Situation report: DC

10 July 2007

Jean and Chandler went home early yesterday morning, something that's taking Lyssa and I a while to get used to. They're almost like family to us, and it feels weird to come home after work and not have anyone there. We're now able to take Lucy out of the office and let her spend the evenings in the living room because Chandler isn't here anymore. He's a good dog, to be sure, but he's also never seen small rodents before and we couldn't take a chance.

Lucy, to her credit, wasn't unduly shaken up by Chandler's presence. She knows that she's safe in her cage, so as long as he didn't do anything crazy like try to knock the cage over she could go about her business unmolested. We bought for her a larger cage with two elevated levels last weekend, and she seems very pleased to live in it. If nothing else, she's much more active than she was before. I greased her treadwheel with a little olive oil. so not only does it rotate more freely but it no longer keeps up awake at night. I think that we miscalculated when selecting the cage, though, because she is very careful on the mesh floors of the upper levels - I think they're a bit too widely spaced for her to feel secure. We made do with a few blocks of gnawable wood on the platforms but I'm not sure that they're enough.

Also, the interior of the cage can't be rearranged, so neither Lyssa nor myself can reach down into the bottom of the cage to move things around or pick up the ceramic food dish on the lowest level. This presents a problem. A larger problem lies in getting Lucy out of the cage so that we can clean it because we can't reach into the cage ourselves. Either she'll have to come to the top so we can boost her out on top of the lid of her hamster ball (which we did with her last cage) or we'll have to put it in the bathtub and take the mesh top off to get at her. I don't know how well that's going to work, though.

On Saturday, Jean, Laurelinde, Lyssa, and I went out to lunch at Tiffin's to raid the buffet, and then we headed into University Park to pay Curious Tattoos (website unavailable - anybody got a link?) a visit because Lyssa decided that she wanted to get a second pair of earrings. We spent about 45 minutes waiting in the anteroom of the tattoo and piercing parlour killing time by looking at the tattoo flash all over the walls and in the books piled on the counter.. personally, I was more interested in the photographs of the tattoos and piercings that they've done over the years because they show actual work and not just freehand art that the folks who work there have done. Lyssa got her second tattoo there when she was in grad school, which is why she wanted to go back. Personally, I've been sharking for a good tattoo parlour for a while now, and I think that I've found the one that I want to go to. Curious Tattoos on route 1 is a smallish place, but air conditioned (inside, anyway) and very clean. The floors are swept and the walls are clean, and that's just the front part. Once you go behind the counter, it's all white tile and scrubbed walls - in some respects like a doctor's office. The counters are very clean and new surgical drapes are used to lay out the needles, rings, and other paraphenalia just before they'll be put to use. Everything's autoclaved and sealed in tamper evident packages (if the colour changes, the sterile seal's been broken). I chatted with Vinny for a bit about their autoclave and how often they have their equipment tested for sterility and safety and both of us got a good feeling from what he told us (as well as our respective observations, given our fields of interest).

The actual process of piercing took less than ten minutes. Lyssa had a pair of 16 gauge holes done for her new rings and had her existing piercings stretched one size large (to size 14). Vinny took a few minutes to prep Lyssa's skin and make sure that he had the angles correct, and then carefully pushed a surgical needle through each lobe (using one new needle for each). That's all it took. Similarly, inserting the larger rings took about a minute each.

I've been keeping an eye on Lyssa, and she's in good health. Her ears are healing nice, and the new piercings haven't bled since Sunday afternoon. On the whole, I'd say that Curious Tattoos is a good place to go for ink or body piercings. I'll probably wind up going there myself at some point.

You've already read my review of Transformers so I won't belabor the point.

On Sunday morning, Lyssa, Jean, and I got up rather late in the morning before going to roam Tyson's Corner Mall for the afternoon. I made breakfast for everyone and then got a disturbing message on my phone from Mika: "Dude, what's on your car?"

At this point, a number of visions of scratched paint, twisted metal, and sundry other forms of mechanical damage came to the forefront of my mind, followed soon after by "So much for my low insurance premiums. Or my car insurance at all, for that matter."

As it turned out, Lyssa, Mika, and Hasufin had hatched a plot that morning to make a magnetic decal for my car of the Seal of Rassilon from Doctor Who and planted it squarely on the hood of my car. A number of photographs were taken of my expression, which I suspect will be uploaded to the Net in the near future. Of course, I'll link to them.

Mika headed for home to do her homework; Hasufin was headed for downtown DC to do some shopping; Jean, Lyssa, and I then headed for the mall to go shopping and nose around for a while. While out and about, I wound up buying the latest issue of 2600 Magazine and a pair of CDs, the soundtrack to the new Doctor Who series and the new album (relatively speaking - it came out in 2005) from Ladytron, Witching Hour. The commute to my new job is by car instead of by Metro these days, and I needed some new music to listen to in transit.

The fairest thing that I can say about the Doctor Who soundtrack is that it has some of the nicest background music from seasons 27/1 and 28/2. It's a television soundtrack so you're really not going to find anything earth shattering. The liner notes are interesting in that the circumstances behind the development of some of the tracks are in there, but unless you're a hardcore fan (or honked off that the version of Song For Ten that was officially released has a man singing instead of a woman) you're probably not going to be interested. Witching Hour is Ladytron at their finest, complete with vaguely disturbing, occasionally lucid, non sequitur laden lyrics courtesy of Helen Marnie. I've been listening to it quite a bit lately, and it's definitely worth a listen if you've never been exposed to Ladytron before.