Monday, November 26, 2007

Amazon, the Mouse and Me

My Wish ListThis has been another late start on the day, due to one of my long catch-up naps this afternoon. Most of what I've done since then is explore my "Recommended for You" pages on, as a way of building up my Wish list for Christmas at my stepmother's request. This is a frustrating, time-consuming process, and yet oddly compelling, as I spend hours trying to convince the Amazon spider to actually find things I might want rather than show the same borderline items over and over. Naturally, given my recent purchases and all the stuff I've told Amazon I own, half the items that pop up for me are Doctor Who DVDs, novels and toys. Other than that, it wants to sell me lots of lounge-era music (Louis Prima, Martin Denny, Esquivel et al.), histories of technology, books about how to throw luaus or make cocktails, the art of Shag, well-known children's books, obscure YA fantasy, recent hit movies on DVD, guides to Walt Disney World, and bad 1970s Disney movies. When I told Amazon that we have Are you Experienced? on CD (which incidentally I've never listened to), it immediately recommended The Who and Miles Davis(!). Adding a title by James Burke (the science historian and tv presenter) to my wish list resulted in books on American history and a book of handwringing on the state of public education. Admitting to owning some Disney Treasures let to a book on how to apply Disney principles to enhance my own company's success. And so on. Still, I did eventually get it to stop recommending VHS tapes and accounting textbooks. That's a start. But why doesn't it point me at any Thurber or McCaffrey, for example? It "knows" I have books by both. Eventually it did come up with Old Man's War, so I rated the four Scalzi books I own, and added The Sagan Diary to my wish list.

And that's enough for tonight.

As I've been doing this, and earlier, as I messed around with Wikipedia and listened to excerpts from the Ig Nobel Awards (sponsored by the Annals of Improbable Research) on the Science Friday website, I've not been alone in the room. We've had mice in the house almost continuously for the past few years, and my office is one of the hot spots for them. Recently, one or more mice have been especially bold, running out just a couple feet away from me, and even pausing in plain sight before scurrying on. I keep yelling at this one fat brown mouse. He runs away, and reappears a few monutes later. I would take his picture, but since I grabbed the camera a few hours ago he's suddenly gone into hiding.

I don't like killing mice. If they weren't disease-ridden and destructive, I'd be inclined to share the house with them. But this particular mouse both annoys and intrigues me. The finicky, old-fashioned traps, have traumatized me a few times with their occasional cruel inefficiency, trapping and gravely injuring a mouse rather than killing it instantly. I've also hurt myself slightly trying in vain to set one. Tired of being the one responsible for setting the darn things, John bought a different kind yesterday, a round, spring-loaded mouse motel-style killing device. I've set up one near the closet where the mice always merge, and one at the edge of my desk, en route to the den where they like to hang out. So far, Brown Mousie ignores them both, looks at me impudently, and goes about his business. Aargh.

I had several great blog comments in the last day or two. I'd like to respond to one of them:

Becky, did you see the cost of those sinks? $1400 each! Just one of them is more than the budget for my entire bathroom! I love the colorful ones, but I have mixed feelings about the glass bowl style sink anyway. I just want a turquoise colored sink in a modern style cabinet, turquoise tiles on the floor and in the bathtub, unbroken drywall on the walls, and my existing fixtures and accessories. Even that is going to be a strain on the budget under current circumstances.

Okay, it's late, and I'm clearly getting cranky. Time to say good night!



DesLily said...

pretty much amazon suggestions stem from who ever you ordered or looked at last.. so if you look up mccaffrey, your next suggestion will have more of her books in it.. most times I already have everything they suggest for me! Makes you wonder if they think you will order it AGAIN! heh..yeahright.

Becky said...

Yeah, my bad. I'm writing from the land of the $20-50K home improvement project. LOL That site can't be the only one with cool sinks tho. Let's see...

I love that.