August 2008 Archives

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August 31, 2008
The biggest loser

McCain's selection of Sarah Palin as his running mate has already had a number of effects on the campaign.

  • Mainly, I won't need to be stinking drunk to pull the lever for McCain.
  • The base, which has been pretty cheesed off at McCain, is now enthused.
  • Donations in the 24 hours after Palin joined the ticket exceeded seven million dollars. In one day. Seven.  Million.  Dollars. That includes the contribution I made. I never thought I'd give a dime.
  • Early results indicate a dampening of Obama's expected post-convention bounce in the polls.

There are losers a-plenty after this.

  • Hillary!, who wasn't even vetted by the Obama campaign, and who, if either Obama or McCain win two terms, will be 70 years old come Election Day 2016. She's hard enough to look at now; eight more years won't do her any favors.
  • Joe "his mouth runneth over" Biden. He's about to have his ass handed to him by a woman who was in grade school when he first went to the Senate.
  • Mitt Romney. I actually feel a bit sorry for the guy, but he still has a future in politics, or in any other endeavor he chooses. He's a remarkable guy; any Republican who can win a race in Massachussetts can probably take care of himself.

However, the biggest loser to come out of the Palin candidacy is none other than our former North Carolina senator, John Edwards.

  • He can no longer claim to be the prettiest VP candidate in our history.
  • In fact, he was never the prettiest — that honor used to go to Garret Hobart. Just try to tell me I'm wrong.
  • He can, however, still claim to have the poofiest hair of any VP candidate.
  • That claim, though, would also be inaccurate. The honors go to Richard M. Johnson.

One claim he can make, accurately, would be to having the thinnest resumé of any VP candidate in recent history. Six years as our NC junior senator, with one of the highest absenteeism rates ever recorded, is nothing compared to Palin's record of leadership and accomplishment.

He certainly was of no help to the Kerry '04 campaign, which won neither Edwards' adopted home state of North Carolina, nor his actual home state, South Carolina. Not so much "favorite son" as "favorite SOB."

Plus, of course, had he not been the VP candidate, polling indicated that he would almost certainly have lost a 2004 senatorial reelection bid.

But I don't think he's quite dumb enough to brag about any of that.

Yaaarrrr.... it's the Pirate's Cove linkfest.

Posted by Russ at 09:05 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
August 30, 2008
I'll bet you didn't know this

Follow me on this. I know, it'll be a shock to you. It certainly was to me.

I don't think anyone's remarked on it, but you know that Sarah Palin? I was watching the news, and I noticed... if you get past the tough reformer, past the leadership and wild approval ratings, past her principles.... Come on — you know who I'm talking about? — Sarah Palin? Governor of Alaska? McCain's VP nominee?

You might want to sit down for this. And send the kids out of the room — this is that shocking.


That Sarah Palin... she's, uh... she's kind of hot, don't you think?

I know it's not obvious.

I don't think anyone's mentioned that so far. Thought I'd point it out.

Posted by Russ at 04:16 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

It only just occured to me: with my two years as a squad leader in the Army, I have more executive experience than Obama does.

Sarah Palin's years as a decisive mayor and governor — and as a reformer — far outweigh Obama's history of "present" votes (or absenteeism) during his career as part of the — undeniably corrupt — Chicago political machine.

Posted by Russ at 10:52 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
August 29, 2008

I've talked before of Mycah's method for getting my attention. It has left me scarred, physically — for quite a while, I was unable to feel her efforts to get me to give out treats, and eventually she learned to meow when she wanted something... but not before she'd cut me to ribbons.

Now that I can feel her, she's again figured out that poking me is the way to get me to pay attention to her. And I finally had my camera ready to catch her in the act.

And she has the nerve to wonder why I want to keep her claws trimmed, and to complain when I do manage to get her in my clutches.

It's Friday; a visit to the Modulator's Friday Ark is required.

The Carnival of the Cats this week is at Robyn's place.

Posted by Russ at 03:17 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

It's Palin. Thank you, God.

I've always thought the first women and minorities to be elected to the highest offices would be Republicans. Democrat women and minority politicians tend to be rather too far to the left, too far away from what most Americans, men or women of any color, believe in.

Well, here's our chance to put a woman into the vice presidency. Based on what I know about her, she could be a great President someday.

And, as Bob Owens says,

Unlike Dick Cheney, who shoots small birds with a 28-gauge shotgun, Sarah Palin hunts moose. When she shoots a lawyer, they'll stay down.
Update: I just realized... she's younger than I am. This is a first for me.

And it does kind of make my life look like a turd sandwich.

Posted by Russ at 12:39 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
August 28, 2008
Attack of the Obamautomotons

Channelling Reynolds: "They said that if Bush were reelected, political speech that might tarnish the leader's image would be squelched, even outlawedand they were right!"

Hence the effort to shout down noted writer Stanley Kurtz, who's been doing some research.

One female caller, when pressed about what precisely she objected to, simply replied, "We just want it to stop!"
If that's what passes for political discourse, then we have either very little or a whole lot to worry about.

Of course, the efforts of the Obama camp are not meant to pass for discourse — they're merely pulling every lever they can to silence opposing voices.

They know that the Messiah's ties to unrepentant terrorist Bill Ayers, if widely publicized, would be a deal-breaker for the majority of the voting public.

And that simply cannot be allowed to happen.

Posted by Russ at 03:17 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
August 27, 2008
Quote of the Day

On Hillary Clinton's appearance during the DNC roll call vote to nominate the Obamessiah:

She looks so happy she could s**t a chainsaw.
The inimitable Ace.

Posted by Russ at 08:10 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

More and more these days, when I'm watching programs with a scientific bent on the Discover Channel, or TLC or even the History Channel, I find myself thinking that every single declarative sentence uttered in any of these programs ought to end with "... at least, that's what we believe right now."

Theories and hypotheses being passed off as settled fact bother me greatly.

Posted by Russ at 08:01 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
August 26, 2008
Quote of the Day, the Harking-Back-to-2005 Edition

Jonah Goldberg, on the Senator from Delaware, Joseph Biden:

The man loves his voice so much, you'd expect him to be following it around in a grey Buick, in defiance of restraining order, as it walks home from school.

Mr. Goldberg has additional thoughts on the Senator, in a post entitled "Biden's Brains." Worth reading.

[Originally posted 14Sept05.]

Posted by Russ at 05:45 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
il colpo di grazia

Nothing, absolutely nothing, must be allowed to stand in the way of Hopeiness and Changeitude™.*

Hence the Obama campaign's mob-like efforts to squelch this ad; it's got the potential to be the political kiss of death, and they know it.

If they want this to remain unseen, they'll have to do better than threaten.

Tell your friends.

More, from Mike Hendrix, on why Ayers matters.

* Or is that Changeiness and Hopeitude?

Posted by Russ at 03:54 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Vets for Freedom

Obama hasn't taken a stand on the Surge; what he's really been doing is called posturing.

Those who were there might have something to say about that.

Via Hot Air.

Posted by Russ at 03:40 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
3 a.m.

Today's theme: campaign ads.

More to come.

Enjoy them while I'm shampooing the carpet.

Posted by Russ at 03:34 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
August 25, 2008
Golden Ticket

I had my six-month followup with the neurologist this afternoon. He put me through the old familiar round of physical tests — reflexes, strength, sensitivity, and so on.

Here's something you might not have known: when the doctor does a test on you and then calls his colleagues in to see him do the test again, you can count on it being either very good, very bad, or very weird.

Mine was very good... and just a bit weird.

When the doc does the old "tap with a hammer" reflex tests, each leg reacts strongly — stronger than expected, given how badly I had declined prior to the surgery, and given the level of recovery everyone has anticipated. That's good. Those nerves, at least, are working.

What's weird is, when each knee is rapped, that leg kicks out really well, but the other leg reacts too. Not as strongly, and not in the same way; the other leg pulls in towards the middle. That's what drew the audience.

The neurologist explained it to me, and while I understood all the words, the sentence made no sense to me at all. As near as I can figure, I have the equivalent of some crossed wires somewhere in my central nervous system.

On the whole, though, the doc considers me his "miracle man" — his words, not mine. I'm doing so much better than I or anyone ever dared to hope. I'll never be completely normal, but I'm closer than I ever thought.

After a couple of years of all this pure, refined weapons-grade crap happening to me, I've come out of it with permanent nerve damage, a couple of bitchin' scars and no life's savings. I didn't even get a t-shirt.

Today, though... sing with me: "I've got a golden ticket."

Just in case you didn't get a good look at that...

Great parking for the next five years. I may not always need it, but I figure it's better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it. So, at least I've got that going for me.

Oh, maybe this would be better:

That'll do.

Posted by Russ at 09:07 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
August 23, 2008
Quote of the Day Month

[Bumped and promoted to quote of the month because... well, you'll know soon enough if you don't already.]

Gravitas isn't enough:

Biden is essentially a buffoon. He's quick on his feet. He's slick. He can put on a good dog and pony show. But if the answer to "who you gonna call" is "Joe Biden" you may be asking the wrong question. The truth is that a guy like Sam Nunn has pieces of guys like Joe Biden in his foreign policy stool.
Jack M., at Ace of Spades HQ

8/23 addendum: Joe Biden couldn't carry my foreign policy jock.

Maybe it'll give Obama a chance to be competetive in Delaware.

I wonder: how will the PUMAs react?

More: Mickey Kaus: "He doesn't have gravitas. He has seniority."

Blog reactions at Stop the ACLU (STACLU).

Still more: discussing the Hillary! crowd reaction, Allahpundit provides a Quote of the Day:

The only way this could be more awesomely awesome is if it involved robots.

Posted by Russ at 01:05 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)
August 22, 2008
Memorandum: Housekeeping

From: Management
To: the Cats (Mycah, Kismet, Packet)

It has come to our attention that in the past 24 hours, certain of the house rules have been, to be kind about it, overlooked. In light of this, we would like to remind you of the standards we expect our guests to maintain.

1) The litterboxes are intended to be used for certain biologically necessary functions. They are neither full of toys nor are they archaeological dig sites. Please use them for their intended function.

2) In a similar vein, the carpets are not to be used for litterbox activities. In short, don't poo on the carpet. We are not assigning any blame for the incident which occurred sometime while the Housekeeping staff was off duty this morning... but we are fairly certain it was Mycah. In future, please use the litterboxes.

3a) Though we have taken steps to avoid the formation of hairballs, our efforts have obviously been in vain. We shall redouble our efforts in this regard, but would appreciate it if, in future, hairball expulsion be carried out on a surface that is easier to clean than carpet. (See item #2 above.)

3b) In addition, it would help the Housekeeping staff immensely if, regardless of the surface upon which the hairballs are expelled, you would confine such activities to one spot, rather than making multiple attempts in multiple locations around the house.

4) As for #3b above, but substitute barf for hairball.

5) Be aware that carpet shampoo is not without cost. We would be most reluctant to be forced to choose between the purchase of carpet shampoo and a regular supply of Whiskas "Temptations" treats. Though regrettable, such a choice may be forced upon us due to budgetary constraints and your wholly voluntary behavior.

6) Please note that killing the Housekeeping staff while they are descending the stairs, though no doubt satisfying, would be a suboptimal long-term solution; as you are no doubt aware, you have neither opposable thumbs nor access to the car keys. Please attempt to avoid interfering with Staff while they are walking.

Thank you for your cooperation in these matters.

The Management

From: the Cats (Mycah, Kismet, Packet)
To: the servant

Get bent. Bring on the treats.

No respect at all,
The Cats

The Carnival of the Cats this week is at The Catboys’ Realm with Kashim & Othello and Salmone.

But first, go visit the Modulator's Friday Ark.

Posted by Russ at 05:26 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)
Moving on

I haven't said anything about it, but as of a week ago, I have a new job.

Well, OK, it's the same job I've been doing for the last three years. The "new" part of it is that I've been converted from "contractor" status to "regular" at Major Telecommunications Company Which Shall Remain Nameless.

Technically, I'm a manager now, and not even an first-level manager, but my duties are essentially the same. They can assign subordinates to me now, I guess, but I can't imagine why they'd need to do so. I'm pretty sure I'd rather manage networks than people, anyway.

My first day as a regular was Friday the 15th, so in the mail today — for the first time in over 10 years — I received an actual physical paycheck... for one day's work. The 15th was the last day of the MTCWSRN pay period.

I've done direct deposit for so long, I'm not sure I remember what to do with one of these things.

Posted by Russ at 01:35 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
August 20, 2008

Mycah seems to be back to her normal self.

The tests came back normal, and there is no apparent reason for the blood spots she left on the carpet last week; I'm thinking she just did it to freak me out.

It's possible, I suppose, that the blood came from somewhere other than a UTI. I see no sign of any injury on her, but perhaps there was something — it might explain why she was moving so slowly last week.

The vet has put her on a different variety of prescription food, and she's gobbling it right down and begging for more, the little piggy.

I mentioned that when I went to pick Mycah up on Monday afternoon, I would be bringing Kismet in with me for his rabies update, and to have his sneezy sniffles checked out. There doesn't appear to be any reason for the snottiness, but he's getting lycine in his food three times a day now, so that may help.

The lumps under his armpits are back, too. Having ruled out ringworm the last time these lumps were an issue, the vet now wants to biopsy them. In the meantime, he's on Clavamox twice daily.

Fingers crossed.

Posted by Russ at 04:31 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)
Budget buster

At the link, a demonstration of how to burn through my annual ammunition budget in about 10 seconds: the Dillon M134 gatling gun.

Posted by Russ at 02:31 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
Congresswoman dies

It is being reported that congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones, D-OH, passed away today after suffering an aneurysm. I was no fan of her politics, but I can't think of any scandal associated with her name.

Young or old, rich or poor, famous or anonymous, ready or not: any one can go at any time. Be ready.

Condolences to the congresswoman's family and friends.

Update: doctors now say that she is still on life support, in critical condition.

Update 2: just (7:55pm) heard she's gone. Dunno why the reportorial confusion.

Posted by Russ at 02:23 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
August 19, 2008

Taliban suicide troops attack US forces in Afghanistan, with predictable results.

Perhaps they should have watched a training video or two:

Posted by Russ at 01:56 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
August 18, 2008
Not-so-fond farewells

Someone, I think it was Mark Twain, once said that we ought to live our lives in such a way that we wouldn't be ashamed to sell the family parrot to the town gossip.

Me, I'll settle for never having my eventual obituary read like this one:

Dolores had no hobbies, made no contribution to society and rarely shared a kind word or deed in her life. I speak for the majority of her family when I say her presence will not be missed by many, very few tears will be shed and there will be no lamenting over her passing.

Her family will remember Dolores and amongst ourselves we will remember her in our own way, which were mostly sad and troubling times throughout the years. We may have some fond memories of her and perhaps we will think of those times too. But I truly believe at the end of the day ALL of us will really only miss what we never had, a good and kind mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. I hope she is finally at peace with herself. As for the rest of us left behind, I hope this is the beginning of a time of healing and learning to be a family again.

There will be no service, no prayers and no closure for the family she spent a lifetime tearing apart. We cannot come together in the end to see to it that her grandchildren and great-grandchildren can say their goodbyes. So I say here for all of us, GOOD BYE, MOM.

Some people make us happy when they arrive, others when they leave.

Posted by Russ at 03:33 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)
This is so wrong

It's just after 9am, and for the first time in I don't know how long, I have stayed up late enough after work — I usually finish sometime between midnight and 1am — to see a sunrise.

I didn't stay up in order to see the sunrise, I stayed up to take Mycah to the vet as soon as they opened their doors. The sunrise was merely an unpleasant side effect.

As was the morning rush hour traffic. Sure, it's nothing like the misery I endured for four years in San Jose, but it still sucks.

I've taken her in to the Cat Clinic and the wonderful Dr. Hodge early before, but I'd always done so after a couple hours of sleep. Not so today. I used the wee hours of the morning to clear my backlog of South Park and New Yankee Workshop episodes from the DVR.

Mycah is spending the day at the vet in order to generate a urine sample. She has, in the past, been notoriously uncooperative, so by keeping her all day — I won't go to get her until maybe 7pm — she ought to produce for them. She'd better — after the grief she gave me when it was time to bundle her into the PTU this morning, I'm not ready to put up with any "I refuse to pee" nonsense from her.

In the meantime, it's my day off and I'm going to bed.

Update: she cooperated, and according to the vet, there doesn't appear to be anything wrong. I'll just have to keep an eye on her for a repeat of last week's performance.

I'll be picking her up at about 6:30, and bringing Kismet in at that time for his rabies update. Plus, he's been sneezy and snotty lately — he sneezed up what looked like a banana slug the other day — so we'll have a chance to find out if he has kitteh hay fever, or if there's something else going on.

Posted by Russ at 09:11 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
August 16, 2008
This has been a sad week for those of us who frequent the Cat Blogosphere.

Violette Noelle, known as "Sprout," the young daughter of one of our own, passed away after a terrible and tragic accident.

She was three months old. Her funeral is today.

I cannot imagine a more horrible thing for parents to have to endure. Please keep little Violette Noelle's family in your thoughts and prayers during this most difficult of times.

Posted by Russ at 01:40 PM | Comments (12) | TrackBack (0)
August 15, 2008

Yesterday/early this morning, it was looking like Mycah was doing much better. But...

"Not so fast, Yakamoto." *

When I got up at noon today†, I noticed blood spots on the carpet in the area where she usually hangs out.


Suspecting an ingrown claw, I lured her near with a treat (they don't call them Temptations for nothing, y'know) and picked her up for a look. But no, her paws and claws all seem to be on the up and up.

I put her down (OK, I let her get down — she hates being picked up, and wriggles and twists to get down the whole time) and she was departing my lap for the floor, she left a smear of blood on my arm. I couldn't tell exactly from where it came, but it was somewhere in the region of her backside.


She apparently has the short-term memory of a guppy, because I was once again able to lure her near enough to pick up. She struggled rather a lot more this time, and I was unable to determine precisely where she bled from... but the fur on her butt is wet and matted.

She doesn't seem to be feeling any worse than usual; she's not acting sick, she's not weeing on the carpet. It's just these random spots of blood. Fortunately, they are limited to the small areas where she usually hangs out.

I called the vet, and the over-the-phone preliminary diagnosis is a possible urinary tract infection. I'll be taking her in tomorrow for another exam.

In the meantime, I have carpet that needs shampooing.

* For the cultural philistines among my readership, see Monty Python's Erizabeth L sketch. Classic.
† I think I might have let it slip — oh, I dunno, maybe about a hundred times — that I work nights.

Posted by Russ at 02:45 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
Reach out and touch someone

Mycah appears to be back to her usual state of health, though I think she has lost her taste for the prescription catfood. She doesn't always finish her meals... but her appetite is just fine, if her begging is anything to judge by.

It's been almost four months since Kismet and Packet have arrived, and Mycah has mellowed quite a bit as regards their intrusion into her house. She rarely vocalizes at the lads these days; all I'm hearing are brief hisses, with the very rare growl.

The lads are, of course, much interested in their fellow feline resident, and each has his own particular way of attempting to interact with her.

Packet takes a passive-aggressive approach. His tactic is simply to flop down on the floor in front of her whenever she is headed somewhere — to the litterbox, away from the litterbox, to meals, and so on. She has to go past him, and as she does so, she utters a brief hiss. Occasionally, if she passes within paw's reach of him, he'll raise a paw... and she preemptively swats him.

Kismet has a different approach to Mycah. When she is on the move he will follow a pace or two behind, reaching out a paw. Usually he paws at the remains of her tail, but sometimes he gets closer. He's not swatting at her; it's more like he's trying to tap her to get her attention.

It rarely fails. A brief hiss usually ensues. Occasionally, she'll swat back at him.

She's not amused by their attempts to get closer to her, but she is slowly succombing to them. When food is involved, she doesn't care how close they get to her. I predict that by the end of the year, she'll allow them to curl up on the floor within a foot of where she is laying.

The Modulator's Friday Ark is boarding.

This week's Carnival of the Cats is at Skittles the Huntress on Sunday.

Posted by Russ at 04:08 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)
August 14, 2008
The short version

I'm busy, due in no small part to a change in employment status. (This change, I might add, is a Good Thing.)

Mycah seems to be OK now. Her appetite isn't quite up to her usual standards, but she seems otherwise fine.

My lawn, on the other hand, is pretty much dead, despite the bits of rain we've been getting. Maybe I should go out and water it in the wee small hours every morning before I go to bed.

Posted by Russ at 04:54 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
August 12, 2008
Feeling better

Mycah seems to be much better today. She ate almost all of her breakfast, and perhaps two thirds of her lunch. We'll see how she does at dinner.

[Because of my work hours, we're on a weird feeding schedule. Each cat gets half a can of stinky goodness daily, in three increments, at (roughly) noon, 6pm, and midnight. On the extremely rare* occasions when I work at the office rather than telecommute, they get half up front, and half when I get home. The lads also have bowls of dry food left out where Mycah (due to lack of jumping ability) can't get to them.]

She's using the litter box... at least, to wee in. If she's pooed today, I have no idea where. There are three litter boxes available, two of which she refuses to use. She is, more than most people, a creature of habit, that habit including an insistence on having a pristine litter box with fine-grain litter in which to do her business.

I scoop a lot.

Sorry, no new pictures today... but here's a golden oldie of my best girl kitteh, back when she still had a tail... and about four pounds more flab than she has today:

* So rare that it hasn't happened in about 18 months.

Posted by Russ at 08:36 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
Gratification delayed

Great day at PT today. I didn't keep track of how far or how fast I walked. I was faster and more stable, but I didn't go as far as usual, due in large part to a new exercise I got to try today, the dreaded getting up off the floor without assistance exercise.

The lesson learned: get assistance, or plan on staying on the floor.

And so... another trip to the rifle range, blown. Dang. I really want to give the K.31 and VZ.24 thorough workouts.

Note to self: don't count on being able to do anything after a physical therapy session.

Posted by Russ at 06:24 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
August 11, 2008
Best of both worlds

[Click for larger.]

Posted by Russ at 07:24 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Mycah seems to be doing better today. She ate almost all of her breakfast, and she's been drinking well and using the litterbox (or, unfortunately, the floor next to it.) She seems no lazier than normal.

Grumpy Kitty

She likes the door-less PTU as a hangout, I think because it limits any unwanted approaches from Kismet and Packet. She's more tolerant of them, but not so much that she actually wants them within paw's reach.

Got a call from Nice Lady Vet about an hour ago; the fructosamine test was within normal bounds, so diabetes isn't the issue. She did suggest broadening Mycah's diet to include regular (non-prescription) canned food; it's possible she's just bored with the same food, day in and day out, for the last two and a half years.

I want to keep an eye on how she eats; I still get the feeling she's having difficulty getting her food down, which might, I suppose indicate a problem with her mouth, throat or stomach, but she doesn't seem to have any actual pain that she's complaining about.

We'll take any progress we can get.

Posted by Russ at 05:07 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)
August 09, 2008
My sick little kitty

Mycah is doing... not horribly bad, but not terribly well.

The lab results from Tuesday's visit came back; her blood sugar was a bit elevated, but they wanted to run another test on the sample, so I had to drop by and pony up for the additional test — a fructosamine test, whatever that is. It sure sounds like it's blood sugar related.

Mycah being diabetic, this is a concern. Her diabetes has been under control with diet alone for the past 2+ years, but perhaps she's beginning to require insulin injections.

She's moving better than she was earlier this week; she's resumed her "bunny hop" method of climbing the stairs, for instance. She doesn't appear to be limping in any way.

Her litterbox habits appear to have returned to normal, though her "output" is a bit reduced.

She's lost weight, two pounds since she was checked in April. She's still overweight at 14 pounds, but that seems to me to be too much, too fast.

She's not eating all her food at mealtimes. It looks as if she's having a hard time getting it down. I think I need to record a video and show it to the vet.

Kismet and Packet are getting pushy about the food, too. At mealtimes, I prepare the three dishes and give Mycah hers first, so she has a chance to eat — her hyperthyroidism meds are in her meals. The lads then get their meals, across the room from Mycah; they wolf their stinky goodness down, then start making eyes at Mycah's dish.

Her eating has slowed down to the point that she's not even halfway done by the time the lads finish, and I find myself standing over her to keep them away until she finishes and walks away. If the lads nose into her dish, Mycah doesn't even bother defending her food, she just walks away. She's usually a member of the clean plate club, but this past week she's been leaving food in her dish.

She spends all her time relaxing, sometimes in a PTU with the door removed, sometimes on her gizzy quilt, sometimes deep in the dark recesses of my bedroom closet.

I'm very worried about her. She's been through a lot, health-wise, and I've tried to do what's best for her all along, but at 13 she's not a youngster — I hope she has a few more good years in her.

Update, 8/10: she's not eating much at all now. I've brought food upstairs, and I put some in front of her whenever she comes out of her hidey hole, but she shows little to no interest in it. This is so uncharacteristic of her, I'm getting even more worried. I think another call to the vet tomorrow is in order.

Posted by Russ at 04:17 PM | Comments (15) | TrackBack (0)
Ah, that's better

It's amazing what a decent night's sleep does for both mind and body... even if your "night" goes until noon, or sometimes even later.

Yesterday was a challenge from start to finish; it may have been the busiest day I've had in two years — the first half physically, the second half mentally.

From the moment I rolled out of the rack, it was go-go-go. Shower, dress, feed the cats. Because of an upcoming change in my employment situation (more about that later) I had to dash out to get some paperwork notarized. Then a run to the pet store for a load of kitty litter. That stuff is heavy; good thing I have a full-size pickup truck.

I'd seen my regular doctor on Thursday, and he finally decided that my peripheral neuropathy was worthy of being treated, so he wrote a scrip for Neurontin. So, a stop at the pharmacy, to drop off the new prescription.

But I wasn't done running around yet. Next was physical therapy. I was still sore from Wednesday's labors, but along with the usual strength-building exercises, I managed a sans-cane walk of 900 feet, at a speed of .91 miles/hour.

Someone please inform the media.

My walking is getting better, but it isn't really getting to be good. Small objects are big obstacles, and while what I do could be, in the broadest sense, considered "walking," it often bears more than a passing resemblance to waddling. As significant to me as the distance and speed is my increasing ability to avoid disaster with what might be termed "fancy footwork" — I'm getting better at recovering from nearly falling over, though as I get a bit bolder with my walking, the tendency to tip over is a bit more frequent.

I must remember the rule.

Thoroughly exhausted after an hour of abuse at the hands of the therapist, I headed... not home, but to run more errands. First to the vet; more about that later. Then it was back to the pharmacy to pick up my new prescription. Only then did I get to go home.

I got home, crawled up the stairs, took my new meds, and logged on just in time to begin my shift at work... and that's when my day really began.

When you do tech support for an installed base of 30,000+ routers, there are going to be bad days, and mine began immediately — a routing problem landed on my desk precisely 21 seconds after the start of my shift. I don't really mind routing problems, but some are annoying rather than interesting to investigate. And I can count myself fortunate that there are not usually problems stacked up waiting for my arrival.

I've never said and I probably never will say for whom I work, other than the obvious "big telecommunications & networking company," but I will say this: my teammates really are among the best engineers in the networking business. We generally try to take care of each other and not drop junk on the next shift to come online.

The first annoyance of the day was quickly dealt with, and I was readying myself for the next broken router to drop on my desk when I was pinged by my manager. It seems one of our largest customers — I won't (and will never) say who, but I guarantee you know who they are — is doing a migration from one service we offer to a new service, and they're doing it at hundreds of their retail locations. New routers, new T1 and ATM lines, new voice-over-IP setups... egads. So, I got to spend my evening watching for dead routers and making sure that any incidents were properly followed-up upon. There were dozens. I lost count.

Oh, and another customer had a funky T1 problem that had gone on for so long that they were seeing red and needed their hand held all night long by senior engineering staff (i.e., my teammates and I) particularly as our senior management was watching the progress of the issue.

I should also note that my new meds can cause drowsiness. Staying alert would have been a challenge, but between my regular workload, the "high touch customer" hand-holding, and the migrations, I was researching, thinking hard, typing and/or talking every minute of the night, often on more than one issue simultaneously. I barely had time for bathroom and cat-feeding breaks.

By the end of my shift at midnight, I was toast. Burnt toast. I fed the cats and went to bed.

It was, all in all, a very productive day, and I slept like a log. Kismet woke me up this morning with his usual "I'm grooming daddy's head!" behaviour. There are worse ways to wake up.

Posted by Russ at 03:37 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Unbelievably busy at work tonight, from the moment I got home from errands and PT, right up to the end of my shift at midnight.

I'm wiped out, mind and body.

I obviously didn't get a chance to give status on my PT progress or Mycah's vet situation. It can hold until after I've had my night's sleep. I promise, I'll be more lucid then.

Posted by Russ at 12:13 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
August 08, 2008
One ring to rule them all

I know, it's late, but I finished work late, just had dinner, and now I've got the itch.

Via Instapundit, a bit on the U.S.News & World Report website:

One Nation, Under a New Obama Salute

o hai!

George Bush had his three-fingered W salute that supporters flashed when greeting him at presidential campaign events in 2000. And now, if a Los Angeles creative agency gets its way, Sen. Barack Obama will see fans meet him with his own salute like the one above.

Because the Obamessiah veneration wasn't already creepy enough.
"Our goal is to see a crowd of 75,000 people at Obama's nomination speech holding their hands above their heads, fingers laced together in support of a new direction for this country, a renewed hope, and acceptance of responsibility for our future," says Rick Husong, owner of The Loyalty Inc.
A new direction? What, in a circle?

I can tell you one thing that goes in a circle, millions of times daily. Accompanied by a flushing sound.

On the plus side, as long as people are making that symbol, you know their fingers aren't in your wallet.

Husong tells me that he got the idea after seeing the famous Obama-Progress poster by artist Shepherd Fairey.
Yeah, you know which poster — the one that looks like it came from a socialist agit-prop specialist.

OK, OK, the one that did come from a socialist agit-prop specialist.

I swear, the more I see of Obama the more I think he should have bypassed Berlin, saved a few steps and a lot of time, and given that "citizen of the world" speech at Nuremberg.

Coming soon: natty little armbands with the Obama logo.

Update: Michelle has more ideas for appropriate symbolism. And she beat me to the story, too. Dang.

Posted by Russ at 01:53 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
August 06, 2008
Being amazing isn't always so great

For me, there's a downside to "giving 100%" at physical therapy: it leaves 0% for me for the rest of the day.

Ever gone to the gym and lifted weights until you thought you couldn't move your arms? That's me and my legs after PT. I'm sore as heck, and almost immobile.

Posted by Russ at 09:55 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Quote of the Day


Sometimes "Never Again" just means "Not Until It's Our Turn."

Posted by Russ at 09:50 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
I continue to amaze myself

Well, I didn't set any distance records at physical therapy today. Walking without the cane today, I was on pace to break both my speed and distance record, when the therapist decided to increase the degree of difficulty by adding an obstacle to my path.

Said obstacle was four-foot length of 3/4" wooden dowel, laid across my path.

Laugh all you want, but lengthening or shortening my stride so as not to step on any small thing, and stepping over the obstacle are both significant physical challenges. Especially for a klutz like me — even before this whole neurological nuisance began, I'd have easily tripped over a 3/4" obstacle.

With the obstacle in place, I was only able to make it 600' before I had to take a couple minutes for a breather. On the plus side, I increased my speed over last week, from .68 to .76 MPH.

And then after a couple minutes, I did it all again — another 600', again at .76 MPH.

I'm beginning to believe that there's something to this whole physical therapy business.

Posted by Russ at 06:30 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
August 05, 2008
Range report

Um... there is no range report. Not today, at least.

The temperature was in the 90s, and if there's one thing I've learned about shooting, it's that I don't do it well with sweat running into my eyes.

Maybe next week, then.

Posted by Russ at 08:33 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Mycah update

We're back from the vet. Mycah didn't complain at all about going, and in fact purred quite a bit, which is rather unusual for her. She's usually best described as "sullen" — maybe she just liked having some time away from Kismet and Packet.

She has more of an appetite than she had yesterday, but she's moving pretty poorly. She usually has a bit of a spring in her step, and "bunny hops" her way up the stairs. Not so, yesterday and today. She's slow and deliberate going up and down the stairs.

The vet didn't see any injury that might be responsible for her slow-down, and she didn't appear to be limping, nor does she have one of her periodic ingrown claws. What we did find is that Mycah's dropped some weight, down to 14 pounds. Still too heavy, but that much weight loss in just a couple of months might be a concern, given her diabetes and hyperthyroidism. And of course we need to be concerned about her kidneys, as well as the possibility of cancer.

The vet took blood to send to the lab, and tried to get urine, but as usual, Mycah was uncooperative in that regard.

The vet did say to let Mycah eat as much as she wants, whenever and whatever she wants — including human food. I'd better not catch her making eyes at my chicken dinner tonight... but if I have to share, so be it.

Posted by Russ at 05:52 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
August 04, 2008
Monday miscellany

Mondays. Ugh.

Most people dislike Mondays because that's when they return to their humdrum jobs.

I dislike them because Mondays are the days I do all my chores — take out the trash, vacuum the house, do laundry, and so on. I try to get groceries on Mondays, as well, but it doesn't always work out that way. So, for the rest of the day, I'll be puttering around the house.

On the whole, though, I'm glad to be able to do as much as I can. Not too long ago, of course, I was incapable of all but the easiest household task. They aren't easy for me now, but they're getting to be less difficult. I can't believe how much better I am than I ever expected, and I'm grateful for it.

Tuesday, though, I am going to try to have a little fun — I'm going to do my utmost to make a trip to the rifle range. It's been about two years since I've been able to go, and I have some much-neglected hardware that needs to be given a workout. I'm confident I can schlep my wheeled hard-shell rifle case from the parking lot into the range, and once there I ought to be able to handle the usual walking up- and down-range target placement and marking activities.

My only concerns are the temperature — the range, indoors, has fans but no A/C — and the smoothness/slickness of the concrete floor. Too smooth and/or slick, and my cane will be slipping around. That would be a Bad Thing, indeed.

I may have to postpone, though; Mycah's not being her usual self. She seemed to be a bit off her feed at breakfast time today, she hadn't used the litterbox since last night, she's not been so stand-offish with Kismet and Packet, and she's moving a bit slower than normal. I had to call her repeatedly to come down for breakfast; usually, she's there ahead of me meowing with anticipation. I need to keep an eye on her today and make sure she's just having a bad day, as opposed to actually being unwell.

She had her 13th birthday just a month ago, but that doesn't necessarily make her an elderly cat quite yet. I'm more concerned about the diabetes and, to a lesser degree, her hyperthyroidism. Kidneys are a cat's weak spot, I think, so I really need to keep an eye on her potty behaviour. I hope the old girl has a few more years left in her. Kismet and Packet need to be swatted from time to time, and she's just the girl to do it.

Coincidentally, she has a vet appointment for tomorrow for her 6-month checkup. We'll see what the vet says.

Mycah's Potty Update: She used the litterbox while I was off doing my chores. She didn't just whiz, she whi-i-i-izzed. No poo yet, though. And she refused to come downstairs for her evening feeding. Not good.

Posted by Russ at 03:28 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
August 02, 2008

Yesterday, users of Internet Explorer version 7 were probably unable to view this site, or many other blogs, due to a bug in IE7 triggered by the Sitemeter code many blogs have embedded on their pages.

Information on the problem here, with specifics about the IE7 bug here.

Sitemeter appears to have resolved the problem on their end for the time being.

But... why are you still using IE7? Get Firefox.

Posted by Russ at 01:50 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
August 01, 2008
Don't bother calling the Guinness Book people

I had an excellent day at physical therapy. I walked caneless again, this time making it 720 feet before reaching my limit. The improvement is truly staggering... which, coincidentally, is pretty much how I still walk.

It took me 12 minutes to cover those 720 feet. A little quick math... OK, carry the one... that's a speed of roughly .68 miles/hour.

Not exactly blazing, that. But it is definite improvement.

Posted by Russ at 08:03 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

More video of the lads.

They wrestle a lot, almost always as an effort by each to groom the other.

Maybe that's why Kismet grooms my head at night when I'm in bed — I don't fight back.

An award — this makes it two Fridays in a row. Clearly, we need to start being nicer to more people more often.

From Skittles the Huntress:

Aww... 't'weren't nuthin'.

Friday. Ark. Be there.

You've got to love the Bad Kitty Cats Festival of Chaos, this week at Mind of Mog.

Carnival of the Cats will be hosted this week by Samantha Black & Mr. Tigger.

Posted by Russ at 05:12 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
I do have the legs for it

If I had one, sure, I'd wear a kilt in public.

This... not so much. Except maybe in Bermuda.

Posted by Russ at 12:07 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)