grrgoyl: (vincent)
When I arrive to work at the kennels, I always start the night with a clenching, cramping pain in my stomach. It only lasts as long as it takes me to punch in and secure the main level, so I recognize it for what it is: anxiety in the face of the unknown.

Most of the time it's for nothing. I go downstairs and after a cursory sweep can tell what kind of night I have ahead of me, and it's hardly ever as bad as I imagine in those first 5 minutes upstairs. Then there are nights like this past Friday night, when I walk into Recovery to find every single fluid pump in use, some hastily jury-rigged and propped in unlikely places. I HATE nights like this.

I had a small handful of boarders, and no Parvo puppies for the first time all month. But the dogs I did have were whiny, whiny little bitches. The king bitch was a little terrier something or other, Ozzie, who was almost completely blind AND deaf. Ozzie's bark was a raspy, hacking affair that sounded precisely like he was trying to expel a hairball -- for like AN HOUR. I hate deaf dogs because you can't silence them from the opposite end of the hall. Ozzie wouldn't stop unless I walked up to his cage and kicked the door hard enough for him to feel the vibrations; and please believe that the first time I waited as long as I could bear it for him to stop on his own.

But I've also had a bit of a revelation lately. It's not just loud dogs I dislike. Loud cats are just as annoying, so I guess I need to qualify my statement to "I hate loud animals." Cats are actually worse because they aren't so easily cowed, nor do they give a damn if I shower them with praise for good behavior. I also had this night Tugger, a calico cat (usually my favorite) who might have been part Siamese for all the talking going on. Requesting Tugger to please be quiet only resulted in louder vocalizations. Aggravating.

So I got all my work done, set up my cot, and lay down eagerly looking forward to just 15 minutes of rest...I'm allowed at least that much by law. But it was not to be. Attempt #1: A pump started beeping. Attempt #2: Tugger set up a steady stream of yowling. Attempt #3: Ozzie started in again, which as I mentioned required me marching all the way down to him to stop. Attempt #4: A couple of the perfectly healthy, previously silent boarders took it into their heads to start howling mournfully. WHY DO THESE ANIMALS HATE ME SO?? WHY ARE THEY CONSPIRING AGAINST ME????

Saturday night almost all the hospitalized animals were gone. Tugger had been replaced by Grant, a crochety old diabetic cat who similarly meowed loudly at every move I made. Ozzie was still there, but had presumably barked himself hoarse all day, sounding now like a punctured set of bagpipes. The rest of the night was fairly uneventful, until the morning when the needle I had clenched in my teeth slipped, landing straight in the back of my hand and sticking there like a dart. That made me a bit...testy.

~*~

Today I went to see Nightmare Before Christmas in 3D. I used to be crazy about this movie. To prove it, here are the bottom 2 shelves of my curio cabinet (the top two are full of Xena dollies):


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And this poster is on my bedroom wall:

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Yep, I love this movie. I'd probably be collecting still if I didn't wrench myself forcibly out of the obsession with the realization that I would never, ever be able to own everything. I wanted to see the 3D despite the reviews warning that the 3D wasn't all that great. They were right: It really wasn't true 3D with things popping out at you. But it did give the scenes depth and texture that wasn't there back in 1993, which is the last time I've seen this on the big screen. You could see the tiny frayed threads on the mummy's wrapping, plus a million other details I missed before. Pretty cool. I enjoyed singing along (quietly) with the music in glorious theater surround, and even cried a little when Jack and Sally hook up at the end (again).

What I didn't enjoy was the mother and four kids who trooped into the theater just as the lights were dimmed and sat in the row in front of me. Every ten minutes someone was standing up in a steady parade to the concession stand. Occasionally one would return emptyhanded, asking plaintively so we all could hear, "They didn't have Gummi Bears. What do you want instead?" Good Christ, I've seen chihuahuas with longer attention spans. Then, after completely disrupting the first half of the movie, they all packed up and left just as Oogie Boogie got his big song. I should have been relieved they were gone, but instead I was just irritated. These kids, who only know a world where everything is created in a computer, hadn't the faintest inkling or appreciation of the intense amount of work that went into this stop-motion masterpiece. They don't DESERVE Jack Skellington, bunch of snot-nosed, ADD sugar junkies.

~*~

Finally, an art installation I'm thinking of calling "The Closet Series":

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Looks like Duncan and Gideon might be every bit as gay as Gideon and Xandir.
grrgoyl: (Donnie frankLOL)
Parvo is a horrible, horrible, potentially lethal, and 100% preventable disease. Parvo causes an animal (primarily dogs, although can be caught by ferrets) to slough off its intestinal lining quite painfully -- in my experience, anything that involves the word "slough" is rarely good. Parvo is caused by stupid, lazy puppy owners who put off getting their vaccinations, and moreso by stupider, lazier puppy owners who don't pick up their dog's poo. The virus grows in the poo, and moves into the ground where it can live happily for up to 20 years, infecting unsuspecting puppies owned by stupid, lazy people. About the only good thing to be said about Parvo is that it's like chickenpox; if your dog gets it, it will be immune for the rest of its life. Assuming it survives the infection.

I mention this only because we've been having a rash of Parvo puppies all month. This past weekend I had two, one of which was "Lucky" -- I don't know if plans are in the works for a name change. Lucky is an adorable little poodle/American Eskimo mix who was actually doing pretty well Friday night. Saturday was a different story, however, with hourly bouts of bloody diarrhea and much whimpering, the poor little thing.

*WARNING: FAIRLY GRAPHIC DESCRIPTION TO FOLLOW. PROBABLY NOT FOR THE WEAK OF HEART OR STOMACH*

I was supposed to temp Lucky at 11, but found I couldn't because he had some sort of solid, bloody material hanging out of his bum. Attempts to remove it were so painful for the dog that he actually vomited and practically jumped out of the cage, so I was afraid it might be still-attached intestine for all I knew. I called the doctor (again Dr. E, whose lethargic instructions may or may not have cost little Sally her life) and told her what was happening. Her thoroughly unhelpful response was, "Well, I don't understand. He was fine all day." As if I was just making it up to get out of temping the dog. When I insisted that no, the material was not my imagination, she said, "Well, just pull it out. It will be fine." I repeated the part about him vomiting, but she assured me it would be fine. Well, I tried again with similar results, and made a command decision that this really should be handled by a doctor personally, in the morning. I felt ineffectual, but I'm not at all comfortable with ripping out things that might still be attached based on the best guess of a doctor who sounded 3/4 asleep anyway.

By morning the diarrhea seemed to have slowed somewhat and Lucky was resting easier. I really hope the little guy pulls through.

~*~

Directly across the street from the hospital is a HUGE fast food Mexican restaurant named (again ironically) Taco Junior. It's neon green, stretches half a city block, and when the bars close at 2 a.m. is a mob scene, but the way sound carries it sounds like people are right outside my window. Saturday night (Sunday morning) it sounded especially rowdy, so I went upstairs to have a look. I wish I had taken a picture -- there had to be 50 freakin' people in that place. Bathed in that eerie green light, it looked like a taco joint from the afterlife in Beetlejuice.

About 10 of the patrons were a group of Mexicans that were currently shouting at each other angrily by the front door. It seemed to be escalating rapidly from my vantage point, and I was seconds from calling the police when a little senorita broke them up and they went their separate ways. Fortunate, because of all the things I don't enjoy hearing outside my window in the middle of the night, angry yelling people is probably in my Top Ten -- aww, hell, I'll put them in my Top Three, right behind 1) angry yelling people with guns and 2) angry Sasquatches. Thank god Sasquatch season is almost over. I'm sure no one is more relieved than me.

Saturday night was also especially windy. Fall is my favorite season, but standing out in that exercise yard, with the trees whipped into a frenzy and dry leaves skittering noisily, the night seems exceptionally sinister to me. I much prefer spending such a night at home.

Before we leave the kennels, here's my favorite dog from this weekend:

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This is Patches. Normally I prefer large dogs, but lacking any of those I chose this little girl. This I think is what the phrase "So ugly she's cute" means. Awwwwwwww : )

~*~

Speaking of sinister, against the advice of movie reviewers and MyFriendGerry alike, I accompanied [livejournal.com profile] dopshoppe to see the vampire flick 30 Days of Night. ::click if you dare!! Muahahahahahaha:: )

The good: The music was atmospheric, creepy, suspense building. The setting was effectively bleak -- 10 minutes in, I literally had to snuggle under my coat because the cold was palpably radiating off the screen. The vampires, despite their flaws, were pretty scary. Most of what happens is generally believable.

The bad: Not as much as the critics would have you believe. My biggest complaint is the use of that awful, half-frame per second or whatever technique during action scenes that I first saw in Gladiator, you know the one that looks very, very exciting but impossible to see anything at all that's going on? Directors, have more faith in your stuntmen please. Also it makes no sense at all for an Alaskan town, which experiences regular and no doubt destructive blizzards, to have their power lines above ground. Unless the ground never thaws enough to bury them? I honestly don't know, can someone tell me?

And speaking of "Good to Know" information, there's no explanation given as to why vampires haven't taken advantage of Alaska's sunless season sooner (just a comment "We should have come here ages ago." Yes, you should have. Try reading a damn geography book once in awhile).

The best vampire movie ever made? Don't know about that. One of the goriest? Most certainly. 3 out of 5 for effort. If you want a movie that's really taut and guaranteed to make you squirm and leave you feeling morally ambiguous, rent instead this director's other movie, Hard Candy, about one teen girl's solution to pedophilia.

I might be jaded, but not a single moment of 30 Days matched the spike of fear that slid down my spine at the hospital Saturday night when I was certain, I mean absolutely sure, someone was crunching around in the leaves just on the other side of the fence, watching me. Guess I can save my movie ticket money and just go to work for a thrill, eh?

Today I plan to watch a movie of far more dubious quality, Sometimes they come back...for more!!
grrgoyl: (UCB Dance for me boy)
Updatey-datey: Appreciation gift card for kind stranger: Delivered. Finally we can cross him off our Karma to-do list.

Raise: 3/4 of the way there. Let's just say the words "effective 10/15" appeared in a recent email to yours truly. Shannon rocks very hard, and I'll hear nothing to the contrary. (At the risk of raining on my own parade, my rate went from 0.08 cents a line to 0.0823 -- essentially 30 cents an hour. But it's still about the principle.)

~*~

Weekend at the kennels was full of all kinds of excitement, mostly of the human variety; which is precisely what I work third shift to avoid.

Friday night I had to call the police because I suspected the homeless guy was back in the vacant lot behind the exercise yard. Tery spent the whole week trying to get him to move on, partly because the property is owned by the hospital and people sleeping back there doesn't make the best first impression for prospective employees; but mostly because apparently he's fond of getting drunk almost to the point of blacking out, sitting back there and smoking cigarettes with an oil lantern -- absolutely not cool. I'm as sympathetic a liberal as you can imagine, but if sleeping in a field isn't enough of a kick in the ass to get your shit together, then nothing will be.

I tried to find a compassionate term to use to the police. Their word is "transients," a trifle ironic considering he keeps returning. During the week they had forced him to move on. Friday night they called me back to report that he "wasn't doing any harm" so they let him be. Tery was less than pleased to hear about this. She wanted me to keep an eye on him to make sure he didn't set fire to the place. I told her I'd love to, but they haven't yet installed a security monitor downstairs despite my daily insistence, and I had too much work to do to sit upstairs all night.

Then last night someone rang the doorbell at 11:00. I thought it might have been the cops following up, so I ran up to open the door, checking the monitor first (I'm no dummy). It was some guy in a navy blue baseball cap, could have been a cop, but I was wary. I yelled at him through the thick door, "What is it, who are you?" Brusque yes, but I find people on my doorstep in the middle of the night unsettling in any circumstance. He waved at me amicably, as if that's all it would take for me to unlock the door. He drawled something at me, but whether it was from his Southern accent or slight inebriation was hard to tell.

"What did you say? We're closed," I yelled at him.

"I know horses," he slurred.

"You know horses?" I was perplexed. It seemed a bit late for job hunting.

"I've got a coupla horses in Commerce City, I need help," he clarified.

Commerce City is probably 30 minutes from our hospital, and there must be two dozen vets between. I didn't see a vehicle in the driveway that might have been his. Putting aside the fact that I'm basically a janitor with a smattering of medical knowledge, did he expect me to go pick up his ailing horses in my Honda Civic?

I indicated the 24-hour emergency number posted right below our office hours that he could call. When it became obvious that I wasn't unlocking the door for him, he flounced off the entryway angrily, not even sparing the emergency number a glance. Even though I saw him board the city bus that came by shortly after, I found it pretty damn hard to relax all night.

I should have felt safer, considering I had this handsome man with me:

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This is Nevarre. The spelling's a bit off, but I suspect the owners are fans of the movie Ladyhawke. However, it rained all night and, despite having the biggest, thickest coat in the house, Nevarre huddled by my leg for protection, actually flinching when I forced him out into the slight drizzle to do his thing. I don't know what good he would be against intruders if he can't deal with a little moisture.

On the way home I was starving, so I stopped at Burger King drive-thru for some breakfast. I ordered my usual milk to drink, and foolishly started driving. It had an impenetrable seal under the cap -- I mean there was no getting into it, certainly not while operating a vehicle. There was a flap on one side, the purpose of which I couldn't discern since it did precious little to help lift the foil. I couldn't even poke my finger through it. I had to pull over to wrestle with it, and then had to stop my engine so I could stab a key through it. Christ in a teacup. How is THIS convenient, "fast" food? And after all that, the portion of liquid inside was barely enough to coat my throat. BK milk: D-.

~*~

Tery's comment on the addition of Nichelle Nichols (Star Trek's Lt. Uhura) to the Heroes cast, which already includes George "Sulu" Takei: Next thing you know Shatner's gonna be on it. Only his hero power will be as a Priceline Negotiator!

Also, if you aren't watching the new sitcom Carpoolers yet, start this week. It's funny, bitches. Last week's episode was literally "Oh god! My side!" funny. If it gets canceled, I'm going to be taking names.

Also also, tonight! Tery, me, Ryan and his NEW-TO-TERY BOYFRIEND JOHN are going to see Across the Universe. I hope the rest of the city are at the Rockies game.
grrgoyl: (AD Chicken Dances)
Hoo boy, rough weekend at work. I had my first death Friday night (well, first witnessed death). A 5-month-old Boston terrier puppy named Sally. She wasn't right, anyone could see that. Slept face down with her head shoved in a pillow at a painful-looking angle. The diagnosis on her chart was the unhelpful but common disease "ADR" (Ain't Doing Right). Then I heard her whining and looked in to see her stretched out on her side and retching. I called the doctor on the case, Dr. E (who is the head medical director of the hospital as well). From the sound of her voice, despite being only 11 p.m., I either woke her or she was a bit tipsy. Long story short, by the time she slurrily drawled out a course of action, poor Sally had joined the choir invisible.

I've never seen a dead animal before, at least not one that I had to touch. I was strangely unmoved by it -- she just looked like she was sleeping (except for the tongue lolling out). Cleaning her up and bagging her, wearing rubber gloves and a surgical mask, I felt a little like Dexter, with the same clinical detachment. I felt some guilt, like I could have done more to save her, but apparently her death came as a surprise to no one but me.

Last night I had a cat, Maggie, who was remarkable only for the fact that the owner had had her for 16 years and never realized she was a he. This fact was only discovered when they tried to place a urinary catheter. This job just gets stranger and stranger.

But back on Friday night, Saturday morning I came home exhausted after only getting a 15-minute nap all night. I stumbled through the front door at my usual 5:30 a.m., my arms loaded with large items like a 12-pack of toilet paper, cat litter and laundry detergent. All the animals were arranged to greet me in their usual welcoming committee formation. I did my usual dance to avoid stepping on anyone, put down my groceries, and fell into bed.

At 9 a.m. our doorbell was rung. Tery peeked out to see who it was, but didn't open it. They rang a second time more insistently, and that time she pulled the door open to reveal a man standing there holding Gideon. !!!!!! He said he had found him wandering around and remembered we had "strange animals." (Hey! We don't keep boa constrictors, for heaven's sake!) We thanked him profusely and took our little boy back inside, trying to imagine the journey that must have commenced after I locked him outside 3-1/2 hours previously. We're extremely lucky to have him back, and plan to get the guy a grocery gift certificate in thanks.

For Gideon's part, he just ambled into the bedroom as if nothing at all amiss had happened, ate some, and crashed hard for the rest of the day.

Lucky Boy


Duncan Munchkin seemed happy to have him back. We had to admit that had it been him, who is getting better but still holds the crown as the most badly behaved ferret we've ever had, the temptation would have been strong to deny ownership. Oh, and we have to call him "Duncan Bearclaw" now because he's becoming quite a bruiser, and pound-for-pound is more muscular than me.

On the downside, I will now have to suffer at least a few months of having to provide physical proof to Tery that everyone is inside and accounted for after every shift. C'est la vie.
grrgoyl: (UCB titles)
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This here is Jerky. Yes, that's actually his name, not my nickname, and it turns out to be pretty apt. Jerky had a big old "Will Bite" sticker on his cage, which as I've said before I usually only half respect. It's not difficult to mistrust my co-workers' judgment when they're sticking that red flag on kittens.

I cleaned Jerky's box and refilled his bowls as he regarded me with supreme boredom. I scritched his head tentatively, which elicited neither pleasure nor aggression. Then as I shut his door, giving it an extra push to make sure it latched, he lazily stuck a paw through and IMPALED my thumb with one enormous talon. Hooked it into my flesh, and pinned it there firmly for 10 seconds or so, like a true sociopath his heart rate never going above 140. I finally wrenched free and sucked the blood off, giving him a comically (from his standpoint) wounded look and said, "OW! That HURT, you...you...JERK." He just looked at me, still with that silent apathy, as if to say, "Well, you WERE warned about me."

But I still prefer cats to dogs.

~*~

I thought I was through bitching about my job, I really did, but then Saturday night I received another offer of an "incentive bonus" for Sunday. They do this whenever accounts start falling seriously behind, since we promise our doctors a 24-hour turnaround time. The letter starts off all "team effort" and "dedication to our clients" and "ra, ra, ra," but then eventually we cut to the chase. Their idea of an "incentive bonus" amounts to literally an extra $2.50 for an 8-hour shift. That's before taxes and that's total. The sad thing is this is also their idea of a holiday bonus. Sure, you're missing out on quality time with your loved ones, but here's an extra two bucks to sweeten the deal! Even more than a year after enjoying a solid two days off a week every week, my days off are still more priceless than gold to me. And if I WERE to put a price on them, it would be a damn sight more than $2.50.

Once upon a time I replied to these emails with outrage, explaining what a slap in the face they were (at that time they had the nerve to call it an "appreciation bonus"). These missives were treated much the same as all my mail, in other words summarily ignored. Well, ignorance can work both ways, my friend, and that's exactly how I treated this one. I'm all for being a team player, but every once in awhile it would be kind of nice if the team would do something in return for me (still waiting for word on my raise). Maybe that's not the strict definition of "team player", but it's still how I feel.
grrgoyl: (AD Chicken Dances)
This goes out to all you cat lovers:

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Cleo, 3 months old


Cleo has a "Will Bite" sticker on her cage. If these people need to stick warnings on a kitten, it's amazing anyone has the guts to open Beowulf's cage to feed him. Although in their defense, she did hiss at me a few times. It was about 2 decibels louder than air escaping from a balloon. "Too late! There he is!" "What, behind the rabbit?" "It IS the rabbit!"

~*~

Tery's finally home. Goodbye to my clean house...but also goodbye to eating 6-month-old TV dinners from the back of the freezer. It's no way to live, let me tell you (but a good way to clean out the fridge). I didn't greet her at the airport as happily as I should've, but hey...she chose to arrive smack in the middle of my very narrow napping window between jobs on Saturday night. It took her about a half hour to get off the plane and get her luggage, leaving me sitting in the hot sun in the free waiting lot. To my left, a woman in a huge black SUV kept her windows closed tight and her engine running the entire time. To my right, a jackass didn't want to stink up his own car with cigarette smoke, but saw nothing wrong with strolling back and forth by my open passenger window puffing away. I was a bit grumpy.

But how could I stay mad at her? Not only did she bring me home a cool book about the history of my hometown of Lebanon, CT, but also a sweet Lebanon T-shirt (which I would never in a million years have bought while actually living there) -- it says in collegiate lettering "Lebanon Est. 1700" which is the year the town was incorporated. I also lamented to her my lack of funds when I realized I couldn't live without Season One of The Upright Citizens Brigade a second longer, and hours later she called to confess she had bought it (and Two) for me.

Wait, that last paragraph makes it sound like I only love her for buying me presents. That's only half true -- she also cooks delicious food for me.

~*~

Finally (slow news week) I read in Entertainment Weekly that Paris Hilton is suing Hallmark for using her image and her "signature tagline" "That's so hot" on some of their cards. Just when I thought my contempt for her couldn't run any deeper.
grrgoyl: (amelie dog)
The ending of this story turned out to be quite different from what I expected at the beginning.

I worked the kennels Saturday night. The company has FINALLY installed a security system after a sister hospital in the area was broken into (our own break-in apparently wasn't enough to cause actual concern). It's pretty respectable: door sensors, motion sensors (when the hospital is empty, obviously), 6 cameras overlooking the yard, the parking lot, the reception area (where the money is) and Tery's office (where the controlled substances are) (and none downstairs, so braless wifebeaters are still an option). There's even a panic button I can wear around in case I need the police there immediately.

Saturday night seemed like any other night, except I had noticed some of the dogs acting strangely; sniffing the air and staring intensely at one particular dark corner of the yard. Kava, the Great Pyrenees, hunkered down at the far end and wouldn't come when I called. In the morning Beowulf, my favorite German shepherd, was uncharacteristically disobedient and wouldn't leave off sniffing at the gate leading to the parking lot and then looking at me significantly, gate, me, gate, me. I peeked nervously through the gap but didn't see anything.

After all this I was grateful indeed to leave and get started on my weekend. I was just getting ready to go to the movies (more next post) when I got a message from the Lakewood Police Department, saying the hospital had had a break-in. Oh god.

I'll summarize many different phone calls between me, Tery and the hospital. She gets called automatically whenever the alarm goes off, and the call came through at noontime. The window in the reception area had been smashed, obviously the point of entry. Going through a window by the front door in the middle of the day? That took cojones. They had waited until the morning shift left (Sundays someone just pops in to feed the dogs and then leaves again), though why they didn't do it after I left at 5 a.m. (since they'd obviously been watching my car all night) was a mystery. The police were going through the camera footage for more clues.

The thought of being watched all night thoroughly skeeved me out, understandably, I think. I again threatened to quit.

Tery called me back on my way to the theater. Her words were, "It wasn't a break-IN. It was a break-OUT." Judging from my reaction, she agreed that might not have been the best way to phrase it.

Kava, the Great Pyrenees, had gotten out of her kennel, up the stairs, and had jumped through the window. This news surprised us both, me most of all, since this is an old, lumbering dog that can barely make it up a set of stairs without passing out from exhaustion. Yet there she was on the security camera, wandering up and down the parking lot before stumbling into traffic and out of sight.

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This is Kava (right) and sister Nishika


Tery delivered this news with the words, "It couldn't have happened to a worse client." The poor woman had to put Nishika to sleep a few months earlier, so was already grieving. And she already had trust issues after a different hospital had pulled all her dog's teeth without consulting her first (the dog was terrified of fireworks and had broken a few teeth trying to chew out of its cage). Tery thought it best to tell her what had happened and hope for the best.

I didn't understand then why the dogs were acting so twitchy. Tery theorized that Kava had tried to enlist Beowulf to help in her plan. "Psssst....I'm going over the wall. Tomorrow. Are you in?"

This story has a happy ending. Kava was recovered by Animal Control just two blocks away (I knew she wouldn't get far without being spotted -- she's like a grizzly bear, for heaven's sake) and brought back unharmed. We both agreed her chances might have been greatly reduced before the security system came along -- she might not have been missed for 24 whole hours. Now it just remains to be seen if the owner takes this positive outlook on the situation.
grrgoyl: (Greg Egg)
Weekend the First: Kennels. I had many, many, many bad, bad, bad dogs this weekend. I had Ruffles, the uncontrollable chow, back with a new brother, Horatio the German shepherd puppy, who made Ruffles look like he belonged to Cesar Millan by comparison. This is the same crazy family with 5 cats and a handful of birds besides. I guess it isn't a hardship to get another dog when you aren't going to train that one either.

It needs to be said: I hate puppies. They're like babies, great to visit for short periods of time, but a pain in the ass to live with. Puppies don't know that the outside is for pooping. They don't know that the nighttime is for sleeping. And they don't know that some people need more than sheer cuteness to tolerate their shenanigans. It irritates me because we aren't running an obedience school, and I'm not paid nearly enough to train your puppy for you.

I had Bogart, a min-pin who pooped with clockwork regularity, unfortunately every single time in his kennel. Even after 8 hours with no food, he pooped. So much poop I thought he had to be smuggling it in from other dogs. And he wouldn't just poop, he would poop and then dance around in it, tracking it everywhere. Then go outside where it was raining and become this huge primadonna, tiptoeing around the puddles gingerly. Bogart was 6 years old. If a dog isn't pottytrained at 6 years old, that's the sign of a bad owner. Tery told me he was owned by an elderly woman who probably couldn't walk him properly. Compounding the problem was the fact that, fed up with Bogart's recalcitrance, what did the stupid old woman do but go out and get a 6-month-old bull terrier (who as of yet doesn't poop in her kennel). Bogart probably doesn't poop outside because he spends the entire time fending off the very enthusiastic bull terrier. I simply don't understand.

Oh, how I wished that this was the weekend I left for England, not next.

Speaking of England, Weekend the Second: Today the cheapest fare going is $1313. This is a complete reversal of my usual luck, which in the past would have had the prices plummeting in a steady downward slide, until the day before I left they'd be advertising for paid volunteers just to fill the plane.

Spare PDA battery: Check (I'm worried about keeping my electronic entertainment juiced for the entire flight. Even though I'll likely pass out and sleep the whole way anyway). Gobs of new Snarry to fill my PDA: Check. Period: Check (one of the major deciding factors when I chose dates, because I sure as hell wasn't flying to England with a suitcase full of maxipads. As a bonus, this was one of the shortest, most painless periods of my entire life. I attribute it to the awesome power of the Bowflex changing my metabolism).

Finally, haircut: Check. Which should be a good thing, except I hate it. HATE. IT. Easily one of the top five worst haircuts of my entire life. I don't know what the lady did, but the only way to fix it is to grow it out. In just a week. Grrrrrr.

Weekend the Third: We did Parade of Homes again this year with MyFriendDeb. The theme this year was, of all things, New England. As we shall see, these Coloradan designers have some pretty peculiar ideas about New England. I'm cutting for massive amounts of pictures and equally massive snark. And you can thank this atrocity of a haircut for me not appearing in any of them.

::Dial-up users, come nae further!:: )
grrgoyl: (firefly take me sir)
I finally bought my plane ticket, not because I found a great deal but because I realized my $500 dream fare was simply never going to come. I wonder how many things in my life get accomplished from me saying, "Fuck it, I'm tired of worrying about this"?

I opted for British Airways, who has a nonstop from Denver to London -- which I anticipate being so luxurious and stress-free that I'll wonder why I haven't always insisted on nonstop. (How can BA get there in 9 hours when all the other airlines need 15? MyFriendDeb figures everyone else has to pull over to let them through, since they have "British" in the title.) Apart from some shenanigans with my debit card not being good enough for their website, I'm pretty much good to go. Lucky thing, because it was only after buying it that I noticed that there's actually only two weeks before my travel dates. Two more weekends at the kennels, and I can already feel the countdown on my pressure valve. I'm hoping my last night of work before leaving goes significantly smoother than my last trip.

Jeffy has set about planning my entertainment with a vengeance. There's talk of hopping over to Ireland, Stonehenge, Buckingham and even Spamalot. MyFriendDeb had mentioned a Harry Potter tour that sounded appealing. Jeffy hadn't heard of it so I Googled. It turns out there are lots of Harry Potter tours, all of which are designed to siphon as much money from vacationing American pigdogs as possible. The cheapest one I found was $400. !!!!!!! That gets you a private taxicab that ferries you to all the shooting locations of inner London. Other packages go up to $2000+ and last several days, encompassing Scotland and a ride on the Hogwarts Express as well.

Extortionate. But would YOU want to be the one to tell your excited little darlings that it's too expensive? I figure I've got an advantage over the average tourist in knowing a native. Nothing can stop us from visiting some spots on our own. In fact, the Hogwarts library was filmed at Oxford, which is Jeffy's alma mater.

So in short, England is a go! I'll be sure to come back with proper documentation for my avid readers.

~*~

If I had bought my ticket first, I might not have gone on the massive internet shopping spree that I did just the day before. 300 is coming soon so I wanted that. But Amazon has a way of pricing everything tantalizingly close to, but often just below, the $25 mark that gets you free shipping. So to save $3 in shipping, I also ordered The Official Firefly Companion Volumes 1 and 2 for an additional $30. Don't judge me, I was planning to buy these eventually anyway.

While browsing, I stumbled across the DVD Done the Impossible, a fan-made documentary about how the intensely loyal fan base made the movie Serenity happen ([livejournal.com profile] kavieshana, see me after class). It arrived Saturday and I made Tery watch a bit. I had hoped seeing people talking about their love for the show would push her over the edge into giving it a chance. And, well, done the impossible indeed...we just finished the pilot and she agreed to watch more (her tentative favorite is Kaylee). Will she be #6 in my conversion tally to the Browncoats? Only time will tell.

~*~

This weekend at the kennels had the usual amount of excitement. I come with two photos.

You've got the cutest little...


This is Baby Face the greyhound. I've heard that most retired greyhounds are affectionate, obedient and stoked to live a life not being forced to run constantly. Baby Face is the first greyhound I've dealt with, and all she wants is hugs, kisses, and love love love love love. I was happy to provide all of these as much as possible.

By contrast, here is Snuggles the cat:

Snuggles weel keel u


Despite several attempts, mere camera phone technology is pitifully inadequate to capture the almost demonic malevolence emanating off this cat. Either Snuggles' extreme homicidal tendencies developed after it was too late to change his name (but really, don't all cats only deign to recognize the names we choose for them when it suits them?) or his owner has a deep-seated sense of irony. Just walking past the door of C ward was enough to incite his warning hissing and spitting, and actually opening the door of his kennel to clean the box or bowls got him speaking in tongues.

I was perfectly content to leave him be. Message received, loud and clear, little man. Except he had this habit of pooping in his blanket, and that I couldn't just walk by and ignore. I changed it once at terrific risk of loss of limb, not that I got the slightest bit of gratitude for my trouble. Then in the morning I noticed he had done it again. Well fuck me. That I left for the day crew to deal with.

Because the day crew is on my list again. Saturday night I came in to find for a second time, mind-blowingly, less than a month after my plea to everyone at the meeting, the back door wide open a full four hours after the last person had left. Because come closing time, the day crew happily starts their weekend and doesn't give a second thought to anyone or anything else because they are lazy, thoughtless and useless. If I sound a little harsh, think for a moment how you would feel walking into a hospital full of dark rooms where someone could easily lie in wait. The solution offered by the stupid cow of a medical director was for me to call for a police escort -- except I don't notice the unlocked door until I'm already inside, when it would already be far too late if someone got in.

As much as I'd love to unleash my fury on the guilty parties directly, Tery won't let me, so I'm forced to do it to her and hope she can sufficiently pass it along. But as much as I love Tery, she doesn't really do anger, not as effectively as me at least.

Two more weekends, two more weekends...

~*~

Finally, cut because I'm sure no one really cares all that much, ::The Search for John Gissing:: )

In summary, for Rickman fans this is a 5/5. For the rest of the world, 3/5.
grrgoyl: (snape trelawney)
My weekend: A summary by Miss Elaineous

Not much excitement at the kennels, though I did resolve after the staff meeting to stop skating by doing as little as possible and go back to being the best damn overnight tech I could be. *in the style of Superman comics* I gave injections! I changed fluid bags! I hand fed sick animals! I temped ill-tempered cats! I filled out medical charts! I filled prescriptions! I swept! I mopped! I made surgical packs! Then on Saturday I was so sore and exhausted all day that I remembered why I was skating by doing as little as possible.

This little guy has been here for a couple of weeks and is doing much better:

PeeWee


He's such a good little puppy. When you open his door he runs (clumsily) up to you and wants only to be cradled in your arms while he licks your chin. Then when you have to leave to do something else, he quietly returns to his little bed and goes back to sleep. A dog that's only needy on your terms: hope he stays that way.

They thought he was a dump at first -- the number left by the owners was disconnected. They finally called when the bill was in the thousands to check on him, demanding to know why they hadn't been called sooner (it evidently never occurred to them to call us). Since he's still there, I guess he is now officially a dump (one of the techs wants him so there's a happy ending). Apparently this happens all the time according to Tery: people are really stupid enough (or think that the hospital staff is) to abandon a critically ill dog, pleading poverty, then call back when the dog's been fixed up thinking they can get him back for the price of an adoption fee. Tery's response is always, "No problem. It will cost $700 (or whatever the bill is) to adopt him." People are asshats.

~*~

I'm really cursing my luck. We've lived here for 4 summers now and I've never really taken full advantage of our balcony. Now that I have my wondrous new hammock and a full two days off every week, all our neighbors are crawling out of the woodwork. There's a unit across the way and down a floor owned by Louis, an eccentric old man who doesn't own a stick of furniture but instead has lots of weird sculpture thingies made of natural materials like rocks and scrap lumber, who we haven't seen in more than a year. This past weekend he suddenly returned from who-knows-where, bringing with him a daughter (?) and young children. They spend the majority of their time on the balcony, talking, laughing, yelling and generally destroying the peace and quiet. You tell me the universe doesn't have an especially sadistic sense of humor.

~*~

While searching for Harry Potter clips on YouTube featuring Snape (so far Conan has shown the only one, I've been watching Dan Radcliffe's interviews all week), I stumbled across this trailer:



It was made in 2001 and the filmmakers have been fighting ever since to get it released. Just this week they gave up and released it privately with their own money (can be bought here). Plus Janeane Garofalo...how can you go wrong? I now await its arrival with every bit as much excitement as I did Snowcake, because Alan gets shamefully few opportunities to flex his comedic muscles (but trust me, they're there).

~*~

Speaking of Harry Potter, tonight we're going: "we" being myself, Ryan and RYAN'S NEW BOYFRIEND JOHN. Thanks to a series of monetary snafus, I'll probably be paying for the boys, putting to rest the apparent myth that gay men have gobs of disposable income. Unless, as Tery postulated, all their money goes to buying lube by the case at Costco *juvenile snicker* I'm spending the rest of the week hurrying to finish "Half-Blood Prince" for the second time before the release of "Deathly Hallows" this weekend. This might be the closest I've come to O.D.'ing on Harry.....
grrgoyl: (firefly kaylee)
Hammock Song
(lyrics by TeryandElaine)

Ta-ra-ra-boom-de-ay
Today is Hammock Day
I got it on eBay
The shipping was delayed

Ta-ra-ra-boom-de-ay
The colors are so gay
I love it anyway
Caribbean getaway!!!


Yes, it's here. It was technically here Saturday, but instead I got the dreaded peach slip saying "Parcel too big for locker. And I know it's Saturday and you're probably home, but it's hot and this is my last stop so I can't be arsed to climb three flights of stairs to deliver what you could easily drive to the post office to pick up yourself on Monday."

Which is what I did. And yes, the box is indeed too large for the locker. I could deal with that if not for the fact that the hammock itself was packed inside in a box 1/4 the size of the outer one, sliding around like a marble in a lunchbox. Why do you hate me, Collections Etc.? And why did you bother packing a catalog and a 10% off coupon for my next order? Cuz THAT ain't happening. So it was with the greatest pleasure and vindiction that I left what I felt was a truly deserved neutral feedback. Toy with ME, will you?

(Just checked the seller's feedback. They had the nerve to claim that they shipped the next day. So I left a followup to their followup. It doesn't matter, my feedback has already been moved to page 3 by the tidal wave of subsequent transactions, but I really, really hate liars.)

But enough of that unpleasantness. It's everything I hoped for and more. I've wanted a hammock forever, but Tery, being the Debbie Downer that she is, kept telling me it was impossible. See if I let HER sit in it (highly unlikely anyway, as she regards it as a deathtrap).

I swear she's made it her life's work to destroy all my happiness, like any good spouse. Look what she did with my dollies while I was peacefully dreaming of Snarry:

GabrarrySnena


Notice how Harry is trying to let Gabrielle down gently, while Snape stares blankly into space hoping Xena will take the hint. Perverse (though I will grant you the respective scales work better with the girls).

~*~

Weekend at the kennels had some excitement, which I think would be best described with a monologue by Miss Jane Seymour from the Lifetime movie "Marry Me":

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Beowulf, my first love

::Other doggy pics, cut for cat fans:: )

~*~

Last but not least, I finally got to catch a movie with the resplendent [livejournal.com profile] dopshoppe, though it wasn't 1408 as we had hoped, but rather Sicko.

I should stop watching Michael Moore movies. They make me so ANGRY, and this one was no exception. I don't have health insurance. I'm one of the millions of Americans who, as Moore puts it, gambles on my continued good health. And if I were considering getting individual insurance, I would have second thoughts even before seeing this movie. At least once a week I type a letter from a doctor begging an insurance company to reconsider their denial of coverage for a patient's necessary treatment. Tery has insurance but never sees a doctor, terrified of being billed anyway. Insurance companies devote all their energy to finding the flimsiest of excuses to deny coverage, actually rewarding employees the more denials they send out. It's positively sickening. My question is, how do these people sleep at night?

::Oh, there's more:: )

There might be some embellishment of the truth going on, some sensationalism in an effort to prove his point. But as MyFriendDeb says, the opposite side can't come up with a very convincing argument to prove he's wrong. Moore's movies all have two things in common: they make me hate America. Make me hate it with a bitter, acid-burning hatred, make me want to leave it if I had the means. Moore loves America. But just like you love your longtime partner or spouse despite their flaws, that doesn't mean you wouldn't rather have some of those flaws fixed. I think that's how Moore feels about America.

The other element they share is that they're only watched by people who are already sympathetic to his issues. Preaching to the converted, as they say. I came away from Fahrenheit 9/11 absolutely steadfast in my conviction that there was no way in hell Bush would be re-elected, and we all know how unhappily that history lesson ended. So I think pessimistically that this movie will do very little to change anything either. The rich will keep getting richer and the poor will keep getting angrier but remain paralyzed.

I did take one lesson away from the movie: Life is better for everyone when we all take care of each other. So when I saw a homeless man begging on the corner on my way home, I gave him two dollars, something I never, ever do (mostly because I don't want them spending it on booze). He looked me deep in the eyes, saluted me and thanked me profusely. I thought maybe I'd start carrying cash just to have some to give to every person I saw begging on the street, but then I remembered I'm not really that well off myself. If I were, I would though.
grrgoyl: (Office Stanley)
The poll results are in: And the good news is, of the people who took my poll (and thank you, BTW), most of you possess more than enough common sense to handle the challenges of a kennel assistant. With the exception of [livejournal.com profile] kavieshana, who apparently is so hopelessly inept that she'd probably end up locking herself out of the hospital with the dogs running loose inside, forming an Orwellian co-op and forcing the cats to do their laundry. (For anyone wondering, the first question about the large or small bowls has been hotly debated. One argument is that a smaller bowl will create less mess when overturned. My (and Tery's) standpoint is a larger bowl will be heavier and harder to overturn, and at the very least will give the dog a better chance at hydration before it is eventually overturned. And besides, spilled water doesn't create that objectionable a mess in either case.)

My weekend at the hospital: Was not terribly noteworthy, except I am perpetually puzzled when I come back Saturday to discover dogs that gave me no trouble at all now have a "Will Bite" sticker on their cage. Particularly in the case of Baby, a diminutive poodle something-or-other mix who runs to the front of her cage and rolls over for a belly rub upon seeing me (she also has one ear that sticks straight up while the other flops down, a recipe for utter cuteness). Evidently Baby will bite, though not me. Same goes for Beowulf, my favorite German shepherd. Everyone else is a little fearful of him, so there was much cause for amazement when I wrote on his report card "Gives nice kisses" (he does!) I don't get it. For someone like myself who generally can't stand dogs, I'm bowled over at how much they seem to like me. Tery says they sense my take-no-shit attitude and respect me accordingly. Just call me the Cesar "Dog Whisperer" Millan of South Sheridan Road.

Our Caribbean getaway: Is still lacking a hammock, one might say the critical component. So for now it's just a shady, flowery getaway, or as I like to call it, the Veranda.

Veranda Series #1 Veranda Series #2
Tery and the cats enjoy it (though not simultaneously)


Veranda Series #3
Little White Boy enjoys it, and therein lies the problem


Tery called me at the hospital to tell me she left little Duncan unattended for about 20 minutes out there, during which time he had dug out most of the freshly potted flowers from the left box (typical ferret behavior) and had carefully dragged them over and placed them into the right box (fairly unferretlike behavior). He just wanted to try his hand at gardening. Actually I don't know why it surprises me: he'll spend hours moving his bottle top collection from one spot to another, a great activity that keeps him quietly busy and tires him out simultaneously. Tery should be so organized. Duncan is the Martha Stewart of the animal kingdom.

Speaking of organizing, today I tackle my closet and the loft, which has become an impassable dumping ground in an amazingly short period of time since moving the computer downstairs. I'm off.
grrgoyl: (ferrets attack)
Cat door training is progressing slowly. Not surprisingly, lil Duncan Munchkin mastered it within less than a minute. Ferrets ARE the problem-solvers of the animal kingdom. Take note, you hatahs: I mean YOU, Rudy Giuliani. Tery stumbled on this anti-ferret rant on YouTube:




The man is seriously unhinged. Based on the passion and irrationality of his tirade, I can only surmise his mother was killed by ferrets. This lunatic ran an entire city?

Regardless, even with the cats watching Duncan hop in and out with reckless abandon, when it comes to their turn they just sit there mewing helplessly. I'm not sure if it's a case of intelligence or willful ignorance so they can keep us waiting on them hand and foot (paw and paw?) We're still working on it.

Update!: Don't click unless you're a rabid fan of cats and already bored out of your mind. But there IS a happy ending.



~*~

Speaking of celebrities, I need Paris Hilton to shut up. She's out of jail and now all the headlines are about her "ordeal." Bitch, please. I remember none of this foolishness when Martha got out. I also wonder what became of her "medical condition" that she developed in one day. Couldn't have been that bad if she was able to overcome it and finish her sentence when the judge called "bullshit."

Someone else I need to shut up is Rosie O'Donnell. First her thing with the Donald, then her thing with her View costar. Now she's making broad general statements like "don't trust dem backstabbing breeders" (so much for taking the higher road about labeling an entire orientation) and using her child as a political pawn on her blog. The only reason I know all this is because I get the day's headlines on my home page. Rosie, STFU. You're an embarrassment.

~*~

I received an email yesterday from Amazon.uk announcing my imminent refund for my Hot Fuzz order. This confused me, as I've been sleeping with it under my pillow every night for over a week now. Sure, it would be nice to get it free through some computer snafu, but I really don't need that black mark on my karma. I emailed begging them not to refund me, for the sake of my conscience. It turns out it's just a $4 refund because they dropped the price, so they were sending me the difference. Well. That's not something you see every day. Have I mentioned lately how much I adore them?

~*~

Tery really wants me to attend a hospital staff meeting next week to go over some policy changes and gripes that are cropping up again. Seems people have been attacking Kristie, the overnight girl during the week, much the same way I was attacked when I first started. Small misunderstandings and miscommunications escalate rapidly into hateful notes and general resentment between parties that never see each other face to face. I agreed to go, on the condition that I could sit beside Kristie to present a unified front. That's in fact what I'm calling us: The Unified Front of Overnight Workers (UFOW).

Finally NECA Snape has arrived on the shores of eBay. Soon little NECA Harry will have his favorite snarky playmate. *rubbing hands gleefully*
grrgoyl: (Spaced Mouspider)
Another exciting weekend at the kennels. I'm taking slightly more pride in my job, however, since the full-time overnight woman is having surgery and has to take the next 8 weeks off, propelling me to Senior Overnight Nurse. "Wow," my sister exclaimed, impressed. "At this rate you'll be a vet by the end of the year!" I asked for a pay raise commensurate with my meteoric rise through the ranks, but the boss refused (but since the boss cooks me dinner, I'm hardly in a position to complain). The bad news is that until Tery can hire a replacement, she's largely taking over the shift herself. It angers me that no one else is stepping up, but that's the subject of a very long (and very obscenity-filled) rant that no one wants to read.

Friday night wasn't going to be too difficult -- I had more cats than dogs, and only a pretty little dehydrated Italian greyhound named Jenny who required any sort of medical attention. Then Flipper woke up.

Flipper is another poodle, totally blind and I think more than a little deaf. If there's any breed I dislike more than beagles, it would have to be poodles. They're just fucked. I've never met one that wasn't blind, deaf, senile or a combination of the three. And don't get me started on what a stupid name for a dog "Flipper" is. He might as well have been born with fins for all that his genes have betrayed him.

Flipper - Blind as a Dolphin
Flipper, the Pinnacle of Poodle Genetic Evolution


Flipper, like most dogs, is an angel as long as he's sleeping. But from the moment he wakes up until the moment he passes out again, he stares at the back of his cage (which is just as good as the front when you're blind) and barks interminably. Yelling at him stops it only for about 5 minutes. One single bark about every 15 seconds for 5 hours straight.

Jenny in a blanket
Jenny: "Please, god, make it stop"


Thus I was inspired to turn the Isolation Ward into "The Hole," as I dubbed it. With Tery's permission of course, and only as long as no one found out about it. I don't know what the big deal is: The Iso Ward is the same as the other wards except it's empty and can be closed off easily (normally reserved for contagious animals). I stuck old Flipper back there with a space heater, quite a cosy setup. He continued barking, but it sounded more distant, like a next door neighbor's dog. And the barks were regular enough that he eventually became more like white noise in the background. Or so I convinced myself so I could get some sleep.

Tery, who dislikes dogs as much as I do, has a theory about dog people vs. cat people. She thinks there's no challenge in winning a dog's loyalty -- they give it away unconditionally to anyone who feeds them. I can attest to this; I spend the entire night screaming at a dog for barking, but come morning when the food gets dished out, all is forgiven and we're best buddies again. Tery says dog people are lazy people who don't want to have to work too hard for their pet's love.

Cats aren't as easily won over, thus making their affection more rewarding. I can also attest to this; when a cat doesn't like you, it's a lifelong condition. I give you the Planka cats as evidence:

Oregon the HellcatPentium:  Hellcat, the Reckoning
Oregon and Pentium: Study in Two Parts of Feline Hatred


Two more unpleasant felines you're not likely to find. They're both fond of the hiss and spit, but Pentium voices her warnings loudly and plaintively, whereas Oregon sticks more to the gutteral growls. Both of them swipe at you given half the chance, and Oregon has the added bonus of requiring insulin shots twice a day. I've never done anything to these cats except clean their boxes and offer fresh food and water, yet the enmity continues.

By contrast I give you the Cat of Many Names: Frances Sofia DiSaronno Contessa, Belly Cat, Pink Lips, Madame Muttonchops, Kitten Mitten with Whom I'm Smitten, Frances Feathertail, Frances Fluffytoes. She answers to them all.

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The Fabled Catbird Seat



~*~

Continuing my Rickman extravaganza, I finally gave Quigley Down Under a looksee. This would be a great movie, if I were a Tom Selleck fan. My dad would have loved it, with all the Western style action. Tery's pal Chris would probably love it, with all the men on horseback action. My best childhood friend Lisa would have REALLY loved it, being deeply in love with Magnum P.I. as only a schoolgirl could be. But for Rickman fans, there's really not a lot here, despite him being the main villain of the film.

::cut in case anyone else has yet to see this 17-year-old film:: )

A good flick overall, but Alan gets more screen time as the Metatron with far more interesting dialogue.
grrgoyl: (Default)
I had already had an exhausting night Friday. Three animals on fluids, four on medications, a heap of laundry to wash and surgical packs to make, and a filthy, filthy hospital to clean: I barely got in a half-hour nap the whole night. I had a poodle who had undergone massive surgery, mastectomy/hysterectomy, who whined pitifully all night, plus a dachshund on seizure watch, Buster, so I couldn't really leave Recovery for any length of time.

I went in Saturday night praying it would be easier. The poodle was gone but Buster was still hanging out. I thought things wouldn't be so bad, and then I walked the boarders.

The last one out was Brownie, a Llasa apso with freaky blue eyes. Brownie had been perfectly normal Friday. But Saturday he got to the top of the stairs and suddenly froze. He shook his head and began foaming at the mouth. What the...? I thought. Then he dashed madly into the center of the yard, ducking and looking around frantically like a pterodactyl was after him, then flopped over on his side twitching violently.

Oh god.

I ran through the hospital faster than I've ever run in my entire life. Grabbed my cell to call Tery, who was at a party nearby with most of the hospital staff.

"DOG SEIZING" I gasped. Instantly she handed me off to Dr. K, who must have been standing right there.

"Just give him a little Valium in his IV," she instructed casually. She was obviously referring to Buster.

"No, Brownie!" I clarified.

"Brownie? Who's Brownie?"

I'll spare you the full comedy of errors. Long story short, I was supposed to administer 2 cc of Valium to Brownie rectally. But if you think it's easy to find a dog's little bumhole while it's flailing on the ground, think again. Also my brain locked up and I gave 0.2 instead. Fortunately by the time I got back out to him, the seizure was mostly over.

What follows is the post-ictal state, where the dog's pupils are dilated, they are temporarily blind, understandably panicked and more than a little "loopy," as K. put it. K. left the party immediately to come put an IV catheter in for ease of future injections, but until she arrived it was up to me to calm the dog down. This involved crawling into the cage with Brownie and sitting with him, stroking him and talking to him soothingly. The dog meanwhile was covered in pee, foam and the usual dog slobber. I didn't pay it any mind -- this is why I wear scrubs (Tabby laughed at me last weekend when they stopped in to check on a patient. She said she'd wear jeans and a T-shirt if she worked third shift).

K. put the catheter in, told me what a terrific job I did, and was on her way.

Consequently I handled the second seizure with far greater aplomb. It was the weirdest thing: All night the dog was fine. Then come morning I took him outside again and the minute the cold air hit him, he seized again, in the exact same pattern. It was easier to give the Valium via the catheter (the right amount this time) and I'd like to think it was over much quicker because of my actions. I called K. back who had to come in to relieve me, because the dog obviously couldn't be left alone. Back to sitting in the cage petting him, lather, rinse, repeat. So I had to get a picture of Brownie, the dog whose life I may or may not have saved:

You're doing a heckuva job, Brownie! is perversely all I could think
Still post-ictal, so not at his prettiest


Exciting. And now that I've experienced it, hopefully not as nerve-wracking next time. As K. said, your first seizure can be terrifying. Maybe someday I'll be as jaded and blasé about it as K. is.

There were other dogs there of course. I had Honus, who now has a little brother, Travis. Surprisingly, having a younger beagle nearby has cured Honus of his assholiness more than chemical sedation ever could.

Honus y Travis
Travis had an ear infection when very young, and ever since has had this little head tilt giving him a perpetually quizzical look


And now, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to present to you the BEST dog that ever lived:

A dog I would consider stealing
Willie, my love


Willie is a Basenji mix, a breed from Africa that doesn't bark (the first thing I love about him). In case you can't be arsed to check out the Wikipedia article, they also share some traits with cats, i.e. fastidious hygiene and high intelligence. Willie is every bit as soft as he looks, and very loyal to even me, who he sees two nights very infrequently. For example, I was a little freaked out when I walked him in the morning and noticed a palette propped in front of the back shed to keep the dogs out was knocked over. As I tiptoed around trying to investigate, he stuck unwaveringly to my leg throughout. And when I offer him a treat for "kenneling up," he takes it from my hand so gingerly and slowly, taking exquisite care not to bite by accident. Yes, if ever there were a dog I would consider kidnapping, Willie would be the one.

On the way home I pass a 24-hour McDonald's, and on Sunday morning, though there wasn't yet a hint of a sunrise, I decided I bloody well deserved a break today.
grrgoyl: (greg skatch)
The tale of seeing Pan's Labyrinth would not be complete without the tale surrounding the journey to see it. I had worked the night before and it started snowing at about 4 am. The roads were pretty miserable coming home, and after sleeping a mere 4 hours I looked outside to see near white-out conditions. My phone call to Ryan was in the form of a challenge: "Are we still on, or are you afraid of a little snow?" He wasn't, we were, and that's why I love him so.

Frightening, nerve-wracking weather. "You're just going to have to give me the ticket, officer, because if I stop at this light I'm not convinced I'll be able to move again" weather. The roads were covered with a foot of accumulated snow with barely-discernible tracks from previous motorists to follow. Apparently if the city isn't expecting a storm, it takes about 24 hours to mobilize plows (and being Sunday didn't help much either). We cursed at stupid SUVs in unison. We devised back-up plans should we become stuck. It was the kind of fun that can only be had in a shared life-threatening situation.

You would think that people who loved movies enough to brave these conditions could resist the urge to whip out their cell phone and check their messages mid-movie, and be better suited to tolerate a 2-hour running time without dancing in the seats. You would be wrong.

Anyway, without further ado I give you ::Pan's Labyrinth:: )

All in all, it's an excellent, well-executed film. Like I said, just not the one I thought I was paying to see. It was kind of like buying a Frappucino only to discover that the bottom half of it is bitter black coffee. I will still probably buy the DVD. 4 out of 5

As measure of the movie, I was far more impressed by the trailer before it for 300:



300 trailer, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. Is it the scantily clad, perfectly toned men leaping about with swords? Is it the digital colorization making every frame look like a piece of Frank Frazetta art? Is it the mega-dramatic slow motion? I'm not sure. I just know you had me at "Just Like You Imagined" (the moment the music gets truly exciting).

~*~

Like I mentioned, I worked this weekend. We had a pretty full house, including a family with so many cats that they filled C ward and had to be put in A ward with the dogs (so yes, dogs and cats were sleeping together. It was anarchy). They had a smattering of dogs too, including 2 rottweilers, Thor and Prada. They growled menacingly at first, but as soon as they realized that I am She-Who-Opens-The-Door-To-Pee, and even more importantly, She-Who-Serves-The-Food, well, that put a quick end to their rumblings. And let me tell you, nothing puts a swagger in your step after a break-in than heading out to the yard flanked by two rottweilers (although it was a little disconcerting when these same dogs literally wrapped themselves around my legs and started snapping at each other. Tery says it's a sign of possessiveness over me. Flattering, but next time they can just send flowers).

They have a third, Ursa, an ancient old girl whose back legs have stopped working and who has to be hauled about with a sling. It was therefore completely beyond my comprehension why, when I returned Saturday night, someone had moved her into the kennel behind the door, where the angle is damn near impossible to navigate with a healthy dog. This is what I mean when I complain about seemingly smart people with a degree in animal medicine who lack a shred of common sense about everything else.

I also discovered a breed that could be just as annoying as beagles: huskies, the younger the worse. We had a husky youth who had just been neutered who cried and cried all night long. Unfortunately, after yelling at him all morning to shut the fuck up, I had to give no less than 5 medicines to this poor cat who, as luck would have it, was directly over his kennel:

The face of abject terror
"Enya" - as far from the Orinoco Flow as you can possibly get
grrgoyl: (Snarry sepia)
I'm updating now because Ryan and I are seeing Pan's Labyrinth on Sunday and I have every expectation of loving it and writing it up in glowing detail.

J., the full-time overnight woman at the kennels, is on vacation this week. Unfortunately for Tery, who had to fill in for her last night and again tonight (I stepped up Sunday night). However Dr. K stayed Tuesday night to keep an eye on some patients of hers. She told Tery the next morning that she used to spend the night at the hospital all the time, but admitted to suffering some paranoia due to the break-in. She said she walked all the big dogs and had one dog left when she swore she heard a sneeze on the other side of the fence. Unfortunately the last remaining dog was a Yorkie, no one's first, second, or even third choice in an attack breed.

Killer
Not actually Lady, but you certainly get the idea


She told Tery she tossed Lady up the stairs with a whispered, "Good luck!" and locked the door behind her as fast as she could. I've had Lady the past two weekends, and I personally wouldn't have even bothered, knowing her penchant for dashing across the yard to cower under a folding chair without doing any business whatsoever.

~*~

I got another letter from the IRS yesterday. If you'll remember, they claimed I owed them about $2,000 awhile back. This letter 2 months later, however, was merely to inform me that my case was being examined and they'd get back to me. And here all this time I was just assuming no news was good news. Let it never be said that the IRS does anything too hastily.

~*~

My data remains trapped in the corpse of my old CPU. I put off going to Action Computers (many thanks once again to [livejournal.com profile] dopshoppe, my knight in shining armor) because I didn't think I had any money and I would've felt damn foolish saying, "Here's my computer. Can you help me? Oh yeah, but I can't pay you until the end of the week." Then Tery came home from a night at the bar crowing about finding someone with a friend who could do it for free. This is one of the perks I can see about hanging out in bars: You can usually find someone who knows something about just about anything you need help with. However the drawback to relying on this kind of help is that you have to wait for the unlikely intersection of free time in schedules plus tracking them down again at the bar added to hoping they aren't too far along in their drinking before you get there. To further complicate matters, like I mentioned earlier I would ideally like to salvage some (a lot) of Snarry from the old unit and would feel infinitely more comfortable asking someone as a paying customer. I don't know why it makes a difference, it just does. I'm going to Action on Monday, Alicia, promise.

~*~

Every day I'm slipping further and further into a full-blown Alan Rickman obsession. I recognize the signs, I've been here before. Whereas I'm not quite at the point of hunting down every frame of film he's ever appeared in ever, I HAVE broken down and bought a used copy of Die Hard. Typically movies featuring such macho bravado bullshit that Bruce Willis seems to specialize in turn my stomach, but I remember Hans Gruber being particularly delicious, AND the disc features commentary with Alan (though in a peculiar "text" form that I've never seen in all my DVD watching -- it's positively criminal to have a commentary with Alan without using his voice, but this is how desperate I'm becoming). Not to mention the best line in the movie (and arguably of the whole man's career) belongs to him: "I am an exceptional thief, Mrs. McClane. And since I'm moving up to kidnapping, you should be more polite." S-NAP!!

I even bought a special 2-disc edition of Dogma in hopes of there being even a few seconds more of the Metatron, but alas. However, I haven't quite become desperate enough to spend good money on Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (see my scathing, hate-filled review) and if I ever do, I will probably keep that fact to myself.

~*~

My Alcoholic neighbor, who was soooo offended by the sight of Tracey's screen door hanging half open, has had 4 bags of trash on her landing all week. Thank God she's given up running to me with every little whining complaint about Tracey.

Coming soon: Pan's Labyrinth!!!!!!!!
grrgoyl: (royal and friend)
I have to apologize in advance to any beagle enthusiasts out there before beginning. They must exist because people keep buying the damn things.

My loathing of the beagle Honus has been well documented in this blog. I had believed my feelings of deepest hatred were specific to just him, but I'm starting to think they include the entire breed.

This weekend I met Miley:

Honus-in-training


He's a cutie, ain't he? Just a wee little puppy, and who doesn't love puppies?

Well. This shot was taken during one of the rare moments when Miley wasn't uttering his shrieking, demanding, completely out of proportion in volume bark. Unlike Honus, Miley does stop eventually, but I attribute this to the little fella's lack of stamina. It will come in time, I'm sure. He also stops long enough to eat his food, but the minute that last bite is gone he returns immediately to being the most miserable, pathetic, attention-hungry animal in the place. This is why God invented the iPod: To make it possible for people like me to work in conditions like this and keep the urge to STRAN-GU-LATE to a minimum.

Who goes to the pet store (or breeder), hears this monstrous barking, and thinks, "Ooooh, I want to live with that day in and day out"? Crazy beagle enthusiasts, that's who.

To add to his charm, lil Miley has a Giardia infection, probably because he can't resist eating nummy nummy poop. He has to be forcibly dragged from every tasty pile of feces in the yard, particularly his own (freshest is best).

I'm not one for ethnic cleansing, but I think a Final Solution for the beagle population might not be so far out of order. (Addendum: Tery reminds me that girl beagles are actually pretty quiet. Ergo, it must mean that Snoopy is a girl, as (s)he is never depicted barking.)

By contrast, I also had a pooch I remember fondly from my first weekend ever at the kennels:

He's the man, Mr. Shanahan
Mr. Shanahan


Shanahan is very affectionate, playful, attentive, patient, but never, ever barks. Shanahan is an example of a Good Dog.

~*~

Next, a quickie movie review. I got An American Haunting from Netflix, was going to wait a week and watch it with Ryan, but am very glad I did not. ::cut, but trust me, it's a complete waste of time:: )

Boring. Boring and contrived, and according to those more familiar with the legend of the Bell Witch, another case of shameless Hollywood sensationalism. And hardly the "most terrifying film of the year," another in its list of farfetched claims. 0.5 out of 5

~*~

Last but not least, it looks like some Connecticut folks have more money than brains, I'm ashamed to say: CT couple pays $200 for Colorado snow on eBay. Oh my god. I had no idea our parking lot was such a goldmine. I said this would be the craziest thing I'd hear all year, but my sister reminded me that Paris Hilton is still roaming free somewhere.
grrgoyl: (jayne calm)
I had put my foot down about quitting the kennels once and for all for one whole day. But then I reexamined my finances and came very reluctantly to the conclusion that this job does more than give me breathing room -- this job is the difference between stashing savings away and living paycheck to paycheck again, and I've done that for far too long and am getting a little too old to do it anymore. So I crawled back on my hands and knees to the boss, who was very understanding.

I went back Friday night with trepidation but armed with our bad-ass black Mag-Lite™, the only flashlight that doubles as a perfectly respectable weapon for hand-to-hand combat; as well as the only flashlight that uses the Predator for its logo.

It took about an hour to decide that it was preferable to listen to the soothing tunes of Little Miss Sunshine (the best soundtrack I've heard since Garden State) than straining to identify the source of every squeak and creak in the 40-year-old building. I never thought I'd feel comfortable enough to sleep there again, but I should have known better than to underestimate my ability to sleep under almost any conditions. However, it might be a long time before I return to sleeping in the breakroom, directly across from the office that was broken into.

Saturday night was a different story though. It was about 5 degrees out with 40 mph winds, bitterly, bitterly cold. I'd like to think that would put off any ne'er-do-wells, but if I could get inside the mind of a criminal that easily I wouldn't be working two jobs. Normally I would find this weather thrilling, exhilarating (from the safe, warm belly of the hospital), but in these circumstances the night was infused with an air of the sinister, a malevolent sentience living just out of sight on the other side of the wall. Too easy to imagine the sound of boots crunching in the snow of the parking lot. Too easy to mistake scraping tree branches for someone lightly scaling the fence.

Most of the dogs weren't bothered (if slightly more eager to get their business done and get back inside), but one of the last made it to the middle of the yard and suddenly froze (along with my heart), head whipping sharply to stare at the far right corner. Oh Jeeee-sus dog. Then as I was finishing up my paperwork the Corgi Herd started barking like mad, right about the time of the previous break-in. It was the biggest cardiovascular workout I've had in a long time.

By the end I practically ran out of there, thoroughly freaked out.

Here's the thing. The story, according to J. (the full-time overnight woman), was she had just finished walking the dogs about 4:30 a.m. She was in the laundry room making surgical packs when she heard all the dogs barking. She told them to be quiet, thought nothing else of it, and when she went upstairs to leave discovered the broken window.

There are a few problems that Tery and I can see. First of all, to me the idea of making packs just before the end of your shift is just crazy talk, though obviously she might do things differently than me. Secondly, as I mentioned the hospital creaks and groans and rattles on a perfectly still night, but the point is you can hear all of it quite clearly. Neither of us can understand how J. failed to hear the racket that doubtlessly had to be made by the thief. Thirdly, if the thief had enough knowledge of her routine to wait until all the dogs were walked, why not wait an extra half hour and do it after her shift ended?

What I'm driving at is Tery has long suspected her of going home in the middle of her shift and then coming back in the morning to clock out. This is based on more than one doctor complaining of trying to call at all hours of the night with no answer (she always claims to be out with the dogs, even at 1 a.m.). Tery generally doesn't mind because she gets all her work done. But consequently she's 90% sure that J. is lying about even being there during the break-in. I really hope she's right, and wish that J. would come clean about it. If I'm going to keep working there, I need to maintain the illusion that my car parked by the front door creates at least some measure of a deterrant. I don't care what happens after I leave, but please, not while I'm there. I hope to God the new cameras are installed by next weekend.
grrgoyl: (snarry OTP)
This morning Tery woke me up to tell me we had been broken into last night.

I would have greatly appreciated it if she had differentiated between "we" our own home and "we" the hospital, which is actually what she meant.

Evidently someone had climbed over the fence in the exercise yard (admittedly not hard to do), taken a ladder out of the outside shed (that I didn't even know was in there) and used a special tool to loosen the casement of one of the office windows sufficiently to pull it open and crawl in. All of this while the overnight woman was down in the laundry room.

Investigators are befuddled. The loot gained from this daring B & E was only a computer monitor and keyboard, barely worth $50 in a pawn shop. The perp left behind his crowbar and a pair of sunglasses. Wild theories abound, but I think my sister might have been onto something when she suspected the overnight woman herself, planning to retire by selling her spoils.

I'm a little freaked out. No, I wasn't there, but I could have been. Speculation about people casing the joint for weeks from surrounding buildings or treetops doesn't make me feel much better. The overnight woman is evidently unfazed (another reason to suspect her), but I'll never forget the one night I was convinced I heard someone walking around upstairs and I spent 10 minutes staring up the stairwell, in a cold sweat and utterly unable to breathe the entire time.

Tery is heightening security, though nothing will be done before my shift this weekend. She's having security cameras installed (which will effectively put an end to my stint of working topless). There's also talk of getting a Rottweiler to live in the exercise yard year-round. I said great, but who's going to protect me from the Rottweiler?

I'll be honest. Even though I'm not directly affected by this crime (this time), I'm still using it as an excuse to quit. Tery agrees; she doesn't want to have to worry about me either. But again, nothing can be done before this weekend, and if I don't go in then she'll have to, and I can't have THAT riding on my conscience.

~*~

Unrelated, I'm not one for posting baby pics, but this demanded it. This is Michael J., Tery's (and mine) newest nephew, son of her sis Michelle.

Michael J. CutieFaceHappy of Rudolph's Shiny New Year fame


Okay, so his eyes are the wrong color. But the ears are dead on! And I think the mouth too.

~*~

However, I'm totally one for fangirl squeeing, and so I'm including the trailer for Alan Rickman's new movie, Snow Cake.



Alan plays a drifter who befriends Sigourney Weaver, a high functioning autistic. He also meets and has sex with next door neighbor Carrie-Anne Moss. And while it looks like another one of those "people with mental illness make the most profound statements about the world because they see things so much more clearly than us" movies, who cares because he has sex with Carrie-Anne Moss. Alan never gets to have sex with anyone, and I for one would not miss it for the world.

Furthermore, in this interview on a Canadian talk show, he mentioned being in Tim Burton's new movie, Sweeney Todd, singing a duet with Johnny Depp, no less. Oh yeah, baby.

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