grrgoyl: (Wii smack)
Tying up loose ends: The Wii Cyberbike has arrived and it's actually pretty fantastic. Only works with Gamecube compatible games, but it provides a fairly intense cardio workout ("Need for Speed: Nitro" damn near gives me a heart attack) that flies by because you're concentrating on the game and not every passing minute of pedaling that you could be doing something else. Oh, and the reason it sold for $50 less than new was because the left handgrip was missing, which I suspect the seller knew and conveniently neglected to mention, because it's like new otherwise. I was offered the option to return it, but Tery said nonsense, got some PVC pipe, wrapped it with electrical tape, and Bob's your uncle...problem solved, and I still saved $50. I just ordered some used Gamecube racing games dirt (and I mean DIRT) cheap, so I say let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

~*~

Facebook is still destroying lives


Tery's medical director had the nerve to confide to her that she suspected me of getting on Facebook on her computer overnight at the hospital. While this accusation isn't as absurd as it once might have been (I'll admit, I've drunk the Facebook Kool-Aid, and now actually get on it before LJ in the morning), the truth is I spend enough of my work day at home on it (mostly following up-to-the-minute Occupy news) that I'm all social networked out by 5 pm. Besides, Tery pointed out to her, if I REALLY wanted to get on at the hospital, I would rather use a) Tery's computer or b) my smartphone. And, I added, I'm also clever enough to delete my browsing history behind me on the rare occasions I do go online at the hospital. She should point her finger at almost every other employee whose lives literally revolve around Facebook.

Speaking of Facebook, it has driven the final nail in the coffin of my friendship with Ryan. Well, Facebook/Occupy.

As a reminder, I announced I was more or less done with Ryan way back in September when he blew me off for John. I had continued to "like" things here and there on his FB page, the kind of casual, noncommittal friendship the internet makes possible, but I was by no means ignoring him completely while not really interacting like I used to.

I was kind of shocked last week when he posted a pic of a GI holding up a note explaining how he earned everything he has through hard work and not whining in the streets for free handouts. The pic was insultingly captioned "A young soldier has posted the truth!" Even my Libertarian brother-in-law has laid off the Occupy comments for the most part (or wisely blocked them from me), and has even stopped waving pom-poms for Herman Cain (which I find really freaking funny).

But back to Ryan and his criticism of Occupy. At this point in the movement I thought our concerns about the corrupt government and banking industry had been heard loud and clear, and the only people who still thought it was only lazy kids who didn't want to pay back student loans were Fox News viewers (and their children, which Ryan evidently falls into this category). I couldn't let it pass, and I left him the comment "Do you even know what Occupy is protesting?"

A few days went by with no response, so I figured either he didn't know or didn't care enough to debate it with me. Until a couple of nights ago when out of the blue he texted me asking why I had said that, and "for your information honey, your comment pissed me off royally!!!" I naturally assumed he was drunk (he's a mean drunk) and didn't know how to respond that wouldn't quickly become ugly, so shrugged it off.

The next morning I logged on to FB to discover that he had continued his attack. He answered my question "Your mom told me it was all about her so I joined in (Author's Note: VERY mature). Haha. Of course I know, don't underestimate me, I'm way smarter than u think I am. Honey." Followed by "What is your problem w me anyway? U don't call and when u write, u always put me down (Author's Note: Alcohol-induced paranoia. I've never put him down, always taken pains to remain coolly civil). I don't need any more of that in my life." Drunk Facebooking. Friends don't let friends do it.

The repeated condescending "Honeys" got to me a bit, so I let him have it. I set him straight on the finer points of Occupy that he might have missed from only watching conservative media, then went on to remind him that I haven't called him since the John incident and "I don't need any more of that in my life, so please don't play the poor innocent victim with me. Honey." Let me tell you, that felt too damn good.

Without another word, he unfriended me from FB. Not sure if it was the reminder that he's an asshole too sometimes or the evidence that he's been spoonfed lies by his parents that did it, but there he went. I didn't bother to return the favor, implying that I don't care enough about him to complete the process. However, the Ryan Reynolds issue of "Entertainment Weekly" I've been saving for him since June is going straight into the recycling bin, fuck you very much (pre-June is the last time we hung out together, just as an indication of how deep and meaningful his friendship has become).

Then he went on to unfriend Tery, who had had absolutely nothing to do with any of this. I mistakenly thought FB was also used by grown-ups and not just high school kids.

According to a fellow mutual ex-friend, we're only the most recent in a long line of friends he's managed to alienate after slights real or imagined. So I hope John is being a very, very good boy, because he'll literally be the only person Ryan has left in the world at this rate (oh, and his parents. He'll always have mommy and daddy, and that might be part of his problem).
grrgoyl: (Muscles not motors)
I hadn't planned on a work rant, but I just have to get this off my chest.

Last weekend someone had written on the message board a big list of "Please don't"s. Unfortunately that same night it had once again become relevant for me to add my $.02 about not dumping food in the sink.

Maybe I shouldn't have written "(27th time asking)," except it was, and as most parents raising children will hopefully back me up, I'm getting pretty fucking tired of repeating myself. Maybe I shouldn't have written that garbage cans don't get backed up and require expensive plumber visits, but I hoped that, like with children, if I provided the rationale behind the request (even though I feel it should be fairly obvious) it would drive the point home finally.

For whatever reason, the following night I got the phone call from my day shift liaison (I'm hesitant to call anyone "friend" anymore in this place) about whether or not I was needed to come in, and to my surprise she asked if there were any problems the prior night. When I said no, she launched into a laundry list of complaints from the staff about things they thought I hadn't done, each more petty than the last. Coincidence? I doubt it.

The one that stuck in my craw was the accusation that the cats' water bowls were empty. It was also empty for me, which is why I put an extra one in the cage. So a) you expect me to believe the cats drained two bowls in the space of two hours between shifts? b) even if they did (they didn't), what the animals do after I leave is hardly in my control, and c) even if they did (they didn't), isn't the point of giving them water for them to drink it? It's not a decorative measure.

I made sure to set her straight on this point, but she didn't sound convinced. So why were all the other "please don't"s fine but mine pushed them over the edge? Probably because I made them feel stupid. Well, I'm sorry, but they're a little stupid, and not likely to get smarter by coddling and tiptoeing around their porcelain feelings. I firmly believe there would be a bit less stupidity in the world if more people were taken to task for it. This is just my public service.

~*~

In Tery's news, she ran her second triathlon a few weekends ago. It went much better for her, in part because she knew what to expect, in bigger part because we arrived much earlier so she had more time to get settled in.

No, the two big highlights of the race were MyFriendDeb came to keep me company, except when I asked her to videotape Tery running she refused, stating "people waste so much time with a camera stuck to their face they miss the actual event right there in front of them." It was only much later I thought of the comeback I should have made: That we weren't there for ourselves, we were there for Tery, and perhaps she'd like to see herself in the race. Whatevs. Next year I just won't ask her.

More exciting, Tery has decided now that she's "officially" a triathlete to get a tattoo to commemorate. I can't let her have all the fun, so I'm getting one too -- a bike chainring on my left inner forearm, because the only thing I love more than biking is tattoos with circular motifs. We still have to find a parlor and extra money, so it won't happen for awhile yet. I'm just thrilled Tery wants one too.

~*~

Biking, biking, biking. Probably no one else cares, but I do so here we are. I'll hide it behind a cut because I'm nice that way and I fully expect no one to read it. But feel free to prove me wrong. But since (practically) no one is going to read it anyway, I might as well put it here as anywhere.

::Don't you dare come in here...:: )

~*~

Last but certainly not least, [livejournal.com profile] swankyfunk drew me ♥ Severus Snape ♥! (reposted with permission):


"I know you're up to something, Potter!"


She's made of all kinds of awesome.


COMING SOON: Parade of Homes 2011 and my review of The Room
grrgoyl: (sirius black)
Remember that time when I thought the hospital was haunted? Something else happened this weekend.

I had walked the dogs, was blissfully sweeping the floor when I heard it: Voices coming from the heating vent in the ceiling. Loud enough, in fact, that I heard them through my iPod earbuds. I listened to them for a minute, quietly freaking out.

The hospital is a freestanding building. There are no adjacent office spaces that might share the vents. I went upstairs, thinking perhaps the breakroom TV had been left on and I had somehow missed that fact in my initial security sweep that I make every night when I arrive. No dice.

I went back downstairs and still heard them, so I called Tery.

Me: Why am I hearing voices in the ceiling vent?
Tery: You are??
Me: Yeah. It's a guy and a girl. I can't hear what they're saying, but the girl was crying a minute ago.
Tery: STOP IT, YOU'RE FREAKING ME OUT
Me: Well how do you think I feel being here??
Tery: Maybe they're ghosts of people whose dog died here...
Me: And then they died here too??
Tery: I DON'T KNOW, I'M SO FREAKED OUT RIGHT NOW
Me: You aren't doing a good job of reassuring me.
Tery: Maybe the workmen disturbed some spirits... (the hospital is being remodeled currently)
Me: Nope, still not reassuring.

Once she got over her paralyzing terror, she reasoned I must have been picking up a conversation from the next door gas station parking lot; the vents open up on that side of the building. It continued for another minute or two and then went silent. Kind of bizarre that in almost four years working here this is the first I've noticed it, but it's not like I hang out at that end of the building all night.

~*~

Speaking of supernatural, I have a bit of an addendum to my "Twilight" review. In it I stated that Michael Sheen et.al. were about the least frightening group of actors to ever play vamps, completely forgetting that this isn't Sheen's first run-in with a fantasy franchise -- I actually first saw him as the werewolf leader Lucian in the "Underworld" series.

Vamps and wolves are also mortal enemies in those movies (minus a truce). He was a lot hairier and more buffed out, and a lot more convincing as a wolf, kind of like Sirius Black's younger brother (Harry Potter interlude there). Of course, those movies at least agree that vamps have no business being in sunlight, even if they play a little looser with the rules of lycanthropy. I think I don't mind those liberties as much because there's no ultra-dreamy vamp making teenage girls lose their minds the world over, with a ludicrous Mary Sue plot -- although there is a Romeo and Juliet-ish romance between Lucian and the vamp leader's vamp daughter Sonja.

(Sort of unrelated squeeing: Just saw on IMDb there's a "rumored" Underworld 4, holy crap. ALSO that Bill Nighy (vamp leader, I think Underworld is actually the first movie I ever saw him in) is going to be Rufus Scrimgeour in Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter interlude) ZOMG YOU GUYS)

~*~

But the Wii is gone


I got a notice from Netflix that they now offered streaming online videos through my Wii player. That's made of all kinds of awesome so I hooked my Wii to the internet to get onboard. The first thing it asked was if I wanted to update; seeing no harm, I did.

By the time it finished updating I had lost interest in the whole Netflix thing (mild ADD?) and wanted to play a game instead. Unfortunately suddenly I was getting an error message after about two minutes of playing. I don't know why I didn't see a connection with the update thing, and in fact there may not be -- I was gripped by mind-freezing panic, especially when I got the message with every single game.

Once I calmed down, I turned to my source for all information, YahooAnswers. Some said it was either a problem with the lens or the hard drive, but most recommended sending it to Nintendo for service.

I'm not really comfortable with the whole manufacturer's repair scenario, since I bought it used -- not that there's anything illegal about buying it used, I just didn't know where that left me in terms of a warranty. According to Nintendo's site, out of warranty repairs were $75 plus shipping. SKATCHAMAGOWZA. But they at least promised to replace it with a refurb if it were unfixable.

Always trying to save a few bucks (a habit that almost always backfires on me), I searched for other options. There seemed to be some local game shops selling repair services on Craigslist for around $60, and some even cheaper on eBay. The thought of not having to ship was appealing, not to mention that savings of $25.

Ultimately I decided to call Nintendo and see what they said. Maybe I'd luck out and there'd be an easy fix someone could offer by phone.

This didn't turn out to be the case, however, they do have an "out of warranty no-cost repair service" that I liked the sound of very much. They opened a ticket for me, sent me a prepaid FedEx shipping label, and that was that. She warned it could take 6-8 weeks, but since it was free I wasn't about to complain.

I ran out to FedEx that day with everything boxed up in the very conspicuous white Wii box. I was a little nervous because the young guy behind the counter seemed like the exact age of someone who wouldn't mind risking their crappy retail job for the chance to steal a Wii -- people have done it for far less (true story: once worked with a stoner who got caught stealing a Grateful Dead cassette tape on the job and got fired). He promised to put it in another box for shipping and take care of everything. Oh, I'll just bet he would take care of everything.

My fears weren't allayed when the next morning I decided to check my tracking number on the site, to discover it belonged to a package that had been delivered to someone in New York in March 2009. What the....? I was sure he had pulled a bait and switch on me. I called the store in a panic. The woman who answered said she didn't have any information in her system regarding the tracking number (oh, GREAT) but that the package was still sitting there waiting to go out. Yes, but was there anything in the box? I didn't ask her. I agreed to put my trust in them.

Looking more closely, it appeared that the tracking number was in fact generated by Nintendo, so I guess they recycle numbers. The next day the site had refreshed and there my tracking info appeared, so I relaxed.

I thought being a "no-cost" repair my unit would sit on the back of a shelf for a few weeks first, but not the case. Nintendo received it, repaired it on the same day, and sent it back out again the following morning. I expect its return on Tuesday. So the point of this whole boring story is major kudos to Nintendo for their customer service (that and a reminder to self that trying to save a few bucks is sometimes a mistake). It almost makes up for the way they gouge you by selling every single bleeding accessory separately for top dollar.

~*~

I have this thing about security. I don't know where it comes from, my house has never been broken into (although two cars have). I'm just convinced everyone is a potential crook eyeballing my stuff.

With summer nearly upon us and no gym membership, I'm stepping up my bike use. My bike is nothing special -- Specialized Hard Rock, but it's over ten years old. The only recent upgrades have been a Cloud 9 seat for my tender, easily bruised derriere and a set of hybrid semi-slick tires (flat on the inside, knobby on the outside, go from paved road to dirt tracks -- LOVE THEM).

And truthfully the bike is hardly ever out of my sight apart from the occasional grocery trip (which I hope to do more frequently this season). Yet I feel the need to lock down every inch of it as if I lived in East LA.

First I looked for a lock. I focused on the Kryptonites since they come the highest recommended. They rock, if only for the fact they have a "New York" line with the word "fahgettaboudit" printed on the side. Would have been all over those if they didn't look like they weighed about ten pounds and cost almost $100. I settled on a midline model instead.

Then my tires started bugging me with their quick release (i.e. quick steal) skewers, so I looked for a set of locking (screw-in) skewers. When I found those I discovered they also make a seat post skewer as well.


I'm a loner, Dottie. A rebel.


Tery reckons I can now get work as a bike messenger delivering crack cocaine on Colfax Ave -- she, like many of you, thinks I'm being a little ridiculous.

Am I though? On its maiden voyage to the grocery store, I pulled up to the sidewalk and noticed a guy standing at the end of the building. As I chained my bike to the rack, he sidled up to stand directly in front of me. What's THAT all about? Either he was trying to appear threatening or volunteering to guard it for me. You can guess which I chose to believe.

~*~

The medical bill craziness continues. After receiving another threatening invoice from someone I've been paying regularly, I gave them a call this morning, with the dread of being forced on another payment plan just slightly more than I could afford.

Me: I'm calling about this threatening letter you sent me despite me paying you every month.
Customer Service: We want you to be aware you have a current balance of $320.
Me: I am aware. I'm keeping very careful track of all my bills every month, and making sure to pay everyone. You have to understand I'm trying to pay like four people back.
CS: I understand. Can I get you on a payment plan? (here we go)
Me: How much more would I be paying a month?
CS: We can stretch it out for 9 months, which would come to $35 a month.
Me: ???
Me: But I'm paying you $50 now!
CS: Yes, and we appreciate that. But right now you will receive a letter threatening to send you to collections every three months you have a balance, and collections is a very ugly situation. If you were on a payment plan the letters wouldn't be sent.
Me: Fine. If you're happy with $35 a month then I am too.
CS: You are free to pay more, but $35 would be the minimum. And may I remind you there will never be finance or interest charges on your balance.

Well $35 is all they're getting, since with no threat of finance charges I don't really have any motivation to pay more -- it almost makes up for the extra $28 I'm paying the other people.

Today I enrolled in my employer's insurance plan, so hopefully this is the last medical emergency where I'll have to go through this nonsense.

~*~

Last but not least, yesterday the satellite TV went out due to Tery not paying the bill. I wasn't all that surprised to learn she would rather stare at a blank TV and sulk than watch Avatar.

~*~

Oops, THIS is last but not least: HAPPY BIRTHDAY [livejournal.com profile] kavieshana!!!!!! The big 4-0, huh?
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: (Alan Alone)
Not too long ago I was talking about the sneaky way employers try to pretty up harder and more thankless responsibilities with impressive or exciting titles.

The newest one is that of the MME, or Master Medical Editor, and it's being offered to me pretty aggressively.

MASTER Medical Editor. Sounds very lofty. Sounds like someone who has studied diligently for decades as an Apprentice Medical Editor, developing hardened calluses on their hands from endless hours of training and discipline, to finally attain the right to be called Master.

It doesn't at all sound like something they would mention in passing, apropos of nothing, to a lowly transcriptionist asking questions about her latest feedback errors. Yet that's how it happened:

"Don't worry about the little mistakes! You're our top producer! We can't afford for you to slow down by overthinking things too much. By the way, have you considered applying for the MME position? I think you'd really be an excellent candidate! *hint hint*"

I found it mildly concerning that I was still the "top producer" despite all the faffing around I do on any given day, sometimes wasting up to a whole hour between LJ and Cracked.com. What the hell was everyone else doing during their shifts? Or did they just tell everyone they were the top producer?

Still, I wasn't jumping headfirst into anything without doing some modicum of research. The last time I accepted a promotion without thinking (to area manager for ultra-lame RGIS inventory) resulted in hands-down the worst, most stressful, most miserable year of my entire life -- and that includes the year our house burned down and I had an emergency appendectomy.

I asked some of my fellow MTs (on the same board I habitually avoid because flame wars pop up faster than California wildfires over there), and a lucky thing I did -- Master Medical Editor is the title given to the poor schlubs in QA (Quality Assurance); in other words, the people who try to fill in the MTs' blanks, typically from the most difficult, least English-speaking doctors. I can barely handle these reports when I get them sporadically -- to do nothing but all day would probably end in violence. The job offers more money, but since it's production-based (just like my current position), realistically I don't see it working out to nearly enough to compensate for all that added stress.

Because if there's one thing I've learned in my 40 years on this planet, a bit more money is nice, but having a job with minimal demands and a tolerable amount of responsibility that you enjoy doing is priceless (and if you can work in your pyjamas with a cat in your lap, all the better).

~*~

Speaking of tolerable responsibility, that couldn't be said of my weekend at the kennels. So intolerable that I'll be forced to take on a faint Southern accent in the telling.


See this dog right here? This dog is BATSHIT CRAZY.


This is Toby, a 6-month-old shepherd mix who done ate a baby pacifier and needed surgery. He probably would have been better off eating the baby, easier to digest.

He was there for me both nights, and believe me, neither of us were particularly happy to see the other Saturday after the night we had Friday. The difference was on Saturday he was on a fentanyl drip, which is a heavy-duty painkiller also used by humans. You'd think being all drugged up would quiet him down some, but he didn't really relax until I decided to take the cone off his head (most dogs HATE the cone, especially wearing it in a tight space).

Which brings us to this picture. This is just him sleeping. I swear I looked down and thought he had up and died on me. Yelling his name repeatedly produced no result. Touching his nose gingerly at least made his eyes roll back to the correct position, but apparently he was perfectly comfortable with his jaws clamped around the cage bars, giving him this freaky rictus that was very disturbing to look at.

Come morning I had to put the cone back on, else he would lick his incisions into a nice infection, and that's when the real problems started. He fought having that cone on again something fierce. Then I left him for five minutes to start walking the boarders when I heard an unearthly canine screaming that made my spine stand on end. I raced back to Recovery to find him rearing up on his hind legs, his IV line twisted firmly around his neck. I freed him and tried to calm him down before returning to the boarders.

Then as I was giving his final dose of antibiotics, sitting right there in the cage with him, he did it again -- started wailing and thrashing around so violently he was going to take me down with him. Then, as abruptly as it started, he suddenly collapsed, gave out a mighty sigh, and fell asleep. Bizarre doesn't begin to describe it. It almost seemed like a seizure to me. I called the doc, nervous about leaving him alone. She had me give an extra sedative and he seemed to be out cold, so I went home. I still don't know what became of him after I left.

It turns out fentanyl tends to have this effect on dogs, which is why it's used so rarely (but the doc was afraid minus the fentanyl he'd be even crazier). Whether it was the fentanyl that made him sleep in such an odd position I'm not sure. What I am sure of is if this little hospital visit doesn't screw him up for life, nothing will.

COMING SOON: A whole buttload of reviews for movies no one cares about
grrgoyl: (Buffy Tabula Willow)
When I asked the Powers-That-Be to move onto someone else for their medical emergencies, I really meant someone a little farther away from me. Trust the Powers to bollocks things up again.

Last night I had an HBC (hit by car) chocolate lab, Murphy. Murphy was a mess to look at -- broken leg and open wound head trauma. The story is his owner wanted to put him to sleep on the spot (leg would probably have to be amputated if he survived), but the helpful day shift talked him into giving Murphy 24 hours to see which direction he went. I was assured he would probably just lie there all night, not much could be done for him apart from morphine injections.

For the most part that was all he did. He would occasionally lift his head if I made any noise, and after his first shot actually seemed to perk up and change position some. The day tech had called me for some other reason and commented how they were all amazed at how well he seemed to be doing. Except every time he shifted he would create pools of blood from his head wounds. The air throughout the hospital had a metallic taste to it, there was so much blood. "Boy, am I glad I won't have to clean up all that blood," I selfishly thought.

Then poor Murphy died. I was sitting on my dog mattress reading, when he suddenly stood halfway up, lurched wildly to the right, lurched wildly back to the left, and then collapsed (I suppose this is what is meant by the phrase "he just up and died"). I went over to check on him. It had happened so suddenly, with absolutely no prior signs of distress, that I couldn't believe he was dead. (Even if there were, he was a DNR (do not resuscitate). The owner really preferred to let nature take its course.) I checked his chest repeatedly for a heartbeat -- with big dogs it's a little tricky because their chest cavity is so large there's a lot of echoing emptiness even in healthy dogs, if you're not listening at just the right spot. I went down to the boarding dogs and experimented on Snuggles the Malamute, the only other big dog in the place, to reassure myself I truly heard nothing in Murphy.

The bright side is his timing couldn't have been better. I was literally just about to change his fluid bag (the second bag would have had to be scrapped after opening it if he didn't finish it).

I called the doc, who asked if I could try to bag him, and if I could bring him out back to the freezer that would be even better. I've only dealt with a couple of dead animals, but none as bloody as Murphy. When I moved his head there was an audible squelching sound I really would have been much happier without. I had been shaking Murphy and slapping him to make super extra sure he was dead, but if a dog doesn't respond while being shoved headfirst in a bag that's usually a good indicator as well. His breathing had been pretty labored before, his whole body shuddering with every breath. He was completely motionless now. Still, the whole laborious trip out to the freezer I kept imagining I saw movement inside the bag. That hospital sure can play head games with you at night.

So much blood. I had to take apart the window on the Plexiglas cage door because there was blood inside it (and, unlike real glass, doesn't come off nearly as easily).

I guess there isn't much point to this entry except to say, there was a lot of blood.

~*~

No cool lomo effects here, just our neighbor's crappy camera phone pic of our balcony buried in there somewhere.


2 feet of snow in October


Coming soon: Halloween 2009
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: (closer)
No progress on the Filthy Crankwhore, unless you count the Department of Vandalism rejecting my report and sending me the phone number for Narcotics. I don't really understand why they couldn't just forward it on themselves. Maybe they aren't speaking this week?

I've proactively installed my peephole spycam. I just need some recording software that won't devour huge chunks of my computer's memory (found something cheap on eBay, we'll see). I have no intention of sitting back and waiting for the slow ponderous hand of justice to move on our behalf again. And here's hoping if you're caught with a meth lab twice, you don't move back in 6 months later.

~*~

Sunday morning I woke up determined to forgive Ryan, after not saying a single word to him all week after he hung me out to dry Tuesday. I had hoped my silence would prompt him to broach the subject, but he remained either blissfully unaware or thought he could make it all better with a constant stream of stupid forwarded email jokes.

I texted him about going to the gym (Monday) and he agreed with an emoti-smile. I felt better, but knew myself well enough that he wouldn't escape without at least being told that I was angry with him.

He boarded the elliptical machine next to mine and we made small talk. He said he had been really busy with "issues." I saw an opening and said "me too" but he didn't bite. I asked about his issues; he didn't want to share. So I confessed I had been mad at him but got over it. "Huh?" Yep. Truly clueless. "I felt like you blew me off for little miss Lucy," I told him. "What-EV-er," was his response in that little bratty singsong way that makes me want to smack a bitch.

"Yeah, what-EV-er" I mimicked, and that was pretty much all that was said. To me, "what-EV-er" (which was Tabby's default response to many things that made me want to smack her) is the defense of people who have no defense. I considered it a slap in the face and possibly the final nail in the coffin of our friendship, at least as I had once known it.

The weird thing about Ryan is, he normally apologizes so often it's annoying. He'll apologize for not finishing his sit-ups fast enough. He'll apologize for breathing too hard on the cardio. But when it comes to something where an apology is actually warranted and would be immensely appreciated, he's tighter lipped than Rick Santorum at a gay orgy.

My sister (who had defended Ryan earlier when I told her what had happened) agreed that it was not a proper reaction to hearing that you had inadvertently upset your friend. She said there comes a point in every friendship when one of you abruptly comes up against the boundary of the friendship, and I guess I've found ours. We'll still be friends, I just won't ever think of Ryan as someone I can count on for anything ever again.

But at least I'm in better shape than he is.

Edit: I've been corresponding with K., a longtime friend of Ryan's. I shared the "What-EV-er" story with her. She expressed her sympathy, but explained that Ryan doesn't do confrontations well, and when he says that to her, that's how she knows that he knows she's right. Cold comfort, I suppose. On our bike ride today when I pointed out the spot where my trouble began to him, I got a better apology. It will have to do.

~*~

Quite an exciting Mother's Day weekend for me. Dr. N. called Tery just at the end of my day shift Saturday. A pregnant dog had come in, was going to deliver in a matter of hours, but Dr. N. desperately needed a break and wanted me to come in right away to relieve her.

"I don't know nothin' about birthin' no puppies!" was my first reply, and I don't (and I've never actually seen Gone With the Wind, demonstrating the forays it's made into the vernacular). I've never even seen puppies being born, never mind delivered them myself. Because the unfortunate phrasing the doc used was "I'll explain when you get here and you can tell me if you feel comfortable doing it." I could have told her right then, whatever I had to do, I'm far from comfortable with it.

But I'm a good little team worker so I saddled up and went. She had an online video of dog delivery queued up for me on the computer. She described the symptoms of imminent labor. Then she said she wanted me to call her the minute it started so she could hurry back.

"OH. I thought you were leaving me to do it alone," I told her. She said if she were me and thought that was the case, she wouldn't have come in. Apparently she was still expressing her amazement at my dedication all day Monday. Well, that's how I roll. I may not like my duties sometimes, but I still try my damndest to perform them.

She left and I watched the dog anxiously, a little Silky terrier. The problem was the dog was exhibiting all the behavior I was told to watch for (nesting, stretching out in an extended position on her side) to some degree almost constantly from the minute she left.

Thus the first puppy slipped out without me even noticing. Just peeked in and, oh hey! There it was. Fortunately dogs are convenient self-cleaning units -- the mother eats the afterbirth, which everyone should get to watch once before they die (when I described it to my sister, who is expecting in September, her reply was, "Ooooh, I hope I won't have to do that!" I said I was sure it was purely optional in human delivery).

Dr. N returned in time for the other four (I didn't realize there's up to a 30-minute break between babies. I thought they all came shooting out at once). She was absolutely knackered, but sat there patiently for the next three hours until they all came. Fortunately by the time the last one appeared, mom was too exhausted to cut the cord herself and the doctor had to do it. I say "fortunately" because it made me feel somewhat better making her stay there with me all that time (even though it cut seriously into my nap time, and by midnight I was dropping as badly as she was).

Once they were out we were free and clear and I was left alone. So, happy Mother's Day, Otta May! (the dog) (I spent the first hour there struggling to remember where I'd heard that name before. Bonus points to anyone who gets it (without cheating, but don't ask how I'll know).)

~*~

Finally, some movie reviews. The first one will be quick, so I won't cut. The Unborn, which is the one with the upside-down-headed dog in the ads. Surprising how freaky such a simple effect looks. The effects in general were very good. The plot, eh...kind of lost me in the middle.

Nazis performed unethical experiments on twins in WWII, resulting somehow in our young heroine being haunted by supernatural forces demanding to let "Jumby" be born.

She very circuitously learns that a dybbuk (Jewish demon) is searching for a gateway to our world. She seeks out Rabbi Gary Oldman (heh) for an exorcism, who initially refuses because he doesn't believe in mysticism. Then he encounters the abovementioned dog in the temple, and in the next scene offers his services. "Why the change of heart?" she asks. "I decided as long as YOU believe, that's all that matters," he answers. Really? The dog with the inverted head had nothing to do with it?

I won't say any more, except that the ending was one of those where you think it's over, then they start flashing back to snatches of conversation and glimpses of previous scenes, so you know a Big Twist is coming, unless you've been living in Siberia all your life. Ugh. I loved this technique in the first three movies that used it. Now it's just an overused and often disappointing attempt to build some excitement at the last minute.

A much, much, much better movie is ::Splinter:: )

Like I said if you clicked, for an indie I'd never heard of, this movie was a very pleasant surprise as horror movies go. Spend your (rental) money on this instead of The Unborn. 4 out of 5, I think.
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: (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: (Abyssinian)
This is the luxuriousness of my new schedule -- updating my LJ on a Saturday morning! Can you believe it? But my shift doesn't start for literally an hour and a half, and it was this or watch Flight of the Conchords Season One Tery bought for me.

So, some tidbits, like:

Question: How many strangers in the parking lot do Tracey's stupid dog have to bark at before realizing that none of them are a threat and none of them are particularly intimidated by him?
Answer: All of them.

~*~

I blame [livejournal.com profile] ms_hecubus, who a few weekends ago posted about her overactive imagination thinking a timber wolf was waiting in her garage to attack her. I smirked that she wouldn't last ten minutes in Tery's hospital at night, to which she agreed. Then that weekend in the early morning hours I fell into such a deep sleep that I had a nightmare. I dreamed I heard a racket and walked down to A-ward in time to see a man coming through the window feet first (the window is ground level outside but there are bars on it). We faced off across the short corridor between the kennels. He looked a little like Peter Horton from Thirtysomething, except with wide, crazed eyes and a sadistic grin. Then he reached for me with impossibly long, clawlike fingers and I woke up with a start, sweating, panting, and totally paralyzed. I felt like my spine was nailed to the dog mattress I sleep on now. It was one of the most terrifying feelings of my life. Thanks, Michelle ;)

~*~

Speaking of wolves, last night I had Lakota, who had been spayed that day:



Her cage slip listed her as a "husky mix." Yeah, husky mixed with timber wolf and maybe arctic fox. She was beautiful, but not leash trained and I spent a good fifteen minutes chasing her around trying to get her leashed. Thank god we weren't outside or I'd probably still be at it. She was a nimble one. Beautiful, but that constant (CONSTANT) whining/groaning was all husky. Tery said the day shift were all afraid of her (honestly, why do these people work at a vet hospital when they're so easily intimidated by animals?) but while trying to get this photo my biggest challenge was getting her head out of my lap.

~*~

Speaking of the hospital (oh, I'm full of segues today), one night someone had left a big note in the breakroom, "Overnight Sun-Thurs not cleaning." Which is kind of like saying, "I'm not naming any names, but our current Holy Father the Pope isn't putting the toilet seat down." The description can only apply to one person, so why tiptoe around trying to spare feelings? Of course, overnight Sun-Thurs is J., who hurt her knee again and was taking it easy for a few weeks. Which Tery could have told the complainer if they'd come to her instead of leaving accusatory messages.

Tery tried to ferret out the note-writer, after having to "talk J. off the ledge." Everyone pointed fingers at one person, who when confronted acted innocently appalled, "I'd NEVER write something like that! But if J. was upset, please tell her I'm sorry." Yeah, uh-uh. No one in that hospital is selfless enough to apologize for something they didn't do. No one. Mystery solved.

It turns out the mess that prompted the complaint was one empty box left in Surgery. To which Tery's response was, "A) I guarantee you J. isn't stocking supplies off the delivery truck, and B) It's one damn box. Break it down, throw it out back, and quit whining."

~*~

Finally, a quandary with Ryan.

Back at the Oscarâ„¢ party, I said I lurved my boys (Ryan and John). This is only half true. I love Ryan, love him to death. My feelings for John depend on Ryan's happiness, which at the moment is pretty low.

John has a whole entourage of single friends who sound like they're stuck in a permanent frat-boy mentality. Every weekend they lure John out drinking, binges that last literally from Friday night to Sunday afternoon, when he finally staggers home and passes out on the couch.

Ryan is less than pleased by this behavior, and I can hardly blame him. If Tery did this, I guarantee we wouldn't have made it past our first year.

Ryan has begged him to knock it off and grow up. John refuses to see the problem. They've been going back and forth this entire time, and Ryan is finally at the point of couples therapy or adios, John. John is resistant to therapy, and Ryan still thinks he can't live without him, so they're sort of at an impasse. Naturally I'm on Ryan's side. I do my best to offer advice, but unfortunately most of the work has to be done by Ryan.

At the risk of appearing selfish, this will be causing a problem for me very shortly. Ryan had suggested coming over Monday (he gets alternate Mondays off from work) to hang out. I assumed part of his incentive was avoiding John, who of course will be blitzed the whole weekend AGAIN. Imagine my surprise when yesterday he asked if John could come too? In fact John had taken the day off of work just to hang out with us.

WTF???? Ryan's acting like this is totally against his will, that he has no control over it (and neither do I), and yes we'd have more fun alone and yes he'll ruin everything, but what can we do?

It's like he's split exactly in two. Half of him has broken up with John and just wishes he'd disappear. The other half is hanging onto a faint hope they can still work it out. And I can't tell which half I'm talking to at any given moment. Most of the time a pathetic amalgamation of the two.

I followed Tery's advice and texted him to cancel. I feel like a shitty friend, but I just don't see hanging out with John as being anything but unbearably awkward until they figure out where they stand with each other. I apologized, but suggested if maybe John was too hungover to come Ryan was still welcome on his own.

Ryan texted me back: "LOL"

I don't know what I'm supposed to do with that. And it makes Ryan come off like he's in really deep denial (which is entirely possible). Almost battered wife syndrome denial.

So I guess I'll refuse to answer my phone, close the curtains and pretend I'm not home if they come around. Yeah, I know. Great friend, right? What would you do?

~*~

On a cheerier note, the photo stylings of [livejournal.com profile] she_was_stereo have inspired me to do a photo tribute to my favorite subject, Francesca Sofia. I don't have nearly her eye, and of course it's somewhat more challenging photographing an animate object. So we'll start slow and in no particular order.

Series I: Favorite Parts of a Cat



This is her left paw, which I love because of the little black "M" that forms a heart shape with the white.



Surprisingly more difficult to capture is her right paw, which is a cappucino-colored twin.


I can't promise they'll get any better.

~*~

Is that the time? I've got to get to work!!
grrgoyl: (vincent)
The iClone saga continues:

Feb 13:  Tery sends me a video of Criss Angel performing at a grocery store:  he cuts open a normal-appearing lemon to reveal an egg, inside of which is a live baby chick.  "Terrific," I grumped.  "He can get livestock inside fruit.  I can't even get one fucking phone shipped from eBay." 

Feb 14: According to the USPS website my Motorola phone was processed at their Denver facility.  It didn't arrive here though, which means it spends the weekend (Monday's Presidents' Day holiday included.  Damn you, Presidents) tooling around in the back of a delivery truck, I assume.  Or sitting on an outbound loading dock.  Either way, Tery had yet another occasion to roll her eyes at me.  "A control freak like you shouldn't spend so much time dealing with the Post Office," she said.  Don't I know it.

Feb 15:  iClone seller magically appears out of the woodwork to decline my request for a refund.  Oh, THERE you are, Mr. Man.  "Please cancel dispute.  Replacement phone shipped."  Yes, well, please forgive me if I don't hold my breath waiting for it, since this would be the third time you've claimed such a thing.  I'm amassing quite a collection of emails from this guy saying "replacement phone shipped."  I said "If/when I ever get the phone, I'll think about cancelling the dispute, but you haven't given me much reason to trust you."  Fool me once, shame on you... 

Feb 16:  Presidents' Day.  I don't want to talk about it.

Feb 17:  I spend the morning positioning my security camera (bought for spying on the crankwhore, equally useful for watching for mail delivery truck) on the balcony, so WHEN my phone arrives I can retrieve it and charge it up for playing later.  Tery says from the couch without opening her eyes, "I don't know why you're bothering.  It's not coming today."  (The nickname "joy-sucking robot" isn't casually bestowed)  She later changes to "It won't work properly even if it does get here," which I have to begrudgingly grant is a possibility.  Camera turns out to be unnecessary, since oversized package is delivered straight to doorstep along with everything else, including phone.  Phone already charged so I start playing immediately (not a good thing, have to work).  After fifteen minutes can tell it's better than iClone.  Texting quick and fun, video files play without a hitch, better camera, call quality is excellent.  Only bad is apparently not able to text photos, but again nothing compared to horrible iClone. 

~*~

As if I don't have enough to annoy me, this past weekend at the kennels when I arrived Friday night Dr. E. was still there.  She's my least favorite of the doctors because she's kind of stiff and aloof, and has the bedside manner of a store mannequin.  As evidenced by this particular incident, where I was on the complete opposite side of the room from where she was checking a wee puppy on fluids.  I barely caught the phrase "down to 5."  Slowly I deduced she wanted the fluid rate lowered from 10 down to 5, and furthermore she expected me to do it, despite her being several feet closer to the machine than me.  I crossed the room and did it, wondering why she didn't just do it herself.  Dr. N., for instance, had a much more hands-on approach, I knew.

Later I bitched to Tery about it.  I thought she was testing me or something.  She sighed heavily, "You're just the latest to complain about her.  That's her way.  She's the medical director.  She doesn't do anything herself, she just barks orders from across the room."  Yeah, if you call muttering under your breath "barking."  I understand superiority and all that, I just don't think there's much place for it in a small practice like Tery's where everyone is needed to lend a hand.  Mostly I wondered why, in one of very few professions where clear and concise communication can sometimes mean life or death, a lot of doctors seem so uniquely and absurdly incapable of expressing themselves.

Then as I was letting her out she asked if I wanted her to lock the door (note: I was standing right there at the door).  Did she honestly think I didn't know how to lock the door?  That would certainly be something to get away with for two years without anyone noticing.

Tery also later told me how she had asked if I should call her if I had any problems with one of the hospitalized dogs (actually my Beowulf, wasn't doing so well. He's better now). He's officially a patient of Dr. L, who had the day off and therefore wasn't up-to-date on the status. Dr. E. looked at Tery like she'd just asked her to land on the moon.

I call other doctors regarding Dr. E's patients all the time, because I HATE calling her, so Tery really needn't have bothered asking. I said to Tery, "Tell her I'd rather watch an animal die than call her in the middle of the night," which isn't far from the truth. Because I HAVE called her in the middle of the night and the animal died anyway, while I was waiting for her to slur out instructions in the middle of a drunken stupor. I'd much rather call Dr. N., who sounds wide awake even at 3 a.m. THAT'S a professional.

~*~

Enough of that.  Monday I went to see Coraline in 3D with Ryan and HIS BOYFRIEND JOHN (okay, John's not that big a deal anymore).  Again almost a near-miss, I don't know why it's so hard to organize anything with that boy. 

Original plan was a 7 pm show after they got out of work.  I of course have the entire day off on Mondays.  I text Ryan to ask if we're riding together or meeting.  He returns text at 11:30, but I don't check phone until 1:05.  "We called out from work.  Is there an earlier show?"  Well yeah, there's an earlier show.  At 1:00, which we obviously just missed.  Grrr.  I call him and gently chastise him for not calling me instead. 

Then he texted me again at 3:00, saying there was a 4:00 show we could make.  Again I barely caught this text in time, and silently growled again that he didn't just call me.  Long story short, we caught this show, but almost didn't. 

My review is pretty short and sweet, unlike the movie.  It's fairly faithful to the book, with the exception of an extraneous and annoying added character, the boy Wybie (who is fairly instrumental in the end with helping Coraline defeat the evil, which I took exception to.  As if Coraline wasn't capable of doing it alone, as she is in the book). 

Simple story:  Coraline is bored out of her mind in the new house her parents have moved into.  Mom and dad are too busy to entertain her.  The eccentric neighbors are marginally better at it.  Then Coraline discovers a mysterious passageway leading to what appears to be a replica of her world, except more fun and more Coraline-centric.  Except Other Mom and Other Dad have black, dead button eyes.  Eventually Coraline realizes there's a dark side to this world, namely her Other Mother is hell-bent on keeping her and traps her.  Coraline needs to outwit her and escape.

The book is pretty damn creepy, and moves a lot faster than the movie.  The first half hour or so moved at a snail's crawl for me, once the wondrous stop-motion 3D novelty wore off.  It seemed like a lot of nothing happening, then WHAM!  it turns a corner and is suddenly very fast and very scary.  There must have been some way to even it out a little.

The one thing I loved was the cat, who in classic Gaiman style is a free, semi-supernatural agent able to move between worlds with hidden powers.  A little like real cats. 

I begrudgingly agree with some of the reviews I read, it might have been TOO scary for small kids.  One mother commented on "What a sad moment it is when a movie like this is marketed to children so misleadingly."  What a sad moment it is when parents take commercials at face value and don't bother doing any further research.  That Neil Gaiman seems like such a nice young man, doesn't he?  Eh, we had The Wizard of Oz (Tery is still afraid of flying monkeys to this day), I think the kiddies will survive.

It is pretty amazing to think how some scenes of the movie took months to shoot (stop-motion takes days to film just a few seconds sometimes), not to mention the "microknitter" woman who hand knits all the clothing on leeetle teeny tiny knitting needles.  But apart from the art direction, I think it moved too slowly to keep either children or adults entertained.  Which isn't to say I won't be buying the DVD.
grrgoyl: (Snotter)
The terrible economy has finally reached Tery's hospital doors. She received the order to choose someone to lay off.

She's certain this can be avoided if she can squeeze by for another month, when one of her interns will leave for school. But until then, everyone has to step up and make small sacrifices so they can all keep their jobs (if you're wondering why I'm saying "they," I generously offered to quit, but ironically my shift would be exceptionally difficult to cover, so I have job security above and beyond being married to the boss. Instead I leave early whenever it's slow enough that I'm not needed the entire night, and glad to do so -- the good thing about a low hourly wage is it doesn't hurt much when your hours are cut).

So Tery put out a memo making it clear that everyone would have to cut their hours and work a little harder to cover the resulting smaller staff. She herself will be working 10- to 12-hour days to help out, cutting severely into our free time together, which I assured her didn't bother me. Hence No TV Tuesday will have to be cut back to once a month, or else we'll fall woefully behind on all our Tivo (which is for the best -- one adverse side effect of NTT was that it confused me so badly that I spent all day Thursday thinking it was Wednesday. Nothing kills my buzz faster than the sudden realization that I'm on my last night of freedom before the weekend).

All this was a very rude awakening to A., an employee who religiously calls in "sick" after every major football game, so needless to say missed her shift Monday (fooling no one). She returned to work Tuesday to discover jobs were suddenly on the line. "I thought we were safe!" she cried in anguish. Safe because we came in under budget one week. Pull your head out of your ass and read a newspaper once in awhile. These people seem genuinely astonished to learn the country's in trouble, and even moreso at the idea that they could be affected by it. She was further dismayed when she was told that no, she couldn't make up her missed hours. "Well now I don't know if I should sign my new lease or not," she grumbled. Tery's lack of sympathy came close to matching mine. Perhaps next time she won't make drinking and partying a priority over working her shift, fucking crybaby.

If I sound heartlessly gleeful at these brats finally seeing a glimpse of the cruel, cruel world of adulthood, it's because they've gone far too long without the "fear of god" (or Tery) in them, i.e. respecting your boss and doing your damn job, no questions asked.

Tery heard through the grapevine this afternoon that the staff were "very worried" and "thought they should have an emergency meeting," which would necessitate closing the doors and halting business while doing so. Really? Threats of lay-offs because revenue isn't matching payroll and you want to turn away customers so Tery can hold your hands and promise it will be alright? These people really aren't the brightest bulbs in the pack.

She's not sure what they want her to tell them. That they shouldn't worry, that the memo doesn't apply to them? She can't do that. We're both wondering why they're acting like this came out of nowhere, when Tery's been telling them for weeks how crucial it was that they get their budget under control. There's also talk of people worried Tery will play favorites when deciding who to send home. Of course she can't really say that she hates them all equally, which she does.

~*~

Meanwhile at my other job I'm not losing hours, just rearranging them. We were notified of a client whose reports were falling behind consistently because of gaps in the scheduling, and we were all expected to volunteer to fill those gaps (the mail contained a not-so-subtle threat about how they "didn't want to lose any of us but..."). The gaps were for the most part in the midnight to 5 am shifts. Yeah, I can't imagine why those would be hard to cover.

I worked RGIS inventory for 16 long years, a job that doesn't come remotely close to offering regular hours. I didn't mind at the time, but these past few years I've become very spoiled. Perhaps that's why I'm so jealously protective now that I finally have them (well, the weekend throws a tiny wrench in them, but at least it's the same wrench all the time). I really, really love having Sundays and Mondays off no matter what. So you can imagine the sinking feeling when I examined my options and realized the only gap that wasn't midnight to 5 am (cuz THAT wasn't happening) that didn't conflict with my hospital hours was Sunday evenings, 8 pm to midnight. Why, god, why?

I took it rather than wait too long and be forced into a choice even less palatable. The blow was a tiny bit softened when I came up with the trade-off of four hours out of my Saturday morning shift, so I could sleep in after working overnight Friday (when frankly I'm not really at my most productive anyway). THAT would be very nice, although knowing me I'd only sleep until 11 am or so and then twiddle my thumbs waiting to start work anyway.

I sent out a few emails proposing the change without receiving any confirmation to go through with it, so Sunday night I went ahead and worked my first 8-12. Oh, it hurt. Most Sunday nights I hold on until 10 pm or so and then crash hard until morning -- then spend most of the day Monday crashing some more. I had a cup of tea and Tery brought me dinner from the bar, and I slogged all the way through. I'm trusting next weekend with that Saturday morning off it won't be nearly so bad.

Monday morning I heard back from the scheduler, approving my new shift. She apologized for the delay, but she had received an overwhelming response from people about the change. I can't believe that many people were eager to work that graveyard shift, but I suppose you never know. It's amazing how cooperative employees become when the economy is in the toilet (except maybe Carol Siemens -- I guarantee she probably put up a squawk). I couldn't help thinking that if the response was that huge, maybe I didn't need to change mine after all, but I didn't say as much. Maybe I'll end up loving it and it will work out really well, but for now I'm still stubbornly clinging to the good times when I had two whole days off every week.

My sister the nurse, who already works six days a week, said to me wisely (and Tery's employees would do well to adopt the same attitude), "I'm just happy to have a job. I'll work whenever they want me to."

~*~

I thought I had no news from the kennels, but I forgot about Klondike. Klondike is an old Great Pyrenees, who for the most part is infinitely happier sleeping than doing anything else. Coaxing him to stand is near impossible, so you can imagine the fun to be had getting him up the stairs to the yard. He also has a perpetual long string of slobber hanging from his lips, in such quantity that the smallest sip from his water bowl fills it with slimy trails. Ugh.

I knew from previous attempts that he and stairs simply didn't mix. His legs would give out and he'd collapse mid step given half the chance. This led me to create my Great Pyrenees theory -- namely that no one should own one unless they live on the ground floor. Anyway I was trying to help him out, embracing his chest from behind as best I could to leverage him up. His head started lolling and flailing around in alarm, and then, almost in slow motion, that big strand of saliva whipped around and SPLAT! COVERED the whole side of my head. Oh. My. GOD. Say what you will about cats, at least they limit their spit-sharing to petitely and politely licking your face (or the occasional flecks emitted while hissing).

Needless to say, Klondike didn't make any more trips up the stairs on my shift. We were both content with staying in the hallway while he conducted his business.

I also had a Bernese mountain dog, Zoey. The only thing Tery hates more than stupid dogs is stupid dog owners, of which she sees more than her share. Zoey's mother essentially babied her growing up, and now that she's a little larger she has such severe separation anxiety that she lays waste to the girl's apartment whenever she's left alone. The girl just doesn't know what she did wrong.

Tery and I both know what she did wrong. The same thing a lot of dog owners do wrong. She saw that cute puppy in the window and didn't give a single thought to how or even if it would fit into her lifestyle once it grew up.

So she crated Zoey for one day, and that night brought her in for surgery because she'd ingested a foreign body (Tery and I surmised Zoey started to eat the crate). We think the stupid woman deserves every penny of that bill. Hey, it keeps Tery's doctors paid.

~*~

This entry seems to be full of a lot of hate. Well, life isn't all rainbows and new Blu-ray discs.
grrgoyl: (Snape Sexyback)
This weekend I was tired of my animal charges about six minutes into my shift.

Surprisingly it wasn't just the dogs I hated. The weekend before I had a cat, "Samwise," who was staying in Recovery because he was on medications. Neither I nor Tery understood the need to keep him up front, particularly when being in the center of activity made him so agitated and belligerent that a towel had to be draped over the door at all times. He wasn't bad for me Friday night, but on Saturday he was doing his best impression of this nightmarish feline:



Take it from me, this sound is 7,000 times more bloodcurdling in person. He would start out spitting and hissing every time I simply stepped into Recovery. The closer I came to his cage, the more his rage escalated.

In between these outbursts of hostility, he would meowl plaintively, as if to ask, "Why do you hate me so much?" Schizo cat.

He was still there this past weekend, not any calmer and probably a good deal filthier, since no one could come anywhere near him (I was told it took three people to give him his meds during the day. Hence I happily ignored the blanks on the chart where my initials should go).

However, he was far from alone. I had a neutered lab mix puppy, no special attention needed but he spent most of the night loudly making that howling/groaning sound I can't stand. I had a pointer that had been hit by a car, on fluids but remarkably low-maintenance considering. I had a postop cocker, described by one doctor as "a litttle high-strung," whose alarming, gasping respirations sounded perpetually three breaths away from a heart attack.

But the worst, the WORST, was a tiny chihuahua named "Squeeme." Squeeme was actually owned by an ex-employee, a girl I'd met once when another of her dogs was admitted in more serious condition. She had stopped by with her entire immediate family, chain smokers every one. I'm not kidding, fifteen minutes after arriving, the entire clan trooped outside for a smoke. That dog stunk, and so did Squeeme.

But Squeeme was also, as Dr. Norton put it, an "arborial dog." A dog who spends his whole life being carried around by someone, and who consequently spends every single minute NOT being carried by someone emitting a short, shrieking little yelp with every breath. These dogs need to be shot in the head, followed soon after by their owners who make them this way. A person would need the patience of a saint to live with this thing, and I was conspicuously absent the day they were handing out patience (probably grew tired of waiting in line and stomped off to write an angry letter). "Trust me, Squeeme," I told him, "You won't find anyone on this earth less sympathetic than me." It was a bit like Chinese water torture, those constant, unending little yips.

Then he FINALLY fell asleep after about three hours, thank the gods. Until ten minutes later, Samwise decided to remind me of his presence by slamming his bowls against the side of the cage as hard as he could, which of course woke Squeeme up again. God DAMMIT I hated that fucking cat at that moment. Even more than later, when he thought it would be fun to start throwing litter onto the floor through the bars, then become apoplectic again when I had to enter his "personal space" to sweep it up.

I was immensely happy Saturday night when everyone was gone but Samwise, who was much more relaxed when not surrounded by scores of other animals. Even let me pet him for a minute before remembering himself and slashing at me without warning.

Well, I had an old cat, "Tuffy," on fluids, child's play in comparison. Except around midnight I suddenly smelled an ungodly stink, and realized someone had pooped in their box; and furthermore, there would be no ignoring it, it smelled so awful.

So I bearded the lion in its den, armed with a wooden bird perch to fend Samwise off. I tried conciliatory measures, sliding it across the floor in an attempt to play. He watched it like a normal cat -- his eyes weren't black, his tail wasn't puffed, he didn't look the slightest bit threatening. But he never stopped growling loudly all the while. Schizo cat.

I finally got his box out with all my limbs intact, only to realize that it was Tuffy that pooped. GODAMMIT. Putting Sam's box back was even more difficult, as he kept attacking it with terrifyingly swift paw swipes. Yeah, give me a "will bite" dog anytime. They're far easier to convince of your dominance.

Dr. L called to check on everybody, then to my surprise asked if I would be attending one of the employees' baby shower Sunday. I begged off, claiming Sunday to be my "crash" day after my long weekend (half true -- most weeks it's actually Monday when I can barely move). The guest of honor was someone I had met maybe twice in my life, couldn't pick her out of a lineup. Spend the afternoon pretending I give a toss about her stupid baby? I'd rather spend another night locked in a room with Squeeme.

~*~

The other day I was peacefully working when I received an email from eBay. "Congratulations! Your item listing is confirmed!" Apparently I was selling a pair of Ugg boots. News to me.

By the time I had gotten to my main account page, I had three more listings up, all for Ugg boots. By the time I got on the phone to eBay the total was eight. Me, the fashion plate, who ironically thinks Ugg boots have one of the most apt names ever.

It took eBay about 20 minutes to sort it all out and cancel the phony auctions. By that time my password had suddenly stopped working and I could only log into the eBay Canada site. Whoever this was, they had fucked me and fucked me good.

The funny thing was I had just left negative feedback the previous night on a seller who sent me some software that didn't work. I had asked for help and he had put me off, claiming to have a funeral to attend. After waiting more than a week I asked for a refund with no response. After another week I figured I'd been scammed and left feedback accordingly.

This morning he reappeared to cry about the unfairness of my feedback and demanded that I retract it. I wrote back, reminding him of the actual chain of events, and pointing out that what was unfair was spending money and having nothing to show for it. I would gladly retract my feedback as soon as I got either a) what I paid for or b) a full refund. Now here, a few hours later, my account was hacked into. My sister thinks it's coincidence, but I don't believe in coincidences. Needless to say I've deleted the software from my system in case it was involved with compromising my identity somehow. I also passed his eBay user ID onto the customer representative who ultimately resolved my password issue, not wishing to accuse anyone, but just throwing it out there for consideration.

I was going to list something to sell, but now I think I'll hold off in case this guy decides to fuck with me (more). And needless to say, it isn't a pair of Ugg boots.

~*~

Now for some quickie movie reviews.

Slumdog Millionaire: Believe the Oscar buzz. Tery was excited to see it. I knew nothing about it. It was immediately endearing, with a wildly clever plot device. A waif from the streets of India (a "slumdog") scores big on the show "Who Wants to be a Millionaire," and is accused of cheating by the producers. The movie involves a series of flashbacks demonstrating how he came by his knowledge honestly while living rough. The music was fantastic with a satisfying Bollywood ending that's all Danny Boyle. I LOVED it.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button: I agree with the review in Entertainment Weekly -- it's a movie that's easy to admire but difficult to like. That's it in a nutshell. I love David Fincher and Cate Blanchett. I don't mind Brad Pitt, except this movie is merely a continuation of the skills of wide-eyed, otherworldly contemplation that he developed in Meet Joe Black. It was very stately, and very slow-moving, with the ultimate message that time is fleeting and happiness even moreso. Did you really need 2-1/2 hours, Fincher? I could barely stay awake.

Iron Man: Believe [livejournal.com profile] swankyfunk's hype. I know nothing of the comic book, but as a neophyte I can say the story, and moreso Robert Downey, was engaging, funny, intelligent, with eye-popping CGI effects. I never felt one way or another about Downey (Tery somehow got the impression I hated him) but I have to say I'm really glad he's come back from the cliff edge he's been hanging on. I don't know if Jeff Bridges was the best choice as the "bad guy"; even with a disturbingly shaved head, I only saw The Dude. The only other comic book movie that left me feeling so excited and uplifted at the end was the first Spiderman.

Wanted: I knew within the first five minutes that I was going to love this movie. It's a hybrid of The Matrix and Fight Club, with protagonist narration and unexpected slo-mo and zoom shots in even mundane scenes. But the action scenes blow The Matrix out of the water. Positively jaw-dropping, with CGI so good it never crosses your mind it's CGI. I remember there being some kerfuffle when this came out over the conflict between Angelina Jolie's supposed pacifism and the excessive gunplay, and rightly so. I'm not usually a fan of gun movies, but it was handled so stylistically I couldn't complain. She was perfect for the role, and reminded me of her part as Tigress in Kung Fu Panda. More of a surprise was how well James McAvoy did as Wesley, who begins as a mousy, anxiety-ridden cubicle jockey and turns into a supersleek master assassin. Contrary to reviewers on Amazon, I felt he was equally convincing as both. Though in my heart he'll always be the deliciously adorable Mr. Tumnus.

I can't help but wonder how much better both of these will look on Blu-ray.

Return to House on Haunted Hill: Because I'm always hoping to stumble on the next Aliens (e.g., a sequel that's arguably better than its predecessor). This movie is not it.

~*~

Up-to-the-minute update: We just watched Nate Fisher, Jr.'s funeral on Six Feet Under ("All Alone"). Why does this merit mention? Because it's the first time I've ever seen Tery cry at a TV show.
grrgoyl: (Vendetta Evey)
This weekend was the judging of the Christmas lights in our complex. Tery went even more crazy than last year, but her secret weapon was something I bought for her -- one of those boxes you plug the lights into that makes them flash in time with musc. They were originally $100 and I said "Oh, HELL no," but then after Christmas when the markdowns start kicking in I bided my time and watched and waited, finally swooping in when they were 75% off. That was quite a coup.

(I was a little hesitant about buying something meant to be blared loudly into the neighborhood, but since most of our neighors are literally dead and gone it's not such a big deal anymore.)

Good thing, too, because she actually had some serious competition this year. The renters below Tracey FCW (and also evidently her friends -- she solved the problem of how to shovel dog shit off her porch without her neighbors complaining) had a really nice display up since last week. Tracey herself was out literally two hours before the judges came around, frantically hammering and drilling to get her stuff hung. Two problems -- they were the exact same decorations she had last year, and the eleventh hour installation kind of defeated the purpose of the contest to encourage people to get into the holiday spirit (if history repeats itself, she'll take them down again tomorrow).

Tery invited her bar friends and our neighbors Mike and Anna for an anticipatory victory celebration. Tery was pleased to see parents from the neighborhood bringing their young children to view her work. Anyway, she took first ($75). Second went to the renters ($50) and third to Tracey ($25). Justice was served, and I guess that isn't too shabby for an hour's work. We invited the judges in for some food which I was glad for, so they could see our spirit extends to every possible inch of our house, not just areas visible for judging purposes.


Award-winning display


I think the only way Tery can top herself next year is to hire a chorus line of snowbunnies or something.

Tery also outdid herself for the party, making an enormous amount of hors d'ouvres for us. My favorite was a Martha Stewart idea, pea pods with Alouette cheese and tomatoes with pesto.


It's a Christmas tree! I had to snap this before it got completely decimated


Christmas also came a little early in the form of someone finally closing our neighbor's door downstairs. Thank god.

~*~

Funny thing is, I was talking to neighbor Anna about how the only thing I really hate about working at the hospital is never knowing what I'm walking into. I had to leave Tery's party to go into work, where I discovered Dr. Norton still present; I hate finding anyone there when I arrive -- it typically means they had a last minute emergency come in that would be left with me. Not the case, however, she was staying with a seizure dog, Colby, who had been there a few days already who she was afraid to leave alone. Terrific.

It turns out this dog was on a continuous Valium drip, absolutely crucial fluid maintenance. We were also having a Valium shortage, never having to administer it in the massive doses this dog required. Dr. Norton hinted if we didn't control the seizures soon, we'd have to send him to an emergency 24-hour facility (so I spent the rest of the night praying for just that to happen).

In the ten minutes it took her to explain everything to me we started having pump difficulties. I was nervous, because in my experience once a pump starts giving me problems, it's nonstop all night long. We thought we had fixed it and she went on her way.

She hadn't been gone ten minutes when the pump started again. Normally I'd do everything I could to fix it myself, except liquid Valium can't be exposed to light or it loses potency, so the tubing and connections were wrapped up super tight, making my troubleshooting work twice as challenging. Rather than futz with it I decided to call her before she got too far away. She came back, fortunately.

Again we had it licked and she left, and again it started alarming on me. The second time she brought a pillow to stay overnight. I felt terrible, she'd already worked a full day, but she insisted.

The trouble with Colby was he was a 4-year-old lab, and when he wasn't seizing he was strong and willful and impossible for one person to do anything with without him fighting to get away. Dr. Norton eventually decided to re-lay the catheter, succeeding after two attempts. This made me feel much better, as I would never have been able to do this myself. The one she removed had a defect in the line that puzzled her.

But that wasn't half as puzzling as when we got him hooked up again and the pump STILL complained about an occlusion. There was no reason in the world for this that we could see and the doctor was stumped (again, making me feel better about keeping her there).

We finally got it going, though it was a tentative victory at best. She went upstairs to try to get some sleep, I tried to accomplish something else on my list of duties. The other trouble with Colby was he had occasional very violent sneezing episodes to boot, during which he would smack his head full force against whatever surface was nearby. The recurrent head trauma couldn't have been helping his condition, and from the next room sounded identical to a seizure, making me dash back into Recovery about every ten minutes.

He had his first seizure since my arrival at midnight. The head smashing with sneezing was nothing compared to what he did while in the throes of an epileptic fit. I fetched Dr. Norton and we sort of nursed him through it. He had a second one about fifteen minutes later. The good news was when he was post-ictal he immediately became sleepy and passed out, making him much more manageable. We pulled him out onto the floor where he seemed more comfortable and she again retreated to her office.

I gave up the idea of doing anything else that night and settled in beside him. The fluids would still inexplicably stop flowing occasionally and need some messing around to restart so I had to keep an eye on the drip. Let me tell you, if you ever suffer from insomnia, don't waste your time with pharmaceuticals -- try staring at an IV fluid drip for about 20 minutes (or perhaps a more practical substitute might be a steadily leaking sink faucet). I absolutely couldn't keep my eyes open, and settled instead for checking in every five minutes or so.

Also for obvious reasons, there would be no setting up my cot that night. By about 3:30 a.m. I was so exhausted it turned out the desk chair with my feet propped up felt just as good. All told I slept about a half hour that night, and I really felt it the next day. Hard. But these medical reports don't type themselves, you know?

Colby was okay the rest of the night (except for more of those alarming sneezing runs), and I was extremely happy when 5 a.m. finally arrived. I called Dr. Norton through the intercom and she sounded as cheerful and refreshed as if she'd slept a solid 8 hours. I asked how she did that, and she replied, "Many years of practice."

She still had to stay, as the next seizure was due in the next hour or so, judging by the previous trend. I felt just as bad leaving as I did making her stay, but she's not hourly so wouldn't impact Tery's payroll the way I would. It turned out the morning doctor let her go home and come back later in the afternoon rather than work through.

Reportedly the kid who owns Colby has no money, so it will be interesting to see what becomes of the bill resulting from essentially four days of intensive around-the-clock care for this dog. Also the kid was going to pick up the dog the next morning, but then leave town at 2 p.m., trusting his roommate to watch over him in his absence. The Valium was all used up at that point, so they sent him home with rectal suppositories to administer if (when) he seized again. I'm sure the roommate was thrilled.

My point is, the dog is only four years old and having these problems, with an owner who has no money. I think the kid is going to have to make some very difficult decisions very soon about what he plans to do with his pet.

Fortunately I only had two boarders that night, one of which looked like the American werewolf in London:


Kasey the Keeshond, who was actually much sweeter than her cinematic counterpart


~*~

Finally, Tery is very interested in seeing the movie Slumdog Millionaire, but since she hates leaving the house on her day off and it wasn't available on Graboid, instead we watched Milk which WAS on Graboid.

I won't bother cutting, I don't have much in the way of spoilers or length. Sean Penn did a predictably outstanding job as Harvey Milk, first openly gay elected official. Well, he was a bit more buff than I'm sure Harvey was, but he had the voice, the accent, the hair, everything else down. Josh Brolin was also perfect as Dan White, the insecure, frustrated co-worker that ultimately assassinated him -- if anything, he was a little underused. I didn't really get any idea of why White was driven to commit murder. The scenes between him and Penn, with the knowledge of how their relationship ended, seemed very tense and charged to me.

I think hanging out in the [livejournal.com profile] boy_touching community has completely inured me, as I saw nothing at all titillating or unusual about watching Sean Penn and James Franco kiss. Perhaps if the rest of the world joined, two men together would no longer be such a controversial event.

My one complaint (apart from Penn's bordering-on-prizefighter physique) was the first scene of the movie; Penn passes Franco exiting the subway, and greets him warmly. At this point the viewer isn't sure if they are already together or not, and the rest of the scene really does nothing to clear it up. They talk like old friends, then they share a passionate kiss. It turns out that no, they were complete strangers and this is the first time they hooked up.

I didn't buy it, until coincidentally while browsing Netflix's "watch instantly" selections as our afternoon entertainment, Tery chose a documentary called Gay Sex in the 70's (making it quite the theme for the day). This is full of aging queens reminiscing about all the free gay love before AIDS hit the scene, when the community was pretty exclusively about random anonymous encounters, and hooking up really was as simple as walking down the street. So I'd like to think this quick scene in Milk was a brief nod to that time.

The end of Milk, obviously his assassination and the famous Candelight March, had me predictably crying like a baby. It was very understated and very well done, no over-the-top Hollywood dramatics. Tery, equally predictably, reacted not at all. She chastised me for crying so early in the day, as if crying was the same as drinking. As usual I did my best to ignore her.

The movie was very relevant to our time, portraying a major step in our as-yet unwon struggle for equal rights. In particular, I think about Obama's much-criticized choice of evangelical homophobe Rick Warren to perform the invocation at his inauguration. No, it doesn't make me happy, but this is how I see it: It's a two-minute prayer, not a cabinet position. Obama is trying to bring the two extremes of the political spectrum together, not an easy or enviable task, because right now our differences are what is tearing the country apart.

Milk operated the same way. In the film, he challenges one of the biggest anti-gay rights proponents of the time, John Briggs, to a public debate. But he does so with an extended handshake and a warm smile. Because screaming at each other is getting us nowhere. Because if you can't shake your enemy's hand and look him in the eye, how can there be any real communication?

~*~

Is this what it's like getting old? While flicking around, Tery stopped on something called "Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour." I watched this young, not particularly talented chick leaping all over the stage in front of thousands of squealing teenage girls and asked, "Now which one is she?" Tery rolled her eyes. "They're the same person, goofball."
grrgoyl: (snapecast)
Some post scripts from yesterday:

First, Tery demands that the story of her accomplishment be told, but she doesn't have the motivation to keep a blog of her own.

Last night she replaced most of our ancient metal kitchen sink pipes with PVC. Before you become unduly impressed, she was the one who clogged them irreparably by shoving a lemon into the trash compactor (an attempt to deodorize), a venture I advised against. When she started taking them apart to clear the clog, the 30-year-old metal just disintegrated in her hands. Water started gushing out of the pipe and all over the floor.

Some might think of calling a plumber at this point. But after spending $138 to have a plumber install our new faucet just because we panicked when one pipe didn't seem to fit right, I vowed never again.

With fifteen minutes until closing time, we dashed to Lowe's, the dessicated and crud-filled pipes clutched in her hands. We accosted Dan, a plumbing associate, who from half an aisle away saw the pipes and in under fifteen seconds grabbed the appropriate replacements off the shelves, almost without looking. I was the one who insisted on getting more pipes than technically needed replacing, as I saw no reason to go through this rigamarole twice.

For about 12 bucks we got all the PVC we needed. Tery did the manual work while I held the flashlight, because I have a powerful aversion to the sludge that lives in pipes of all varieties. Not Tery; she poked her finger in and swiped it around without a single qualm. I did talk her through some sticky spots where we couldn't immediately see how the pipes went together, and of course handed her the tools -- sort of like a surgical nurse.

Job completed. Tery declared what a satisfying feeling it was to work with her hands. She wondered if she could get a second job as a plumber in between being a hospital manager. I said be my guest, I could probably quit both my jobs if she were making that kind of money. Then she began fantasizing about being a lesbian plumber and visiting ladies' homes all day and I put a stop to that dream toot sweet.

She insisted on photo documentation, so here you are:


She's so butch

New mostly plastic pipes


She attributes her success mostly to me not yelling at her while she was working. Another contribution of mine.

~*~

My Truly, Madly, Deeply DVD arrived today. Perhaps the story of this movie needs some qualification. Of course Alan is adorable and funny and romantic in it, all the things he's never allowed to be in almost every other movie. He sings! He's got grab-fuck hair! I don't go 100% for the mustache, but it's the only Alan movie Deb would care about enough to own. The funny thing is back when I was first starting to seek out other Alan movies, before it was an official obsession, I caught it purely by chance on cable. Apparently it hasn't been on TV since, and I've searched. Cosmic conspiracy? You decide.

The problem with the DVD is it comes in two versions, a no-frills and one with director's commentary. Those who know me best know I would never be happy with just the no-frills version. But the special one was out of print and not selling anywhere for less than $50, which was a little too rich for my blood, even burning as it does for Alan.

I don't know what made me search eBay for it again, but I did, and found someone selling a brand new copy, with commentary, for $25. Of course I couldn't resist. I was half afraid it was someone trying to pawn off the no-frills version, but no, it's the correct one (leaving me with an unprecedented lack of saga).

I just watched it again tonight. It's definitely a must-own for Alan fans, however, I'm forced to admit I really prefer him a little older and a little...meatier. He was really scrawny when he was younger. I still wouldn't kick him out of bed but his appeal, at least for me, has definitely increased the older he gets.

No time tonight for the commentary, but I did watch the interview with director Anthony Minghella. This was pretty disappointing. I seek out commentary on some movies because I like the movie. On others I'm hoping for some behind-the-scenes tidbits on whatever actor I bought the movie for. I want to hear what it was like working with them, how they were chosen for the part, stuff like that. Minghella's interview talks a bit about his process in writing the movie, his first time directing a movie, the reaction to the movie, etc. He spends a LOT of time talking about his star Juliet Stevenson (who I found really annoying the first time. She was considerably more tolerable the second time). About how this is their 10th time working together. About how he discovered her in the RSC and instantly wanted to work with her in everything. About the rehearsal she went through to reach the gut-wrenching depths of grief required for one scene in particular.

Oh, yeah, and Alan and a bunch of other people were also really wonderful in the film. Literally, in a 30-minute segment, this is all that is said about Alan. I hope the actual commentary track takes some time out from self-aggrandizing to mention him at some point.

What is it about Alan Rickman that drives the movie makers to avoid doing anything to acknowledge he was a participant? The only commentary I've seen that makes any decent mention of him is Die Hard. It's also the only commentary I've seen that's in text form, so that's a bit annoying.

The rest of the film aside, it amuses me to no end that Juliet Stevenson later co-stars with him again in The Search for John Gissing. It's hard to see them outside of their TMD roles even though they barely interact in Gissing.

~*~

Since my 10% pay cut went into effect this month, I've been really trying to buckle down and concentrate on the transcription work. I think my new attitude of not caring as much about filling in blanks has helped, but it's still a stone drag not being able to idly surf in between reports as often as I used to.

YouTube obviously had to go. I can has cheezburger I can get through faster, and frankly some days I need those guaranteed laughs more than caffeine. I've only just discovered why women hate men; I try to save it as a little treat at the end of the day. The real trick is to stay as far away from cracked.com as possible -- this site sucks more time than YouTube, and delivers more laughs than the cats.

I've cut waaaaaay back on reading my F-list all day, but you people are so damn addictive.

They offered us a conference call to discuss the pay cut with our fellow MTs and supervisors. The catch was since it wasn't actual training, it would be unpaid. Yeah, give up an hour of work for a call that might address my concerns, but more likely would just be an unregulated bitch session, in between listening to a bunch of barely socialized women sharing stories about their day I don't care about, preparing dinner and letting their kids scream in the background? No, thank you.

~*~

Last but not least, this dog's name is Cuddles:


Cuddles


I discovered what an appropriate name it is when she was literally the only dog boarding one weekend, all alone in B ward. I felt bad for her so let her run loose all night, like I do with Beowulf. Unlike Beowulf, she climbed up on my cot with me and curled up behind my knees to sleep. Adorable. Until the morning when I returned her to her cage and she started howling mournfully. Because dogs, unlike cats, can't just say, "Well, this has been lovely but now it's time to move on." Nope, you give and give and then they say, "How much more have you got?"

She was there again the next weekend. Again I let her roam. There was a postop cat in the bottom cage in Recovery that Cuddles just fell in love with, but the cat wanted none of it. Poor Cuddles sat outside the cage all night hoping for another glimpse of her. It was actually quite sad.
grrgoyl: (AD Chicken Dances)
Christmas shopping so far this year is turning into quite the nightmare.

First I looked over my sister Nancy's Amazon wishlist, full of lots of $40-$50 sewing items, and a $300 Amazon Kindle. Yeah, that's not happening. So I thought I'd surprise her with something not on her list, that I was sure she'd love anyway -- Wall-E on DVD. My sister is a child at heart like me, has even been known to buy Happy Meals for the sake of movie tie-ins. I emailed my mother in advance asking if she knew Nancy's feelings on the movie. "I'm sure she'll love it" she responded.

I ordered it straightaway. The next morning I opened an email from my mother saying that Nancy had walked through the door last night and announced that she had just bought Wall-E. Grrrrr. She evidently is not living under the same self-buying moratorium Tery and I have imposed in our house. I asked my mom, "Would you like a copy of Wall-E?" She said yes. I said, "Great. Try to act surprised."

However, she will be surprised since I'm returning it to Amazon. For the past three years my mother's wishlist has contained the same two lonely, and currently unavailable, items, a set of mixing bowls and a solar-powered car window fan. This year I decided to make half of her dreams come true and found an equivalent car fan on eBay. "She'll never expect this!" I thought gleefully. True dat, as I discovered yesterday either my mother creates new wishlists and then forgets about them every few years, or there really are five different Marjorie Adamcewiczs on Amazon. Her CURRENT list is made up of almost every Cesar "The Dog Whisperer" Millan product known to man, not a bowl or car fan to be seen. Thus Wall-E is going back for a refund, cuz my paychecks aren't getting any bigger (see previous post), and it's not the 3-disc edition I yearn for.

But all this is nothing to the horror show that is one of Tery's gifts. She asked for a new iron, an iron that must be damn special because Amazon was selling it for close to 80 bucks. Always cutting corners trying to save a few dollars, I went to eBay instead. I got in on a "new" one starting at $9.99. My maximum bid matched what I would have paid at Amazon, thinking winning it for anything less would be a coup.

Sadly, there was no coup, I got into a bidding war, and ended up paying almost my maximum. Fine, still $10 less than Amazon.

The item arrived via DHL, a company I hate so much I had actually rejoiced when I heard about their demise. You can imagine my dismay at this evidence that those rumors were unfounded. It was shipped in a beat-up old shoe box. The manufacturer's box had obviously been opened, but worst of all the entire thing, inside and out, reeked of a foul, pervasive, clinging perfume worn by a ten-dollar whore about 20 years past her prime. Oh my GOD what a stench.

Of course I emailed the seller immediately with my complaint. They responded the box had "only been opened to check the contents" (why would you need to check the contents on a manufacturer's sealed box??) and they didn't remember any smell. Well then, I guess it must have been dunked in the perfume vat at DHL's warehouse, the one they'll never admit to having. However, the seller "regretted my inconvenience" and what could they do to make me happy?

Meanwhile, back at Amazon the price had dropped 20 bucks overnight. GodDAMMMIT. So I came back to the seller with a link to Amazon, not specifying a refund amount but implying a partial one would be a good start. But apparently their offer to make it up to me didn't extend as far as actual monetary compensation. Though I don't know of any dissatisfied customer being appeased with only kind words and feigned concern.

Yep, they stopped answering my emails, obviously hoping to walk away from this with just a negative feedback. I'm filing a dispute with PayPal for intentionally misrepresenting the condition of the item. I'm only asking for $10, because it's really more about the principle than the actual money for me (plus I noticed a negative feedback rating buried back in his shady past complaining they had returned the item and received no refund. THAT would be even worse than dealing with the stink). I don't think $10 is unreasonable, and I just want to prevent this guy from getting off scot-free.

Just in case nothing comes of it, I've removed the iron from the box (saving the box for evidence. If nothing else, it will serve as an amusing illustration when I tell Tery this tale on Christmas Day. Of course, if I ever try to sell my car I might be accused of stuffing a dead hooker in the trunk). I tried powering it on and ironing something to see if there are any odor-related consequences. Doesn't seem to be, knock on wood. MyFriendDeb has generously offered the use of her balcony for a full airing as a last resort.

Don't ask when I'm going to learn my lesson and stop trying to save a few bucks. 'Ain't never going to happen.

My little sister is having still worse luck. She ordered a gift for her new boyfriend, again from eBay, and wondered why the heck it hadn't come yet. Then she was walking with him down the street when five doors down, purely by chance, she noticed an empty box with her address on it among the garbage bags. Either the post office had delivered it to the wrong address, or someone stole it off her porch. Either way, the scumbag opened it and kept the gift. Without knowing who took it, she's left to stew impotently, furiously wishing the worst possible karma on the asswipe responsible -- which isn't terribly satisfying, as I can attest to. She promised me she'd go to the post office today and raise some hell, because I think they bear a large portion of the blame.

Heads up, people. Christmas this year has been cursed. I blame Twilight.

UPDATE!: She went to the post office, and as expected got a whole lot of "What do you want us to do about it?" She was on the verge of filing her own PayPal dispute against the seller, a decision she wasn't at all happy with since she knew he had delivered faithfully, when she called me for advice. Since the seller has a second auction listed for the same item, I suggested she tell him what happened and try to negotiate a bargain on the second one. She'd get her gift without spending twice as much, he'd unload the item (sometimes a reduced price is better than nothing), win-win. She loved this idea. Why can't my own problems be so easily solved?

~*~

This past weekend I had a full house, as to be expected on a holiday weekend. People love their pets, until they have a house full of guests. Among them was my boy Beowulf, who if you'll remember had a grand old time on his last stay the night I decided to let him run around the place. He recognized me when I walked in, and I think remembered what I did, because the whole time I was walking everyone else he was just bouncing up and down, chomping at the bit to get out. He had to wait even longer because I was asked to give another dog a bath in preparation to go home the next day (went better than expected. As Tery assured me, the dog was so terrified at the strangeness of standing in a tub being sprayed down that she didn't move a muscle. It was kind of fun).

I finished with her and out Beowulf came. He immediately ran upstairs, the majority of his territory he claims, which is just fine by me; an intruder would probably have to get in up there. I would just like to see the look on their face when they spotted Beowulf galloping down the hallway at full speed towards them.

I also had Honus the Asshole Beagle of Death, who has settled down amazingly well since the family adopted Travis. But Honus didn't care for Beowulf's preferential treatment, oh, not one little bit. He howled and barked and yapped up a storm. Sorry, Honus. Beowulf is my favorite. Maybe if you were my favorite....but no. If there was some bizarre cataclysmic event that wiped out every other dog on the planet except you, Honus, you STILL wouldn't be my favorite. And even if I had an inoperable brain tumor and decided you were, I hopefully wouldn't forget the last time I gave you free run as a desperate attempt to get you to stop barking THE ENTIRE NIGHT, and you completely trashed the place. No, Honus, sorry. Not again in this lifetime.

Beowulf spent a few happy hours walking his perimeter -- around the top floor, sit by the front door for awhile, then back down to check on me. It was all well and good until I finished my work and lay down for a quick nap. Then his circuit included trotting over to my cot and thoroughly washing my face. On every single pass. Ewww. Meant no open-mouth sleeping, but I tolerated it because it was the most affection he'd ever shown me, and I don't much fancy the idea of saying no when such a large beast has his jaws exactly at face level.

By morning he was literally yawning, could hardly keep his eyes open (I exhorted him multiple times to relax and sleep next to me, but he would have none of it. Not while there was a building to be guarded. Tery's employees should have half the dedication). Tery says the day shift who came in after me remarked about how calm and well behaved he was. Yep, just have me be Beowulf's personal handler. That would be great.


My happy boy


Some more pictures: I found this symbol drawn on every available surface last weekend. I deduced it was Twilight-related.


Where are the fundamentalists who thought Harry Potter was satanic? Too busy getting gay marriage banned, I guess


My Navi Navi, licking her lips and Lomo-fied:



Unrelated, here's another gay ferret boy pic, because I can't get enough of them:



~*~

Finally a movie rec: Right at your Door. A terrorist attack hits LA, and we're trapped in a house with a guy who knows less than us, cuz he didn't read the EW review. ::spoilers? Yep, got those. In spades:: )

Scary? Oh yeah, it plays just right on all the new fears of the 21st century. Terrorist attack, government figures who are even scarier than Muslims, biological warfare on American soil, the media lying to the public -- this movie has it all. Kind of a downer of an ending, which is what I liked most about it. Rent it now.
grrgoyl: (Barack the Vote)
Thank you all for participating in my poll. I'm pleased to learn that, as I suspected, my friends are all smarter than the average employee of Tery's.

With the exception of [livejournal.com profile] kavieshana, who was either trying to be funny or ironic. And who poo-poohed my gigantor fly photo. Well, I had this enormous fella in the hospital stairwell Saturday night:



His leg span was about an inch across. He was so big I thought he might be a Halloween decoration, except he was hanging out near the bottom of the wall, right by where I (and the dogs) pass through to get in and out. I wasn't even sure he was alive (didn't move through several nervous and increasingly closer shots with my phone) until I poked him with a flyswatter and determined he was very much so. I asked Tery to get on the internet to identify it; I really only cared about whether or not it was going to jump on my face and inject me with flesh-eating venom. She assured me that, despite its terrifying appearance, it was only a black house spider, characterized by having front legs much longer than back, and supposedly very timid and harmless.

I let him be with relief. By morning I thought he was gone, until I noticed him hanging onto the corner of the door to the stairwell. From there he scuttled into some leaves and I don't know what happened after that.

~*~

Yesterday MyFriendDeb and I, and 100,000 of our fellow Democrats, went to the Obama rally in Denver. She suggested it a few days ago. I agreed gamely, promising to call her as soon as I got in a quick nap after my shift. Over the course of the conversation though it became apparent she was concerned about crowds and wanted to get there "the earlier the better." So with horror I heard myself agree to go with her directly after my shift (keep in mind that the Saturday shift comes after my Saturday day job, which comes after my Friday shift, after my Friday day job. So Sunday mornings are traditionally the time I crash hard).

After a Dark Chocolate Mocha Frappucino and two Mountain Dews, I felt great. We got on the Light Rail, joined by many people already decked out in Obama bling (we had none). When we arrived at Civic Center Park, the line appeared sizable as we joined it, though over the next few hours it became obvious that we hadn't seen the half of it. We then spent the next two hours getting to know our fellow line-waiters, and freezing our asses off (though not nearly as cold as waiting for Lion King tickets). We got along great with the woman behind us, until we spotted the pro-life protest signs. "It's so hard these days to be a Catholic," she sighed. She was, and was also pro-life. I said only I could see both sides, but it boiled down to the fact that you can't tell other people how to live their lives (forgetting that most religious people feel quite the opposite). The conversation became sort of thin after that, but that might have been because we were finally being let into the park.

Before that there was literally one lone McCain supporter marching up and down with a sign calling Obama's tax plan "welfare" on one side and something about "acorn politics" on the other. One Obama fan jeered at him, "Yeah, where are the rest of you at?" It was pretty pathetic as far as protests went.

We entered the park through an airport-style security station (in fact being manned by TSA officials). We had to have all electronics turned on so they could verify there were no bomb detonation devices I suppose, necessitating me hastily switching my cellphone Snarry wallpaper over to the more innocent photo of Kitten Mitten I keep just for that purpose. Then we were in!

We had a plan -- secure a spot in the crowd, then take turns getting to the port-a-potties, because at that point we'd been standing in one place for about two and a half hours and it was TIME TO GO. Deb left and returned without incident. I, naturally, was not so lucky. By the time I got back the lawn area was filling in nicely, with a large crowd pressed very close together. With difficulty I navigated between people, working back to Deb, mostly successfully until I came up against a real first-class jackass. "Excuse me, sir," I asked politely.

He crossed his arms obstinately and announced, "I'm not moving."

Confused, I repeated, "Excuse me please."

"Nope. I'm not moving," he insisted again.

"I'm just trying to get back to my friend, can you let me by?" This was absolutely ridiculous. From where we stood I could see Deb a paltry 5 feet in front of us. Did he really think that spot was SO much more primo than his? Was I a 10-year-old cutting into the lunch line? More importantly, was waiting in line since before sunrise after working all night not enough to earn me a decent spot (being currently saved by my friend)?

"You're saying I can't go stand with my friend," I clarified.

"There's no room! I'm not moving!" he planted himself even more firmly.

"Fine. You're an ass," I said, as I went further down and progressed around someone else. I got back to Deb and told her how I'd almost come to blows with this guy. All the people surrounding our little pocket shook their heads with equal disbelief. If I was 6 foot 5 (like the guy we were stuck behind) you can get irked, but for heaven's sake, my 5 foot 6 frame wasn't impeding anyone's view overly much.

Bleah. He was the only negative part of the day. We had plenty of time to look around before Obama arrived. I was trying to take pictures and video, but it was tricky from my position.


To give you some idea where we were. Not very close, but we could have been a hell of a lot farther. We were about two rows behind this tall drink of water, the back of whose head makes up the majority of the video I tried taking. Also this shot was only possible by standing on my tiptoes and holding the camera high, high above my head.



I wanted to know what was up with the Cylon eye stuck in the spire of the County building. Backup crowd control?


The rally finally began properly, with speech after speech given by all the Colorado politicians. Blah blah blah, all the same words of encouragement about the campaign trail so far, as well as the interminable exhortations to get out and volunteer for the final push to Election Day that we'd endured while standing in line. The funniest line belonged to Senator Ken Salazar, who began a sentence, "If Barack Obama were here today,..." I don't know how it ended, because we had all turned to each other in alarm and asked, "What does he mean 'if he were here'?" Obviously he just misspoke, but it was pretty funny.

Most of the speeches (Barack's included) started with an expression of awe at the size of the crowd. I tried to get shots of it from my vantage point, but there was a much better one in the Denver Post:


100,000+ people. When I saw them stretching all the way to the steps of the Capitol it brought tears to my eyes, I tell you. But I'm always a little sappier after working all night


Finally the man himself got up to speak. By this time we thought we'd never be able to bend our knees again, our legs were so stiff and painful. Thankfully he only talked for 20 minutes or so. I got a couple of good glimpses, none with my camera, until I suddenly remembered I had a zoom.


May or may not be the next President of the United States


Deb was pretty disgruntled at not being able to see anything. I tried to console us with the sentiment that if you wanted clear shots of Obama you could watch TV. The point of today was getting out and representing and joining the crowd to show support. There was an even smaller Indian girl behind us who kept tapping on the shoulders of the tall folks in front of her (even multiple rows up) begging them to move a little so she could see. I don't think she realized how hard it would be to rearrange the entire crowd exactly to her liking.

We couldn't really see him, but we could hear him and we were seen by the media, and that's all that matters. We grabbed lunch in Fado's Irish Pub and headed home. By that time I felt like I'd been pressed through a potato ricer and I crashed harder than hard in my bed.

Coincidentally Tery brought the poster featured in my icon home from the bar. It's now framed and proudly displayed in our living room. It makes me feel like we're living in Stalinist Russia (but in a good way).

This morning I voted (my state allows early voting and therefore ROX). I also feel a bit like I'm coming down with a cold after being out all day in the cold and getting almost no sleep for 48 hours. All I can say is if Barack doesn't win, I'll be taking names (on my way to Canada).

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