Friday, August 19, 2016

DIY Dog Furniture

I saw this online and immediately wanted one.  Andy has a standard dog crate big enough for a golden retriever.  It lives under the dining room table and is just an awkward eyesore.  It would be great to have one that doubled as a classy end-table.

This particular one is listed for $105, although the nicer ones can run $200-$400.  Looking back, maybe we should have just bought it, because in the end we only saved about $50 by doing it ourselves.  The original plan was to only spend $20 and seemed like a stroke of brilliance. 

We begin with an old cabinet of unknown provenance that we acquired for $20 at Goodwill six years ago.

Until lately, it had been used to store our DVDs.  Now it will be transformed into Lady Andromache's doggie boudoir.  

First step was to remove the shelf and pull out the support pins with pliers.  Easy.  Next we had to cut windows into the doors.  That was a bit more complicated because the only power tool we own is a drill.  I used it like a woodpecker, and after three days of drilling and chiseling, we had fabulous open spaces.  

A little wood stain and varnish, and it looks great.  Just don't look too closely.

Anyway, we added fencing to the front doors by cutting up the divider that came with Andy's big crate.  We had never used it, and it was about time it justified the space it was taking up in the closet.  I attached it be means of screws and big washers for lack of any better ideas.  Then I pried the rotten cardboard off the back.

I was still undecided about how to finish the back when we went to Home Depot this morning.  The original plan was to use a panel from the portable dog fence on the patio, but that proved impractical.  After wandering around for a while, we found a pet grille meant for a screen door.  At $35, that was what pushed us over budget, but it worked out perfectly after trimming it down to size.

Scored some 3" high density foam for the bottom today at the craft store.  That stuff is usually $50/yard, but we only needed 13" AND we brought our 50% off coupon.  So, $9.

I covered the foam with part of Andy's old fleece blanket and secured it with safety pins underneath because I didn't have the patience to sew it into a zipper cover.  Took out the door magnets.  The front was retrofitted with a hook latch between the handles, and it was finished.

Andy hasn't seen it yet.  I hope she likes it when she gets home from doggie daycare.  Johanna was intrigued by the whole process.

Friday, February 19, 2016

The Inversion of Victim-Blaming

This rant has been building for a while, but I'll try to keep it brief.

My husband shared an article with me this morning from National Review about another incident of overblown outrage over the suggestion that rapists roam at large on college campuses.  I thought that was just an established fact at this point.  Apparently a warning emailed to students about a rash of drugged drinks and the suggestion that all female students spare the time and effort to take some precautions was "unacceptable" and an example of "rape culture."

Somehow the possibility that women should have to consider and guard against the possibility of rape has become insulting.  It is not victim-blaming to suggest that women do bear some responsibility for their own safety.  That includes planning, taking precautions, and being aware of your surroundings.  If that equals rape culture, then rape culture has been around since the dawn of time and isn't going anywhere.  Might as well adapt to it.

These outraged students need to remember what real rape culture and real victim-blaming look like, a time when it was considered impossible to rape any woman who could be proved to have venereal disease, because that was proof positive that she was just a slut.  See the documentary "Girl 27" for more on that.

I was listening to NPR the other day, and the topic was domestic violence and what we as a society can do about it.  One caller dared to suggest that women do in fact bear some responsibility to avoid attaching themselves to obviously violent and abusive men.  He was immediately dismissed as a victim-blamer and completely disregarded.

The world is a dangerous place.  No amount of public awareness this side of Utopia is going to make the ancient social ills of mankind vanish into the ether.  Rapists gonna rape.  The suggestion that all women are helpless floozies who must be protected by society at large against their own carelessness is insulting and infantilizing.

That said, the apparently outrageous email which sparked this debate is actually full of good basic advice.  Watch out for your friends, watch your drink, keep your wits about you.  The idea of "the integrity of your cup" is not a joke; my husband tells me it is common advice in the military to just get a new drink if you went to the bathroom and didn't bring it with you.  Don't trust anyone else to have your immediate safety as his first priority.  That is your job.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Continuing Adventures in Geekdom

The latest (and surprisingly expensive) project has been to extensively revise and actually print my past writing projects, which so far has amounted to nearly 900 pages.  Printer toner can run into money.  Unfortunately, since my mind seems only to conceive multi-part epics, my past writing projects are also my current projects, which just complicates the issue considering our current unreliable tech situation.  I have very distinct ideas about which fonts I want to use for the text and chapter titles, and those fonts currently only exist on my geriatric laptop.  I would download them onto the desktop, but because it is primarily a gaming computer it was not equipped with a word processor, and the fonts available on Google Docs just don't cut it.  So, I'm hoping I can somehow finish the last approximately thirty chapters of this Thranduil saga I started TWELVE YEARS ago before the laptop finally gives up the ghost for good and takes all my formatting with it.  That's the goal.  We'll see if Miss JoJo will deign to give me enough free time to make it happen.

In that vein, since it's been so long already and because I'm not likely to stop being a fanatical self-proclaimed Thranduil expert in the future, I've decided to actually spend money on it.  I think my family might disown me if I opted for a tattoo, but I found someone who makes customizable Tengwar rings on Etsy and I think I have to have one.  I'll get it somehow, even if I have to live on potatoes and oatmeal until I accumulate enough budget points.  Fortunately for the dog, I'm not selfish enough to dip into her knee surgery fund.

While we're on the subject, here's some fan art by ItanHimitsu I think is worth showcasing, even though it also features Tauriel.  He looks generally tired and worn down, as you would expect after everything he's had to put up with.