Dutchess' best day
Sunday, December 2 2012
After Sunday morning coffee, Gretchen went off to the Ulster County SPCA to play with a litter of Pit Bull puppies that she'd been talking about for days. When she returned home, she brought Dutchess, the bony eight-year old mamma Pit Bull whose case has been a special concern of hers since finding out about her miserable existence in an animal shelter in Yonkers. Dutchess since been moved to much better conditions at the Ulster County SPCA, but Gretchen would ultimately like to see her get adopted. For now, though, we'd be fostering Dutchess for a couple of days.
Dutchess is uncommonly curious for an eight-year-old dog, repeatedly sticking her head into the refrigerator as I helped Gretchen put away grocery items (there were a lot of leafy green vegetables), and excessively fascinated with our elderly cat Marie (aka "the Baby"). Normally the Baby is such a cool customer that dogs don't know what to make of her, but when Dutchess came bounding up, the Baby lost her cool and began to flee. That was when Dutchess pounced. I had to pull her off. There would be similar (though less disturbing) incidents with Clarence the cat later in the day (though I think these disturbed me more than they did him).
The oddest discovery Dutchess made to today was that occasionally discontinuities can exist in the surface upon which one walks. At one point she was walking towards me while I stood in the stair well, and she just kept trotting right out into empty space. Unlike her Native American cousin Wile E. Coyote, though, she didn't need to look down in order to commence her acceleration towards the center of Planet Earth. I grabbed her arm as she fell, but could do little to break her fall. Happily, though, she's a tough dog. She also seemed to learn from the experience and exercised a lot more caution around the stairwell from then on. Eventually she mastered the concept of going down a flight of stairs, which seemed for her to be a lot less intuitive than the idea of going up a flight of stairs. This being the freest day thus far of her life, there were probably other things she learned that we didn't even notice. She'd spent her life as a factory for Pit Bull puppies until she got to a certain age, and then been tied to a pole and abandoned in the cold. That's how some humans can be. It's hard to make up for all the human assholes in the world, but it didn't take much to give Dutchess the best day of her life thus far.
From left: Eleanor, Gretchen, Ramona, and Dutchess in the teevee room.
When not interacting with Dutchess, I spent much of the day trapped in yet another manifestation of Linux installation hell. Somehow while trying to format a hard drive attached to my Evo N410c, I inadvertantly formatted the boot disk (which, I learned, is possible with CFDISK). So then I had to install Linux on it all over again. Since Debian had failed to install drivers for the built-in Ethernet interface, I decided to tried other Linux distributions, starting with Knoppix (which is based on Debian). But my first Knoppix install was the goddamn German version, and later when I tried the English version I found that there was no obvious way to drag windows around in its Windows manager (seriously!), so that was a deal breaker. I had other problems with other distributions: Fedora always booted to a point where the screen filled with digital noise and then it hung, and a distro called Aptoid installed an inoperable Synaptic Package Manager. All the other popular distros demanded to be installed from DVDs, but the Evo N410c cannot boot from anything but its hard drive and the CD (not DVD) drive in its dock. So I was forced to return to Debian, the only Linux distros (aside from Backtrack, Mandrake, Ubuntu, and Slackware) that have ever really worked for me. This time, though, I was able to actually find the file it needed to get the ethernet port working.
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