Cupertino diary, day 1

26 June, 2018

Intro: This is another business trip, for ISO Photography Standards meetings. This time the meetings were hosted in Cupertino, California, by Apple.

Saturday, 16 June, 2018. 10:39 San Francisco time

I’m sitting at the Millbrae Caltrain station waiting for my train to take me south to Lawrence station in Sunnyvale, from where I’ll walk to my hotel for the next few days. Unfortunately the next train is almost an hour’s wait, but thankfully I didn’t miss the previous train by just a short time; it was over half an hour earlier.

Caltrain southbound
Caltrain from Millbrae station

My plane touched down at 09:20 after the flight from Sydney, which departed a bit late at just after 13:00 on the same Saturday. I’d got up and left home a bit after 09:00, getting a taxi which took me to the airport in a surprisingly quick time for a Saturday morning. Usually traffic around the airport is crazy on a Saturday, but today it was fine.

When I arrived at the check in counters, a woman approached and asked where I was flying to. When I said San Francisco, she explained that travellers to the US had to answer a bunch of security questions and she proceeded to grill me on why I was flying to the US, where I was staying, what I was planning to do there, and how long I was planning to stay. Satisfied with my answers, she let me check in.

Read more: Arriving at San Francisco Airport, catching the train to the hotel, walking around Sunnyvale to find food

Scully’s pedigree

16 June, 2018

The breeder we got our puppy Scully from has sent us her pedigree papers. We get to see details of her ancestors for three full generations. Turns out our little puppy has Scandinavian ancestry!

Her father’s registered name is Haggai Nordic King, who lives in Queensland, Australia. His father is Erik the Viking at Haggai, from Norway, and Erik’s parents are Super Sonik’s Cool Attitude from Sweden and Chocolate Dreams from Norway.

Nordic King’s mother is Betty Noire, and her parents are Franelle Black Magic and Skylark. All from Australia.

Scully’s mother is Madeleine Lemaire. Her father is Bob Marley, and his parents are Shibo Shiraz and Billie Holiday. Madeleine’s mother is Cheyenne Autumn, and her parents are Oscar Brun and Miss Juniper, again all from Australia.

These are all the registered pedigree names, excluding the breeder names, which are often prepended. Our Scully’s registered name is actually Sweetooth Scully, as the breeder name is Sweetooth.

In other news, Scully is making progress on all of overcoming her separation anxiety at night time, toilet training, and general obedience training, though we still have a way to go with all of them. We haven’t yet had a day without a toilet accident in the house, but we’ve managed several with just one accident, which is fairly pleasing. She’s pretty good at sitting on command, except when she’s distracted by other interesting things to do. She’s definitely learning better behaviour. All in all, decent progress for just on two weeks of ownership.

Oh, and she had a vet appointment last night, together with out kitten Mulder, just for general check up and worming and flea treatment. It was great sitting in the waiting room with a bunch of other people, and the vet came out and called, “Mulder and Scully!” Several people giggled.

First major puppy milestone

11 June, 2018

A major first last night. We went through the entire night without Scully peeing in her pen.

It did involve me getting out of bed four times to take her out into the winter rain to go on the wet grass, but she slowly seems to be getting the point of the activity.

Unfortunately this was followed by an accident in the house after wake-up time, so we’re still working on our first 24 hour period without toilet accidents.

Puppy log: Sunday 10 June 2018

11 June, 2018

Well this is annoying. Lots of people in our apartment complex know we’ve recently got a new puppy.

Today there was an unsigned passive-aggressive note stuck in all the lifts and near the garbage room, complaining about people leaving dog droppings around.

My first reaction was: “Wait. Did we fail to clean up after one of the times when little Scully missed the puppy pad we put down??” Then I thought “No, we definitely cleaned up every time. Even at 3am last night when I went down with her and we stood in the cold rain for five minutes, and she went, and I suddenly realised the dog dropping bag dispenser on the leash was empty – I picked up the droppings in my bare hand and took them inside to dispose of.”

Then I saw near the garbage room in the garage was a pile of droppings. BIG droppings, from a much larger dog. Okay, definitely not a slip of the mind with our puppy.

Then I got angry, because everyone knows we just got a new dog, and many people have seen us doing toilet training in the garage area. And now this gutless passive-aggressive note writer has left notes everywhere saying someone’s leaving droppings lying around.

Well. I did two things.

1. Cleaned up the mess. I used the dog enzyme remover we’ve been using to make sure the floor was really clean.
2. Emailed the Owners Corporation secretary to tell him that (a) it definitely wasn’t us, (b) I cleaned up the mess anyway, and (c) I was upset that someone left an unsigned note rather than do the right thing and clean up the mess and then report it to the Owners Corporation.

I was strongly tempted to do:
3. Leave a reply note saying essentially 1 and 2 above. Signed with my name and apartment number. And that leaving unsigned notes rather than cleaning up messes and reporting them through proper channels was un-neighbourly.

In the end I restrained myself and didn’t do 3. But now no doubt there are a bunch of our neighbours thinking “They got a puppy just the other day”, “Now someone’s leaving droppings around”, and joining the dots.


Puppy log: Friday 9 June 2018

11 June, 2018

I just started OneNote pages to record information about our new pets, Mulder the kitten and Scully the puppy. Birth dates, adoption dates, contact details for where we got them from, microchip numbers, dates of vaccinations, worming, vet visits, etc.

I was going to name the section they are filed under simply “Pets”. But my wife had a much better idea.

So now I have a OneNote section labelled “X-Files”.

Puppy log: Monday 4 June 2018

11 June, 2018

So… if you have a new puppy, how do you do anything?

Do I just have to take the next 6 weeks off work and say “screw it” to all my deadlines? By which I mean not just my paid job, but also putting all my webcomics on hiatus, because I ain’t getting any work done on them, even having had the last 3 weekdays off and being at home full time.

Heck, I’m barely managing to eat, drink, and shower.

Puppy log: Sunday 3 June 2018

11 June, 2018

The morning after night 2 with new puppy Scully.

First of all: I’ve never raised a puppy before. I had no idea they howl all night until they get used to not being with their mother. I’ve learnt the hard way. Literally all night. 7+ hours non-stop until we finally called a stop to it by emerging from the bedroom.

Secondly: I’ve absolutely smashed my all-time record for no sleep. I haven’t had any sleep at all for two full nights. So 49, going on 50 hours now.

But let me reassure you, there is no way on Earth I am going to get behind a steering wheel until I manage to get some sleep.

Puppy log

11 June, 2018

I’ve recently acquired a toy poodle puppy, who we’ve called Scully, to accompany the kitten Mulder who we adopted from PetRescue about a month ago. I’m the cat person in the house, and my wife is the dog person, so we decided one of each would be sensible.

However, neither of us had experience raising a puppy, and we had no idea how much work, how much constant supervision, and how exhausting it would be to get her through the first few weeks of house training and feeling confident and safe without her mother. We’re just over a week into this process and definite progress has been made, but there’s still a big way to go yet.

The result of this need for uninterrupted vigilance is that my wife and I are both taking a lot of time off work, and while we’re at home we have no time to do much else other than monitor Scully, unless we’re both home and one is looking after her. The secondary result is no new Game of Thrones episodes until things settle down to let us squeeze in an hour of TV watching again.

In the meantime, I thought I’d start blogging our experiences raising Scully. I’ve posted a few short notes to my Google+ and Facebook accounts, but realised it might be better to put them here for posterity more under my own control, and link across. To start with I’ll copy some of those posts here… (see next few posts)

Game of Thrones, Season 4, Ep 5 “First of His Name”

7 May, 2018

Intro: I’m watching Game of Thrones for the first time. I don’t know anything about it more recent than this episode.

King’s Landing: Tommen is crowned king in a ceremony in the Great Sept. Margaery looks on from one side and when she catches Tommen’s eye, she gives him a secretive, mischievous sort of smile, which he responds to. Her plan is clearly working and Tommen is developing a crush on her. But Cersei also sees her, and walks over for a friendly chat. I thought at first that Cersei would be confrontational, but no, she is all sweetness and light. She notes that Margaery is still wearing mourning clothes for Joffrey. Margaery puts on her “devoted to Joffrey” act, but Cersei says straight out that Joffrey would have destroyed her.

Then follows a very frank discussion. Cersei says that Joffrey would have been a terrible king, but Tommen may be the first decent king Westeros has had for a long time, but he will need someone strong to help him, and that she presumes Margaery would still like to be queen. Margaery replies appropriately humbly, while indicating that that would be an honour. Cersei is favourably inclined, and says she will see about starting the arrangements for Tommen to marry Margaery. Margaery, perhaps a little too relaxed, drops a joke about an abundance of weddings – referring to the fact that Cersei is still betrothed to her brother Loras, and says she doesn’t know whether to call Cersei mother or sister. I thought this might trigger a harsh response, but Cersei takes it all in her stride. Well, Cersei is one cool customer all right. I imagine she has some plan in the back of her mind, which requires sucking up to Margaery for the time being.

Cersei meets Tywin and suggests the marriage. Tywin asks how soon. Cersei says after an appropriate period for her to mourn her son and Margaery her husband. Tywin says, A fortnight, then?” and Cersei happily agrees. He says her marriage to Loras should not be delayed much longer either, and suggests holding it a fortnight later. Tywin says they need a strong alliance with the Tyrells to support their current financial problems. He reveals that the Lannister gold mines have been worked out, and the family is in massive debt to the Iron Bank of Braavos, which is news to Cersei. This is significant news, as it foreshadows problems when the Lannisters need to raise an army – their victory in any coming war now seems much less assured.

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Game of Thrones, Season 4, Ep 4 “Oathkeeper”

29 April, 2018

Intro: I’m watching Game of Thrones for the first time. I don’t know anything about it more recent than this episode.

Meereen: Apparently the slaves of Meereen don’t immediately rebel and overwhelm their masters, because the episode opens in the night, so several hours must have passed since Daenerys catapulted the broken slave collars of Astapor and Yunkai into Meereen. The opening scene is Grey Worm and Daenerys’s translator Missandei inside a tent. She is teaching him to read and speak the Westeros language. During this, their hands almost touch, but she draws away shyly. Clearly this is setting up either romance or rejection between these two.

Daenerys interrupts and says “It’s time”. Grey Worm exits to lead an infiltration of Meereen via a sewer, with several troops dressed as slaves, complete with collars, lifting the sewer gates and spreading throughout the city. They come across a meeting of slaves, where one of the Meereen slaves is urging the others to rise up in revolt, but most of the other slaves are unconvinced, saying they can’t fight, or that they’ve already seen too many failed uprisings, and they’d rather live a slave than die. Grey Worm says he has come to help them revolt. The naysayers complain they have no weapons or fighting skill. Grey Worm’s followers dump sacks of swords and knives and other weapons on the ground.

This does the trick. Next thing we see hordes of armed slaves attacking masters in the streets of the city. The scene then cuts to the next day, when the slaves are freed and chanting “Mhysa” (“mother”) as Daenerys walks through them to a position on the walls where she can speak. She asks how many children the masters nailed to mile posts along the way to Meereen. The answer is 163. Knowing what she is thinking, Ser Barristan advises Daenerys that sometimes injustice is best answered with mercy. Daenerys says that she will answer injustice with justice, and orders 163 of the former masters nailed to posts to die in agony.

Well. She’s conquered Astapor, Yunkai, and now Meereen without encountering any real obstacle, and now has a vast army of loyal followers. What’s the next step? Following the Rule of Three, it seems she should now be ready to launch her assault on Westeros. We haven’t seen the dragons for a while – I’m guessing this is so that next time we see them they will have grown impressively large. Can anything stop her?

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