are coming to fix the Sky for me on Monday. It's going to cost me £65, which they will be adding to my bill in June. Admittedly that includes replacing anything that needs replacing when they come out, and it includes 90 days of cover on everything too, but that's not the point. I'm still annoyed that I have to be the one to pay when it happened because someone can't be bothered to teach their kids right from wrong. Yeah, I know who did it. There's a ten year old who lives near us, and he's ALWAYS destroying stuff, throwing stones, etc. The police have been to his place so many times I've lost count! But it doesn't matter how many times the police come, because his mother is rarely home, let alone doing anything about it.

But, getting annoyed isn't going to achieve anything, so... moving on!

I made the woman I spoke to from Sky laugh a few times when I was on the phone with her. The first thing she said when I told her my Sky didn't work, was to try unplugging it to reset the box. So, I told her that, "That wont work. The wire from the dish to the box needs to be connected, and since my wire is, once again, outside, I'm guessing they aren't connected." So, she laughed, and asked what happened. I told her, and she said the soonest she can get someone out is Monday. I said that was fine, and she asked, "Between 8:00 am and 1:00 pm, or, between 12:00 pm and 5:00 pm?" To which I said, "Oh! The 12:00 pm and 5:00 pm one, please... I don't like getting up early if I have a choice!" Which made her laugh again..

OK, Chance is trying to point out to me that it's almost time for his food, so, I better go feed him and the others before Chance knocks my monitor off my desk or something!

For anyone who doesn't know Chance's behaviour well enough to tell... Chance is feeling much better now. LOL!

Tori

Puppy party

Kero and Willow - espcially Willow, because I think it was a bit too much for Kero some of the time - had a good time yesterday.

Kero and I walked through the park to meet Mam and Willow, and walked back through the park with them. It was a nice day, so, I took Kero's football with me, but only Willow wanted to play with it. Kero was much more interested in sniffing stuff than chasing after a ball.

Then we came back to my place, and the dogs played in the garden for a while. Willow tried to get Kero to play with the dog toys with her, but he didn't want to. He wanted to race around the garden, checking if anyone was on his territory, and didn't have time to play. But, he had no problem with Willow playing with his toys by herself.

When they came indoors, Willow decided to 'try' - and I do mean 'try' - and get in Chance's bed with him. Chance was NOT impressed! Especially since it's one of those radiator cat beds that can only hold about 15lbs or so, and since Chance is 9lbs, and Willow is DEFINITELY a lot more than that... well, you can guess what happened. Yep, it broke! Chance's very upset about that, so, I promised him I'd get him a new one. It was kind of funny seeing a great big dog like Willow trying to climb into a little bed like that though. LOL!

We - or, rather, I - gave them their special doggy meals just after they came inside, but there was a bit too much going on, so Kero didn't wnat his. I put his aside and gave it to him after Willow had gone, and he ate it no problem then. Enjoyed it too! He wasn't the least bit interested in his bit of birthday cake though. Chance ate some of Kero's bit, and the rest of Kero's bit went in the bin. But Willow says she LOVES this birthday party thing.

Willow made quite a few more unsuccessful attempts to get Kero to play with her, but he was having none of it. I think he was a bit confused about what was going on. Plus, it turned out to be quite a hot day.

When it was time for Mam and Willow to go home, Kero and I walked them back through the park for their bus. I sent Willow home with a "doggy bag." It had a couple of treats and stuff in it. There was; a packet of biscuits that the pet shop gave us two packs of, but Kero didn't like them, so I ended up throwing most of the other pack away, and a couple of rawhide bones.

Kero got two birthday cards yesterday. One was from Willow, and had a Bonio in it (much to Kero's delight) and the other was from his Mamgu and Dadci. For all who don't know, that's Welsh for 'Grandma and Grandpa.' So, that means it was from my Mam and Dad. Kero wont be getting his card and presents from us until Wednesday when it's his actual birthday. The same goes for the stuff from his Great-Grandma.

Tori

Friday, May 18, 2007

A long post about stuff

Yesterday, was one of those days when the way your morning starts out is not really an accurate indication of how the rest of your day is going to be.

When I woke up, it was to a miserable, cold, wet, and grey morning. The first thing I noticed was that the TV wasn't working (read yesterday's post for more on that), and I somehow managed to hit my toe on the gate as I was taking Kero outside for a pee. So, all in all, not a very good morning.

A few hours later, however, my day turned around.

First, the sun came out, and we were left with a beautiful day. So warm and dry that I was able to not only cut across the field when I took Kero out for a walk, I was also able to wear my sandals that I got the other day. And it stayed that beautiful for the rest of the day.

Then, when the delivery guys showed up with my table and chairs, I was informed that they had my sofa too! I thought I'd have another two weeks to wait for it, but no! I now have a nice new sofa to go with all my other new furniture. And, Kero and the cats - especially Sakura - very much approve of the new sofa.

Kero, Sakura, Chance and I spent the afternoon cuddled up on the sofa together. The cats and Kero were sleeping, and I was reading. Megan was kind of there too. She was asleep on the bag my scatter cushions were in. Apparently, a carrier bag is far more comfortable than a sofa. LOL! I got a good couple of chapters of my book read. I'm about to start reading chapter ten of thirteen, so, it wont be long before I've finished this book too!

We were messing about with the camera yesterday afternoon (and earlier this morning) and ended up getting a few nice shots.. I'll put them in the albums some time tomorrow, since I'll have the photos from Kero's party to post anyway.

That's right, you don't know about his party. Well, Kero's third birthday is on Wednesday, so tomorrow (Saturday) we are having a birthday party for him. His only guest is Willow (we'd have invited Jayde if there was a way my Grandma could get her here in time). There will be a special meal consisting of a beef burger, a bit of bacon, a slice or two of ham and a sprinkling of cheese for the dogs, and a small jam and cream sponge cake for the four of us (Mam, Willow, Kero and myself) to share. After the party, we'll all go for a walk, and, if it's a nice day, we'll take a ball with us to the park and have a game of football. We only decided on Tuesday to do him a party. I was going to get a little cake like what we used to do for my Mam's Cocket Spaniel, Tela, and Mam suggested that I do it on a Saturday so I could bring some to the park for Willow, and it just went from there.

Kero was meant to be waiting until just before his party to have his new collar on, but he kept seeing where I had it, and getting upset. I don't think he realised that he still had one on, so I think he thought he was going to be put under the shower. Which is what usually happens when he has his collar off. So, I gave in and put his new collar on him yesterday afternoon. He's SO proud of it! It's just a plain blue collar, but he posed for the camera to show it off, and held his head up high when we went out for our walk. He acted like I'd just put a jewel encrusted collar on him or something. Bless him!

He hasn't made the connection that the new lead is his though. It's a retractable one. I never got him one before, because I never found one that looked even slightly strong (without paying about £30) and, though Kero doesn't pull, there's always that chance he might see something that scares him or whatever. But, I went in Wilkinsons on Tuesday and saw one that a: looked strong enough to be pulled on, and b: only cost about £8. So, I decided that since he needed a new lead, now would be a good time to get him one. He does get to go loose when we go out, for the most part, but there is the odd time that I need him on a lead. They only had a choice of yellow, green or black though. His stuff is normally blue, but beggars can't be choosers. I got him the black one. For one thing, I'm not big on green, and didn't want yellow. For another thing, I could see the lead part of the black one, so, I knew it was what they said, I couldn't see the lead bits of the other two colours, because of how they'd been put in the packages.

In keeping with the 'sorting stuff out' theme of my activities lately. I have moved the pets' food trays so that they are beside each other. The cats did have theirs on the worktop, because when we had Jayde and Lucy it was easier, and when we had Bella it was the only way the cats could get to their dinner. But, I've put their tray back on the floor by Kero's tray. Kero doesn't like to eat alone, so I'm hoping this will encourage him to eat his dinner on his tray rather than us having to bring his bowl to wherever we are. Also, it means all the pet stuff is in one place instead of it being all over the place. They've only had one meal with this arrangement, and so far everyone considers it to be acceptable.

Right, well, I think I've rambled on enough for one day. So, I'm going to go make a cup of tea, put some dishes in to soak, and put some laundry on to wash.

Tori

Added 9:45 am: I just had a call from Wilkinsons to say that my placemats with the cats on them that go with the coasters and such that I got for my new table have arrived. They said they'll keep them for a week. If they'd called about ten minutes sooner I could have asked Kelly to get them for me while he's in town. Too late now, because even if he'd remembered to take his phone, and I'd remembered to put credit on mine, he'd need my card to get money to pay for them. So, I told them I'd come in for them on Tuesday, which is when I'm planning on going to town next anyway.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

No TV... Grrr!!!

We now have all the curtain poles up, our bedroom completely sorted, both of the bathroom cabinets up, and in a few hours time, we'll have our new table and chairs. So, although it's taken us almost two years, we are finally almost done sorting the house.

I wont be watching anything on TV for at least a couple of days though, because we can't get signal on the Sky. Someone - and, I know who it was, but I have no way to prove it - has pulled the clip things that hold the wire that goes from the dish outside to the box inside off the wall, and then pulled on the wire so it got physically ripped out of the box. I don't think it's damaged the box itself, I think it's just the wire that got damaged, but until I can arrange for someone to come and look I wont know for sure. In the meantime, we have no TV. *sigh*

Still, it will give me a chance to catch up on my reading a bit, and get Zararose (my human rogue on World Of Warcraft) up a few levels. She's 44 now!

Tori

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

A couple of birthdays

Just wanted to do a quick post to say that...

Today is Rachel (my sister-in-law-to-be)'s birthday. So HAPPY BIRTHDAY Rachel!

Today is also my Mam's female cat, Felix (AKA Baby)'s 15th birthday.

Photographing Your Pets

By Dave Johnson, PC World

Five great tips that cover everything from shutter speeds to posing your animals.

Halfway through reading Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner's fascinating book Freakonomics, I've started looking for patterns everywhere. So last weekend, I started dividing Hot Pic of the Week photo submissions into categories. The most common subject? Pets.

Honestly, that didn't surprise me. I've seen your cats and dogs in all sorts of adorable poses. So this week, I thought I'd weigh in on how I thought you could make your pets even cuter--on film, at least.

Put Them at Ease
This might seem like common sense, but what I really mean is to photograph Fluffy in a way that makes her comfortable. If she's bouncy puppy, don't keep ordering her to sit while you frame the shot. Nope, take the camera outside and get some shots of her rolling around in the grass with the kids. If Fluffy is a cat, your best chance of getting a great photo is when she's napping in the bean bag--which means you have that opportunity about 18 hours each day.

Stoop to Their Level
Animals sit and stand much lower to the ground than we do, and a good general rule of photography is to shoot from the same perspective as your subject. To really get the essence of your pet's personality, you might want to lie down on the floor.

Of course, you can also get great results from unusual perspectives, too. For example, you could try getting directly overhead and pointing the camera straight down.

Watch Your Shutter Speed
Animals tend to change their mind without much warning and dart around a lot. To be ready for that you'll want to shoot at the fastest shutter speed possible. I recommend setting your camera to Shutter Priority and dialing in the highest speed your camera can muster, or, if your camera doesn't have a shutter priority control, try its Sport or Action setting.

Don't Be a Pet Paparazzi
When it comes to photographing pets, remember that the camera flash is not your friend. Turn off the flash and use natural light whenever possible, even if it means increasing the camera's ISO setting, which controls its sensitivity to light.

Why? Two reasons, really. First, bright flashes of light tend to scare animals, and the last thing you want to do is freak out Fluffy. Second, camera flash tends to cause the red-eye effect in animals, just as it does with humans. The red-eye reduction feature built into cameras is designed for people and isn't as effective on dogs and cats. If you really do need to use a flash, consider using a snap-on diffuser or a bounce card (available at any photo shop) to reduce the light's impact.

Share the Cute
When you're done taking pictures of your favorite pet, share your joy with the world.

Extraterrestrial life

Extraterrestrial life is life originating outside of the Earth. Its existence remains hypothetical; there is no evidence of extraterrestrial life that has been widely accepted by the scientific community.

Most scientists believe that if extraterrestrial life exists, its emergence occurred independently, in different places in the universe. An alternative hypothesis is panspermia, which suggests that life might emerge in one location and then spread between habitable planets. These two hypotheses are not mutually exclusive. The study and theorization of extraterrestrial life is known as astrobiology or xenobiology. Speculative forms of extraterrestrial life range from sapient beings to life at the scale of bacteria.

Suggested off-Earth locations that might have once developed or continue to host life include Mars, natural satellites of Jupiter and Saturn (e.g. Europa and Titan), and most recently Gliese 581 c, which is the only known extrasolar planet in its star's habitable zone and is predicted to have liquid water.

'Kitten' or 'Cat' names

Just for the fun of it, I looked up names that mean 'kitten' or 'cat' in different languages. And, these are what I found:
  • Falina - A female, Latin name that means 'Uncertain' or 'Cat-like'
  • Faline - A female, English name that means 'Uncertain' or 'Cat-like'
  • Falinus - A female, Latin name that means 'Cat-like'
  • Katida - A female, Esperanto name that means 'Kittenish'
  • Keesa - A unisex, Russian name that means 'Kitten'
  • Kitena - A female, American name that means 'Kitten-like'
  • Oubastet - A male, Egyptian name that means 'A cat'
  • Paka - A female, African name that means 'Cat'
  • Sanura - A female, Arabic name that means 'Kitten'
  • Tiger - A unisex, English name that means 'A large, striped cat'
I will add more if I come across them at any point.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Weird day, weather wise

It was pouring with rain when I got up this morning, but by the time I was ready to walk Kero and go out for the bus to town, it was dry. Then it started to rain again about lunchtime, but dried up again within a couple of hours.

I had a pretty good time shopping. Did a lot of walking, so I got a bit tired, but it was still OK.

I had to arrange for the council to come and pick up the old bedroom units, so, I had to walk all the way up to the council office, which is, of course, the opposite end of town to where I normally am. I also went to the vet to fetch flea stuff for Kero, Sakura, Megan and Chance. I treat them every month whether they have fleas or not. They don't usually have any, but it's better to be safe than sorry.

I also got...
  • A place mat, worktop saver and coaster set with cats on it (actually, I got the coasters and worktop saver today, but I had to order the place mats, because they didn't have any place mats in stock)
  • 2 baguettes (a cheese and pineapple one for my Mam, and the usual tuna, sweetcorn, cheese and onion one for myself)
  • 2 bags of chocolate raisins (one each for Mam and myself)
  • A squeaky toys phone for Kero (for his birthday)
  • A toy for Willow (for when I go to my parents' place tomorrow)
  • A new collar and lead for Kero
  • The anniversary card I needed to get for my parents
And, of course, the weekly food shop.

I got a call this afternoon saying that my new table and chairs will be arriving on Thursday. Just waiting for the sofa now.

Chance has a cold. He's eating fine, but he's got a snuffly nose. Poor baby!

Tori

Another miserable, wet, Tuesday morning

Yesterday turned out to be a beautiful, sunny day. It was a little bit chilly though (especially in the shade) but at least it was nice and dry, and we got to see some sun. Unfortunately, I woke up this morning to pouring rain... Again!

I'll be going shopping again today, since it's Tuesday, and time to do the weekly food shop. I've got to get a few other things too. For one thing, it's my Mam and Dad's 14th wedding anniversary today, and I haven't gotten them a card yet, so I need to get them one today. I should have gotten them one last week, but I kept thinking their anniversary was on a Wednesday this year. Oops!

Speaking of my parents' anniversary... HAPPY ANNIVERSARY Mam and Dad!

Tori

Monday, May 14, 2007

"Just in case... !"

I was watching the National Geographic channel this morning, which I don't often do, and I feel that it is my duty to warn you that scientists are predicting that in approximately one billion years, we will be forced to live under-ground because the heat of the sun will kill us. I also feel I should warn you, that scientists also predict that in approximately one hundred billion years, the very atoms of the universe we live in will continue to expand - as they have done to create the universe and everything in it - and, the end result will be that after a period of time (they never gave an estimated time period for this part) the universe will become nothing but the cold, empty, blackness that was there before the big bang, or whatever it is that caused the universe to come into being.

I just thought you should know. After all, it's very important that you gather as much information as possible. Why? Well, let me explain...

At some point during your education, you will be told about the fact that Thomas Edison invented the light bulb, and the fact that Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone. I don't remember how old I was when I was taught this, but that's of no importance. Either way, I was curious as to why it was so important that we knew these facts, so, I asked my Dad, "Why do I need to know about all of this stuff anyway?" To which my Dad replied, "If at some point during your life you were abducted by aliens, and they said, for example, 'tell us who invented the telephone, and we will spare your life,' you could then tell them that it was Alexander Graham Bell, and then they would let you live." This seemed logical to me, and so, I made it a point to gather and remember as much information as possible. After all, the aliens may not be interested in who invented the light bulb or the telephone. They might be more interested in how old the legend of The Loch Ness Monster is, or how whatever planet they are from got the name that we on Earth call it, or how long scientists estimate it will be before the very atoms of the universe expand so much that the fabric of the universe begins to rip apart, and everything in it ceases to exist. Or maybe they'll choose to ask you something entirely different? Who knows?

So, you see, I'm telling you all of this stuff to save your life!

Tori

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Accidents...

Accidents. They're funny things. There are silly accidents. Like when you trip over your own feet, or when you are making dinner for someone and you put something on their plate that they had already told you they didn't like, but you forgot they didn't like it. Then there are worse ones. Like when you spill hot tea over someone, or when you are carrying something with someone, and you drop your end of it. Yes, there are all kinds of accidents. The kind I'm talking about though, is the kind you can't explain. In this case, I knelt down on the floor and I somehow ended up cutting my ankle. I have no idea how, or what on, but I did cut it. It's quite an impressive cut too! I can't wear my shoes without putting a plaster over it, or my shoe rubs and it hurts too much to walk! So, the lesson for today is, check the floor before kneeling down.

Anyway, it was only for a few hours, but we actually had some sun yesterday. Of course, by the time the sun came out it was too late to go to the park, but at least we had some sun, and I was able to take Kero for a walk without getting soaked. Which, by the way, both Kero and I were very happy about!

That's it from me for now.

Tori

Saturday, May 12, 2007

It's raining, it's pouring, this weather's boring!

I found the picture I'm using for today's blog post, on a clip art site and thought it was very appropriate, what with all the rain we're having. Yes, it's STILL raining here. *groan*

We have had the odd patch of sun - like, for example, Tuesday afternoon, lol - but for the most part it's been raining all week. It's so wet that all three of the cats (yes, even Sakura) are staying home 90% of the time. Usually Sakura spends about 90% of her time outside, but with the cold, wet weather we've been having, she's been home. I think it might be bothering her leg a bit. Poor baby!

We - Mam, Willow, Kero and I - were 'meant to be' going to the park together at some point today. Somehow I don't think we will be though. The rain is coming down quite heavy at the moment, and unless it eases soon, I don't hold out much hope for a long enough rain-free piece of day to take the dogs to the park.

I watched a couple of movies yesterday afternoon. One was "Over The Hedge," which I borrowed from my Mam when I was up there on Wednesday. It's pretty good, but, in my opinion, they showed most of the best parts of the movie in the trailer, so, that kind of spoiled it a bit. I did enjoy it though, don't get me wrong. And, I do intend getting it (along with all the other movies I don't have that I've watched and loved). The second movie was called "First Daughter." I sort of stumbled upon it while flicking through the channels to see what was on. That was quite good too. Oh, and I watched "Meet The Fockers," which I've seen before, but thoroughly enjoy. It's still funny, even after watching it something like ten times. LOL!

Anyway, I'm going to go find me some breakfast, because I'm hungry.

Before I go get my breakfast though, I just want to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my friend, Pam, because it's her birthday today. I'm not sure if she will see this, but then, a lot of the people I say happy birthday to don't see the message. At least I've said it though!

Tori

Friday, May 11, 2007

Musings: "So-and-so said... "

In one of his books, Lemony Snicket talks about how the way your day starts out can be a good indication of how the rest of your day will be. For instance - and, these are my examples, not his - if you were to get up late, and not have time for breakfast, then almost miss the bus to school, or work, or to wherever else you were going, you would know that your day isn't going to be a very good one. Where as, if you were to wake up on time, and find your breakfast ready for you, and get to the bus stop with plenty of time before the bus, and so on, you would know your day was going to be a good one. That's basically what Lemony Snicket says. And, yes, for the most part, that theory does work. Anyway, this is just a long-winded way of asking, "What kind of day do you expect if you don't get up in the morning?" For example, if you get up in the afternoon for some reason. Like, for example, if you work nights, then come home and sleep all morning, and get up in the afternoon instead. Do those rules still apply if you get up in the afternoon? And, what if you don't go to bed at all, for whatever reason?

In Terry Pratchet's: The Hogfather, Death comments on how, "In a universe so full of wonders, human beings have managed to invent boredom." He has a point. There are so many wonders out there, and so few people notice them. Though many of them can be explained, there are those that can't. And, even those that can be explained, too few people care enough to ask what the explanation is. I wonder when it was that mankind stopped caring about the world around us? Yes, there are those who still care, thankfully, but once upon a time everyone cared, because everyone needed to care to survive. I bet if that was still the case, everyone would still care!

Tori

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Weather, shopping, and movies

As I mentioned in the comments section of Tuesday's blog, I was extremely lucky with the weather on Tuesday. I managed to persuade Kero to go for a walk with me, and I was lucky enough to be able to time the walk just right so that we made it home before the rain returned. Then it POURED with rain, and I did get a bit wet waiting for the bus, but by the time I got to town the rain had stopped. I believe it was around 8:00 pm when it rained again. By which time I had given Kero his afternoon walk and neither Kero nor myself were planning on going anywhere anyway.

I wasn't as lucky yesterday (Wednesday) morning though, and ended up getting thoroughly SOAKED walking Kero. And, it's still all cold, wet, and miserable out there! Yuck! They said on the radio that by the end of May the sun will be back. We shall see though.

I'm now almost positive that my Mam's influence is rubbing off on me, because, despite the fact I did get a bit fed up of looking in the clothes shops after an hour or so, I did enjoy shopping. I never got as much as I did last week. This week, I just got a pair of sandals, since just because the sun's gone away right now, doesn't mean it wont come back, and sandals are on sale right now, so, now is a good time to buy them. And, of course, my tuna, sweetcorn, cheese and onion baguette, and a baguette for my Mam. And, of course, the food shopping. I also got a Westie cup and coaster set. In fact, the picture I posted today is the coaster from that set.

And today I have some new cupboards coming for our bedroom. These are the last things we need to finish our room. We've been in this place for almost two years now, and only now we are completing the task of buying all the furniture. Oops! Oh well, at least it's finally being done. We just have a few more items to buy (like a new tumble-dryer) and a few bits on order that I'm still waiting for (a sofa, and a table and chairs set).

Anyway, my Mam and Dad came down here yesterday afternoon to put up some new curtain poles for me. Wayne came with them, because, yesterday being Wednesday, Wayne had Kero for us while Kelly and I went to my parents' place. We only got two of the curtain poles up, because it took a lot longer than we had anticipated. So, they're coming back next week to do the other one, and to put up the bathroom cabinets that Mam and I are putting together on Monday.

I've been watching a few movies the past few days. I watched:
  • 102 Dalmatians
  • Stitch! The Movie
  • Lemony Snicket's A Series Of Unfortunate Events
  • Fantastic Four
  • Ella Enchanted
  • The Perfect Man
  • Happy Feet
I've seen all but "The Perfect Man" and "Happy Feet" before. And, right now, I'm watching "Because Of Winn-Dixie."

Oh, and yesterday was my sister Elizabeth's birthday. So, a belated happy birthday to Elizabeth for yesterday.

Anyway, I'm going to let that do for now, and go get myself some breakfast.

Tori

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Gloomy, grey Tuesday morning

Hmmm... Either we never did get that storm we were meant to get last night, or, I slept through it. It's very possible I slept through it, since I was asleep by 9:00 pm last night, and never woke up until about 4:00 am this morning. I went to bed early last night because I was bored, and tired. I don't know if I was more bored than tired, or, if I was more tired than bored though. LOL!

Anyway, I woke up to another cold, wet morning. It looks thoroughly miserable out there, and I need to go out there! For starters, I need to 'try' and persuade Kero to go for a walk with me. For another thing, I need to go to town and get the weekly food shop done. *groan*

I'm going to have a nice, warm, cup of tea before trying to persuade Kero to go for a walk. You never know, maybe the rain will stop while I'm having my cuppa?

Tori

Monday, May 07, 2007

Blustery Bank Holiday

Today has been one of those cold, blustery, days when the wind likes to try and steal your hat right off your head, and it rains on and off all day. But the sun keeps right on trying to shine from behind all the horrible, grey clouds that are trying their best to keep it hidden. We're meant to be getting a thunder storm some time later.

We'll have to see though. After all, the weather people aren't known for their accurate weather predictions, are they?

Kero didn't want to get up to go out today. It took me until almost 11:30 am to even get him to get up and eat his dinner! When I finally got him to go out for a walk with me, he literally did what he needed to do then practically dragged me home again. Guess even when you have a fur coat it's sometimes too cold out.

Chance and I watched the movie 'Balto' last night on Sky Movies. I know some of you are probably thinking, "How was Chance watching it? He's a cat!" But, let me tell you now, he DID watch it. He sat perfectly still on my lap staring straight at the TV through the whole movie. Well, actually there was a point where he hid his head under my arm. There was a part where Balto almost drowned, and I guess it was too scary for Chance. Bless him! But, before that, then again when that bit was over, Chance sat still as a statue on my lap with his eyes fixed on the TV. I guess he enjoyed the movie!

Haven't really done anything else, so, I'll let this do for now.

Tori

Sunday, May 06, 2007

A sunny Saturday, a miserable Sunday and Tabby

We've had a beautiful week, weather wise. That is, until today anyway!

Yesterday it was absolutely boiling hot. Mam and I took Kero and Willow for a nice, long walk in the morning, then Mam took Willow home so that she - meaning Willow - was home before the mid-day heat. Then Mam and I met up for a picnic in the park. Kero, of course, came too. So did Sakura. We had a great time, but didn't stay long, because, for one thing, we were a bit worried about Kero and Sakura being in the sun for too long, for another, we were getting a bit hot ourselves.

Mam, Kero and I then spent most of the afternoon out in the yard, just laying around, and not really doing much of anything.

I was only mildly surprised that Sakura joined us for the picnic. She's joined us for walks on several occasions, but she's never walked with us as far as we went yesterday, and she's also never stayed with us if we stay still too long. But, she was with us the whole time.

When we were in the yard, Mam and I were stretched out on a blanket on the grass, and Chance came to lay with us. He did the rolling thing I was talking about the other day, and even my Mam said he was cute - bearing in mind, my Mam isn't Chance's number one fan, since she's not a big fan of Oriental cats.

We also gave Kero a shower since he was FILTHY. You should see him, he's all white, and cute, and fluffy! I took a photo but it's still on my camera.

I made my very first tuna, pasta bake yesterday. I've never made it by myself before, because, I always just got the microwavable ready-meal ones. But, my Mam wanted tuna, pasta bake and we didn't have a ready-meal one, so, I made one from scratch. Turned out pretty good, if I do say so myself.

This morning, I woke up to pouring rain, chilly winds, and horrible, grey, cloud-filled skies. Yuck! Because of the horrible weather, I haven't really done much today. I've just spent the day checking blogs, doing laundry, and watching TV. I tried, a couple of times, to get Kero to go out for a walk, but he's having none of it! He says it's too wet to go out there. Can't say I blame him for that, and I can't say I mind him feeling that way, because if he doesn't want to go out, it means I don't have to go out there either. LOL!

There's this tabby cat that comes to visit us. I don't know who's cat he is (I think it's a 'he' anyway) and I don't know where he lives, but he's usually pretty hungry when he comes to see us. Of course, me being me, I started to give him some cat biscuits to eat when he comes to visit. And, Kelly being Kelly, he started to give him some too. I don't know what his name really is, but I call him "Tabby." For one thing, it fits because of him being a tabby cat, for another, it's a unisex name, so, if it turns out I'm wrong and he is actually a she, well, the name will still work. And, it's better than saying "that cat that comes to visit" every time we mention him. So, anyway, now when Tabby comes to visit we feed him and last night when he came to visit, he even let us - or, rather, he let Kelly - pet him! He's never allowed either of us to do that before!

Tori

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Lemony Snicket's A Series Of Unfortunate Events

By request of my Grandma, here is the first paragraph from the first chapter of the first book of 'Lemony Snicket's A Series Of Unfortunate Events'

"If you are interested in stories with happy endings, you would be better off reading some other book. In this book, not only is there no happy ending, there is no happy beginning and very little happyness in the middle. This is because not very many happy things happened in the lives of the three Baudelaire youngsters. Vialot, Klause and Sunny Baudelaire were intelligent children, and they were charming, and resourceful, and had pleasant facial features, but they were extremely unlucky, and most everything that happened to them was rife with misfortune, misery and despair. I'm sorry to tell you that, but that is how the story goes."

I chose that particular part because it wouldn't spoil any of the story, but, to illustrate something that I was telling Grandma about something Lemony Snicket does, I also want to post the following piece from the third book after one of the characters said "Truth, scmuth"

"If you don't care about something, one way to demonstrate your feelings is to say the word and then repeat the word with the letter S-C-H-M replacing the real first letters. Someone who didn't care about dentists, for instance, could say 'Dentists, schmentists'."

Again, I chose this particular part to demonstrate because it doesn't give away any of the actual details of the story. And, I wouldn't want to give too much zway and spoil it for you, would I?

Tori