Thursday, October 02, 2003

'Phone Lines
In my old apartment, the telephone line had horrible, constant static on it. I figured this had something to do with the fact that my telephone line came in through a hole drilled in a corner of one of the window frames. There was a plate on an interior wall, like a light switch plate, but mounted horizontally, and with a round hole in the middle bigger than coaxial cable. I figured this had been the original, built-in 'phone line. When they put in modern phone lines for that apartment they strung them all over the outside of the building. The television cable is out there, too.
The new apartment doesn't have any static on the 'phone-line, and the other night I realised why.
I noticed there was a wire which ran around the baseboard molding in the entryway. I wondered what that could be. I followed it one way, and it ran all around the front door frame, and around the corner into the living room. Behind the bookcase with my encyclopedia on it was the new apartment's original phone outlet, and these wires came out of it.
I followed the wires the other way, and they wound around, following the baseboard, to the door into the kitchen, where they went through a hole in the wall, came out the other side in the kitchen, and ran up the door frame to the current telephone jack.
When they put modern phone lines in this apartment, they tapped into the original, built-in lines. For some reason, they didn't do this in the old apartment.
Living in a place built in 1926 must be affecting my brain. I've been writing about Victrolas and spelling "'phone" with an apostrophe.
* * * * * *
I think this is fascinating.

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

This morning I went to the Other Uni in town to try and get information about their library science program.
Things this morning went fine. More or less. I took advantage of having scheduled arriving here late to sleep in a little. Then I got ready, and went to the East Durham post office to get my package (an Ebay purchase). I thought that was odd. I would have thought my mail came from the big post office downtown, but maybe there isn't enough space around that building for all the delivery vans. This East Durham P.O. was in a dying shopping center with a couple acres of empty parking lot.
Things went all right. I had trouble finding anywhere to park and ended up leaving the car on a residental street a block south of campus. I saw a used condom in the gutter. I had no trouble finding the library and the library science offices, but the offices were completely abandoned. The only thing I could find in the way of a reception office was the dean's office, which ahd a sign on the door reading "Do not knock, please come in." So I went in, and the office was empty. I occupied myself looking at stacks of forms on a bookcase, most of which can be printed off the website. But not the application for the minority grant, so I got one of those.
Eventually a woman came in and greeted me, and asked if she could help me. I told her I had some questions about the library science program. She said the program assistant was out of the office, but she gave me that person's number, and a current catalogue. I might be able to get my answers out of that.
She thanked me for having interest in their program, and I left.
So it wasn't a waste of time.
Oh, and by the way, now my other fish is dead as well.

Monday, September 29, 2003

Nice Kitty
Yesterday some friends and I went to a really neat place. It is the compund of the Carnivore Preservation Trust. For a nominal fee, you get to go on a guided tour of big cats. The real thing, alive. They had jaguars, ocelots, leopards, and tigers. Plus things I'd hardly heard of, like servals and caracals.
One of the coolest things about it that the tigers stalked the children in the group. There was no way the tigers could ever actually get the children, but they were interested. One little boy went near the cage and one of the tigers went into a concentrated crouch, exactly like a housecat when it sees a bird.
There was a male tiger which was huge, even for a tiger. One of the guides said that the trust had gotten this animal when it weighed 25 pounds. It had belonged to a drug dealer. The drug dealer took the cub to a vet to have it de-clawed and fixed. The vet got suspicious, plus he just didn't think it was the right thing to do, so he lied to the drug dealer. He said he'd have to keep the tiger cub overnight, and he called the authorities. Amazingly, it isn't illegal to own a tiger. It's merely illegal to import them. It turned out the drug dealer couldn't prove he hadn't imported the tiger, so it was confiscated and given to the carnivore trust.
And I was a little amazed, no one said anything about, "Tyger, tyger, burning bright . . . "