On the way home from lunch, I walked past a squirrel near the underbrush by the side of the street. It was not just any squirrel, it was a half-flattened one. It was dragging itself around by the front paws, as its hips, rear legs, and tail were very nearly flat. It looked like it had gotten run over and had either been flipped off the road or managed to crawl there on its own. As much as I feel indifferent toward squirrels, it was really sad and I had to try hard to keep from shedding a tear all the way back to the office. I was really unsure what to do. There was nothing I could directly do to help (especially not without thick gloves). The only indirect thing I could think of was to call Animal Control and have them put it out of its misery, but I doubt they would have bothered with a call for a squirrel. Additionally, I am not sure they would have been able to find it, even if I had called, and I did not have the time to sit around and loiter by the side of the road. The whole thing left me feeling helpless and sad.
At home, the cats were fighting over a very large housefly. The Precious managed to damage its wings enough so that it could barely get away. Ebenezer made some really good attempts to steal it away, but The Precious finally pinned it down enough to eat it. A little later, Ebenezer found his own moth to jump up to and pluck from the air. It is perfectly acceptable to be humored by the torture and murder of insects when it is at the whim of the cats, yet sad when a squirrel (“a rat in a fur coat”), which is technically vermin and likely carries a disease, is mortally wounded in an accident. This does not seem right, yet at the same time seems absolutely fine.
The other day, I was discussing how I rarely care for games–excepting ones that intentionally sharpen your logic skill or are an interactive/alternate way of telling a story (as an alternative to a book, movie, or spoken narrative.) I also talked extensively about how I do not believe in television. This comic popped up, which combines those two things and sums up really well what I thought (and still think) of The Sims. I Played The Sims for a couple of days back when it first came out many, many years ago and all of the pundits were blabbering on and on about how revolutionary it was going to be. But no. It was like real life, only more boring. I have to go to work, feed the cats, and buy a sofa in real life. I do not need to play a game in which I have to go to work, feed the cats, and buy a sofa. Now, I guess The Sims 2 is coming out soon. More of the same, but with genetics. Your simulated people can screw and have kids now. People are getting excited over this. Really.
Speaking of television, and lack thereof, I picked up something called a Radio Shark the other day. Basically, it turns your computer into the radio version of a Tivo. I can listen to and record live radio on the computer as well as record shows like a VCR. This is no big deal, as I used to be able to do this with a string-and-sealing-wax combination of digital radio receiver, Linux box, sound card, cables, and custom scripts. This just makes it much easier and nicely packaged. The really cool things it does are above and beyond what my old radio/jukebox machine would do. The recorded shows are added to iTunes where they can be picked up next time you plug in an iPod. The super-cool feature is that it offers Tivo-like time shifting. It buffers up to 30 minutes of radio, so you can “pause” live radio for up to 30 minutes, then rewind and fast-forward that “live” radio signal. While most NPR programs have streaming available online, you can ONLY stream the show, not download it–which is useless behind the uber-firewall at work or out walking. Audio Hijack Pro lets you record those streams, but ends up taking a good amount of manual work and can sound like crap if your connection is not fast enough or gets throttled by something else. Anyway, I am happy because now I can easily record a number of the shows I am not home for, as well as take stuff into work.
The lady at the Japanese restaurant was trying to up-sell me some fancy, seasonal tempura mushrooms.