Wednesday, November 24, 2010


I want to apologize to any folks that follow this blog for any cool Antarctica content-- not much lately. I'll continue to document the cool new stuff that is happening in my life, and I'll weave Antarctica content into it when I can.

I've had cats for much of my life, but have adopted out my favorite recent cats to friends in order to pursue ice jobs over the last few years. Now that I'm settled down, I have been thinking a lot about expanding the Lee/Conan household to include a cat... I've decided to lay low for Thanksgiving weekend, which gave me enough leisure time to browse some cat rescues and 'pounds' today. At the Dumb Friends League Buddy Center in Castle Rock today, I found my newest roommates. A couple of mutt cats. 'Buddy' was listed as a two-month-old black domestic shorthair, but he's actually a black tabby. I've had quite a few black cats in my life, and I've noticed with several of them that their hair actually has a tabby pattern to it, if viewed in the right light. Buddy is really about three tones of black in a stripy pattern-- very cool. Betty is the same size and age, though the paperwork didn't show that they were littermates. Just dropped off at the same time.

One of the reasons I've been thinking of getting a cat again is that Conan spends all nine or ten hours a weekday here in the house, just waiting for me to get home again. That usually means a trip to the dog park, and making amends for those hours of solitude. I thought if he had a cat (or two) bopping around the house all day, that might make the waiting more tolerable. He gets nearly no mental stimulation for the whole time I'm at work, and I can really see it in his behavior when I get home.

I picked up the kittens today, and they've been bouncing around the house with Conan all evening. He grew up with cats, so he's very respectful of them. I think there are memories of claws to nose that are keeping him in line. It's interesting-- cats are such incredibly smart and adaptive predators, but their 'smarts' are so different from dogs. This transition from thirty years of being a cat guy, to a dog guy, to a dog-and-cat-guy are showing me some interesting variations in the way we all think. Conan is a very bright dog, and he surprises me every day with his facility for language and memorization. That being said, I've got to witness today that a cat a tenth of his size (probably way less...) could figure out how to get where they wanted to go in the house in seconds, where he may have never worked it out. Math, though.... dogs are much better at math.

I hope to post some more pictures of the new house and expanded family soon. I've been having some technical difficulties recently, which have prevented me from posting great pics...

Sunday, November 14, 2010

New Wheels!

Sorry Antarcticans-- no Antarctica content in this one. I'm getting more settled into my wee Englewood bungalow, and getting more used to the sub-urban (not quite suburban) lifestyle. Englewood feels a lot more like a small town than a suburb. I'm really liking it here. I still have about a half-hour commute to the office and back every day, and I've been doing it in my trusty old 2000 Tundra. Burning up a lot of gas, just commuting, and tons more when I visit friends in Montana and Arizona, and other road trips.

I've been thinking about getting a small car that gets good mileage, to take the heat off the ol' pickup, and to save bucks on gas. I've shopped the hell out of cars for the last couple of weeks, and found my ride. It's an '03 VW Jetta TDI (turbo diesel). It has nearly 100k on it, but it just got about three grand worth of engine work (new turbo/ manifold and new oil pan). These cars get about 50MPG in the city, and around 55MPG on the highway. I've had turbocharged cars before, so I know how to keep the car in its powerband and happy, so it's actually a pretty perky ride. It's not screaming fast, but I have a motorcycle for that. I can't wait to experience my first 600 mile tank! It's the GLS model, so it has the power sunroof, heated seats, heated mirrors, etc. Of all the options I would ever want on a car, heated seats are near the top. It's great to get in a cold car on a winter morning, and have a warm butt before my tires hit the street.

I've always been skeptical of VWs, having had a couple that were really crap. I'm willing to give them another chance here-- it could be that I've just driven them like a rented mule before, and broke them often. I'll try to be civilized with this one...