As you might imagine, my week was mostly consumed with the beginnings of the RATJ. Had I known what a crazy huge amount of work it was going to be,1 I would probably have tried to get it all lined up before announcing that it was going to happen, but oh well. The first round, all sixteen days' worth of it, has been written and scheduled, so now it's just a matter of waiting to see the results come in, and try to figure out what it all means.
While this was going on, we had a prolonged power outage on Wednesday night. The local electric company had notified us that this was going to happen, but they'd told us two or three weeks ago, and we'd forgotten about it. Things turned out fine anyway (the power went out just as dinner was ready), but we wound up going down to the basement to hang out after dinner, and it was there that Sheba discovered a medium-sized black dog watching her from behind a large mirror, who had no smell but was giving her increasingly threatening looks. So we got to be sort of alternately entertained by and embarrassed for her, as Sheba defended us against her reflection.
On the plus side, I feel (somewhat) safer -- her German shepherd ancestry does, apparently, kick in when she thinks something threatening is going on, and we had wanted a pet that could be a guard dog if the circumstances called for one.2
The power was back on after a couple hours; according to the power company, this is supposed to make our connection to the grid more reliable or something. If true, that'd be great -- we lose power here a lot. It's never more than just a flicker (often the clocks don't even need to be reset) but it's just long enough to shut off my computer, and then I lose whatever I was working on, plus I have to wait fifteen minutes while I restart the computer and re-open the applications I was working in and so forth.
I attempted to get a photo of Nina this week too, but as usual, she darted into the Pellionia when she saw the camera, and then a couple days later I got the usual signed 8 x 10 glossy in the mail. It's not that I don't appreciate the effort (how is she even getting to the Post Office?), but it's not really what I'm wanting from her. So frustrating.
1 No individual step is particularly difficult or time-consuming, but there are a lot of steps, most of which require repetitive cutting and pasting of text, and they all have to be done accurately and (sometimes) in a particular sequence, so the overall project winds up being pretty time-consuming and tedious:
*Create 16 new posts.
*Copy and paste the rules and footnote to each one. (16x)
*Change the footnote references for each post. (4x/post)
*Number the "Match" lines. (4/post)
*Copy and paste the competitors. (8/post)
*Italicize the competitors' botanical names (~9/post)
*Add the labels for each post (9/post)
*Change the date and time for each post so they go up on their appointed days. (x16)
*Add in links to past plant profiles, where appropriate. (~3/post)
*Create a collage of pictures for each of the eight plants in each post, and upload to the RATJ photo bank. (Which is just an unpublished blog post; it's easier to keep them all in one place, already uploaded, and it'll make it easier to find them later when I have to re-use photos for the later rounds of the RATJ.) (8/post)
*Caption the collages with variety or species IDs, where appropriate. (8/post)
*Paste the collages from the photo bank into each post. (8/post)
*Create 64 new polls.
*Change the times on the polls to end on their appointed days. (x64)
*Copy/paste the code for the polls into the RATJ posts. (4/post)
*Publish the RATJ posts. (x16)
2 (One remains slightly concerned that, her German shepherd side having manifested to chase off an intruder, the Labrador retriever side might then kick in, causing her to chase down the intruder and drag him/r back to us so s/he could be chased off again.)