Labradors stink and eat
Thursday, July 21 2005
I felt an enormous sense of accomplishment today when, after finding the correct configuration files and combining the wisdom of two different web pages to edit them, I managed to get the sound to work on my piece-of-shit Toshiba Tecra, the one that had been giving me so many problems. I knew suspected the sound was working when the command line program "amp" no longer gave me errors when I tried to play an MP3, but I wasn't sure until I plugged in a speaker and then waited for the sound buffer to fill.
It's empowering to intitiate a computer process as complex as the playing of an MP3 from a primitive command line interface. It's also strange, just because of the seeming anachronism. Modern computers, the kind that can store, decompress, and convert to sound an MP3 are, by their very nature, complex enough to be running advanced graphical operating systems. The beauty of Linux is that you can do all the crazy stuff of an advanced computer while choosing to use an interface of arbitrary primitiveness. In theory I could tap commands in Morse code to a properly-configured Linux machine, and it would do whatever I wanted, possibly across those Internets.
Today we began dog-sitting Murphy, CAS Kathy's big Yellow Lab, for the weekend. Labs are notorious for their single obsession in life, to eat and then perhaps eat some more. Murphy also reminded me of the other unpleasant thing about Labradors that I remember from Wilbur, the Black Lab of my youth. They stink! Murphy smells like cooking peas, and not in a good way. All this leaves me perplexed by the popularity of puppy mill Labradors, especially given the fact that one can go to any dog shelter and adopt a sweet-smelling, quasi-anorexic dog like Sally or Eleanor.
Later tonight at around midnight Murphy's gastrointestinal tract commanded him to go off in search of garbage. We've dog-sat a lot of dogs, and this was the first time we'd ever had one wander off. So we searched the nearby forest and fields on foot with flashlights, shouting Murphy's name in vain. Gretchen also shouted "Edna, Noah, Maxwell!" as a sad black humor celebration of the cats who have wandered off and never returned.
Eventually we climbed into the car and made a tour of the circular driveways of two of our neighbors and just when Gretchen seemed to be rehearsing how she was going to break this development to Kathy we came upon Murphy trotting homeward down the road. When he climbed in the car he reeked of fish guts. Most people up here on the hill are careful not to put out their trash for fear of attracting "the Bear" but evidently someone had been careless. This weekend now had all the makings for being of the long variety.
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