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sprockets, sockets, grommets & gaskets

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(no subject) [Dec. 1st, 2016|09:24 pm]
sprockets, sockets, grommets & gaskets
A bit of progress. Monty now uses the deck for elimination-based activities, which means in theory that I don't have to worry when she gets up at 2 am. She also sometimes understands that she's not allowed in the room when we're eating.

Work's boring. It's cold so I'm not riding at lunch. I'm tired all the time. I am fighting to figure out how to do block writes to an sdcard from a microcontroller that has much less total memory than the block size of the sdcard. Turns out (for unclear reasons) that writing less than a block is extremely slow, like tens of milliseconds, where full blocks complete in under 500 microseconds. I bought a new arduino-alike, that has the same chips as the official one, and while it works on a windows system that refuses to compile programs of any complexity but will talk to the board, it randomly disconnects from the linux system on which everything compiles perfectly. I just tried it via chromeduino on the chromebook, and that didn't work at ALL. I guess I develop on one board and once everything works dump it on this board. (it's more robust so it can handle banging around in the glove compartment of the Spitfire.)

and an older name-brand board with chips that have the same markings works just fine on the linux box. Interesting.
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steps in multiple directions [Nov. 27th, 2016|10:19 pm]
sprockets, sockets, grommets & gaskets
Monty got a bath. She was very well-behaved: just stood there. She also now knows how to go through the dog door out onto the deck or come back in, and has done so voluntarily. She does not yet realize that the deck is considered outside and a valid place for eliminating bodily wastes, preferring the basement. (It IS warmer.) So we invited our friend Jagger the greyhound over, to pee all over the deck and get her in the mood, insofar as my attempts to do so hadn't worked. Well, thus far his voluminous assistance has also not helped.
She was better with him: when he came over she seemed to recognize him and didn't just collapse in a pile of despairing panic and fear. After a while she was even trying to play with him, licking his ears and sort of chewing on them, and then she pawed him and got a paw on his neck and he said THAT IS A LINE YOU SHALL NOT CROSS and there was a lot of snarling and she got stuck in Time Out for a while.
After he left she was sleeping on the couch beside me while manintheboat was taking a shower. manintheboat was using a pump bottle of shampoo, which made a "whonk whonk" sound, and Monty awoke from a shallow dream with quite a huge bark, the bark of a dog her size. This is the first time she's made a noise other than a single howl on the first day she was here. I'd like to teach her to bark on command, as Lily did. I'm not sure how well that's going to work: she doesn't learn the way Lily did.
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(no subject) [Nov. 27th, 2016|12:37 am]
sprockets, sockets, grommets & gaskets
Programming question: file pointers and memory leaks.
int file_exists(char filename[10])
{
   FILE *fp;
   if((fp = fopen(filename, "r")) != NULL)
     return(0);
   else
   { 
     fclose(fp);
     return(1);
   }
 }

seems to me to be code that won't screw up, but I'm not sure about that: when fopen returns null, that literally means that *fp has a value of null, which is equivalent to no memory assigned to it, right? So the only thing I have to make sure of is to close the file pointer if the call succeeds?
So what if I instead just do:
if((fopen(filename, "r")) != NULL)
     return(0);
   else
     return(1);

That looks like a problem: if fopen() returns a value, where does that memory go? How can I later free it?
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(no subject) [Nov. 26th, 2016|09:16 am]
sprockets, sockets, grommets & gaskets
maribou and jaybird sent us flowers! Awwwww, thank you.

Here's an odd thing about Montmorency: she doesn't make noise. She has not yet barked a single time. She doesn't growl or whine or anything. She howled once when she thought she had been abandoned. Lily was constantly making vocal noises when she was awake, and often when she was asleep.
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(no subject) [Nov. 25th, 2016|08:05 pm]
sprockets, sockets, grommets & gaskets
Monty is rapidly getting used to 10km of walking per day. The Pokemon high command recently introduced a new creature so everyone, including us, is out trying to find/catch it. (It's disguised, so it's harder to catch.) Monty now sits in the back seat. This is safer and gives both her and me a lot more space: when she sits in the front seat she wants to occupy the gearshift.
20161125_144443
I drove up to my mom's house on Thanksgiving. Every time I go up there I drive past this thing that some guy built in his back yard, because I love it. It's about 12 meters high, or maybe a bit more.
20161124_141919
One of manintheboat's ex-patients sent her a sympathy card about Lily.
20161125_194339
*sob*
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(no subject) [Nov. 24th, 2016|07:45 pm]
sprockets, sockets, grommets & gaskets
I went up to my mom's house, we spent a lot of time talking politics and sighing and eating a quite passable dinner, and when I got home manintheboat had just gotten back from her parents' house, after which she needed to destress some. We drove over to Golden with Monty, met up with her sister, and caught pidgeys as the two of them did a post-mortem on their thanksgiving.

Monty's good at car rides, although she doesn't particularly like them. She curls up and goes to sleep. She's scared to get into the car, just like she's scared of little dogs, cats, the dog door in our house, statues, and the occasional tree. I hope once she feels like her life is stable, she'll gain some confidence. It's funny to watch people walking towards us see her, startle at her intimidating appearance, and then half-startle when she freezes and drops to the ground at seeing them approach. She got a lot of "can I say hi?" requests.
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(no subject) [Nov. 23rd, 2016|11:04 pm]
sprockets, sockets, grommets & gaskets
I hated coming home today knowing that Lily wasn't going to be waiting at the front door to greet me. She's been there every day we've been at this house.

But, I was kind of relieved that I wasn't going to get home and find her lying dead in a pile of her own blood, which was something I was worried about at points last week.
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surprise plot twist [Nov. 22nd, 2016|10:46 pm]
sprockets, sockets, grommets & gaskets
So, yeah, Lily the terror of the neighborhood, gone.
It was awful.
We cried and then we cried some more.
manintheboat said "now what do we do?"
I suggested going for a walk or something, just to go do something, and then said "so let's go to some local animal shelters."
Denver's animal shelters are barren.
The one where we adopted Lily had like five dogs, all small.
The one nearest downtown had maybe six dogs.
One south of downtown had maybe 18 dogs, including one cute female beagle/terrier mix that was a sweetie and beautiful, but shy, jumpy, clearly had been abused, had ear infections, had a huge gash on her leg where they'd just removed a tumor that they weren't yet sure was benign or malignant.
We drove over to Aurora.
They had maybe twelve dogs, most chihuahua mixes, with three large dogs.
One of them was named Freckles.
She was this enormous American Bulldog.
20161122_175222

And we hung out with her and talked to the people who had walked her, who were all "I love that dog."
She'd been abandoned, in a way: found as a stray and her owners refused to take her back.
She's three, she knows how to sit and stay, she's food-motivated, and seems to learn stuff quickly.
We talked about it for quite a while, but ended up bringing her home.
20161122_184420
20161122_184418

She's not a Lily replacement. She's a very different dog: bigger, so much younger, probably not as smart, but a lot happier. (I think that the year Lily spent in the pound really tore her up in some ways. This dog was in a shelter for 10 days, and apparently had a pretty good life previously to that.)
We're calling her Montmorency, after the awful little terrier in Jerome K Jerome's book, Three Men In A Boat.
I hope we made the right decision. I think we did.
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(no subject) [Nov. 22nd, 2016|10:22 pm]
sprockets, sockets, grommets & gaskets
Lily lost the ability to jump up onto the bed a couple of days ago. Even the ramp I made, she couldn't handle. She had no muscle mass at all, just bones. Last night, I lifted her off the bed twice, to go outside (where she did nothing: she hadn't eaten in a week and could barely drink two mouthfuls.) She was having difficulty walking straight, and if she turned her head her back legs went out. It was awful.
This morning she was able to walk a little, so we loaded her into the car, because she loved driving to a park. We drove, and she leaned against the seat with her eyes half-closed. She walked about 80 meters before she began to just halt and stare at nothing every few steps, so we went back to the car and I lifted her in.

The vet showed up at noon-ish, in a car that manintheboat pointed out looked like a white hearse: a Volvo station wagon. She came in and sat on the floor with us. Lily was so skinny we could see lumps all over her, which may have been metastases, or maybe just lumps. It's hard to tell. Lily was still aware of who we were and where she was. She even barked a few times and got off the couch to walk a few steps towards the front door when the vet showed up.
The vet gave her a sedative, and then euthanized her, and we cried a lot. Then we wrapped her in one of her most hole-filled blankets and put her on a stretcher and took her out to the vet's volvo-hearse.

Here's a picture of her walking this morning. She was upright and determined until the end.
2016-11-22_10-10-45
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(no subject) [Nov. 22nd, 2016|01:36 pm]
sprockets, sockets, grommets & gaskets
A very sweet veterinarian came over, talked to us for a while, gave Lily a shot, and just drove away with the remains of what was Lily.
We're going to sit in front of the fireplace for a while.
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