November 2006 Archives

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November 29, 2006
Amputation Day, Part 3

Mycah is home.

Her butt is mostly unshaven, but nonetheless, Mycah is unhappy.

[Click for larger.]

They left rather a lot more tail on her than I expected — 3-4 inches, rather than 3-4 centimeters. And she has, for the time being, a catheter installed and tightly bandaged on her right foreleg.

I almost typed "right arm" there.

I say "for the time being" because, if Mycah has her way, it won't be there much longer. She's not stopped trying to extract it since she got home.

We came home with a vial of painkiller, but as she was dosed before I picked her up, she won't need any more tonight. There's a followup appointment in the morning, so I won't have to try to dose her until tomorrow night.

She didn't sleep at all today. I'm hoping she's so pooped she'll sleep the whole night through.

Posted by Russ at 06:54 PM | Comments (2)
Amputation Day, Part 2

I received word from the vet that the surgery was complete, and that Mycah now has a "cute little tail." No word on whether her butt had to be shaved.

I went to pick her up, but by the time I got there, the vet had decided it would be best to keep her there for the rest of the day, and keep her on fluids. Mycah, being diabetic, has to have close attention paid to her kidneys. I understand that, but it's still something of an unwelcome hiccup in the proceedings.

I'll be taking a break from work [working from home... what a wonderful modern age we live in] later this afternoon to go pick her up, and she'll have to go back for a followup tomorrow morning.

Posted by Russ at 02:04 PM
Amputation Day

Mycah has been delivered to the vet this morning for her tail removal surgery. She takes being bundled into the carrier and whisked off rather well, and today was no exception, but I was sure to be extra nice to her. Especially since, when she headed downstairs this morning, she thought she was about to be fed. Fooled her again.

The folks at the cat clinic were, as always, very kind. They obviously love cats there, they like Mycah, and she. . . well, she tolerates them. She knows the clinic is where she routinely suffers indignities.

Such as, she's going to have her butt shaved today.

OK, I don't know for fact that they'll shave her butt there today, but it makes sense for a tail amputation.

I just hope she'll be OK. I know she's in good hands.

Posted by Russ at 09:00 AM
November 26, 2006
Holiday Hustle & Bustle

It's been a busy week here at the homestead — too busy to post, I'm afraid. Were it not a quiet night at work right now, I wouldn't be writing this. Having a Mom come for a visit is one thing, but having sister and niece come to stay as well, and an uncle and aunt come for a quick visit, all while maintaining my weird-hours work schedule, has really kept me hopping.*

T-day was overall a great success. Lesson 1: always brine your turkey.

Lesson 2: don't brush the turkey with butter if it's going into a 500° oven; wait until the oven is down to 350° or thereabouts. 'Twas a little smoky here for a few minutes, but fortunately we didn't have to feed the fire department.

Lesson 3: there's a use for every bit of the bird. What doesn't end up as sandwiches or soup, the cat will surely be happy to take care of. As it happens, Mycah loves turkey.

I'd have got a picture of her snarfing down giblets, liver, etc., but those bits lasted less than a second. She absolutely hoovered them up.

My sister & growing-like-a-weed niece left for home this morning. Dang. I don't get to see them anything like often enough.

Mycah goes for her tail amputation on Wednesday, and Mom leaves for her California home on Thursday. Busy times continue.

* In a metaphorical sense — my knee and back problems don't let me literally hop.

Posted by Russ at 05:45 PM
November 21, 2006
Tummy Tuesday

At the oncologist last week, Mycah underwent an end-to-end screening, looking for any indication the cancer had spread from her tail. Part of the screening was an ultrasound examination, which required that she be shaved.

She'll never forgive me for publishing this picture, but it's Tummy Tuesday, so it had to be done.

Posted by Russ at 01:26 PM | Comments (3)
November 18, 2006
Quote of the Day

Eric Cartman, South Park:

Hippies. They're everywhere. They wanna save the earth, but all they do is smoke pot and smell bad.

I was in a Whole Paycheck Foods grocery store today. 'Nuff said.

Posted by Russ at 06:02 PM
Patient Patient-to-be

Uncharacteristically, Mycah waited very patiently to be fed on the morning of her trip to the oncologist — usually, she vocally pesters me until the plate is on the floor. Sadly for her, however, food was a no-no before her appointment.

Take a good look at that tail. This is one of the last photos taken in which it will ever be seen in all its feline splendor:

[Click for larger]

By the time the vets were done with her on Tuesday, her tail (and tummy) had been shaved a bit. I have photos, but Mycah's dignity might strangle me in my sleep if I publish them. We'll see.

We (the vet and I) are in the process of scheduling the amputation, which we expect will happen this coming week or the week after the holiday. Once the stump of her tail is healed, Mycah should be able to do a creditable impression of Abby, though she is perhaps a bit larger.

OK, a lot larger.

Wisecracks aside, it's hard to put Mycah through all this. Certainly the tail removal won't be as invasive as what Gracie has been through, but we all know that every surgery has risks. So I fret.

I wonder: will Mycah miss her tail? Will she try to groom the tail that isn't there any more? Will she be sad when she can't find it? I don't know. But as many friends have said, better she lose her tail to a surgeon than lose her life to cancer.

I certainly won't love her any less.

As always, the Modulator's Friday Ark is recommended for a visit. Plus, the Carnival Of The Cats this week is at Mind of Mog.

Posted by Russ at 01:34 AM | Comments (1)
November 17, 2006
Dang It

OK, when did my comments stop working?


[8:00pm - OK, they seem to be working now.]

Posted by Russ at 01:27 AM | Comments (5)
November 16, 2006
Random Observation #12

Unless you are actually Andy Serkis, do not attempt a "Gollum" voice in my presence. Especially at the office.

"My precioussss," my ass. I really hate having spit all over me.

Posted by Russ at 07:44 PM
November 14, 2006
O Results

Here's a sentence I guarantee you don't hear more than once a year: "Thankfully, it's only an amputation."

Mycah is going to be losing all but 3-4cm of her tail, but that's all that's going to happen. The oncologists found no sign at all that the cancer has spread.

The vets loved her; she was very well-behaved. I'm not at all surprised. She's very sweet, except when she's trying to kill me.

Posted by Russ at 07:51 PM
O Day

Today is Oncology Day for Mycah.

Thinking she was about to be fed, she led the way down the stairs this morning and waited near her dinner plate, only to realize that what actually awaited her was the pet carrier.

She was not amused.

She handled the drive to the NCSU CVM rather well, despite it being a longer trip than she's been on since I got her. She handled the wait in the clinic well, despite the presence of half a dozen large dogs in the waiting area.

The initial screening and exam, usually handled by a vet student, was done by a vet on exchange from France. Mycah behaved well, but then, someone this good looking (no lie) poking and prodding me would likely have me behaving pretty well, too.

The oncologist was called in for a brief consultation about what would happen to Mycah today. X-rays, ultrasounds, blood tests, and so on. I told them they could shave her and dye her green if that would help, but we're probably still too far out from St. Patrick's Day for that.

I'll be picking her up this afternoon, but the test results probably won't be in for a couple days. Until then, pins and needles.

Posted by Russ at 11:50 AM
November 11, 2006
Last Full Measure

On this Veterans Day, we have recent news that the nation's highest award for valor, the Medal of Honor, will be awarded posthumously to Corporal Jason Dunham, USMC. There is an entire category dedicated to CPL Dunham at America's North Shore Journal. Read it, and remember.

On April 14, 2004, Corporal Dunham heroically saved the lives of two of his fellow Marines by jumping on a grenade during an ambush in the town of Karabilah. When a nearby Marine convoy was ambushed, Corporal Dunham led his squad to the site of the attack, where he and his men stopped a convoy of cars trying to make an escape. As he moved to search one of the vehicles, an insurgent jumped out and grabbed the corporal by the throat. The corporal engaged the enemy in hand-to-hand combat. At one point, he shouted to his fellow Marines, "No. No. No. Watch his hand." Moments later, an enemy grenade rolled out and Corporal Dunham jumped on the grenade to protect his fellow Marines, using his helmet and body to absorb the blast. Corporal Dunham succumbed to his wounds on April 22, 2004.

I have in the past had to do a few things that might require one to "suck it up" and carry on, but I cannot fathom the kind of courage exhibited by CPL Dunham. We as a nation are blessed to have such fine people serving.

Posted by Russ at 05:00 PM
November 10, 2006
Forms of Address

Because of a recent merger, my employer is allowing all employees to select new email addresses. I'll probably go with the same pre-@ address I always used before I started working here.

But. . . I wonder if they'd mind terribly if I selected "WageSlave@[company].com?"

Perhaps "SplatterMonkey@. . ." would be more acceptable.

Posted by Russ at 04:59 PM
Mighty Huntress

Mycah's veterinary oncologist appointment is this coming week, but for now, life goes on as normal.

The Mighty Huntress spends a quiet afternoon lazing about on her recliner. . .

When suddenly. . . prey appears! Kill the feather! Kill! Kill!

The feather filleted, and an unfortunate bystander mousie mangled, the Mighty Huntress seeks new prey. . .

In the distance, she spies something. Would it be. . . ? Could it be. . . ?

A treat? Heck ya!

Her bloodlust sated, the Mighty Huntress ponders the future. . . will she ever hunt again?

You bet your keister she will!

But first, a nap.

Mycah has her appointment on Tuesday, an all-day screening at the Oncology department of the NC State University College of Veterinary Medicine. They'll spend the day checking her from nose to tail, looking for any sign that the recently-diagnosed cancer on her tail has metastacized.

Lord, I hope not.

If you are so inclined, purrayers would be appreciated.

People to see! Places to go! Make your next web destination the Modulator's Friday Ark.

If you miss the Carnival of the Cats at This Blog Is Full Of Crap, you might find Mycah hunting you.

Posted by Russ at 05:02 AM | Comments (4)
November 06, 2006
Go. Read. Now.

Bill Whittle has posted the next installment of his magnum opus: Seeing the Unseen (Part 1).

Today, it seems that legions of people – growing legions – are falling victims to ideas and beliefs that on the face of it are patently false…things that are so clearly and obviously nuts that you really have to wonder what deep, mighty engine of emotional need could possibly drive a brain so deep into a hole.

As always with Bill's work, it's a good read. No — a must read.

I wanted one of those submarines, too.

Posted by Russ at 06:46 PM
Mindless Fun

How to waste time: flying hamsters. My best score: 717 feet.

Damn you, Robbo.

Posted by Russ at 04:40 PM | Comments (1)
November 05, 2006

Saddam guilty, sentenced to swing. More at Hot Air.

As I predicted. Almost three years ago. Sort of.

Countdown to moonbats questioning the timing — in three... two... one....

Posted by Russ at 05:35 AM | Comments (2)
November 01, 2006
Instant Message Excerpt: On Being a Network Engineer, 2

While trying to learn a new set of commands for looking at a rare piece of Bay Networks gear:

Russ(19:28:23): I think I just blew a synapse.
Russ(19:29:44): I had an easier time with Korean than with this.
[colleague](19:30:09): that's because talking Bay won't get you a date.

Truer words were never spoken.

Posted by Russ at 07:39 PM | Comments (1)
"The Unit" Rocks

I've TIVOed CBS's The Unit from Day 1 — Dennis Haysbert is just too cool — though to be honest I can do without the entirety of the wife-driven soap-opera half of the show. But I intend to continue watching, because of scenes like what follows, from last night's episode.

The wife of one of the unit's sergeants, having encountered protesters at the gate of the base earlier in the day and taken some of their literature, enters a thinly populated lecture hall. We have been led to suppose that it might just be possible she's interested in joining the protest movement. She's had her issues with the military in the past.

An unshaven professorish guy is lecturing in front of a sign reading "THE COST OF ARROGANCE IS PAID IN BLOOD." What appear to be slogans are written on the whiteboard behind the lecturer. If he had shaved, he'd look like a lawyer, but the stubble marks him as a rebel. With tenure, no doubt. She starts making her way into the hall.

Professor Dude: "Conflict resolution teaches us that nothing can be resolved unless and until each side recognizes the absolute right of the other side to a point of view. Now — [notices Army Wife] thank you for coming — in international relations, as in childrearing, two children will fight. What is the first thing one must do? First thing. Christine?"

Christine, who appears to have attended junior college for an AA degree in Pissing Me Right The Hell Off, answers: "Make them stop hitting."

Professor Dude: "Well, that is correct. Now, war — [Army Wife, who hasn't even had a seat yet, signals that she has a question] Yes?"

Army Wife: "No conflict can be resolved unless and until each side recognizes the absolute right of the other..."

Professor Dude: "That's right..."

Army Wife: "... to..."

Professor Dude: "To their point of view."

Army Wife: [pause] "What about Hitler?"

Professor Dude: [pause] "Anybody?"

Christine: "The Versailles Treaty?"

Professor Dude: "Excellent, excellent. Had the Versailles Treaty dealt fairly with a defeated Germany at the end of World War One, could the German public ever have been receptive to the Nazi program? Now... [Army Wife, still standing raises her hand] Yes?"

Army Wife: "What about 9-11? Three thousand people died. Should we have recognized the terrorists' right to kill those people?"

Christine, PMRTHO, smug, condescending: "But those people had a grievance."

Army Wife. "Yes, I know they had a grievance. But that doesn't mean that they were right.

Christine, PMRTHO, stupid: "Sufficient that they were willing to kill their children."

Army Wife: "Yeah, well you know what? I don't mind them killing their children. I object to their killing my children. Somebody thinks I offended him, I suppose he can give me a call. He comes into my house in the middle of the night with a butcher knife, I'm gonna shoot him dead, because I have a family to defend. Is this so foreign from your way of thinking?"

Christine, attaining a new level of P'ing MRTHO: "The Bible says 'thou shalt not kill.'" [This always steams me, because what the Hebrew actually says is "you shall not murder." Big difference.]

Army Wife: "Yeah, well, I guess our opponents missed that part."

Professor Dude: [thinking he's grown a pair] "Whose side are you on?"

Army Wife: [disabusing him of the notion] "I'm on the American side."

Professor Dude: "Didn't I see you at the peace protest?"

Army Wife: "Well, yeah. I was driving into the base."

Professor Dude: "You work at the base."

Army Wife: "Something like that. And I have something else to say. [referring to the sign] 'The cost of arrogance is paid in blood.' What does that mean? And how can you stand there with your superior wisdom and berate the men and women who have sworn, with their lives, to defend you? Do you scream at firemen when they're going to put out a fire? Do you? Well, there's a fire, people, you're at war, and though it's hard for me to believe, you don't know it."

Christine, continuing to PMRTHO: "You're out of order, and you're in the wrong room."

Army Wife: "What about recognizing the absolute right of the other?" Heh.

Christine, whining, really P'ing MRTHO: "This is a peace meeting."

Army Wife: "Good." [Should make cudgeling then rather easy, then.] "Well. You're willing to fight for peace? Good for you, because that's what the men and women on the base are doing. Good for you. Now, I have a few other remarks."

[scene cuts]


[Later after the lecture, in a hallway. Professor Dude accidentally bumps into Army Wife.]

Professor Dude: "I didn't mean to startle you there."

Army Wife: "That's fine, I can take care of myself."

Professor Dude: "I saw that. You did yourself right proud in there."

Army Wife: "Right proud. Right proud, like us military types might say?"

Professor Dude: "Ma'am, ma'am, you won. What're you complaining about?"

Army Wife: "I won?"

Professor Dude: "I'd say by any objective standards, you won the debate."

Army Wife: "I did?"

Professor Dude: "I'd say you did." [Christine (standing in the hallway — young, dumb, and as yet she has no idea she'll end up years hence an embittered old hag — and who refuses to quit P'ing MRTHO) glares.]

Army Wife: "And how would you characterize that victory? Because you know what? Your leaflet says 'The cost of arrogance is paid in blood,' and I joked about it, but that's true, and..."

Professor Dude: "No, please."

Army Wife: "The arrogance is yours, and the blood is ours."

Professor Dude: "Go on."

Army Wife: "Because I believe it is arrogant to think that if other people just knew how well we thought of ourselves, they'd stop trying to kill us."

Professor Dude: [pause] "Well you give me a moment's pause." [It was way more than a moment.]

Army Wife: "Then I'm glad I came."

Professor Dude: "I'm glad you came too. I am too. Maybe we could continue the debate."

Army Wife: "I don't think so." [She walks away.]

Of course, there being a soap-opera-ish half of the show, she'll no doubt end up putting the moves on Professor Dude at some point. Still, I'm impressed that her speech came out of the mind of someone in Hollywood. It's nice to see some sanity from that quarter.

Posted by Russ at 03:19 AM | Comments (2)