Dog Day Afternoon

How do you break in a new home? How do you announce to it and yourself that from this moment, you are part of your home and your home is part of you? How do you...tie the knot, smash the champagne, slip on the ring, put an announcement in the newspaper, sign on the dotted line...or whichever metaphor appeals to you?

I do two things. I set up my computer on a convenient desk (from which it generally never moves until I pack for the next home), and I make a cup of tea. These acts signify that I have arrived.

A boyfriend and I lasted long enough to live in three separate houses - this was over a decade ago - and our "moving in" ceremony was to share a large portion of fish and chips, eaten from the wrapper. We also had regular "breaking up" ceremonies when I'd walk out on his drunken ass and he'd phone at four in the morning saying (a) he'd decided after much thought to forgive me and (b) could I please please come back because he really did love me. And after a week I would.

Hey, I'm a soppy old romantic. Either that or incredibly stupid. but anyway...

There's other little milestones. The first time you sleep, wash up, use the toilet, rearrange the furniture, or have someone back for a night of passion. Huh, I should be so fucky - fucky, fucky, fucky. Life should be so fucked up in love.

I've moved (I think) twelve times in my life. Not counting the move from the maternity unit. Um, although at least four of these were moving back to my parents house, where the desk was waiting for the computer and the kettle was on already.

Parents are good. Once they've finally grown up enough to realise (a) you're not going to stop being queer, (b) screeching about it looks silly, and (c) grandchildren are vastly overrated. I know this - for I was a grandchild.

I've got six gigabytes of ebooks on magic and mentalism. My excuse is that the principles of people reading and manipulation would be useful in the classroom.

But it has the fringe benefit that, should I ever get a car, I know how to drive it blindfolded. The trick when using the now standard "Osterlind" blindfold is...wait for move the opaque part out of the way by raising your eyebrows.

I trust you're suitably impressed by how skillful and convoluted that is.

We've got a dog.

I came into the office, bright and early at midday, to find Radi the builder/plumber/farmer finishing off the new partition, and a very small dog sniffing around being friendly.

She's a "Dradkhaar", a variety of hunting dog for which I can't find an English equivalent. But she's a stray puppy about twelve inches long, black with brown and white mottling - escaped or more likely abandoned. I've given her some milk and puppy food, which she gobbled up like a mad thing. it's probably been days since she was fed, so I'm rationing her so she shouldn't get ill with the sudden influx of food, or throw it back up again. It looks like we've adopted each other.

She's found a box of soft wool in the corner and is curled up, next to the newspaper, whose purpose she figured out immediately. So I'm guessing this is a recently lost/abandoned/expelled puppy who had a few weeks of domestication beforehand.

Tania and I have one thing in common - we go a bit mushy over dogs. We're considering the name "Wednesday", after today's day, and the girl in The Addams Family.

The BBC are very keen for you to download their webcasts and stream their archived programs, but not download the programs. That's why the podcasts are in MP3 and the programs are in (hack, spit) realaudio.

I'm sure there's an elegant, simple way to download, but all the elegant simple ways I've tried haven't worked, so I've come up with an inelegant, complex way.

You need RealAlternative and Orbit Downloader to download the realaudio files, and something to convert them to WAV or MP3. I'm still looking for a good one of those.

* Load up Orbit
* Go to the streaming site
* Right click on the link to "Listen again", and save the RAM file somewhere convenient
* Open the RAM file in Notepad
* Copy the link to the RA file (ie the webaddress before the question mark)
* Click "New" in Orbit. The contents of the clipboard will be helpfully already pasted into the URL field. Rename the "save as" name if you want.
* Click "Ok"
* The RA file will "stream" to your hard drive, but only in real time, so it takes as long to download as it does to listen. But at least you can stream more than one simultaneously.
* Once it's downloaded, you can convert.

Not the fastest method in the world, and sometimes the audio glitches, but it's what I've been able to come up with so far.

Which only leaves one question. Why are the BBC so determined to prevent me listening to their science documentaries in my apartment? They're happy for me to do it in the office, but the place where I eat and sleep is somehow different.

1 comment:

  1. If it's possible to have a virtual housewarming party, I've just come over with a bottle of bubbly.

    My first act to break in a new home is to crank up the music and break open a bottle.