Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Work Benefits

The benefits I get at work are free reptiles. I've collected a few, a beautiful black and white California Kingsnake,

a vibrant Fire Skink,

and an angry Green Iguana.

I have also acquired other species from various places but not directly from work, but if I did not work with reptiles I am pretty sure I would not have any of these, not for not wanting but of all the animals I have right now I have only bought one and that turned into a big ordeal. Our bought Rose Hair Tarantula produced herself a big ol' egg sac a few weeks after we got her!! That even freaked me out!! I enjoy the company of all these creatures, well not really the actual company since I don't actually handle any of them but I do enjoy caring for them. I could have said no to any of them and all but the snake were me specifically asking for them.

Recently my husband has been the one coming home with things from work. He works at Directed Electronics, they also own Polk Audio. He bought me a sweet little ipod dock, miDock Portfolio Stiletto, last year and I use it at work where space is limited. Then he won an I-sonic in a raffle drawing when the company first acquired Polk. When Polk came out with their I-sonic 2 he was able to trade in his original. Then he won a Sirius Soloist at this years Christmas party and then employees were given a miDock Studio. At the Christmas party people were also given FM Voyagers, we had already bought one so now we have 3. I guess they are discontinuing this product so they were just trying to unload them. He has also won been given other things over the years and has sold them to friends for ridiculously low prices.

It is kind of ironic that we are the ones with these things. Not that I don't like them, I did go out and buy 2 of the things. I do like techie things, I keep up with the latest but I don't acquire them regularly. I have gaming consoles, I play World of Warcraft regularly but I do try and limit my intake of things especially in the past few years. It just hit me today as I was putting boxes of audio devices out of the way that we have all these things and didn't technically want the majority of them. I'm not complaining I am just wondering, is this normal or are we "lucky". What do I do with these things now. The I-sonic isn't really something I could sell, it has a few buggy issues but it's a device thing on a whole, we actually returned our first one because of it but this one does it too.

Which brings me to another thing I wanted to talk about. Vampires. I LOVE vampire stories, but I HATE vampire energy. I read an article the other day, Lowering the Cost of Play. It basically went through the top gaming consoles and how much power they consume and what hit me was how it's not so easy to really turn them off. I have experienced this with my Wii, when you press the power button to turn it off it goes into a semi-standby mode. It's power light turns from green to yellow. If you really want to turn it off you have to hold the power button for a few seconds and then the light turns red. Even then it is still drawing power just like almost everything else we own in this day and age. The Wii however is the console which uses the least amount of power by a whole hell of a lot.

In my home everything but my cable box and Tivo are on power strips that get turned off when they aren't in use. It works great, it is not that difficult to adjust to, just have to remember to turn the power strip on. It is a bit difficult for casual guests that come over and want to microwave something, they go over to it and push a million and one buttons and THEN ask why it's not working, it's not plugged in. The looks I have gotten are pretty funny.

This is where the problem arises for the I-sonic and I'm sure there are some other devices that would have these problems. The TV takes about 5 seconds to "warm" up before I can actually turn it on but it's not an issues at all. It is a vcr/dvd/tv combo so there is a lot of things that need to be engaged. The I-sonic on the other hand turns on right away and you can press two or three buttons but then it freezes for a few minutes sometimes. It is pretty annoying. It works long enough for me to turn it on put my ipod in it and change the source but I rarely can get to the ipod source and then a few minutes later it starts to function. If I do get it to the ipod it does play and I can listen to the ipod but I can't adjust the volume or skip or stop it through the I-sonic. I can pause the actual ipod but still no volume control. The worst part is that it actually plays and because I press the buttons a few times before I realize it's not working, when the "freeze" is over it changes source and volume or whatever I might have pressed. Quite annoying and that is why the I-sonic is now boxed up and probably won't come out for a while.

Another issue that I find intriguing and makes me not want to buy technology at all is the "Playstation War". Here is an article on it and I will let you read and think about it for yourself, Inside Africa's PlayStation War.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Cat Proof(ish) Christmas Tree

I can't have any plants in my home because my fat cat tries to eat them. Really sucks since my sister-in-laws family are florists and would supply me with an endless supply of beautiful bouquets year round. Sucks even more around Christmas time because there is no having any sort of tree.

A few years ago I got a small fake tree, one that has fiber optic lights built in, there are fiber optic "needles" among the fake plastic "pine needles" in the branches and they change color, looks kinda cool. Well we put it up and within a day the fat one had found her way to it. Isn't she just so cute chewing on plastic and fiber optic, can't be good for her.

We can't even have anything that looks like fake plants. Nothing resembling a plant. She loves to chew on the fake plants I have for my fish tank and/or reptile tanks. She is a weird one.

So I have given up on Christmas tree in my home. We don't do much for Christmas at our place anyways so it's not a big deal but it would be nice to have a bit of the season in our home.

I check my email the other day and Low Impact Living's newsletter is about a cardboard Christmas tree. I think that might be able to pretty much survive in my home. Granted my cats, both of them, are what we call cardboard vampires, thank you Jerry Cantrell. Let me explain, they love to chew on cardboard and it leaves puncture marks. Something Jerry Cantrell observed a cat do and thought of the term cardboard vampire and subsequently named a group he toured with. They did all covers it was great, but back to the Christmas tree. So I could bring that into my home and the bottom portion could be kindly "decorated" by my cats and I could decorate the top portion myself. It could probably even survive a few years before I would need a new one.