Archive for June, 2011

And yet…..

Posted June 26, 2011 By Ruth

…..despite things like this and this, I have to come up with a reason why the judge should issue me a pistol permit.  And not just a permit, but a permit to carry concealed where-ever allowed by law, not just at home, or while hunting, or while on the job…..

Seriously though, what do I put as my “reason for requesting a pistol permit”.  I doubt I could get away with “hunting” since I don’t have a hunting license (I’ve debated getting one, but as much as I’d like to say I hunt my own food I KNOW I’d not be able to gut and clean….).  And I don’t know the judge well enough to know if “because its my legal right” will fly (this being NY probably not).

And while I’m in gripe mode, WHY do I have to fill out the medical/legal/court records release forms in triplicate, especially when there’s nothing there for them to find anyway??  They all say “photocopies of this document are legal” (or some such similar language) on the bottom.

Its about time

Posted June 26, 2011 By Ruth

NY passes same sex marriage law

Something a bit more enjoyable: Iced Tea!

Posted June 24, 2011 By Ruth

Homemade Iced Tea in-fact.  (cause I need cheering up)

This started out several years ago.  In an attempt to loose weight I cut all soda’s, and sugary drinks out of my day.  I lost less than 5lbs.  Sigh.  Anyway, I discovered that although I didn’t miss the soda’s (which I now only have if we’re eating out, and then only ONE and don’t let them refill my glass), I DID get sick of nothing but water, or lemon water, all the time.  I looked at the iced tea’s sold in the stores, and cringed at the list of ingredients.  Next thing I knew I was making my own.  It took some trial and error to find a method that was easy, and worked consistently to produce really good iced tea.

The first thing you need is a slow cooker (or crock pot, same difference) that will hold at least 3/4 the liquid contents of your chosen pitcher.  Yes, a slow cooker trust me.

Next you need tea.  Sure, you can use anything you like, but I grew up in a family of tea snobs.  I’ve been ordering loose leaf tea from Upton Tea since I was a teenager (well, ok, my dad was the one ordering tea when I was a teen, close enough).  I’ve looked around, and for the quantity, and quality, there’s no match for price.  Which isn’t to say that the other tea companies are no good (there are some really nice teas out there), but if I find one that has good tea, their price is higher than Upton’s, at least at the quantities I buy it in.  For the recipe below I use peppermint, spearmint, and honeybush vanilla.

I also buy teapot sized tea bags from Upton cause I hate trying to strain the tea after the fact, but you can do whatever you feel like.

Now, my tea pitcher holds a full gallon of water, my slow cooker is an itsy bitsy model that holds about 3/4 of that, which is actually perfect for what I do, if your slow cooker is bigger you may have to play around with the exact amount of water to use.  At any rate, I fill the slow cooker with water and turn it on high, don’t put the lid on yet though.

I “measure” out the tea as follows:

3 very heaping teaspoons (tableware teaspoons, not measuring spoon teaspoons) of the honeybush vanilla
6 very heaping teaspoons of the peppermint
9 very heaping teaspoons of the spearmint
(I know, awesome measurements huh?  I guess I ought to weigh it out or something one of these days)

since I use teabags everything is put into the teabags, closed with a clip (purchased from Upton as well, but they’re reusable), and then dump teabags into the slow cooker.  If you’re not using teabags just dump it all in.  I’ve tried infusers, but they don’t seem to make them big enough, that will actually stay closed and won’t leak tea leaves.

Put the lid on the slow cooker, and set a timer for 2 hours.  Yes, two hours.  Now walk away.  Come back when the timer goes off.  Turn off slow cooker.  If you use teabags, or infusers or whatever, remove them from the tea, if you’re going to filter it set your filter up.  Pour tea into pitcher (this can take practice so don’t panic when you miss the pitcher the first time, just make sure the pitcher is set in the sink so spills aren’t a problem).

Now, the mints do need sweetening to bring out the flavor, what you use is up to you though, I use plain old white sugar, but there’s no reason why you can’t use honey, or artificial sweeteners or what have you, but whatever you’re going to use, put it in now while the tea is still hot and stir it up well.  Once its all stirred add enough extra cold water to the pitcher to fill it the rest of the way, cover and set into the fridge.  It’ll take a few hours to cool down though you can have a glass earlier with the help of ice cubes.

Now, everyone who actually “does” tea is cringing right now, first off, a SLOW COOKER, and for 2 HOURS???  Yes, I’m serious.  The slow cooker heats slowly enough that by the end of two hours the temperature is barely 150 degrees (at least in mine), which means that no, the tea doesn’t get bitter, cause although its a long time, its no where near high heat.  And this method produces more consistent results than boiling water then timing the brewing for the right number of minutes.

Getting a pistol license in NY state.

Posted June 24, 2011 By Ruth

So I grew up in MA, and as anyone who’s spent time in that state knows, you have to have a Firearms license just to buy pepper spray, and, though I’ve never looked at the process closely, I understand that getting THAT license is nothing in comparison to getting a license to purchase and carry a handgun.  I have to admit that when I was living there I never really thought about it.  Which I suppose is what happens when you grow up that way.

I moved to Syracuse NY in January of 2004, and even if it had occurred to me to try to get a pistol permit the company that moved me to the area didn’t allow firearms on their property so I’d likely not have bothered even I had thought about it.  It wasn’t till over a year later, after I’d changed jobs, and was now having to walk to my car at almost midnight in a deserted parking lot that I decided I really needed SOMETHING.  So I trundled down to the local police station to find out what NY required of its citizens to purchase pepper spray.  The officer behind the desk looked at me like I’d grown horns and told me to just go buy pepper spray.

I did a little bit of research at that point at what was required to get a pistol permit in the Syracuse area (since every county has slightly different takes on things), but the cost was prohibitive, especially at my income of the time, and besides, not only was my job not gun friendly, neither was my apartment building.

Last September I not only moved out of the apartment, but out of the county, when we bought the house, but it wasn’t till a couple months ago, during an emailed conversation with another blogger, did it occur to me that I’d never checked the requirements to get a pistol permit in my NEW county of residence.

Damn, the difference a 25 minute commute makes.

Just to pick up the application in Onondaga County (the Syracuse area) is $55.75.  In my new county of residence…..$3.

The DCJS/FBI fingerprinting fee is the same $94.25, so I can safely assume that’s set by either the state or the FBI.

Onondaga also requires you bring with you to your appointment a check/cash/credit card in the amount of $150 (which I cannot find any information stating what specifically it’s for), my new county tells me there’s an additional fingerprinting fee of $20, and if your permit is approved you’ll need to pay another $15.

So, in Onondaga county its going to cost me $300 (plus the cost of the handgun course) to apply for the pistol permit.  My new county of residence it’ll cost me $132.25 (plus the cost of the handgun course, I assume, though there is no requirement for a handgun course listed in the paperwork I’m looking at??).

So I spent $3 today.  I’m now sitting here trying to figure out what four people I can come up with, who aren’t related to me by blood or marriage, who know me reasonably well, who are likely to be willing to put their names down as character references.  This may be the hardest part of the process, since I didn’t grow up here, and am NOT a social butterfly.  Especially since they’re SUPPOSED to be residents of my county of residence, and if they aren’t I have to apply for an exemption from THAT rule before I can even turn in the application.

Of course its not just Memphis.

Posted June 23, 2011 By Ruth

And of course its not just Memphis thats the problem, the Central CA SPCA recently decided that it didn’t have to make its meetings public afterall, and the NYC Dept of Health (which runs the city pounds) scheduled its board meeting in a room designed to hold less than 50 people (which is actually against the law in NYC, there has to be room to hold enough people who can be expected to attend, and the law states that if something has been high profile there must be plans for alot of extra people!).

Seriously people, the whole point of your jobs is to HELP animals, not kill them, trying to deny the no-kill advocates space only makes it worse!

Found over at Pet Connection’s blog

Information on a dog from MAS

Posted June 23, 2011 By Ruth

Another post from YesBiscuit:

One of her readers, who lives in TN requested, via the Freedom of Information act, the information pertaining to a dog seen on the webcam who was euthanized to “to prevent suffering.” 

Go read the whole post for the entire set of information, but basically this dog was brought in as a stray on May 30, and the cage cleaned (ie: hosed down) while the dog was in it on May 31.  Presumably the dog was given food and water both days.  Neither day was any veterinary notes placed on the animal’s chart, or special care provided, or rescues (or other organizations) contacted on behalf of this dog.

On June 1st, the cage was hosed down while the dog was inside and presumably food and water given. 

A technician notes that she is emaciated and “Referred to Mr. Pepper for disposition”.  The shelter vet notes that the dog is suffering and she recommends “euthanasia as condition exceeds our available resources to treat at MAS”.  No veterinary care is provided.  No rescues are contacted.

On June 2nd:

The dog’s weight is noted as 40 pounds and she is killed by MAS.  The shelter vet signs the final disposition record and dates it.  The date appears to read “6/2/11″ with an apparent attempt to alter the 2 into a 1.

 Since the dog was seen via webcam on June 2nd, apparently being led to the kill room, we know her date of death is indeed 6/2 and not 6/1.  At no time during this dog’s 3 day stay at MAS was she provided veterinary care, infact there’s no notes about her condition at all till day 3 of the stray hold, dispite the fact someone handled her on day 1, and hosed out her cage on day 2.  She appears, on the webcam images captured, to be well able to walk on her own, there’s no sign of her having to be carried, or dragged, at all.  Which means that dispite her low body weight there is a very good possibility that with some time, care, and food this dog could have been returned to good condition and quite possibly made someone a good pet.  Unfortunetly none of the webcam watchers spotted her till June 2nd, at which time several people did request more information on her in hopes of getting her rescued, only to be told that it was to late, the dog had been killed.

The Personalized TSA Experience

Posted June 23, 2011 By Ruth

Over at MArooned there’s a report from a reader (blogger? I don’t read’em all so could be) about his experience going through the TSA security lines.

MrsSCI-FI announced that she has a medical implant, and must be scanned by hand. Not “Maybe.” Not “Scan her Anyway.” Not “Subject to TSA override.”  Trail Boss, however, knew better. “We get passengers with implants all the time. Just go through.” Not a smiling, friendly comment; this was a variation on “Move your ass, you’re holding up my line.”She repeated her request for a pat-down, and Trail Boss repeated that she is going through the nudie-scanner.  At about the start of the third round of this, I held up my “STOP” hand and repeated what the Mrs had said. Wife, however, was having no problems at this point: she just flat wasn’t going through, and the Trail Boss had had enough. He called for a female guard, and told my wife to stand to the side and wait………Doubling-down on trouble, I stated flatly: “Pat down. No scanner.” Trail Boss directed me to the “Get out of my way” line next to my wife, and called for a male guard…..It’s worth pointing out the following: after my wife had been paired off with her designated TSA groper, I saw a family get waved through with no scan. At least five people, one of them an infant, were waved past us all. No magnetometer, no nudie-scanner, no pat-down. I’m not even certain their carry-ons were x-rayed. I pressed the Trail Boss for an explanation: “Why are they just walking through?”

The answer was a load of crap: “We need to relieve congestion.”

So, what happened to the option to opt out for a pat down?  Apparently thats a “bad thing” as far as the TSA is concerned, if you read the rest of the post you’ll discover that even the patdown was done rudely.  And yet, at the same time, a family is passed by with no scanning whatsoever??  SRSLY??  And my family wonders why I have no wish to fly any more!

I hope Texas kicks their butt!!

So, about that shirt…..

Posted June 22, 2011 By Ruth

I was catching up over at Ambulance Driver‘s when I ran across the linked post. I read it with a great deal of amusement cause usually I’m the less than maternal woman who the kid beelines for. I don’t dislike kids (well, ok, as long as they’re well behaved, if they aren’t I can’t stand’em), but they aren’t generally my favorite people to hang out with, and I tend to be bad at figuring what makes them tick. However the picture of Labrat’s hands caught my eye, not cause of the nail polish, but because of the tshirt behind them. Then I hit Google and found this! Next time I have some spare change the husband and I are each getting one. My coworkers will love it, my boss will consider it a further sign that I’m a spawn of hell. Oh well.

If you know someone in TN

Posted June 20, 2011 By Ruth

Or even if you don’t but what I’m about to show you is something you find apalling, please feel free to join in the letter writing campaign mentioned.

There’s this blog I’ve been reading off and on for a while, to the point where I should be adding it to my blogroll (something I’ll be doing as soon as I’m done this post).  I can’t read it too often, cause it tugs the heartstrings, but I make myself go read as often as I can.

Over at YesBiscuit Shirley spends alot of her time documenting shelter dogs and cats in need of help.  She would prefer to show you pictures of the happy healthy dogs awaiting adoption at various places, but has often found herself documenting their abuses instead.  Lately its been one of those times.

Two years ago the Memphis Animal Shelter was raided by the county sheriff for animal abuse.  Animals were being starved and otherwise mistreated.  A new director was then appointed, and webcams placed at strategic places around the building so the public could see how much better things were.

Unfortunetly things aren’t much better.  As far as the webcam watchers can tell the animals aren’t being starved, or beaten any more, at least where a camera can catch them, but they are being miss-handled, badly, and the webcams are proving just how many dogs and cats are NOT shown to the public before they’re killed.  Over 70% of the animals that cross the threshold of MAS are killed.  Many of them dragged to the kill room on their stomachs by a choke pole because they’re to terrified to walk.  There was a case, not long ago, where a person surrendered a momma dog and her puppies.  Barely 3 days after surrender the pups were placed into a trash can and wheeled to the kill room.  When Shirley asked for information on WHY, when puppies are generally the most adoptable dog ever, she was informed that SOME of the puppies had a respitory infection.  SOME, and no obvious attempts to see if they could be gotten better.  Just kill’em.

Animals brought in by Animal Control Officers as strays are held in an area not open to the public.  These animals are held for 3 days as strays, and then, unless they’re lucky enough to be choosen to be made availible for adoption, they are killed.  Webcam watchers have seen dogs brought in by ACOs wearing collars, and then 3 days later, those same dogs, wearing those same collars, are brought back to the kill room.  So essentially, if your dog escapes in the Memphis area, and is caught by an ACO, if a shelter employee is unable to ID your dog from your description or photo, you are unable to check the stray area yourself to see if your dog is there.  And so after 3 days your dog is killed.  Gotta wonder how many people in the Memphis area are missing their pets because MAS was “unable” to ID the animal and killed it.

Shirley started a Chip-In, to raise funds for rescuers who wanted to rescue some of the animals they were seeing on the webcams.  This week she finally got a response to all her letters to the new director of MAS.  The Memphis City Attorney sent her a letter threatening her with legal action, with a law in her home state of SC that states its illeagel to raise funds FOR a charity or business without their permission.  Seeing as how she was raising funds for the removal of animals FROM MAS this law doesn’t apply.

Feel free join in the letter campaign to let them know what the rest of the country thinks of them, but keep it  polite, polite goes alot farther than ranting.

H/T to Raised by Wolves, she says it much better than I do, so go read.

Buying Photoshop

Posted June 19, 2011 By Ruth

Brigid (sorry, spelled it wrong at first!) over at Home On the Range is asking her readers to help her decide if she should buy Photoshop, or not, to play around with.  I put my two cents in the comments, but this really deserves a full post.

First off is the financial considerations.  Photoshop is EXPENSIVE.  Even with the student discount it cost me $200, last I checked the full version was something like $800 or $1000 and I doubt its gone down much.  Thats alot of money to put into a piece of software that may not be what you want.  Now, Photoshop Elements is cheaper, but doesn’t have all the fancy smancy features of the newer Photoshops, but even better are some of the free tools out there.

I know there are more less expensive sets availible, I’ve not much, if any, experience with most of them so I’ll let you do your own research, but one online freeware I have used is the Aviary set.  The basics are free, though there is a subscription plan that I’ve never looked into.  The photo editor has the large majority of the same tools as Photoshop for free, that you can plan around with and figure out if this is something you enjoy or not.  After all it would really be annoying to spend all that money on Photoshop and then realize you don’t really enjoy working with it.

Something else to consider is just what exactly do you want to DO with this software:

If all you want to do is enhance your photos you may not NEED all the fancy stuff in Photoshop.  Take a closer look at Aviary and some of the other less expensive softwares out there and you’ll likely find they’re all you need.

If you want to create ART out of your photos, well then maybe Photoshop is for you, but I still highly recommend playing around with the above mentioned other softwares first.  For those of you who are wondering what I mean by “art” go HERE and browse for a bit, my current favorites are images one and two HERE.  The things people can do with some skill, effort, and way to much time on their hands!

A third thing you may be considering doing is drawing, sketching, or creating art by hand using these softwares, and in this case Photoshop is probly NOT right for you.  Oh, it’ll do it, sorta, but thats not what its designed for.  Take a look at software such as Corel’s Painter suite.  Much more designed for the artist in mind.  You can modify photos with these softwares, but they’re designed for drawing instead.

If you’re asking what I use, well, I have both Photoshop CS4 and Corel Painter 11 and I use them both.  As for what I do with them:

This photo was originially just of the barn.  I painted the fairy on it using a combination of Photoshop and Painter.  This image won Jurors Pick on Worth1000 (In a beginners contest).

This was a normal rose, till I started playing around in Photoshop.

This horse was done in Painter


Here’s a before and after (done in Photoshop) of a photo I posted previously of the puppy.  Can you tell the difference?

last but not least, a water color “painting” done in the originial version of Painter (before Corel bought it).