grrgoyl: (Barack the Vote)
Tery made this joke while watching Obama's speech about killing bin Laden. If you're my friend on Facebook you've already seen it, but I think it bears repeating:


Obama: I determined that we had enough intelligence to take action and authorize an operation to get Osama bin Laden and bring him to justice.

Tery: But first, I had to go to Hawaii and get my damn birth certificate for the Donald.


She loved that "Celebrity Apprentice" was interrupted with the news. Deliberate? Who cares. It was delicious.

Sarah Palin, who has the social skills of a 6-year-old (my apologies to 6-year-olds), was here in Denver yesterday and delivered a speech doling out praises to everyone involved, the men and women of the military, the intelligence agents, President Bush; everyone but Obama. I guess mommy taught her if she can't say anything nice not to say anything at all. How did this child get to run a whole state? Let's pray she never gets to run a country.

I'm sure the Repubs HATE that this victory is Obama's. I would have hated if Bush had succeeded, at anything, but he didn't so no worries there. It occurred to me last night that the only reason the strike was a success was because it was done secretly without involving the Senate or Congress or any of those clowns. Because were they consulted, they would have played their bickering, cockblocking games so long that bin Laden could have found a new country to hide in. It seems to me Obama needs to do more things autonomously. Just get some shit DONE. And all you clowns, LET HIM GET SOME SHIT DONE.

~*~

Bleah, enough about politics. Here's a bonus video of Tery reading excerpts from my diary at age 12 (when I was still more mature than Sarah Palin):



And here are a couple of photos with my phone:



grrgoyl: (Default)
Better late than never, but as I bitched previously there's no relaxing time off for me on the holidays. Here's my 2010 year in review:

This is the year I lost 65 pounds after discovering I had gallstones.

This is the year I broke down and got health insurance (see above).

This is the year I rode a bike and changed my life.

This is the year I made a new penpal friend in Finland.

This is the year I got a computer with Windows 7, a choice I've regretted at least once a week since (including this past month, where every fifth time I turn the computer off Windows crashes and refuses to restart).

This is the year Tery made enormous strides in her struggle with alcoholism, ran her first triathlon and found God.

To cancel out her goodness, this is the year I officially became a smut peddlar and wrote my first semi-novel length Snarry (which has received rave reviews, BTW).

In still more evil deeds, this is the year I discovered the joy of torrent downloading, only to be sent a cease-and-desist letter from my ISP a few short months later. Just recently I've discovered the joy of "YouTube ripping," which [livejournal.com profile] kavieshana tells me is so 2006 it never occurred to her to suggest it as an alternative.

Related, this is the year I discovered two great new bands, Imperative Reaction and mind.in.a.box. Watch this video to hear my favorite song by them; it starts kind of slow, then builds to one kick-ass verse, then ends far too soon (don't pay any attention to the video itself, it seems to have nothing to do with the song at all):



This is the year (maybe the last) I visited my family and realized they could possibly have some deep-seated emotional problems; like, should probably be in therapy caliber of problems.

This is the year Tery broke her 4-year winning streak of the neighborhood Christmas lights competition -- which would be easier to accept if the winners didn't only turn their lights on for the judging, and never again afterwards.

This is the year I learned that good things come to those who wait, that DVDs drop in price steadily if you're patient enough, and that not seeing movies in the theater whenever the mood strikes me isn't going to kill me.

Resolutions for 2011: Save, save, save (money); and lose, lose, lose (more weight. Hopefully. I seem to have plateaued for the past few weeks).


First picture of me taken in 2011:



And oh hell, have a couple of adorable ferrets in lurve, good way to start the year:

grrgoyl: (amelie dog)
Well hi, LJ. Bet you've forgotten about me. I'm around, just not much happening.

Unless you count two of Nancy's dogs going missing from her yard. Tery saw the news on Facebook. I would have been content to pretend I didn't know (don't judge me; let me remind you of a few posts back where I showed how much of a shit she gives about my life), but then Tery stupidly had to go leave her a comment. Nancy assumed someone had stolen them and "didn't expect to ever see them again." Oh, drama. Like anyone wants your slobbering, poorly trained mutts (we reasoned Jasmine, the service dog, wasn't one of them; she's so fat and lazy it's a chore to get her to move when you WANT her to).

After a day I emailed my mother because Tery was demanding more details. Evidently the gate was left open, probably by the pesky gas man who has to come on the property to read the meter and who goes way back with a history of adversity with the dogs (Nancy's reluctance to limit her dogs' freedom extends even to controlling them enough to ensure the safety of utility servicemen). They had been spotted by acquaintances in the vicinity, putting to rest the stolen mutt theory.

The day after, presumably while putting up flyers at the local pound, Nancy and mom adopted two more puppies. Her beloved girls are gone three days and she's already replacing them! As Tery put it, "I've looked for a pair of slippers longer." (Later on the phone Nancy justified this impulse buy by insisting that losing the other two was "creating a serious detriment in Jasmine's training" because she was moping so much. I didn't ask what the plan was going to be if and when Jasmine (the service dog) goes to an owner who doesn't own other dogs.)

The day after THAT Elise the schnauzer turned up at a different pound. She was microchipped so was easily traced, and was home within four hours. Nancy wrote on Facebook, "Praise the lord, one of my girls is home!" She's gotten very religious lately, though between you and me and Tery, we think if Jesus's niece came to visit he'd be a smidge more gracious about it. In fact, when I called Amy with the original news of the dogs' loss, her first speculation was maybe this was karma's way of punishing Nancy for her abominable treatment of our niece (though if it was karma, this was a very shortlived lesson indeed). Doubt if Nancy would ever see it that way. The lord is only at work when good things happen.

So as of this writing Morgan (the Newfoundland mix with the incredibly annoying licking addiction) is still missing. But since Nancy has two new puppies, I doubt she'll be missed for long. Oh, and the silver lining of all this is we never received Christmas presents from her (see past Xmas posts on why this is a very, very good thing).

~*~

So enough blabbity de blah. I leave you with some pictures (plus backstories).

Wheel truing becomes necessary when the wheel spokes become loose and disrupt the delicate balance of push and pull performed by each and every spoke, causing the wheel to wobble. This is the problem I thought I had after changing a tire on a recent ride (where I discovered that, as miserable as biking in 40-degree weather is, not half the pain of changing a tire when you have to take your gloves off to do it and can't feel your fingers after two minutes). My front tire was wobbling something fierce. I decided maybe I could dip my toe in the waters of wheel truing, which seems like a useful thing to know how to do when you're as cuckoo for bike riding as I am.

A truing stand can cost upwards of $200+, not an investment I'm prepared for at the mo'. It would be nice to have because it has calipers you can hold up to the wheel to see exactly where the wobble is, and apart from that I have no idea what it is about it that justifies that enormous price tag. I settled instead for an $8 spoke wrench and the biggest stationary object I could find in our house, a very large gargoyle.


This is how they trued wheels in medieval times


P.S.: Turns out my rim was already true. The problem was my worn-out old tire didn't have the bead seated evenly all the way around. Has since been fixed (by me). Also good to know!

This photo needs no explanation, other than I think it would make a lovely book or album jacket:


We literally let our cats walk all over us. I adore the look of utter resignation


Lastly, this is Tery's big big present this year (DON'T YOU DARE TELL). She wanted the Dorothy Hamill diamond encrusted heart pendant, but since that cost $1800 on the first site I found, she's getting this instead:



I think it's perfect. It represents the huge steps she's made in her life, her fight against alcoholism, her newfound spirituality, and her determination to be a triathlete and next year (hopefully) a marathon runner.

Merry Christmas (or whatever you celebrate) everyone!
grrgoyl: (Default)
Thank you everyone who commented on my Thanksgiving post. It was one of those, "I really, really, REALLY need some comments" posts. You're all the best set of online friends a girl could ask for (except [livejournal.com profile] lizzieloudotcom, who's just a brat. No, ferrets aren't related to rats, Bear (I know you're just taking the piss)).

Anyhoo, in light of such a wordy post, this one will be all pictures. Not so many, hope you enjoy.

First, the video I've been talking about. It's not terribly interesting, unless you really love me. It's mostly all Vegas, which kind of irritates me; when Tery visits her own family she gets literally hours of footage. On this trip, despite being a "scientific observer" in the background for much of the week, it never occurred to her to pick up the damn camera. Nevertheless, there's a clip near the end of us with Jane whose real purpose for inclusion is to hear my mother droning on and on at poor Rob in the background, to give you some idea of a sample conversation.



Now, pics:


This was titled by Rob "The Intensity of Wii." Amy looks like she could kill you with that Wiimote


(A word about the Wii: We played after Thanksgiving dinner, and it was the only evening I really felt like we were a family. So fun. Also, it became a running joke that I would always forget to mention some important aspect of playing the game until halfway through it, so I was accused of this being my winning strategy.)


This was found among my late father's effects. Mom said, "Daddy loved his porn" which became the favorite quote of the week. Amy, the bitch, immediately claimed the original for herself


Some at-home pet shots:


Look at this stray cat. His new nickname is "Logan Bunnyfoot"



I was pretending to yell at Bird (not that she knows the difference). I love what the antiquing effect does to the mood
grrgoyl: (Office Poop)
Logan's new hang-out is the top of the ledge surrounding our kitchen. I searched the whole house for 15 minutes before I realized he was serenely perched watching me the whole time. Ah, cats. When he finally came down, he was covered in dust from slinking through every nook and cranny up there.

For a week we had noticed he smelled kind of perfumey, like a beauty salon -- a fragrance quite incongruous with his scrappy tomcat appearance. We eventually figured out it was because he was dragging his big tomcat tail through the incense diffuser oil and wafting it around as he walked.

This cat is a feather duster and an air freshener in one, making him twice as useful as most of the other creatures in this house, including the humans.

~*~

This is Tery's last weekend in the hoosgow (from the Spanish juzgado, as I learned when she made me look it up). The first weekend she was terrified. She wept almost the whole way there. I told her not to cry or they'd know she was fresh meat. I reassured her it was only fear of the unknown; once she knew what to expect it wouldn't be nearly as bad. I was right.

Her hard time started 8 am Saturday morning and ended 4 pm Sunday evening. She was in a pod system with 6 other women, some of whom were also "weekenders," others who were actual full-time inmates. The full-timers had a lot of resentment and contempt towards the weekenders, until Tery, bored out of her mind, picked up a broom to tidy up, earning their respect and friendship.

As you'd expect, the most punitive aspect of jail, unless you're in the general population, isn't the fear of getting shanked or avoiding daily riots, but pure boredom. Cell phones and personal books aren't allowed. They provide reading material, mostly of the popular culture, Danielle Steele variety. In fact, one woman brought in a self-help book which was confiscated. No bettering yourself in here! You're being punished!

That and the food. From her description I'd probably go hungry for two days. I'm a picky eater when the food is edible. The worst was corn bread that bizarrely seemed to revert back to raw dough as she chewed it.

The part I would be the most afraid of, the toilet arrangements, was actually a cubicle with a privacy curtain. We were both picturing a toilet seat stuck in the middle of the room for everyone to watch. Not so bad, except for pooping. But since I wouldn't be eating, that wouldn't be an issue either.

But her punishment has been my reward. The first weekend was hell because when I got home from the hospital after the animals had been alone all night, they were were wide awake and in full melee cage match mode. These past two weekends I wasn't needed on Saturday, giving me a luxurious night/morning all to myself at home (and much calmer animals).

This Saturday night wasn't quite so luxurious though, because after nearly two months of more or less behaving, Tracey's dogs made their unwelcome nighttime reappearance until 3:00 in the a.m. (Oh, I might not have mentioned: She finally had a hearing with the City, where presumably they explained to her about noise laws and how most people like to sleep at night, and how we weren't just being harpy bitches. We had hoped this would solve the problem forever. Nothing's forever, Virginia.)

I spent all that time composing my complaint to the HOA. Unbeknownst to me, someone else was even more upset. That someone for some reason came ringing MY doorbell at about 3:10 a.m.

"Is this Tracey that lives next to you?" she asked me. I had no idea how she knew her name but I'm not my sharpest at 3 a.m. so I didn't ask.

"Yes it is. As well as her dogs," I said slightly louder, as they were barking ferociously on the other side of the door at that moment.

"Can I come in and use your phone to call the police?" I explained it wouldn't do her any good, they wouldn't come (I've called before. They say it's a matter for Animal Control, who won't do anything until Monday morning). She didn't care though. "I'll go back and use my cell phone. I'm calling the police and telling them she's got a meth lab!" this last was said very loudly directly at Tracey's door.

Highly suspiciously, the dogs had gone silent, and in fact I didn't hear another peep for the rest of the night. This strongly suggests to me she was in there listening to our exchange, though why she let the dogs run rampant for so long into the night is anyone's guess. MY guess is either a.) she just didn't care or b.) she was doped up and passed out. Neither option makes me very happy.

Not helping her case is the fact we've noticed she now parks across the street in the strip plaza and hoofs it back and forth. Hard to imagine a reason for this other than she's trying to conceal her comings and goings. It's all verrrrrrry shifty.

~*~

Apparently someone else who is shifty is all of Tery's employees (I love me a good segue).

An elderly woman who Tery described as "a little unstable" (and not in the ambulatory sense of the word) brought her dog in. The dog was elderly too and needed significant assistance from staff to get it downstairs.

The problem started after she left. Her husband had died the month before, leaving her two pendants set with black opals or some other semi-precious, not terribly valuable stone. She had attached one of them to the dog's collar and after her visit noticed the stone was missing. She was inconsolable to Tery on the phone, threatening to bring in the police, etc, etc.

Let me tell you, if my husband had left me something of such high sentimental value, you know the last thing I would do with it? Stick it on a goddamn dog collar.

Tery, being the excellent manager she is, talked her down and promised to search for it. She spent the whole afternoon combing the parking lot, which unfortunately is lined with a lot of black gravel. She called the woman back with the news. She was a little more reasonable, but ended the conversation with a warning to Tery to keep a closer eye on her employees.

There are about five people downstairs at any given time, and believe me, it's not such a big place that someone prying loose a piece of costume jewelry is going to go unnoticed. Unless they were all in it and planned to split the profits. I made Tery laugh by imagining that scene: "Here's what we'll do -- we've got this sweet rock and we're gonna sell it, see? Then we'll allllll be rich and we can leave this joint once and for all, see?" (We amuse each other highly by talking like old-time gangsters from black and white films. We get bonus points if we manage to incorporate the phrase "get-away sticks" which we once heard someone call their legs.)

Now if the woman had jewelry made of cheeseburgers and donuts, I'd say she might have a case.

~*~

Lastly, some very quick and nonspoilery movie reviews:

Observe and Report: Makes Paul Blart: Mall Cop look like an Oscar contender. In fact, I started out afraid it was going to be a direct rip-off of Blart. I finished wishing it were more like Blart. Paul Blart with F-bombs and Seth Rogen's voice which annoys the hell out of me. Although Patton Oswalt as a tyrannical little restaurant manager was kind of funny.

I Tivo'ed these next two movies and ended up liking the exact opposite of what I expected.

What Happens in Vegas had a very promising premise: Cameron Diaz and Ashton Kutcher have a wild drunken night in Vegas, wake up married and realize they hate each other. Just as they storm off for a divorce, her slot machine (dirty) hits the jackpot of 3 millllllion dollars. Judge Dennis Miller sentences them to make the marriage work (in a highly overdue speech about how the sanctity of marriage isn't threatened by gays nearly as much as by Vegas fly-by-night weddings, loved it). The challenge becomes who can drive the other off first by being more intolerable. Unfortunately it goes down the road of predictable and banal: they end up falling in love for real (evidently after just one weekend work retreat), yeah, totz didn't see THAT coming.

On the other hand, Yes Man was a hit. Jim Carrey obeys life guru Terence Stamp and starts saying yes to everything. Wackiness ensues. But not the usual "Jim Carrey throwing himself against a wall for a laugh" wackiness, which is why I liked it. That and lovable Murray from "Flight of the Conchords" was his boss, which was a huge check in the plus column. Carrey's love interest was vacant-eyed Zoey Deschanel which would normally be a negative, but she wasn't that bad. And for once, a case where I can't say necessarily the book was better -- it was based on it (loosely) but of course more filmic and cohesive. The fact it had a Harry Potter theme party didn't influence my opinion in the slightest.
grrgoyl: (pale man)
Well, no sooner was I going to report how well I've been doing with my new diet (lost 10 pounds in 2 weeks, even), when last night I had another attack just as bad as, and certainly lasting longer than, the one that landed me in the ER. Turns out Vicodin has almost no effect on me, so I might as well sell these useless pills for some profit.

It hit me about 8:30 pm. When the worst had passed I went to bed at 9, then woke up about three times in the next 7 hours to note the pain was still there. So I slept the whole night in a sitting position, since lying flat makes it ten times worse.

Tery's co-worker who had surgery informed her that the best I could hope was to delay the attacks. She said they'll go from one every 2-3 weeks to one a week, to the point where I'll be begging for surgery. Terrific.

I've filled out about three applications for assistance with my bills -- oh yeah, they've started pouring in. The highest so far is the ambulance ride for $1100. Plus $550 for my ER stay. $32 for lab tests and $57 for my x-ray (I can swing those). My sister the nurse says I can expect separate bills from the hospital (which I would think counts as the emergency room, but evidently not) as well as the doctor.

The good news is the people who sent those two big bills will take interest-free payments of $50 a month. My worry though is having to pay $50 to 4 or 5 people every month, depending who else crawls out of the woodwork with their hands out. That might become difficult.

So yes, help please. I don't qualify for Medicaid since I'm neither pregnant, unemployed, a veteran or making car payments -- no rewards for keeping my cost of living moderately under control. My beef is why can't I just sign up with one program as uninsured and have any assistance apply to all my bills, why so needlessly complicated? Well, I guess they aren't kidding when they say health care is in a sorry state in this country.

In light of this recent attack, I'm nervous about my plan to soldier through for a year until hopefully my employer's insurance will cover surgery. I don't know that I can stand this kind of pain once a week (or more often) for a year. And you're talking to a girl whose appendix almost ruptured because I only complained of "kind of a stomachache" to my parents for 3 days. Captain Stoic, that's me.

~*~

I still can't tell you if Logan is going to work out or not. He's extremely slowly warming up to me, and usually only if I feed him first. Only a cat has the nerve to hiss and swat at you while begging for food. I can actually pet him as long as Tery is nearby.

The problem isn't me -- the fact that the bird is still here is evidence of how much weight my opinion holds. No, unfortunately it's Francesca Sofia, who is learning how empty our promise is that she had the last word on his status.

The people who say getting two strange cats to eat together is a big step towards successful integration are full of crap. They eat together all the time. It doesn't stop the occasional fracas, which seems to depend largely on the time of day -- mostly my first hour of work in the morning, and at night when we're settling in for sleep.

We think Logan is just playing, but Kitten doesn't see it that way at all. She hunches down, ears flattened, making these hair-raising noises that sound like she's being raped and skinned alive simultaneously: truly one of the most horrible sounds you'll ever hear in your lifetime. Logan is tragically inept at interpreting this seemingly crystal clear body language.

Our sympathy has waned considerably when we realized that, in our 940-square foot condo, she pigheadedly repeatedly goes to find him instead of, I don't know, sticking to the 900+ feet of real estate where she can't see him. "AHA! I found you! And as a reminder...I STILL HATE YOU!"


The balcony, strangely, seems to be neutral ground


For now, he's keeping his bags packed just in case:


"Nobody knows the troubles I've seen...." The box isn't photoshopped in. He took to that like, well, a cat used to living in boxes


Best case scenario, we're going to end up with two diabetic cats with eating disorders: Logan because he's got a stray cat appetite, Kitten because she's stress eating.

~*~

Really quickly, why I can't use my new Windows 7 computer yet.

My employer's software doesn't work with Windows 7. So I jumped through all these hoops and installed Win 7 Professional to be able to set up a WinXP virtual mode. Which runs the software perfectly.

HOWEVER. Since my life is never simple, this isn't the end of the story. Also critical to my work is a foot pedal for controlling the dictations (which can also be done with keyboard commands, but that would be so ponderous and difficult my production rate would be halved). Despite plugging in with a USB connection, apparently the pedal is considered an HID (human interface device), which, naturally, isn't recognized by the virtual environment. HA!

So we have a really expensive Facebook-checking tool for now. On the bright side, perhaps by the time my employer becomes Win7 friendly, Microsoft will have worked out the surprising number of incompatibilities I've already encountered in my few short hours playing around.

Which begs the question: Where does Microsoft get off releasing software that doesn't recognize technology that's been working fine for years?

~*~

Now for some movie reviews (as always, cut for possible spoilers):

::Where the Wild Things Are:: )

The movie features the creature work of Jim Henson's Workshop, with CGI facial animation so seamless I couldn't see it. Max Records has the face of a boyish angel, but the truly rambunctious streak of a wild thing. The script has the vaguely nonsensical quality of a fairy tale, and evokes the aching sadness of the last summer of childhood before the first awareness of responsibility sets in.

4 out of 5 stars. Oh, and I totally want an adult-sized Max wolf suit.

::Avatar:: )

I left the theater the minute the credits started to roll, because this is a slam dunk Blu-ray purchase.

Naturally I spent today reading what others thought on RottenTomatoes.com. Overwhelmingly favorable, but a few critics just couldn't get past the derivative plot ("Dances with Wolves in space") or the "environmentalist tree-hugging" message. They pooh-poohed the groundbreaking technology used, said it was overrated and that the movie wouldn't stand up to repeat viewings. I was made uncomfortable by the movie's defenders calling it the Star Wars of our time. That's what they said about The Fifth Element and that seemed to sort of fizzle out.

Of course let's not forget the blatantly obvious similarities to Iraq, or Vietnam, or the pilgrims on the Mayflower, or any other situation in our history when people with superior military force bulldozed over the weaker indigenous population.

I loved the movie because it was escapism at its purest (plus I hated Dances with Wolves and think it can only be improved upon, mainly by using anyone besides Kevin Costner) -- when I left the theater, I felt a wave of sadness that I had to go back to stupid old Earth. I wanted to live on Pandora, and better yet be a 10-foot tall, feline, graceful, fierce Na'vi. Experiencing that feeling is what movies were invented for, if you ask me.

4.5 out of 5 stars
grrgoyl: (Forest Mitten)
If your last name is Beeby, I suppose naming your dog "Hobbit" seems like a natural course of action. Unless of course your dog is an oversized breed like a malamute. I have to wonder if the Beebys have ever actually read Tolkien.

I've barely healed my gashes from my weekend with Logan when I had to deal with Jake. Jake was a shepherd mix something or other who came in with vestibular disease. This is a neurologic infection that results in loss of motor control, like in Jake's case his head was unnaturally contorted almost upside down and he could only move by rolling and flopping around like an alligator. Unfortunately for me this entailed a lot of flailing with his legs resulting in more fairly significant scratches for me. The difference was these scratches didn't make me cry the whole way home.

Tery had snagged some surgical scrub for my Logan-related wounds and I used it on my Jake-related wounds. I'm starting to think we should keep a permanent supply on hand. I look like I tame lions for a living, for crying out loud.

~*~

Ahh, Logan. No doubt what you're all wondering about (inasmuch as anyone wonders anything about me). The first 24 hours were a bit harrowing. He behaved like a perfect gentleman (after being dosed not once but twice with tranquilizers before getting him in the car). Kitten was a different matter. She didn't react well (which we expected, but hoped we might be wrong).

Despite knowing better, we did just about the exact opposite of all the common wisdom about integrating cats. We were nervous about Logan's cage issues and didn't want him stuffed in the carrier longer than necessary. We also have a relatively small living space with not a lot of options for segregating animals realistically. For instance, the advice is to shut the new cat into a small room and let the resident cat slowly get used to the idea. The problem with this is our only room with a door is the bedroom where I sleep, and the memory of me hanging him by his neck with a leash is still a little too fresh for him to be copacetic with being trapped in there with me.

So we basically released him into the living room with Frances and hoped for the best (with close supervision. We aren't complete idiots). The best didn't happen. He wanted to explore his new surroundings and Frances wanted to yowl and scream at him. Meanwhile the stupid bird, who has the survival instincts of a Darwin Award recipient, wouldn't stop climbing down to the bottom of the cage to see what all the growling and snarling was about, to try to offer her help.

The saving grace was oddly the ferrets. People worry about ferrets being seen as prey by cats, but the opposite is true. Oblivious to cat (and for that matter dog) etiquette, ferrets just march right up and get in their face. "Hullo. Who are you?" Their boldness is seen as aggression rather than ferret etiquette (remember, pretty much all ferrets get along naturally from the get-go without all this territorial nonsense). Poor Logan right up to this writing doesn't know what to make of them, and they kept him distracted enough to prevent any actual catfight.

I've always considered my Schminky to have above-average intelligence, but she seems to completely forget about him any time she doesn't see him for longer than five minutes, making the harsh reality a recurrent unpleasant surprise every single time he reappears. This is sort of what it was like when we first brought her home to Alsatia, who fortunately was too decrepit already to put up much of a protest. Predictably, attempts to remind Frances how poorly Alsatia treated her initially didn't make much of a difference.

As for Logan, he cowered behind the Christmas tree for the first day (we thought, "Great. We'll have to keep it up forever now.") which at least meant Kitten knew where to look for him. Then he became more forward and branched out (no pun intended), which Kitten didn't much care for. The first night he spent out on the balcony, and Tery fretted that he was just too wild to ever be tamed.

Then the following morning after her shower she said it was like a switch went off in his head and he was the loverboy from the hospital again. Strange. Then he discovered Kitten's favorite spot on the couch, a cushion she claimed the first day the couch was delivered that is now permanently misshapen from her weight. He thought that suited him just fine and moved right in, a development she seems to be taking better than expected.

We can't figure it. Sometimes they'll both sleep quite peaceably at opposite ends of the couch. Other times she goes back to acting like he's only just arrived. I'm not terribly encouraged by one site I found that said some cats wait weeks to initiate a fight, sizing up their opponent quietly from a distance.

For now we're cautiously optimistic. At least the aggression is mostly one-sided; Logan just watches her with a bemused look, like he doesn't know what all the fuss is about. Pretty confident for being half her size. They might never be BFFs, but then neither were Kitten and Alsatia but we managed to get along. He's still not crazy about me, so I just admire him from afar and get all my lovin' from my Minky. I figure he might come around once he isn't under constant attack from her.


Frances, Day Two



Logan, Day Two


We must be doing something right.

Coming soon: The night I spent in the ER
grrgoyl: (Abyssinian)
It's been 1-1/2 months since we lost our 17-year-old cat, Alsatia, and we've been strong -- well, I've been strong. Tery's been testing her resolve with daily visits to Craigslist and PetFinders.com. I knew she would like a second cat. Myself (and Schminky Minky, I strongly suspect), I've been happy enough with just the one.

So it really wasn't much of a surprise Friday when Tery announced there was "someone she wanted me to meet" at the hospital. One of her techs had a stray in her neighborhood that had been hanging about for months. With the temperature being in the single digits all week, she brought him to the hospital, neutered him, and now didn't know what to do. She was about to release him back onto the street when Tery crossed his path and it was love at first sight.

We've only ever had female cats, and only ever calicos (well, all calicos are female except for an exceedingly tiny percentage, leading my mother to ask once how they reproduced), so her choice of a male non-calico was a bit out of the ordinary. But he was such a loverboy and so handsome that she really, really, really wanted to make a go of it. She was so excited about him she had set up the second litter box for him the minute she got home and sent me in with a carrier to bring him home. She also already had a name picked out, Julian; I asked when I got to have a cat named Severus (as in Snape), and she said when we got a black cat. So in other words, probably never. I promised to check him out, but ultimately the final decision of course was up to Madame Mutton Chops.

I found Julian in his kennel no problem, and he was gorgeous. I don't want to say that every cat I see now looks like a Norwegian forest cat (see previous entry), but he seemed to fit the bill even more than my Mitten -- the beginnings of a ruff (he's less than a year old), big bushy Wegie tail, huge paws that foretell a massive adult size, and best of all leopard spots that create quite an air of exoticism. I'm not kidding:



However, something had happened in the time between Tery left the hospital and I arrived. I opened his cage door and he came up to greet me. I got to pet his head twice before he suddenly turned hissy and snarly. What the...? He darted to the back of the cage and wouldn't come near me.

I called Tery perplexed. She thought maybe he disliked being in a cage so he might be friendlier if I took him out. Unfortunately this could only be done standing on a stool to reach him at the back and tossing a towel over his head to pick him up, something that never makes you popular with the felines. He got in one shot at my cheek that drew blood before I got him to the floor.

I got him out and gave him the run of the downstairs with me. He was an explorer, climbing into every available nook and cranny. I worried that I wouldn't be able to get him back into his cage by morning (the primary reason I don't give strange cats free run at night) but Tery was sure he'd take to me long before then.

As long as he could see me on the opposite end of the room he was fine. Anything more forward than that resulted in instant hissing and swiping. So I decided to go about my business and let him come to me in his own time. I just moved about very, very slowly to avoid startling him because more often than not I'd turn around and he'd be directly behind me, less than a foot away. It was like trying to work with an angry snake following me around, flying into a rage despite my best efforts to avoid it.

I tried talking to him, coaxing him, constantly saying his name (which of course he couldn't possibly recognize this early), but it seemed the only behavior he wanted from me was complete avoidance. He sure sent out some mixed signals though -- more than once he'd flop onto his back and stretch luxuriously, a move my Frances Feathertail executes when she wants me to pet her belly in long, slow strokes. I knew better than to assume Julian was looking for the same.

It broke my heart that he hated me so much, because he was so very beautiful, and smart as a whip: I had given him a ball to play with, and watched as he batted it between an open door and a wall. He didn't waste a second trying to work it back out from the front. He instantly circled around to the hinge side to swat it out from behind. When he got tired and wanted to chill, he strolled over to the bottom shelf of the blanket rack and knocked a small stack of baby blankets onto the floor, creating a nice little bed for himself. That there is problem-solving, my friends.

Morning arrived and I was no closer to petting him, let alone getting him home. He was still painful after his surgery so the tech had prepared an injection for me to give for the ride, a combo pain med and tranquilizer. Great, in the first 8 hours of our life together I would have: tossed a towel over his head to drag him out of the cage, probably have to do that again to throw him into a carrier, then give him a painful shot. Why WOULDN'T we be BFFs forever?

Tery thankfully agreed that was no way to start off and thought we should maybe try again Saturday night. I still had to get him back in the cage, though. I thought I'd lure him with food (he was quite a good eater, being a stray for so long), but he was too clever for that. I thought I'd feed him and try the towel strategy -- wouldn't really endear me to him, but I had to get him back into the cage. No go, he wasn't falling for that trick again either.

So I got a dog leash and managed to loop it around his neck. He fought it like a bucking bronco, contorting and twisting around every step of the way. Then I made the mistake of trying to carry him. I picked him up and he turned into the Tazmanian Devil -- screaming bloody murder and flailing around in full berzerker mode. It was actually extremely terrifying and didn't end well for me either:


If you think it's easy typing, or for that matter doing anything, without your dominant index finger, try it some time.


Out of pure fear and not knowing what else to do, I let go of him and hung him with the leash at arm's length (which didn't keep me from sustaining more damage), finally tossing him in the cage forcefully. Well, THAT should shatter whatever fragile trust we had managed to build together.

I cried the whole way home, partly because the deep gashes he had inflicted hurt like a bitch, but mostly because I had never had a cat hate me so much that I wasn't forcing medication on. I think my feelings were hurt, because I pride myself somewhat on having a talent with cats and earning their trust quite easily (our vet friend Liana thinks I have an inner stillness that calms them. Well, where the hell was my inner stillness tonight when I needed it most?)

When I walked through the front door still weeping, Tery said it was okay to forget about adopting him, but I wasn't so willing. She said he was a big lover puss with her and I believed he could be again. She theorized that maybe it was the pain medication he was on, a drug that is occasionally known to have the unfortunate side effect of psychotic outburts in some animals. She thought we should give him a week or so at the hospital to get socialized and then think about it. This is a sound plan whether we take him or not, because she said the way he is now he'd probably be euthanized if he went to a shelter. They can't adopt out cats that like to fillet human flesh.

Saturday night went slightly better after the decision to avoid cages and keep him in Tery's office instead. Again he followed me around, but whenever I called him Julian he would hiss automatically. I think he associates that name with our disastrous first night together. Tery agreed with my suggestion to change it to Logan, on account of his Adamantium claws and his past shrouded in mystery. He seemed a bit happier with that choice.

Hopefully this week will be productive in creating some trust in humans for young Logan. Which of course guarantees nothing if/when he meets Francesca Sofia.
grrgoyl: (Jayne momma's boy)
Remember when I said I was going to try to start writing shorter, more digestible entries? This is not one of them. But since I'm so super nice, I'll cut for length so the boring doesn't take up your whole f-list for a day.

::We need ANOTHER new computer:: )

ADDENDUM TO ADDENDUM: You started out in Austin, Texas, Win 7 Prof. What the hell are you doing in Utah???

*~*

::Everything must go! Especially this guy trying to rip me off:: )

~*~

I won't cut this or else you'll miss out on the pretty photos.

I'm excited because after watching "Cats 101" on Animal Planet, we suddenly realized what breed our Schminky Minky is (remember she was found in a garage with a litter of babies, no official credentials on her). She's a Norwegian Forest Cat!

Now when you rattle off such a grand-sounding title to people, they look at you like you've lost your mind and started thinking you're King Louis XI (or your cat is). But the thing is, she fits the description to a T.

Physically they're known for their long coats (it's cold in Norway. Though frankly it's a bit wasted when she spends most of her day on the softest bed money can buy), particularly their full neck ruff, big bushy tail and tufty toes (that was the point we perked up). Their faces are equilateral triangles with big eyes and tufty ears. Built sturdy, they're the distant cousin of Maine Coons (I've always thought she was part Coon). Emotionally they're calm, confident, intelligent and faithful. I don't think I need to add any more to that statement.

A Google image search turns up lots of examples to back my claims, but I chose this one to show you:



For comparison, here's Mitten:


Thanks to Tery's efficient new labeling system, there can be no mistake. I love how she left out an entire syllable


Totally unrelated, after rewatching some Firefly, I decided I couldn't go another day without Jayne's cunning hat. Fortunately eBay is crawling with them:


I do believe I got me a Halloween costume already for next year. I also just noticed there's a Norweign Forest Cat with me in the picture. Faithful.
grrgoyl: (trent)
Oh, what a week, what a week.

First Washburn the ferret started vomiting continuously. Tery rushed him to Alameda East, the hospital featured on Animal Planet's "Emergency Vets." They're closer than Tery's hospital; they're also a lot more expensive because they've got state-of-the-art everything, which Tery took comfort in. They thought he had an obstruction near his kidneys. How I prayed it was something the bird had thrown onto the floor, something that might secure her eviction. Unfortunately it turned out to be a bit of cotton, likely from the Q-tip the Kitten had been batting around the bathroom all week. I always say dogs are stupid, but ferrets sometimes equal them in sampling things you would never imagine any creature could mistake for food.

He came home a few days and $3000 later (thank god Tery gets a discount, though a smaller one than at her own hospital) for a day.


He's going as Frankenstein's monster for Halloween


Then we noticed a strange bump at the end of his incision. Back to the hospital he went (Tery's), where it turned out to be an abscess. A second one sprang up the following day, so he stayed almost the whole weekend. He's on antibiotics and doing fine now.

That was the good news. The bad news is Alsatia, our 17-year-old diabetic, arthritic, frequently incontinent cat with cataracts finally reached the end of her road. We woke up Sunday morning and she was stretched out unnaturally with labored breathing. We rushed her to the hospital (Tery's), where our doctor friend/co-worker very generously met us (two things that are indispensable in life: a mechanic you trust and, if you have pets, a good vet. And access to a vet hospital after hours is nice too, so a career in the vet industry. Making that I guess three things). She was severely hypothermic with dangerously low blood sugar. A dose of sugar seemed to snap her out of it instantly, but as we tried to rewarm her, it became obvious the shock was too great and she wasn't normalizing. We realized it was time to say goodbye.



It was very sad, but the silver lining is I got to dash about and retrieve items and help the doctor, proving to Tery that she actually doesn't pay me for nothing.

Just to put the Powers-That-Be on notice: We've had our share of medical emergencies this week. Move on to someone else, please.

I always appreciate it when people post terribly sad news and then disable comments, so I'm doing the same. I just want this in my journal for reference because it's the only way I can keep track of anything that happens in my life.

~*~

I'm not leaving it on a sad note, though. Following are some pics that make me happy:

After Alsatia, we weren't grieving enough to ignore our ravenous hunger, which was nicely satisfied at the new Five Guys burger joint that opened up nearby. Kitten (who despised Alsatia and isn't shedding many tears) wanted in on it too.


Minky can has cheezburger?


This one was taken with a very cool camera app I found for my phone, that creates those lomo effects I had forgotten about (you might also have noticed I've discovered how to put borders on my pictures). I'm quite pleased with this result, so expect to see more experiments in the future.



These kittens aren't ours, but this is another result (accidental) I liked:


Meo and Gaea (someone had copied their names onto the cage card as "Neo and Gaya," because those people can't handle the simplest of tasks)
grrgoyl: (GQ fuck)
I've decided July Fourth is my most hated holiday, because it's celebrated every year on the weekend regardless of what day it actually falls on, and hence I always have to work it. Oh, and I have to spend it with dogs every year.

I'm not sure who I hate more: The people illegally setting off fireworks in the neighborhood surrounding the hospital (and we had some real heavy duty ones this year), or the lazy dog owners who leave their precious babies with me on the night(s) of the year when they require the most intensive comforting (I'm not the right person for THAT position). The answer is neither; I hate the people who buy too many rockets and spend the rest of the month setting them off at odd intervals.

Hence I decided if I ever become a millionaire, every year I'm buying up all the fireworks for sale in the city and burying them in an enormous hole behind my mansion. The Grinch Who Stole Independence Day. Bahoo Boris, motherfuckers.

~*~

I decided I couldn't put off my need for a haircut any longer and headed to my favorite Great Clips for the last time (you'll see).

My stylist this afternoon was a middlish-aged woman named Elaine. "Wow," I exclaimed, "Not often there are two of us in the room, huh?" It turned out the similarities weren't going to end there.

I told her I just wanted a basic cut, just clean up the edges a bit. I wasn't afraid of short and I loved lots of layers. I also didn't spend time styling in the morning, just wash and go -- my usual spiel.

"Don't you want to try something different?" she asked, running her fingers through it casually.

"N...ot really," I said.

"C'mon. I think you should try an A-line," she insisted.

"What's an A-line?"

"What I've got. It's really short in the back and longer on the sides. I think you'll love it."

"Ummmmm....okay." I give Tery such shit for never standing up for herself, and here I was agreeing to a hairstyle I was sure I was not going to love.

I hoped my obvious reluctance would mean she maybe wouldn't make it too drastic, in vain. She took it halfway up the back of my head. Gulp. She left the sides almost their current length. Then she started eyeing my bangs.

"Is this your part?" she said a little critically. What do you think, lady? I did it up differently to come see you?

"Yes, that's my part." Straight down the middle, that is.

"Have you ever thought of parting it on the side?" No I hadn't, mostly because I have a deadly cowlick on the right that pretty much rules that side with an iron fist, and doesn't like anyone messing with it. I told her so (maybe not so colorfully).

But she was determined. "I think you should part it on the side." The reason I come to Great Clips is because they promise to "listen to you" and give you exactly what you ask for, not bully you into a complete makeover.

So she trimmed a bit off the bangs and then proceeded to pile all the hair from the left over onto the cowlick. Yeah, THAT was comfortable. Call me old-fashioned, but I like a hairstyle that lets me move my head, you know, if someone chucks something at my face (it could totally happen). I knew it wouldn't make a bit of difference. In 30 minutes or less the cowlick would throw the pile off again, or make it all stick straight up. This woman had never dealt with a cowlick before, obviously. At least not one as ferocious as mine.

But I endured it, I don't know why, just counting the minutes until I could get out of there and do my best to return to the style I liked. She fluffed it relentlessly, pulling out the blow dryer (I HATE the blow dryer. Remember the part where I said I don't do anything to style it normally?) and whipping it into a fondue. When she was done, she stepped back triumphantly. That's when I noticed she had cut it into the exact same style she herself wore, windswept bangs and all. I wondered how many other clones of herself she sent out the front door every day. Like Tery, I forced a smile and pretended to LOVE IT. ("And the Oscar goes to...")

Then the humiliating walk to the cash register in front of the customers in the waiting room, all of whom I'm sure could tell this haircut was nothing at all like me. The casual march to the car, forcing myself to maintain until I could drive up out of sight of the store front.

Then the frantic running of fingers through it, re-establishing my center part, trying to mash down the puffiness just a bit (for some reason I always schedule a trip into a store after a haircut, so I can't rush home if it's a disaster). Now I regret being so hasty I didn't get photo documentation. I tried searching for some images on the net, but the problem is all the women with this cut seem to be happy with it and it suits them, i.e. none of them are a big gruff man-woman who would rather floss with tinfoil than use hairspray.


Not actually me, but pretty close to what I got. This woman looks slightly more elated than I was.


Now, let's take a quick look at what my hair usually looks like, and then ask ourselves why on earth Elaine 2 thought I'd like something so radically different.


Plus look at that goofy expression. Absolutely nothing about me says "glamour."


The only good thing about the visit was when I found my free will in time to refuse to buy the 30-dollar bottle of shampoo she insisted would work wonders with my new 'do. You know, for when I blowdry it and everything. Was she even in the room when I told her my relationship with my hair? Was I?

I got home and started in with the scissors. I absolutely couldn't stand it -- the longer sides made me feel like a basset hound, and I compulsively touched the back repeatedly wondering if it looked as short as it felt. I've been gradually hacking away at it, like a sculptor trying to find his work of art in a slab of rock, looking for the haircut I wanted. I finally think I'm there, but it's going to need a lot of growing back. And now I can never go back to that Great Clips for fear of meeting Elaine 2 again.

~*~

The bulk of this entry was written from the edge of Cherry Creek Reservoir, though you probably can't tell. One of the nicest things about our place is it's about 5 minutes from Cherry Creek State Park, a massive area full of bike trails and picnic spots with the reservoir at its center. I've found a route that works really well for me -- downhill almost the whole way in, where I find a quiet spot to relax for a bit. Then the ride out the same way, which is a gradual uphill that gets my heart pumping but doesn't make me want to spit it out of my throat and collapse on the side of the trail.


This is the nice little beach I found for myself today. It reminds me a lot of the lake I grew up on.


The point is, on the way back this evening I saw three things in quick succession you don't expect to see in a park: First, a woman pushing a shopping cart full of her worldly belongings, I'm going to assume homeless. Sad, but I suppose if you don't have a home there are worse places to shack up than a park. Next, three Mexicans just walking, one of them on a cell phone. I don't want to sound racist, but it's not often you see Mexicans in recreational activities around here like hiking. Third, a cop car creeping along on the trail (the trail where motor vehicles are prohibited, I should add). This was when I thought to myself, "Did I take a wrong turn and end up in da hood??"

~*~

Finally, I leave you with a nice shot of Tery trying to enjoy breakfast in bed with me, but then the animals got wind of it and saw no reason she should keep the delicious cereal to herself:


#34, Camera Phone: Breakfast Menagerie
grrgoyl: (max elevator)
Another slow news week, but when has that stopped me?

First, some gym characters. As I've said earlier, I am refreshingly nonjudgmental at the gym, not least of all because I've hardly reached my goals either, despite going three times a week religiously. Like my good friend Dan Savage says, if I see a really overweight person there, my first thought really is "Aw, good for them." In fact my inspiration is a kind of heavy guy who plugs away on the ellipticals for 30+ minutes a day without ever pausing. After 10 minutes I'm seeing stars and wondering if it would really matter if I stopped early (however, this is up from 5 minutes back when I first joined, so that's something).

But these two people caught my attention on my last visit because they were so odd. First was a doughy woman I'd never seen before on the ellipticals. I normally wouldn't have given her any thought, except for the fact that she wore a Camelbakā„¢ hydration system, which is a bit of overkill when you're using one machine that in fact provides the user with a cupholder for a water bottle. And Camelbaksā„¢ ain't cheap either, so this was clearly someone who enjoyed shopping for their workout more than working out (not that I'm one to talk, having just bought my third iPod case, not to mention the $30 or $40 I blew at Goodwill on a whole new gym wardrobe).

But she was nothing next to the guy I watched during the rest of my workout (well, there aren't a lot of exciting things to look at to break up the monotony of an elliptical). He was built, obviously serious about weightlifting. Again, at first there was nothing unusual about him, until I noticed what he was doing. He was slowly collecting weights from other machines and putting them onto the machine I assumed he intended to use. He'd ponderously retrieve one weight, haul it to the machine, hoist it up onto the bar, then stand there looking around. He was also wearing earbuds so he'd occasionally mouth some words and wiggle his hips a bit (which looks really silly, I don't care how in shape you are). Then off for another weight, repeating the process tediously and laboriously.

After doing this for about 30% of my workout, to my surprise he suddenly marched across the gym to use one of the machines that I use all the time, the ones I think of as considerably more girly than the free weights. After three or four reps there, then it was back to his original machine, where he began removing all the weights, moving just as slowly and painfully (with frequent pauses to lip synch some more). He never actually used the machine he had loaded (and unloaded). It was crazy. Either he just liked creating the impression that he was going to lift all this weight, or his secret weapon to body building had less to do with actual weightlifting than weight stacking. I'm not sure. It was crazier than the guys who do like two reps (actually LIFTING the weight, mind you) and then spend fifteen minutes staring off into space.

He sort of reminded me of my coworker, Debbie at the warehouse, who was also fond of dancing and singing next to her desk when she was supposed to be working. Debbie thought she could do whatever the hell she wanted (i.e. only actually work about 10 minutes out of an 8-hour shift) and then cry discrimination if they did anything about it. She eventually discovered she was mistaken, after many long (long, long, frustrating) months of me secretly documenting her every move and reporting to HR. So I guess that's when my real career as a snitch began.

~*~

I've caught some comings and goings of Tracey on my spycam, most notably one video where she looks to be carrying an armful of something that resembles the suspicious aluminum tubes that started all this nonsense:


Breaking Update: Apparently those things that look like tent poles are just that; Tery discovered her selling a tent to an older couple in the parking lot this morning. However, this doesn't eliminate the possibility that she's just using Craigslist to offset her drug sales.


Tery wonders if she hasn't already spotted the camera -- where she used to tiptoe quietly up and down the stairs (which would make her the perfect neighbor if not for, you know, the meth lab), now she explodes out of her door and hurtles down the steps like Secretariat leaving the gate at the Preakness. I can't worry about it. Maybe if she's aware of it, it will be enough to keep her honest, or at least move her lab somewhere else, which is all I really want. I'd love to get her put away for good, but a close second would be making it difficult enough for her to conduct business three feet from our front door that she finds alternative accommodations.

The beauty of it is, even if she does find the camera, she can't do anything about it. Recording public areas is perfectly legal; she should know, she's had a camera trained on the parking lot practically since moving in. Plus I believe the only people who are bothered by being videotaped are people who have something to hide.

~*~

In case anyone is wondering why I haven't ranted about the California Supreme Court upholding Prop 8, it's because after my initial outraged reaction to what seemed like a completely nonsensical legal ruling, I searched long and hard on the intraweb until I found an article that explained it in simple enough terms. For those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about, well that just proves what my good friend Dan Savage says -- that gay rights headlines are like a dog whistle, only noticeable to teh gays and the nutjob bigots.

Basically, the court voted that Prop 8 outlawing gay marriage in CA and its method of passage was perfectly legal; however, lacking any retroactive wording, so are the 18,000 gay marriages that were conducted between the Court legalizing them and the voter-approved amendment.

So currently gay marriage is legal for 18,000 couples in California and no one else. Just when you thought the state couldn't get any wackier.

It's not the resounding victory I had hoped for, but I understand it was the best the Court could do after being put between a rock and a hard place. I expect Prop 8 to be shot down completely after another vote, after the fence-sitters have some time to get accustomed to the idea and realize that the sea isn't boiling and it isn't raining blood, which is what the zealots want us to think.

No, what angers me is the attitude of MyFriendDeb, who is otherwise wholly on our side.

She had a rough childhood; not rough enough to make headlines or require therapy, but enough to sour her on the whole idea of marriage, for anyone. For me, it's only partly about legalities. The bigger principle is the fact that people think they have the right to decide how other people live. That my relationship with Tery, 17 years in July and still doing better than a lot of straight marriages, is less worthy of legal recognition.

And I guarantee that if it was Deb's rights on the line (or being subjected to popular vote), she'd agree.

But she'd rather spend her energy getting worked up about the REAL injustices of life: getting a tax refund check (Uncle Sam held her money unjustly for a whole year), the fact that her 6-button mouse doesn't work with Windows Vista, and potential employers who do mandatory drug testing (violation of privacy, despite her being even more straight edge than me). Yep, 10% of the population treated like second-class citizens, and these are the things that have her panties in a bunch.

~*~

Enough of all that unpleasantness. I snapped this photo of my Mitten who appeared to be engrossed in the program on TV:


She'll ruin her eyes sitting that close


My Otta May question was too easy (JeffyJeff answered me privately in an email. It was of course Whoopi Goldberg in Ghost). How about this? Name the scary movie Kitten is watching.
grrgoyl: (Bad Jesus!  Very Bad!)
Updatey datey:

Working out is going well, now that Ryan and I uncrossed our signals. He had a membership with John that had lapsed. He wanted to renew but said he couldn't afford to. Assuming he went to a different location (even though he lives 5 minutes away from me), I sadly signed on for a one-club membership ($50 cheaper than all-club). We exchanged emails where he repeatedly expressed interest in renewing. I would say the same thing: "I can only use the one near me." He would say the same thing: "I would only ever use mine anyway." We seemed to be at an impasse, until the day he used slightly different wording to clarify that he was talking about my club the whole time. OH. I don't know why communication is so difficult with him.

So we've been working out every other day if not more. We've tackled the girlier weight machines (Nautilus, etc.) and the cardio (ellipticals). In the middle of the floor are the free weights, and beyond that are the massive circuit training frames where the ripped, tattooed bad-asses hang out. All the while Ryan will point out men who have his goal body type. Then he confessed he'd like to try the circuit training someday. "Ryan, no!" I whispered frantically, "Not the Prison Yard!" Those hulking monsters would eat scrawny little Ryan for breakfast.

So far my plan is working -- the days I don't work out I feel restless, like I can't wait to get back. I also don't want to push myself too hard, since I did last week and spent the entire weekend barely able to move my arms. That was a mistake. It definitely makes a difference having a friend there, and I think the benefit is mutual, as Ryan is having a rough time moving on from John.

~*~

Funny tale from the kennels: Last weekend I was washing dishes when I heard what sounded like a phone ringing, though not the hospital line, followed by what sounded like someone talking. My first reaction whenever I hear a strange noise is to freeze in place with my heart pounding in my ears. I eventually had to move though, and traced it to Rica, an African Grey boarding with us. This bird had a whole routine, impersonating first a ringing phone, then an answering machine beep, and finally a creepily uncanny human voice saying, "Hello?" I wanted to record it for possible posting, but she clammed up the minute she saw me. However, when I covered her cage for the night she said, again in that near-human voice, "Goodnight cuckoo." I would trade her for our stupid screaming Amazon any day.

~*~

"Battlestar Galactica" is over. I think it suffered from this new trend in TV shows, to ramp up to the end by suddenly beginning all these exciting, complex new storylines with only three episodes to go. It makes you wonder, "How on earth are they going to resolve all this in such a short period of time?" Answer: They aren't. The "finale" will have so many plot lines left hanging it will be the narrative equivalent of a threadbare shawl, all for the remote possibility of a mini-series or even a movie in the future which will be the REAL finale. I say this after being severely disappointed by both BSG and "The L Word." I'm starting to fear that no finale will ever top "6 Feet Under." 6FU has RUINED me for all other finales. Though I suspect even people who haven't seen 6FU will agree that these finales sucked balls.

~*~

I had another run-in the other day on the transcriptionist board I hate so much. I hate it so much but it's incredibly helpful at times, if you can avoid the flame wars that is.

I had a stupid, simple formatting question, I won't bore you with specifics. I had found the answer in my AAMT Book of Style, the problem was the wording of the rule for some reason sounded like it only applied to one number rather than all. So I asked what I knew might be a stupid question, but I also figured it would be simply and quickly answered -- which is the only kind of question I ever ask anymore because people are so freakin' touchy there.

The first two people gave me straightforward, sensible answers. The third was a very sarcastic, "Did it ever occur to you that the #4 was only an example?" There was just no call for that. If you can't keep a civil tongue in your head, you're better off just keeping your mouth shut, and on this board most of all so. I answered politely but coldly, "I wasn't sure, which is why I asked. Sarcasm isn't really appreciated." Never heard back from that one (to my knowledge. The board makes it far too easy to post anonymously).

Then someone else chimed in saying they'd always wondered the same thing. This was very soon after Ms. Snarky, so I responded to them, "I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one who doesn't know it all : )." Please take note of the big smiley face because it's important.

Someone responded, "Wow. Unbelievable!" Someone else said something about "the rudeness" and "I'm glad I'm not you." Others trickled in to join the crowd. The way the page is set up it's really not clear who is responding to who exactly, which is why it took me about 15 minutes to slowly realize they were all castigating ME for my incredibly rude comment. What??

This is WHY I included a big smiley face, the only way to express friendliness or positive intentions. If I could dot my i's with hearts I would. Because this damn board is FULL of these people just WAITING for an excuse to take offense, whereupon everyone circles in like vultures to carrion, and like vultures will pick you dry until not a scrap of flesh remains. Even without the smiley face I didn't see how my comment could be so grossly misinterpreted, but there we are. An entire industry of internet users who haven't graduated AOL IM Etiquette 101.

I ignored all the Nosy Nellies and instead engaged the one person struggling to maintain civility, and eventually the original person I had supposedly slammed so harshly. I was able to clarify that I was grateful someone else shared my question and there was no insult or irony intended, hence my BIG SMILEY FACE. They were both glad to hear it and everything was peaceful again. Do you think any of those people who were so quick to swoop in to attack me bothered coming back to apologize? Nope, all suddenly too busy to waste time on a message board.

~*~

Tery Tivo'ed a documentary for me, "The Most Hated Family in America." You'd think it would be the Mansons, but no, it's Pastor Fred Phelps and his incestuous little clan. I've heard of them, but this was the first special I'd seen devoted exclusively to them.

They run the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, KS, and their favorite word in the entire world is "fag." As in GodHatesFags.com. As in "Fag Priest" and "Fag Soldier" and "Fag Jews" and "Fag Enablers." It's just about the worst insult they can imagine, thus they apply it to everything and everybody.

See if you can follow this logic: America supports and embraces homosexuality (bear with me). Hence America is going to hell. Hence US troops fighting in Iraq are all fags for defending fag-loving America, and deserve to die. In fact, any misfortune that happens to anyone, anywhere, is evidence of God striking them down because they love fags, and makes the Phelps satanically gleeful. Your grandmother is dying of leukemia? Good, she's a fag-lover. Your church was struck by lightning and burned to the ground? God obviously hates it. 9/11? The best thing that ever happened to America. If you think I'm exaggerating just check out their website.

Don't try to point out to them that, while America might be slowly becoming more permissive of homosexuality, we're still a long way away from feeling America's unconditional love. Don't try to tell them that Jesus, in addition to being a Jew himself, preached mostly about love and probably would take a dim view of the message they're sending out. In fact, don't try to argue with them at all; they're unshakeable in their belief that pretty much everyone who doesn't belong to their church is a fag (either in actuality or sympathetically) and is going to hell.

I'm telling you, even teh gays aren't as obsessed with homosexuality as these people.

They routinely picket military funerals because, well, the soldiers are all fags. They stand on a distant corner (court-ordered) with bright neon signs screaming how you are going to hell. People drive by and curse them, make rude gestures and even throw things (their small son was hit in the head with a soda cup -- no rejoicing when bad things happen to one of THEM, I noticed); the response rate is 100% in the negative, which they consider a success. It perplexes them why people are so mean, though -- doesn't everyone LIKE being told their souls are damned and God hates them?

What is most terrifying is their cult includes children, tiny children, and don't ask me where they come from because the ratio is about one man to ten women in their God-fearing, devout and completely insular society. Tiny children wearing GodHatesFags.com T-shirts. When asked if they know what the sign they're holding means, they smile shyly and hide their faces. No, they don't. The brainwashing (and alleged abuse) will begin in earnest at the earliest opportunity though.

It's totally infected Bekah, the 19ish-year-old who tells the documentarian that yes, even he is going to hell, following it with a completely inappropriate schoolgirl giggle. She also has no plans to marry, since "we're in the end of the end times" and she'll be far too busy serving the Lord to worry about things like the future and having a life of her own.

Meanwhile her mother's mature retort to the documentarian's attempt to get reason to penetrate her thick dogma was, I kid you not, "Not a chance, poopy pants."

The documentarian tried several times to get an interview with Grand-daddy Fred Phelps, each time being treated with open derision and hostility. He called Reverend Phelps "a wellspring of anger," and isn't anger one of the Big Seven?

Tery predicted the show would make my blood boil, but it really didn't, I think because these people are so insane and so extreme that no one takes them seriously. Much less dangerous than the moderate radicals whose equally homophobic (and less nonsensical) message is heard and believed by thousands. Mostly I just feel sorry for them, because I know from experience that hating someone, actively and with the passion these people feel, is exhausting. Imagine hating the entire world and how much energy THAT takes?

~*~

Time to wrap up the Kitten Mitten series, I think. ::In here, because I'm thoughtful:: )

Finally, perhaps my favorite thing about any cat:


The ability, at any given time, to look equally silly and regal


~*~

I won't cut this because it MUST be seen. OldFriendBear took my Strawberry Series to the next logical level:


If I had nightmares about fruit


::Artsy Photo #2 and a little surprise:: )
grrgoyl: (Dr. Horrible)
My tax refund arrived, just in time for the realization that Depeche Mode was coming to Red Rocks Arena.  Have you seen their new video for "Wrong"?    Me likey.  Me hopey stupid record company doesn't take it down before you get to click.   

I agonized for a couple of hours over whether should I or shouldn't I.  The problem is a.) concerts are no fun alone, and not something you can invite just anyone to (which has been covered previously in this blog) and b.) cheap seats evidently START at $100.  Eek.  Hey, DM?  Did you hear we're in a recession?  c.) I've been to a show at Red Rocks once.  If you aren't seated just right, all the sound is literally blown away on the Rocky Mountain breeze.  Like in the $100 seats.

I don't know what made me think of it, but I cruised by the 24-Hour Fitness site.  Wait, I do know what made me think of it.  A bunch of people from my hometown have appeared out of the woodwork to find me on Facebook, and some of them have gotten, well, kind of LARGE.  Not that I can really point fingers, hence the 24-Hour Fitness drive-by.  We've always had one across the street, a five-minute walk away.  It's one of the few useful things we have in that plaza (half of it is a Furniture Row, not helpful in the day-to-day), but I've always had the Bowflex.  I started thinking that the Bowflex, whether I use it consistently or not, doesn't really provide terribly dramatic results for me, and certainly nothing cardio, which I definitely need with my clerical job/DVD-watching hobby. 

It turned out 24-Hour was featuring a promotion, ending naturally in just three days, $200 for a year -- $16 a month.  How could I ignore THAT?  Hell, for $16 a month I could just walk around with a water bottle and a towel, pretend to be working out and still feel better about myself.

My sister, who I can always count on to talk me into spending money, was in full support of it.  The idea had way more pros than cons.  For me the biggest pro was the money.  Money is a BIG motivator for me (despite my lack of ambition career-wise), and spending it on a gym membership, even as little as $16 a month, might get my ass moving across the street the way I couldn't get it to the foot of the bed every morning. 

My sister recommended I pop in and visit before making a decision, which I did Friday afternoon.  I was paired with Aaron, a gung-ho salesman who took me on a whirlwind, 3-1/2 minute tour of the facility.  He wanted to sit down and talk numbers immediately, specifically $600 for 3 years, and thereafter only $100 a year for life.  A great deal, but I wasn't exactly ready for that level of commitment before having set foot on a single machine.  They offer 7-day free passes, which didn't do me much good considering the promo ended on Sunday.  I could check it out that night and Saturday, if I weren't about to embark on my 2-job work weekend.  My timing is in all things outrageously off. 

So instead I spent the whole weekend fantasizing about the way my life would change with this decision.  The way I might finally have the energy, strength and body shape I've always wanted.  No, I'll never be petite, but that doesn't mean I can't make some improvement.  The way I might get some routine back in my life besides working, lounging around and sleeping.  Big changes were coming.  I could feel it.

Sunday I jumped out of bed, ready to change my life.  I walked in and asked three times for Aaron (he had mentioned they worked on commission).  No, that's okay, the young punk currently behind the desk would be more than happy to make the commission without doing any of the leg work help me.  Young Golan, who could hardly bear to make eye contact with me and seemed more eager to get me back out the door than anything.  He took my money, announced, "You're all set!" and that was that.  No suggestion of how to get started, etc.  The only way my life had changed was that I was now $200 poorer.  Not as exhilarating as I had imagined.  I must have missed the commercial where the vivacious young woman (you know, the one who's already slim and sexy and really doesn't need a gym) pays for her membership and leaps off like a joyous gazelle with all her newfound energy.

Fortunately our neighbor Anna has been going there for almost a month, and offered to bring me in Monday.  Thanks to her I felt comfortable, and once I started using the machines I felt instantly like I'd been assimilated into an exclusive club, which I guess in a way I had.  Maybe someday I'll work up the courage to try the Nautilus equipment.

~*~

Speaking of 2-job weekends, in Alexandra Pelosi's documentary about the 2008 presidential campaign trail ("Right America:  Feeling Wronged"), she asks a typical redneck rightwinger if America is engaged in a civil war.  "Sure," he twanged.  "There's the homosexuals and then there's the hard-working Americans!"  Evidently "Middle America" thinks teh gays just spend all day and night having teh gay sex.  No wonder they're so jealous.  But what about us bisexuals?  Are we all only employed part-time?

The movie is worth a watch, if only so you can see grown men weep because they're so convinced that Barack is a terrorist and will singlehandedly destroy America. 

~*~

As part of my big life change, I also got my hair cut on Sunday.  Since I usually avoid most places of business on the weekend, I'd never met the young girl who drew my name off the computer, Tracy.  She was nice enough.  The first half of the session was spent discussing my exciting new lifestyle.  The conversation took a turn for the worse when I admitted I worked at a vet hospital.  Tracy politely asked if I had any pets, so I told her.    Then we had this exchange:

Me:  Yeah, the vet job isn't bad, except I don't especially like dogs.
Her:  Oh, I HATE dogs.  I've been bit like three times by dogs.
Me:  Wow.  Well, that would make me hate them too. 
Her:  I hate cats too.  I'm more scared of them than dogs.  They're SNEAKY.
Me:  O....kay.  I can understand that.  How do you feel about ferrets? 
Her:  Ooh, they're UGLY.  I wouldn't get close enough to one to know if I liked it or not.
Me:  Fair enough.  I hate kids, so we're even.
Her:  What??!  You don't hate kids.  How can you say you hate kids?

This is what I can't stand.  People are free to spout all sorts of vile prejudices against animals, fair or not.  But if you say anything bad about kids, you're a monster.  You'd think I said "I hate kids and want to make them all into sandwich meat."

Anyway, it was really funny when she noticed me playing the "pronoun game" about Tery, "my partner."  As soon as I dropped the first "she," she blurted out "Do you watch The L-Word?"  She gets an A for effort, F+ for subtlety. 

~*~

If cats are guilty of sneakiness, it's sneaking their way into your heart.  At least in the case of my Mitten.  I give you more in the photo series.  The two visually interesting ones as appeteasers:


The ever-precious head tilt



Head tilt and a "here, move that camera closer so I can rub against it"


::+3 more abstract:: )

I promise the next installment will be the last.

Here are some attempts at being artistic. 


My sexy new water bottle for my sexy new lifestyle


I picked this mongo huge strawberry out of the pack.  I knew some people would never believe the size without some scale for comparison.  Then I gave up getting a good shot with my face and instead ended up with this series of shots. 

The Strawberry Series


1) Hello, Strawberry  2)  I like the way you look, Strawberry  3)  I REALLY like the way you look, Strawberry  4)  I eat you, Strawberry.  No hard feelings.
grrgoyl: (Sweeney time for song)
I'm happy to report a happy (sort of) ending to the Ryan quandary.  Friday he was talking "therapy, working it out."  Saturday he was suddenly all "fuck this" and had kicked that loser John to the curb.  This earned a big "GoooooooOOOOOO, Ryan!" from me.  Because John, knowing full well that their relationship was on its last legs if something didn't change, didn't let that put a crimp in his weekend plans for getting trashed (again).  Ryan is a great guy and I'm certain can find a man who will try a little harder to respect his feelings.

My biggest concern in the break-up was Ryan not being able to afford his condo, until he revealed that he's been paying his bills all along AND helping John with his credit cards.  John is about 40 years old.  This makes John a DOUBLE LOSER.  As Ryan said (though with considerably less glee than I would have), "He's in for a rude awakening when he starts paying for his own stuff."

We did hang out most of the day Monday, first going out to lunch and then back here for an epic Rock Band session (no video documentation, sorry).      I'm sad Ryan is alone again, but can't pretend that I'm not happy to have my friend back. 

~*~

That was the happy part of my weekend.  This is the unhappy part.  ::The sad tale of Kane the dog: cut for animal death and bodily functions :: )

~*~

At last "The L Word" is over.  God.  If "Six Feet Under" was the best series finale we've ever seen, "L Word" had to be the worst.  We were thrilled beyond words when the season premiere featured Jenny, easily the most hated character, being found dead in the pool.  Until we realized the whole season would be one massive flashback, where every episode gave another person reason enough to want to see her dead, even more than us.  Making the finale a big whodunit (with a comically repeated reference to that dangerous railing over the pool they need to get fixed) without ever revealing the answer.  COME ON.  Our DVR cut off the last 90 seconds, and thank god I just happened to find it at that moment playing elsewhere so we could finish it properly, because those last 90 seconds weren't any more illuminating, and it would have SUCKED to sit through the whole episode a second time hoping they were.  Bleah, L Word.  You SUCK.

~*~

The next in my popular art photography series:

Series I:  Favorite Parts of a Cat; Feet Part Two



One of her namesakes -- her Tufty Toes



She got legs//she knows how to use them


Okay, I promise to move on from the feet next time.
grrgoyl: (Alan Alone)
This past weekend it was -8 degrees in Denver. MINUS EIGHT DEGREES. I was obsessed, as I am every year, with draft-proofing our house with the cheap, generally ineffective measures available at Lowe's -- until the tragic news story of a family of four found dead of monoxide poisoning in their home. MyFriendDeb said these fancy new houses being built are so well insulated that it's much more of a threat, whereas our older, leakier home paradoxically is much safer. After that I decided I'd rather just put on an extra sweatshirt to combat the chill. We made an emergency run to Target Sunday for a space heater for the bird, the only creature Tery is really concerned about staying properly warm.


This is what happens to the inside of cheap, decades-old windows in minus eight degrees. Yes, Virginia, that's ice. The brown part is the color the frame normally is


We've decided the next time we have a large cash windfall (ha) we're looking into getting some better windows. Cuz dayum.

I contented myself instead with putting up a black-out curtain over the balcony door, the largest culprit. It does a fantastic job of keeping out cold. Unfortunately, it works equally well at keeping out light. Deb would never tolerate such a measure, afflicted as she is with seasonal affective disorder (which is actually year-round).

The nice thing about -8 degrees in Denver is the 6% humidity, which means the snow covering my car when I got out of work Sunday morning was as dry as fine desert sand. Fell away with barely a touch. That's what I love about Denver.

I don't let the cold get me down. When we bought our Christmas tree it was literally 70 degrees and we wore shorts. THAT'S fucking depressing, if you're as concerned about global warming as I am.

We're also concerned about pipes bursting, mostly because for the first time we have two empty units below us (and when you walk barefoot in our place you can tell. I used to think our place should be warmer with heat rising from Kent's place underneath us. Now I see the difference. We miss you, Kent). I highly doubt the families have the heat turned on. Whereas I can't blame them for not wanting to pay to heat an empty apartment, if the pipes burst they'll have one hell of a mess on their hands. We'll fortunately only suffer the inconvenience of being without water.

However, the bottom unit, which belongs to the elderly woman who went to a nursing home, has had the inner door wide open for weeks now (outer storm door closed and locked). I've called the property company no less than three times about it. They keep saying they're having trouble reaching the family. So if pipes DO burst, the off-site families most likely won't be reachable for that either, in which case we WILL have a problem on our hands.

Again, it's mostly my inability to control the rest of the world that's the real source of my frustration. That and the unbelievable depths of stupidity and inconsideration the rest of the world is capable of.

~*~

I mentioned a few posts ago how this Christmas is cursed. My poor sister who had her boyfriend's gift stolen didn't get a scrap of sympathy from the seller, who basically said, "It's not my fault since you didn't ask for insurance. And no, I can't knock a couple of dollars off another one for you." I'm an occasional eBay seller and that really surprised me. I personally would have tried to work with her a little bit, even if she wasn't my sister. As a buyer, at that point I would have said "Sayonara, bitch, and thanks for nothing" but Amy was so convinced this was the perfect gift for him that she swallowed her pride and ordered a second one.

(For the record, this is what she was trying to buy:



Yeah, nothing special about it, except Amy's boyfriend I guess really likes beer and finds that tag line humorous. But the price of the auction with shipping came close to $20, both times, just because it's framed up all nice (because lord knows it would be unbearably tacky to hang just a bare beer ad). Except it's not even an original, just a laser inkjet printout of the ad, making $40 an outrageous price. The auction it turns out doesn't claim to be an original, but holy rip-offs, Batman, it takes some stones to charge that much for a fucking photocopy. Twice.)

I had ordered three things from asseenontvguys.com. The package came quickly, sadly containing two things I hadn't ordered and missing one thing I had. They fixed the problem quickly, but still. I thought I was safe from going anywhere near a shipping facility until some time in January.

I thought I had finished my shopping finally, when I received the email that my order for my other sister's present had been cancelled by the Amazon seller -- forcing me to track it down elsewhere.

I hope Christmas gets here before anything else goes wrong.

~*~

Watching Nobel Son has reawakened my obsession with Alan, which was never really dead, just waning a bit. I've been rewatching all my old favorites, even ordered Truly, Madly, Deeply from eBay (a film that didn't particularly impress me back when I wasn't sure how far my love for him would take me).

Via my f-list, I wandered over to check out this video of Alan signing autographs after Jimmy Kimmel. The video itself isn't as interesting as the comment section, wherein I felt the need to defend him to someone snidely mocking his aging features. "Yep, and if you're honest, you dream of having half his sex appeal when you're his age" I smacked them down.

I've garnered quite a little fan club from this (well, two people), which makes me happy. Mostly because I'm still having trouble convincing Tery of his appeal. I was sharing in the Rickman love with one of them when she made the observation, "If I met him in real life I'd be resisting the urge to rape him or something." Whoa, stalker girl. That's going a bit too far. If I ever were lucky enough to meet him, I'd have trouble making eye contact, never mind considering anything remotely sexual. I think he'd be enormously intimidating in reality, between the English reserve and his built-in gravitas.

Via the same F-list person, Alan might be apartment hunting in Manhattan. I'm not sure how this was deduced from the pictures posted, but it's thrilling all the same. My theory is he's getting lonely with Daniel stuck in New York for months and can't wait any longer for him to come home to London (no disrespect to Alan's actual partner, of course).

Speaking of Daniel, this one is for my Equus peeps (from the Gypsy of the Year awards, where Equus won the top fundraiser position):



~*~

Tery got the word today that their sister vet hospital had to fire both their medical director and hospital manager, for letting a girl known to have hepatitis C (and possibly a drug user) live on the premises (where narcotics are kept) for an unknown length of time. Which I feel really puts my fifteen-minute Heelys practice into sharp perspective, not that we'll say as much to Tery's medical director.

~*~

Finally, Kitten Mitten has suddenly, after two years living here, noticed the ledge that runs around our kitchen to separate it from the living room.


She can do whatever she wants when she does that little head tilt thing (and she knows it)


Here are more to give you a better idea:




She really is the most beautiful cat in all the world.
grrgoyl: (Office Stanley)
Tery and I dislike the general wisdom that pitbulls are an inherently dangerous breed of dog. No such thing as a bad dog, only bad dog owners, she'd always say. Any animal can be aggressive if raised that way, she'd say. I tended to agree with this, until last weekend and this I had to care for two victims of pitbull attacks. These dogs were torn UP, one of whom was in its own yard when a pitbull jumped the fence and turned it into so much meatloaf. They'll both recover, thanks to emergency surgery and massive expanses of skin stapled together. It's a little hard to defend the poor, maligned pitbull population when you see wounds like these.

Then last night I had a pitbull boarder, Jito. He was a bit wary of me after I'd spent the first ten minutes of my shift screaming at Jake and Shadow (more later), but I eventually got him outside. He was about 70 pounds of solid muscle, unneutered, with nails as long as tweezers and a thick spike-studded leather collar. Putting a spike collar on a pitbull is like painting a skull and crossbones on a nuclear warhead in the overkill department, if you ask me. And in Jito's case, perhaps a bit ironic; he was well-behaved enough, though I wasn't about to let him lick my face or anything. I also wasn't going to see if he wanted to play with Sissy the min-pin.

Jake and Shadow. I've had Jake before, he was actually the white German shepherd in my terribly boring video of the hospital. He was a very, very bad dog then, and hasn't improved now that he has a baby brother, a 7-month-old black German shepherd with freaky beady orange eyes. I don't understand the logic of dog owners, who think the solution to one uncontrollable dog is to get another who is worse. Jake and Shadow both bark constantly, even when you're standing an inch away from them looking at them. Shadow in addition is terribly excitable, and when released from his kennel tries repeatedly to get your hand into his mouth. Bad, bad, bad.

Then there are poor dogs like Weeza, who are trying desperately to return to their happy place:


Blair Witch Dog


Unfortunately my co-workers aren't getting any smarter, and have taken exception to some notes I left. With Parvo season well underway, there's a lot of activity in the Isolation Ward. Iso has two bins, a short one to the left for garbage and a tall one to the right for laundry. The position of these has never changed, and furthermore they both have large labels on the walls next to them with arrows pointing to each respective receptacle. There's really no way to make it any simpler. Still, despite numerous notes being left by others, the laundry continues to be intermixed with garbage, which sometimes includes the clean-up of vomit/diarrhea. It's a most unpleasant surprise to encounter when trying to load the washing machine, and considering the multiple, multiple attempts to clarify which bin is which, I felt a little snarkiness was called for.

So in the communication log book I drew a large diagram, labeling each bin as well as indicating the size, and the location of the door to Iso just to make sure there was no possible confusion. Underneath it, I wrote in all caps, "MEMORIZE IT PLEASE!" Yes, I freely admit this note was meant to be insulting. But in the face of such staggering stupidity, I really, really can't control myself.

I guess then I shouldn't be surprised that my other note was completely misconstrued. I arrived to my shift only to discover there wasn't a drop of dish soap to be found anywhere downstairs, because rather than letting someone know we need more, the day shift blithely go about their business waiting for the soap fairy to pay a visit (this weekend they were waiting for the cat litter fairy to drop by). Like laundry, if you don't wash dishes constantly the backlog starts building up very, very quickly. On Tery's suggestion I foraged up in the lab, cleverly filling a cough syrup prescription bottle about halfway to tide us over until more was delivered. I labeled it with some bandage tape, adding a second piece which read, "A little goes a long way!" to make sure it lasted.

This was mistakenly read by the day shift as sarcastic. From now on I'm going to carry a tube of lipstick and sign every message with a kiss, so as not to hurt the fragile, hypersensitive feelings of the day shift. Honestly.

Tery used to hate when I called her to complain about these people, but she's finally starting to see what I'm talking about. A few weeks ago the ancient clothes dryer finally gave up the ghost. Rather than fall behind in the laundry (as I said, doesn't take long for it to become disastrous), and rather than interrupt all the hard work of her employees (yeah, whatever), Tery took it upon herself to spend the entire day personally schlepping piles of wet blankets to the laundromat across the street to dry. Never once got to her desk to do her own work. Great boss, right?

Then she found out at the end of the day that not one but TWO workers decided it was a good day to give their own dogs baths, adding about three towels each to Tery's load, then snuck out at the end of their shift before she realized. She called me angry enough to spit, and I can't say I blamed her. "I've been TELLING you this," I commiserated with her. "These people are stupid. Stupid and selfish and with their heads stuck firmly up their asses." She finally had to admit I might have something there.

(But I was the hero of the weekend when, rather than ignore the massive pile still present after her efforts, I realized we had hundreds of dog leashes and a myriad of hooks on practically every wall. I spent the entire night devising a series of efficient clotheslines. They must have liked them, as they were still in use when I returned the following night.)

~*~

But I must admit, it amuses me highly when the lack of respect carries over to our home, to our animals. Malcolm Reynolds is a good ferret, except socked feet confuse him and he attacks them. Well, used to attack mine, before a couple of well-placed kicks set him straight. Tery unfortunately continues to suffer from these assaults to this day. I suspect she doesn't kick as hard.

Kitten Mitten of course adores me, follows me around all day like a puppy, lets me sling her over my shoulder like a sack of kitteh potatoes (like this ). On the few occasions I need to discipline her, like after she takes her crazy pills and tears around the house at 1 in the morning, she instantly straightens up and forgives me after a few minutes (basically all I do is scruff her and say "reLAX" repeatedly until she goes limp). On the other hand, sometimes Tery will walk past her and without warning Mitten will swipe at her, sometimes even draw blood. In her defense, it's usually just after Tery has brushed all her fur the wrong way, which she loves to do for some perverse reason.

But the best is the bird. According to Tery, sometimes she'll spend up to 30 minutes coaxing and cajoling her to step up so Tery can put her to bed. Sometimes Tery gets exhausted and lies down, waking in the wee hours of the morning to try again. Needless to say, the bird comes right to me immediately, and if Tery is trying unsuccessfully, all I have to do is walk around the corner and the bird suddenly trips over herself in her haste to obey.

"I don't understand," she complains. "How do you do that?"

"This is the attitude that enables me to ignore WILL BITE stickers at the hospital," I tell her. And it's true.

I had more to say, but this is long enough as it is.
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 are love)
Duncan Munchkin

Everyone, this is Duncan. Duncan, this is everyone.

We were partial to the name Magnus, but given his diminutive size it seemed kind of silly. Duncan seems appropriate since his transition from drinking water out of a bottle to out of a bowl has involved a lot of head dunking. At any rate, we've been yelling his name at him since the moment he came through the door so it's far too late now. I love his huge nose, but his ears are equally enormous, making him the most ratlike ferret we've ever owned (a distinction that might be splitting hairs to ferret haters).

Yes, we swore we were only taking rescue ferrets from now on, but Tery's rationale is little Duncan is a rescue ferret in the making. The pet shop owner told Tery he's been in the store a month and not a single customer has looked at him. Whole litters of baby ferrets have come and gone, but he remained. "People just don't like albinos" she said. Talk about playing all the right heartstrings.

So home with us he came. After a month in a cage designed for one ferret but housing three (when we saw him), he's two steps away from feral, despite the store's insistence that he "plays nice." Nice is apparently a subjective term -- I've been bitten once on my chin, twice on my nose, countless times on my fingers and toes. We're breaking him slowly, but as of this writing he's still too wild for us to even give him a bath. However, he uses the litter box 9 times out of 10, so that's a check in the plus category.

Yes, I said no more baby ferrets. Tery thought getting a younger boy meant having an extra year in his tragically short lifespan; I reminded her that that year was usually spent training him and trying to keep the other animals safe from him. He's quite rough with Frances Sofia, but I can't tell if her growly cries are signs of actual pain or just her being a whiny baby. I suspect it's the latter, since she certainly could escape him very easily if she wanted to. Alsatia of course has always been the least tolerant of mustelid interaction. This morning he took on Gideon. Itty Bitty GiddyGiddy was at a disadvantage initially, accustomed to his lover Xandir who usually got exhausted just as quickly as he does. Then I went in to break them up and discovered Duncan being dragged around by his head. If you look closely in the photo, that's Giddy's butt to the left so I assume they've worked it out.

This is what I love about ferrets. There's none of the posturing, hissing and growling that strange cats go through, or barking and lunging of dogs. Any strange ferrets put together are usually playing within a few minutes. It's like they're all brothers already by mute acknowledgement.

He's learned to shy away from my feet, but Tery's are still fair game. She blames this on all the extra hours she's had to work until she can fill the full-time overnight position. I said when we take her to the ER to reattach a toe we can forward the bill along to her lazy, ungrateful employees.

Anyway, we have every confidence that once we've broken socialized him, and once he realizes that he's won the Ferret Lottery, he'll be the sweetest little boy ever. I hope.

RIP Xander

May. 3rd, 2007 10:10 am
grrgoyl: (Tinies)
Xander Piggy
Xander Pander Shyboy
? - 2007




If it seems a little sudden, it's not. We've actually been fighting for him since Christmas, and he just isn't getting better. Our doctor thinks it's most likely cancer that can't be pinpointed. He was very happy here with us, and that's all we can ask for. He was a very good boy.

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grrgoyl

December 2011

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