29 April, 2007
Blades of Glory is frakkin' hilarious! I haven't laughed that much at a movie in ages!
Day Ninety-Six: Who knows what he's stalking this time
Originally uploaded by Planet Vicster.
(edited to add: I just realized that I used this same photo LAST Sunday...oh well, it's so cute, it's worth another look!) So, a couple of Monday's ago, I came out of the shower and as I walked into the living room, Simon was furtively playing with something. It was still dark and I couldn't see it but he had that look on his face that he knew he was about to get lectured. So I groped around under him and felt something large and plastic-y but I still couldn't imagine what he had. Just before I flipped the light on in the kitchen it dawned on me that I was holding the remains of my brand new bag of whole wheat pita bread. I confirmed this when the light went on.
Last Sunday I needed to do something with a bunch of bananas that were super-ripe. I didn't want to deal with making and having to quickly consume a smoothie, so I found a recipe for banana bread that called for the ingredients that I just happened to have on-hand. It was okay, not great but good when I wanted to nibble on something sweet-ish. I wrapped the pan in plastic wrap and left it on the counter. Simon hadn't shown any interest in it, so I didn't think twice about leaving it on the counter when I went to work Monday morning. When I came home Monday evening, he had, well, he had done this:
And that was the end of the banana bread and, quite honestly, I'm nervous about just having any groceries in the house, since he seems to be able to access the shelves in the kitchen (thankfully, not the cupboards, though...yet). So I will spend a good portion of my afternoon re-arranging my kitchen so that anything that might possibly be even the tiniest bit of gastronomic interest to Simon will be stashed in a cupboard or sealed in some sort of tupperware- or rubbermaid-type device.
In other news, Itchmo is reporting on an article in the International Herald Tribune (a NY Times publication) that says melamine spiking in animal feed is not a new thing (bolds mine).
"...the leftover melamine scrap, small acorn-sized chunks of white rock, is then being sold to local entrepreneurs, who say they secretly mix a powdered form of the scrap into animal feed to artificially enhance the protein level.
The melamine powder has been dubbed “fake protein” and is used to deceive those who raise animals into thinking they are buying feed that provides higher nutrition value.
“It just saves money,” says a manager at an animal feed factory here. “Melamine scrap is added to animal feed to boost the protein level.”"
This makes me ill. Especially when, over the years, so many of my friends' furkids suffered serious kidney problems. Some survived but many didn't. Now that it's known that this melamine shit has entered the human food supply maybe, MAYBE the FDA will do something useful and constructive like insist on a total BAN of any gluten or protein product from China.
And, as if this isn't infuriating enough, it seems as though the IHT article keeps going missing. It disappeared from the US site, and I cannot seem to find it on the European or Asia/Pacific versions of the site now, though commenters on the Itchmo site reported seeing it there.
I was afraid this story was going to get a whole lot worse before it got better. God damn, sometimes I hate it when I'm right.
27 April, 2007
(tip o'the hat to gwen who pointed me to this little corner of the intaranets.)
26 April, 2007
Labels: rock 'n' roll
24 April, 2007
23 April, 2007
Itchmo reports that a second company has imported tainted rice protein from China. The FDA, in their infinite stupidity, refuse to name the companies that either import or use (tainted) imported rice and wheat protein from China. Nor have they banned all rice/corn/wheat protein imports from China.
Funny, when they suspected mad cow from a Canadian cow, they stopped the import of Canadian beef fast enough. Shows how much power the cattle lobby and the import lobby wield in government.
Maybe it's time for us parents of furry children to raise some serious hell and demand that our representatives MAKE the FDA hold businesses accountable for the poison they're putting in our pets' food (and, no doubt, in our food).
22 April, 2007
Day Ninety-Six: Who knows what he's stalking this time
Originally uploaded by Planet Vicster.
That is to say, the end of the 365 Days project. We lasted 100 days, which is about 93 days longer than I thought we'd go. But Simon and Billie both got really tired of me shoving the camera in their face every time they did something even remotely cute or interesting and I realized that I was depriving us of a lot of the joy in simply being present by insisting that they keep being CUTE for the camera.
This doesn't mean I won't be taking pictures of Simon and Billie anymore, or even going on any lengthy hiatus, nor is this the end of Simon Sunday. Considering all of the mishief that Simon gets up to, and how delicately beautiful Miss Billie is, who am I to horde such wonderfulness all for myself?
For now, however, the three of us are gonna do lots more snuggling, lots more playing and much less posing and image processing.
20 April, 2007
Anyone who's known me for more than 15 minutes knows I'm a HUGE fan of The Who and am never far away from either one of their CDs or my iPod. That said, this is my all-time favourite version of "My Generation" (especially the ending! OMG the brilliant ending!):
This is the finale to Tim Samuels' upcoming BBC Documentary about the elderly in Britain who have been discarded by society. It's a subject very near to my heart* and I hope to be able to watch this documentary when it becomes available in the US (though I'm pretty certain I'll be alternately bawling and throwing things at the screen in frustration at how we devalue the elderly in Western society). This group, "The Zimmers" (a riff on the British colloquialism for walkers, as I recall--and as Shakes just confirmed for me), is a group that Samuels put together of senior citizens, featured in his documentary, who have been shunted off to old-age homes or have suffered from being house-bound and isolated. The lead singer is a delightful 90-year-old named Alf Carretta (a rock 'n' roll name if ever I've heard one!) who takes on Pete Townsend's lyrics with such great style. And there's the windmilling! And the guitar-smashing! And the overturned drum kit! This is beyond wonderful!
Oh, and they have their own MySpace page, too.
The single is due out May 21. The documentary will air in May on BBC Two (for those of you in the UK).
(hat tip to fellow Who fan Space Cowboy over at Shakesville.)
(* Those who have known me a lot longer than 15 minutes know that one of my "Lotto Dreams" is to buy a HUGE farm with a huge house that I'd fill with as many elderly people and older, hard-to-adopt children as I could and we'd all care for rescued horses, dogs, cats, etc.)
19 April, 2007
I had to leave Luna at the Subaru dealership early this morning (I was on the road at the ridiculous hour of 6:30 a.m.!) so I could get the CD player replaced. About a month ago it was happily playing my Dharma Bums iMix, when suddenly it skipped wildly. I ejected the CD and then re-inserted it. It spun for several seconds, the ejected it. Same with the next CD and the next. Anyway, got that taken care of and it was under warranty so I didn't have to pay for it, so Yay!
I left work early (since I got there 1:15 early) and picked up Luna, then headed to Pet Club for Feline Essentials (i.e. litter and Petromalt). I decided to stop at CompUSA, just to see what price they had on a 512mb memory stick for Fiona (the eMac, which came with a shamefully skimpy 256mb. Shame, Apple! Shame!). I was seeing them online for anywhere between $50-100 (the average being in the $50-70 range) and the last time I checked at the CompUSA on Market St., it was in the $90 range. I must have had good RAM Karma because they had some for $69. It was about what I'd have ended up paying online after shipping, anyway, so I got some.
It only took me two tries to install the memory and have Fiona successfully read it, which made me happy. And now I can play iTunes and have Firefox open and Mail and upload photos in 1001 and not have any combination of those leave me sitting, waiting and cursing for several minutes. Yay!
(Oh yeah, Simon reminded me that I must mention how absolutely HELPFUL he was, sitting off to the side while I installed the memory. He didn't stick his paw in the computer or try to shove his mousie toy in it or anything! Good Kitty! But no, you don't get more goat cheese, sorry.)
18 April, 2007
Someone, evidently in Dallas, Texas, came to my site based on a search on Male Ass Grooming.
17 April, 2007
Somehow, I've got "Point Me In The Direction of Albuquerque" by The Partridge Family stuck in my head tonight.
My job is, essentially, customer service. I've learned over the years that there are people who think they can argue their point enough times that it will suddenly become true. Every time I remind them of why their point is NOT true and why it hasn't been true the last 15 times they argued it and how it is most likely that it will not be true, EVER. I've also learned that when they toss out phrases like, "I don't mean to be rude, but..." or, "It's nothing personal, but..." that means THEY know they've lost the argument, but they're gonna take one last swing before hanging up. Or that they know they've lost the argument with ME, but they'll demand to speak to Someone Else in the hopes of convincing Someone Else that THEY are right and the CSR is wrong.
If you are one of those people who are embroiled in an argument with a Customer Service Rep and you know you're not gonna win your argument and you choose the "I wanna speak to your supervisor" route, you should know that if the CSR cheerfully agrees to that and immediately connects you, you're most likely toast. The Supervisor is gonna tell you the same thing the CSR just told you. (In fact it was most likely the supervisor who drummed the policy into the CSR's head in the first place!)
Have a nice day!
15 April, 2007
...which is why, if I want to fold my clothes and have them NOT be wrinkled like an 80's satin jacket, I usually fold them in the laundry room. Except they removed the table from the laundry room, so I had to fold them in my apartment. As you can see, Simon was quite pleased.
08 April, 2007
If you want me to file my tax return, you should really SEND ME THE BLOODY FORMS AND BOOKLET.
My four-day weekend was full of promise: Relaxation, a long-overdue trip to Golden Gate Park, and getting some other stuff done that I haven't been able to get to. But, first, Miss Billie needed to visit the V-E-T for her yearly rabies S-H-O-T. I had decided to put off the exam until next payday, so this trip would be a five-minute, get-in-get-shot-get-out and then I'd drop her off at home, make sure she was okay, then head over the bridge and be in the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park by noon.
I believe it's Anne Lamott who said, "If you want to make God laugh, tell her your plans." The vet tech took Billie in back to get her shot, but came out a minute later, telling me that Billie has lost 3/4 of a pound since last year and did I have time for an exam today. OK, 3/4 of a pound doesn't seem like much and if it were me, I'd rejoice, if it were Simon, that would be okay, too. But this is Billie, who only weighed a little over 6 lbs at her last check-up. Now, she's 5 lbs. 10 oz. and that is cause for alarm. Yet, Billie didn't seem like she had anything wrong with her (other than her back legs, which have always been a little wobbly). I thought of just waiting until payday, but then figured I'd be stressing over this and hovering over Billie for the next ten days, so I decided to go ahead with the exam.
The vet tech came in and asked the standard questions about appetite, litter box, activity, etc. Then Dr. Wydner came in and looked Billie over. Her teeth looked great, so a dental problem was ruled out. The doctor couldn't feel anything odd or out of place. Which would be good news, except it didn't explain that much weight loss. So I reluctantly went ahead with the blood panel and urine analysis. My reluctance was because 1) it's not a very pleasant thing for Billie to go through, being poked and having fluids drawn, and 2) this was now becoming a very expensive visit.
Dr. Wydner took Billie in the back for the blood and urine samples and I went out front. She brought Billie out a few minutes later saying she would call me on Friday with the results. So, a five-minute, $20 shot visit turned into an hour-long, $280 ordeal, and we'd still have to wait 24 hours to see if there was anything systemically wrong!
I brought Billie home and let her out of the kitty carrier. Simon took the opportunity to act like a complete asshole the entire day. He hissed and growled (though his growling sounds ridiculous and not very threatening at all) at Billie AND me all day long. Billie was pissed off at me because I had allowed her privacy to be violated most egregiously, so SHE was hissing at me. I thought about canceling my trip to Golden Gate Park, but I had broken that date with myself so many times, and, given the amount of stress I've been dealing with lately (not just cat-related but a lot of work stress too), I decided to leave the furkids to hiss at each other and go sit with Buddha.
I'm very glad I did that. On the way in and through San Francisco, my mind was screaming with "What if Billie has_____?" I was fighting tears and trying to remember to breathe. I parked my car where I always used to and headed into the Japanese Tea Garden. It took only a few minutes of being surrounded by cherry blossoms and seeing Buddha's calm smile before my breathing became less laboured and my mind more clear. I could hear my own voice giving me the advice that I had given so many friends who had faced a health crisis with their own furkids. No matter what the outcome of the tests were, I would simply love Billie. That would be my guide.
By the time I got home Simon and Billie were hissing at each other a little less. Billie ate her supper and didn't seem to show any discomfort from her rabies shot, which was good. Whenever I felt myself starting to worry over whether the tests would show her kidneys shutting down, or feline leukemia or anything catastrophic, I'd simply look at Billie and see a happy girl who, if she was sick, had no idea of it.
"Happy Girl"...that phrase started turning through my mind. As I have noted here before, Billie has become much more comfortable and self-assured here. She's begun to participate more in the activity around the apartment, trying interactive play with me and once in a while having a case of Cat Crazies. I realized that getting her to eat her food at mealtimes had become less of an ordeal, too. In fact, over the last several weeks, she'd occasionally ask for MORE food after she had finished her meals! Now, with Simon, those requests have always been denied because he tends toward the husky side and I realized that I usually didn't give Billie more food because, subconsciously, I was comparing her to SIMON, instead of comparing Billie to, well, Billie. "Can the answer be THAT simple?" I wondered. I made note of it to bring up with Dr. Wydner.
Friday morning, I made Billie a promise: No matter what the results of the tests were, I would NOT subject her to any more poking, prodding, or feeling-up today because she had had more than enough yesterday. Around lunch time, Dr. Wydner phoned. Her urine sample and blood panel came back all normal. Kidneys are fine. No feline leukemia or feline HIV, by all indications she's as healthy as can be. I mentioned the increased activity and maybe I should just give Billie more food and Dr. Wydner thought that would be a good idea. She even said that Billie doesn't look like a sick cat or act like a sick cat. So, we decided that I'd increase the amount of kibble and see if we can't get some weight back on her. Dr. Wydner said that any time I wanted to have Billie's weight checked to just bring her by. We agreed that, if she doesn't gain some weight back in the next several weeks, we'll look into having an x-ray done.
So far, I've started adding about 1/3 scoop of Simon's Prescription Diet i/d to Billie's regular Science Diet Hairball formula and she's eating it. I may transition her onto one of the organic kibble formulas, though. But she continues to be reasonably active and chatty and...healthy. I decided to stop worrying about how I'm going to pay for an x-ray because as far as Billie's concerned, she doesn't need it. Every animal that I've had the privilege of caring for has always let me know when he or she needed extra care so I'm going to take the energy I'd waste on worrying and use it to just simply be present with Billie and Simon.
That's all they really ever ask of me, anyway.
05 April, 2007
Several times in the last two or three months, I've pulled the litter box away from the wall to sweep the litter that the furkids (well, Simon) scattered, only to find wetness behind the box. Given Billie's history of occasionally deciding that she just can't be bothered to keep her entire ass in the box, therefore peeing half in-half out of the box, I naturally assumed she was either A) being lazy or B) making yet another Political Statement.
A couple of weeks ago, I switched out the short-walled red box for the high-walled blue box, specifically because Billie can't do the half in-half out business with the blue one. I noticed small clumps along the back wall of the box, consistently, every time I cleaned out the box (my apologies if you're reading this over lunch or a snack). I realized that neither cat is that consistent.
It turns out the drain pipe under the sink has a bit of a leak. And probably has had that slight leak for, oh, a few months. (I thought it was odd that whenever Billie peed over the side of the box back there that it was colourless and odourless...)
Ssssssssssssorry Miss Billie.
04 April, 2007
I don't have to answer a Single. Bloody. Telephone. W00T!
(p.s. so, those of you who have my number and are trying to phone me...leave a message, I will check VM. kthx)
01 April, 2007
The pipe cleaner Simon is playing with in this photo came with him from his former foster family. Over most of the last 5-1/2 years it has languished in his toy box while Simon (and Billie) had New Favourite Toys like the crackle snake, crackle frog, crackle fish, catnip dog, catnip dragon, various ping-pong, jingle and foam soccer balls, twist ties, ribbons and bows, cotton swabs, Cat Dancers, feather teasers and, let's not forget, rocks. Then, last weekend, Simon pulled the pipe cleaner out from the bottom of his toy box and suddenly he had this New Coolest Toy EVER!!! He was obsessed with this thing for three days before he cooled off a bit.
As Simon nears his sixth (SIXTH?!?) birthday, it's kind of cute to see him reconnecting with a very important part of his kittenhood.