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Well, Caturday morning, anyway...

Rocky had another glucose check this morning. 109. So, he's still off insulin. He'll have another recheck on Thursday. But, it looks like the diabetes has been resolved.

I asked Dr. Emslie just how close he was... How sick he was when I first brought him in three weeks ago. She said that considering she had to put a feeding tube in him, how jaundiced he was the next day, how aggressive they had to treat him... It was close. As in, a matter of hours would have made the difference. He was pretty sick, and it's kind of amazing at how complete his recovery has been.

I'm...still mourning TomTom. And yes, he was old (almost 16), and he was slammed with a pretty nasty GI disease that was...just a little more than his body could handle. YoYo, at almost 17, just simply slipped away. Though he lived 8 years with a managed UT condition. Rocky isn't even 7 yet, and he's come so far since we first got him. He's learned to trust again, to settle down, and he's actually quite affectionate, and...just wants to play. TomTom was critical to Rocky settling down and reducing his aggression. And Rocky is stepping up to the plate in taking up TomTom's household management duties. TomTom could never be replaced, nor could any cat; but Rocky has taken up the duty, taken over the "chore" of managing the "hoomin." And...it would have really, really sucked if I'd lost him, too, this summer.

Rocky...lost his mentor, TomTom, at the beginning of the summer, then lost YoYo at the end of the summer. Then he had a tumor removed, and then had a severe reaction to the steroid he was on to help his face heal. In the last three weeks, he's been hospitalized, with a feeding tube and IV, been poked and prodded constantly, had to have glucose tests and insulin shots, had liquids shoved down his throat, had sutures replace the feeding tube, and had to have those sutures replaced (several times, because he kept removing them himself)... Yet, he still sits with me on the couch, putting a paw on my hand or leg. He still head-butts me to wake me up. He still purrs and follows me around. Well, he follows me around when he's pretty sure we're not about to go to the vet...

Rocky's a pretty awesome cat now in his own right. I'm just...glad I know him well enough to know that something was Not Right and got him to the vet in time.

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What an exhausting day...

It started with me taking Rocky to the vet for a glucose check. I figured I had the time, it had been 12 hours since his last insulin shot, and he'd been working on his bandage, so, better to make the trip sooner than later and maybe get his stitches/staples out. The good news is that his glucose was at 97, so, his insulin dosage has been reduced to just 5 units, and it's looking like he may be off the insulin in the near future. The bad news is that Rocky had already removed all his staples and had a small abscess. He's got another bandage, which will probably come off on Saturday, when they check his glucose again. Oh, and he gained another half a pound since last week.

Then there's the car... Went up to the Wilmington DMV for re-inspection. It passed emissions, though, it was close on the fast-idle CO. The repaired accident damage passed. But there was a code for non-regulation clear lenses for the front markers that wasn't well marked on the failed inspection notice from New Castle and that they didn't tell me. The tech who did the re-test told me that yeah, New Castle were pricks with the whole amber lights and older cars and also with not telling people why their car failed. But, it passed re-inspection.

So, I go inside, get my number, and settle in for a long wait, as I was number 536, and they were just calling 482. Then I look at the inspection sheet and see that it still has the whole lens thing and that I failed inspection...

!

So, I wait a few minutes and see that the line is moving with the speed of molasses, then take my stuff and walk around the building to the inspection lanes. As I approach the lane where I was, I see that there is (already) a different tech. He greets me, and I explained my problem. So, he sent one of his other buddies to go to the parking lot and check the lenses. Of course, everything's fine (finally!) and he apologizes, saying that sometimes they hit an "enter" key too quickly and it doesn't register... Hey, it happens. It's all good. He prints out another inspection sheet for me that shows I passed. So then I went back inside and waited. For over an hour. Fortunately, the person at the counter was nice and on the ball. Took care of the registration renewal and didn't give me any problems with the final steps for switching over the vanity plates and printing out another, updated registration form for Mom's Hyundai. (Which will be updated again when she gets the Gift of Life specialty plate, but whatever.)

So, it was a long, drawn out, painful process, but, I finally have Cammie registered and such for another two years. In the meantime, I'll see what I can to to recondition the front marker lenses, plus get some other metering rod sets for the Edelbrock carburetor. There's probably be a set optimum for summer, another set optimum for winter, and maybe a third set for in between. Plus, I'll get a set to run the car really lean for emission inspections purposes. From what I understand, the metering rods and springs are really easy to swap out on an Edelbrock carb.

On the way home, I stopped at Christiana Maul and went to Build-A-Bear to buy/make the Memorial Bear, primarily for TomTom, but also for the others. I'll post pictures once I have him all dressed up and figure out how to work in the collars or tags and such.

And good gods, could they make the traffic patterns any more convoluted and confusing? They're re-designing all the ramps and overpasses and such in the area and...it's...just...a mess. No nice way to put it. And with the holidays approaching... Yeah, I plan to avoid that area for a good, long while.

So, the past few days have been busy, but, a lot of the major stress issues from the summer are finally resolved. The accident damage from March is repaired. The car has passed inspection and the registration is renewed. I no longer have a misinterpreted vanity plate and instead have the plate my father had on his Triumph Spitfire since before I was born (CIAO). Rocky is approaching ideal health, despite his penchant for removing any kind of stitch or suture. And now, I am just totally, completely exhausted.

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Semi-quick, worn-out post before bed, in an attempt to alleviate some insomnia...

After receiving advice from several people that I trust that it would be better to just get the damn temporary pass from DMV than risk getting pulled over and having my car impounded, I've decided that tomorrow morning, I'll be making a trip to the DMV and going in to work late and staying late. This is teaching me that there is no such thing as "a little, minor fender-bender." I'm not mad at the person who caused the accident, because, accidents happen. Instead, I'm frustrated at all the bureaucratic bullshit that has accompanied it. The insurance companies have been okay this time around, but... The DMV, shops refusing to work on it because of its age (they don't see it as a classic), manufacturers not updating their inventory to show discontinued parts... All for a stupid lens! For a side marker light that actually works.

I'm also rapidly approaching burnout from all the stuff with the cats. Not that I begrudge them at all. But the multiple vet trips and rechecks on sutures and so on... For example, Rocky needs to go back Tuesday morning for suture removal. They didn't take them out today because his scabs keep getting into the area. So, I need to keep giving him drops and maybe cleaning his face daily. Thing is, he knows how to get the cone off. He uses his hind foot to move the bow knot to the front, then steps on it with his front paws and pulls to undo the knot. However, he hasn't removed or attempted to remove his cone for over a day now. Despite being frustrated with it. Tonight, the cone got caught on the edge of his dinner dish and he flipped the dish. We all take this in stride, get him cleaned up and such. He really is a good kitty, despite the rough patches we had when we first got him. No one can replace TomTom, but TomTom taught Rocky well, and Rocky is doing what he can to fill the role of "hoomin helper."

Riffy is doing okay, though, he's definitely lonely without YoYo. I'm hoping this will help him to decide to rejoin the World Beyond the Door.

Minerva managed to unbuckle her new collar, but was ever so happy when I put it back on her tonight.

The one positive thing about all these trips to the vet for checks and such is that I'm pretty much over associating the drive and the trip with TomTom's and YoYo's final trips. It reaffirms my focus on the living furkids which, I think, is what both TomTom and YoYo would want. TomTom didn't have many issues at all after we got him cleaned up after adopting him, and YoYo would probably remember everything we did for him when he started having urinary tract problems, and both would want the same care given to their siblings and successors.

Mom is still recovering. Moving around a little better today, but...yeah.

The stepgoggies came over early this weekend to make it easier for Rich to stay here with Mom. It's all good. According to Rich, they love coming over here. As he's driving them over, they recognize the way and get really excited the closer they get to here.

Rocky's all happy now. I just cleaned his cone a little from leftover food and such sticking to it.

Anyway, I'm finally feeling a little tired, finally, instead of all wound up. Time for some sleep...

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First, an acknowledgment of the passing of Neil Armstrong: the first human to set foot on the lunar surface. If the rest of humanity had just half the balls he had, trips to the moon would be commonplace now.

Housework wise... I managed to get the grass cut. It can now rain. Slowly whacking away at other things.

But the biggest point of today was the vet trip. On the bright side, no one had to be euthanized or anything, which is always a plus.

Today's trip consisted of Rocky and Minerva. Rocky, who had managed to get his cone off yesterday while I was at work, was there for a re-check and for suture removal. Minerva was there for annual check-up and shots.

Now, even though I had them secured, both front...


...and back...


...Minerva managed to break out of her carrier. Thing is, she pissed in her carrier. I think she got scared, terrified, and just...let go. And managed to get enough flex around the door to pop it out of its posts and get it open. Fortunately, she ran to the passenger side, where the window motor is dead and the window is thus up, to make her announcement that she was out of her carrier. At which point I put up the driver side window and double checked the sunroof, which was popped open. Fortunately, not enough clearance for her to be able to get through.

Yeah, nothing like traveling at 50mph in Hockessin with soccer moms and spoiled brats trying to run me off the road because I have an older car, and then having an in-flight emergency like that. Thankfully, Cammie was up for it.

So, I got to Lantana, parked the car, shut off the engine, and managed to grab Minerva before opening the door. I took her straight in to the vet, explained why she was not in a carrier and such, and they weighed her and put her in a room while I went to get Rocky. First, though, I dumped the pee out of the carrier and took that and Rocky in to the vet. I asked one of the techs if they had a deep sink or something I could use to clean out the carrier, and the tech just smiled and took the carrier and washed it out for me.

So, Dr. Lon came in and checked Rocky. Basically, his being cone-less wasn't anything to worry about, and all he had managed to do was scratch off some of the scabbing. So, Dr. Lon removed the sutures and, well, Rocky hadn't healed all the way. Dr. Lon removed a small bit of matter that was either inflammation or a small bit of tumor he may have missed, then re-sutured Rocky with a different type of suture, since it seems Rocky may have reacted to the nylon sutures, which are one of the most un-reactive sutures, but, yeah. Rocky, meanwhile, got another cone. Just to be on the safe side. Also, with the cone, and given his size, Dr. Lon lent me a larger carrier for him.

Minerva, meanwhile, got all her shots and is a little overweight, but otherwise healthy. One of the techs (nurses?) took her back and cleaned her up from her mess in the car. They also trimmed her claws and toenails, which Minerva loved. She started kneading, acting like she was at the spa. And purring up a storm.

Obviously, unspoiled and neglected...


Dr. Boon took care of Minerva. She also told me she'd gotten Riffy's biopsy results... Not cancer! Yup, he isn't suffering from the curse of white cats to be prone to skin cancer. At least, not yet. Dr. Boon's supposed to get back to me next week as to whether he should have some sort of sunscreen. But anyway, he's got some sort of aggressive irritation there that could be allergies or could be some sort of auto-immune thing. I was a bit ambivalent at the news, grateful that it wasn't cancer, but feeling like I'd had his ear mutilated for no reason. However, Dr. Boon said that the irritation was such that they would have had to take that part of his ear anyway to (1) figure out what was going on via biopsy and (2) treat that area of irritation. So, I feel less bad about it. Also, since she did a good job with the shaping, he just looks like he has one ear smaller than the other, and once the fur grows back, it should be even less noticeable.

Anyway, other than face drops, ear drops, and recheck appointments, this is the first time in a long while that I haven't been so worried about my furkids.

Oh, and the trip home was uneventful. But Minerva has been hiding, probably exhausted from her shots and from her adventure. Rocky's been a little on the groggy side, what with being anesthetized and such for his sutures. Riffy just doesn't like the coldness of his ear drops, but, he's still pretty good about taking them. I sat with him for a little bit after medicating him tonight and he was rubbing against me. I think that was his way of saying that he knows I still care about him and am trying to be a good kitty father and that he appreciates it.

As far as Riffy, Rocky, and Minerva are concerned, the next thing is getting Riffy and Rocky all treated and suture-free and such. Then maybe try to figure out what they're allergic to. I doubt it's food. Might be a plant or seasonal or maybe we need to change the HVAC filters more often. Once a month even though the filters are rated for three months. Lastly, I want to redouble my efforts to get these guys together, despite the fact that such interaction may be as dangerous as crossing the streams. I...may need to purchase some baby gates as a start to all that. These guys...need to get over themselves and such and allow themselves the company of each other and the resultant full lives like what TomTom and YoYo had that they deserve.

Also... Talked with Dr. Boon a bit about Rocky's aggressive past, and she said that it's sometimes hard to retrain cats that had been through what he'd been through. But given how relaxed and non-bitey he is nowadays, I must have done something right somewhere. He may hiss and growl and complain while I'm putting him in the carrier or taking him off a table or away from somewhere he's not supposed to be, but he doesn't bite. At most, he will nip lightly, but even that is going away.

Watched a little bit of Jackson Galaxy's My Cat From Hell on Animal Planet tonight... I have to say, whenever I feel like I'm not such a good kitty parent, I just have to watch that show, and I see where I'm certainly not the worst one out there.

Eh, it is what it is, I suppose.

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Okay, high-speed, low-budget summary of the day...

I ended up taking a vacation day. First, Rocky's face was a dried-bloody, scabby mess. Second, I heard back from Maaco to bring the car by for them to look at it. Plus, I was considering stopping by the DMV for a temporary sticker for the car to give me some time to get the light fixed. Well, I eventually decided to not bother with the DMV just yet.

The trip to Maaco wasn't too bad. The guy there asked me what my plans were for the car and such, and I told him that I was eventually going to restore the whole thing. So, he suggested that instead of paying for some work twice that instead of a full repair on that dent, which would all be sanded down/removed and re-done when they repair the other hole in that panel, that instead they bang the dent out and replace the molding and lens for the light so that it'll pass inspection and look less bad than it does now. This would only cost me $200, leaving the remainder of the insurance money for other things or to be put into savings or whatever. Plus, it'll only take them a day to do the work - drop it off in the morning, pick it up in the afternoon. So, they're going to call me once they get the parts in and we'll go from there, but the guy was confident that they'd have everything in and be able to complete the work before the end of the month so I can get it through inspection.

Then this afternoon, I took Rocky to the vet to see Dr. Lon. His stitches aren't quite ready to come out yet. So, they gave him another anti-itch shot and another anti-biotic shot to be on the safe side, plus cleaned up his face and all. He's got a hydrocortisone solution I need to apply to his face twice daily between now and Saturday to help everything heal. And...he's got a cone of shame to keep him from tearing up his face any further. He's...not happy about the cone, but, he's coping. Meanwhile, he has an appointment on Saturday to get his sutures removed. Fortunately, he hadn't snagged or pulled any of them out. Anyway, he's cleaned up and doing well. The tech commented on what a good kitty he was and on how relaxed he was, despite everything. I'm hoping Rocky knows that car rides do not in any way mean he's being abandoned, but rather cared for.

Anyway, we've set up food and water stations for him that are "cone friendly" and I took the lid off the main litter box he uses. He managed to clip the edge of his water dish at dinner and spilled the water, but, it was all cleaned up and such. Mom has...actually gotten rather patient with the cats since Rich came into the picture.

In any event, I'm glad that Rocky trusts me enough to not be nasty at the vet. More than that, he seems to have learned from TomTom and is becoming a vet tech favorite. Three of them seemed happy to see him today. I mean, one time, I asked them if they told everyone that their cat is well-behaved, and they said no. That I'd be surprised how often they get bitten, scratched, and so on. Hell, my guys don't even hiss or growl at them. Well, Minerva growled and hissed when I first adopted/rescued her and brought her up there for shots and Felv and HIV tests, but then, she'd known me all of an hour at that point. Other than that? My kids are good for the doctor. It's not just a sign of trusting the veterinarian, but a sign that they trust me enough to know I won't put them in harm's way. Every day, I hope I prove worthy of that trust...

On a parting note, here's Cracked.com on the 6 Most Baffling PSAs Starring Famous Superheroes. The first one explains Todd Akins, the last one actually makes me like the X-Men even more, and the Batman one was just...batshit crazy...

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HAPPY BIRFDAY [personal profile] headtrip_honey, [profile] cosmic_kitten1, [profile] robinredpress, AND [profile] elvenjewel2012!!!



Whew!

Comics will be suspended for the next few days while I'm away at a wedding.

Speaking of... I still have a shit-ton of stuff to do beforehand. Like, oh, packing. That sort of thing. Hell, I don't even know if I have a pair of dress pants that will fit.

Neighbor's daughter is pet-sitting, so, all good.

Still not crazy about going. Especially with my coccyx all inflamed. Yeah, looked it up, something about avoiding hard, narrow surfaces... Grrr. I think all the sitting on the floor, tense, contorted, and so on to pill and feed TomTom may have been the culprit. Not complaining, mind you; I'd do it all again in a heartbeat, even knowing the outcome. Though sitting on a church pew to aggravate my coccyx to satisfy people I don't really care about... Yeah.

Last night and indeed all of yesterday was quite uncomfortable. At the risk of tummy/esophagus issues, I took some ibuprofen and had an ice pack on my butt. Consequently, I got none of the stuff done that I wanted to get done, and why I am so behind today. On the bright side, my tailbone feels better today, but, I also don't want to push it.

Oh, and we got a really nice card with an exceptionally nice note from Lantana Vet yesterday. I liked how Dr. Lon wrote about TomTom: "He was cool." That damn little furball had such an effect on everyone he came into contact with.

Rocky is still being quite snuggly.

Anyway, I'd better get back to work on everything here...
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Suckage for today...

Ray Bradbury has passed away at the age of 91. While he's not my favorite author, and while I disagreed with his stance on digital media (that it would destroy books and such rather than actually expand sales and such), I do appreciate everything he did for the science fiction community, and I did enjoy The Martian Chronicles. I applauded him for taking a stand to filmmaker and critic Michael Moore for ripping off his Fahrenheit 451 title with his 9/11 expose, and it sucks that that whole issue remains unresolved... He was snubbed by Moore, then went to sue, then got an acknowledgment from Moore and a promise to talk things over, and last I heard, Bradbury was still waiting for Moore to make good on his promise.

Another thing I have to like Bradbury for: his support of libraries. Supposedly, he wrote his first published manuscript in the basement of his college's library. He has thus always been a strong proponent of libraries.

Then, the Trolololo guy passed away...



And Scott Walker, Governor of Wisconsin, apparently "won" his recall election. I use the quotation marks because there's already hints of voter fraud as well as using the ill-conceived corporate personhood for him to hold on to his governorship. In short, he's still in office because he cheated in a corrupt system that already gave him an edge, and even then, it was a close thing. It's making me lose faith in our supposedly democratic system...

And yeah, I and the furkids are still mourning TomTom. Rocky and YoYo are perhaps the most upset. TomTom and YoYo were good buddies. And TomTom was the only one who gave Rocky the time of day and worked with him and mentored him. I mean, that was the kind of cat TomTom was... Very accepting. Within reason, of course. He wouldn't hesitate to thwap you if you crossed a line. But he'd greet visitors and expect pettins. Of course, he'd also go through whatever they brought in with better, more effective scrutiny than TSA. But while he and Rocky never flopped on each other, they did lie side-by-side or facing each other on the koosh pillows, or play "parachute" together when I was trying to make the bed, or "help" me fold my laundry and so on. They'd sit on either side of me like gargoyles while watching TV with Yoda. Though TomTom was the only one who ever seemed interested in watching the nightly news. Still... TomTom was a companion for Rocky, and I'm worried that the other cats won't befriend him. Though, you never know... With TomTom gone, the hierarchy is a complete mess right now, and that might open some doors. Literally as well as figuratively. You never know.

In the meantime, Rocky's been half-plastered to my side when I'm at home. He and I sat on the bed for a little bit last night when I got home from work and again this morning before I left for work, just talking. Rocky's always been a vocal cat, but he's been a bit more vocal lately. I'm hoping he's getting the attention he needs from me right now, and he's consequently helping me through the grieving process, too. TomTom, I think, had enough of an influence on Rocky where Rocky will be an awesome cat as well.

You know, it's a damn shame these critters, so full of unconditional love and acceptance, have such short lifespans. It's like some sort of fucked-up balance control of the universe: great creatures are short-lived, and long-lived creatures - humans - are bastards.

This whole experience has taught me a few things... I learned that I can still drive well despite being incredibly upset, that I can maintain a certain driving decorum when I am transporting a sick pet. I also learned that I can soak a cat's coat with my tears. And I learned that TomTom was awesome right up until the end.

I don't think it was any accident that he went into his carrier on his own when we left the house for the last time. He didn't want to die at home. And the last time I was with him, he barely had the strength to headbutt me or lick my tears, yet when I was making that final decision - to euthanize or to give him one more chance to turn the corner with fluids and more aggressive meds - he stood up and took a few steps like nothing was wrong, which cinched my decision to try the fluids. The furry little monster knew I was torn, and he made it so I didn't have to actually decide to euthanize. He went on his own terms and in his own way.

Awesomeness to the bitter end.

This weekend...anyone so much as says, "It was just a cat" or anything, I'm leaving. Heading back to the hotel. Curling up with a book or the Kindle. Better company that way.

In other news... The Library received Vice-President Biden's Senatorial papers today. I was actually on the special invite-list to be there for the shrink-wrap cutting ceremony and be in the background for the media coverage and cheer like an idiot for their arrival... Were I not grieving, I probably would have gone. But right now, I'm finding it hard to summon the amount of care required for much of anything.

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TomTom crossed the Rainbow Bridge at approximately 10:30 this morning.

Last night, he had been crying, and at 3AM, I took him to an emergency vet. The veterinary doctor there couldn't do much for him without his records and such, so, rather than hospitalize him there, I opted to wait until this morning to take him back to Lantana and Dr. Lon. I managed to get a short nap, and when I woke up, I checked on him in my room, and he was under my desk. I went to use the bathroom and brush my teeth, and when I came back, he was in his carrier, ready to go. So, I took him to Lantana and, while waiting for Dr. Lon, I bawled like a baby, holding him in a towel, apologizing for this not working out the way it was supposed to. He let me hold his paw and made a half-hearted attempt to lick my tears and my hand.

Dr. Lon was ready to help ease his passage, but offered an alternative of getting some fluids in him and trying some more aggressive drugs. He commented that what really sucks is that TomTom was such a nice cat. Friendly, cooperative... Older cats can be codger-like, but TomTom had such a pleasant personality. So, I decided to go ahead and give TomTom the chance, if he wanted to live. Still, I said my good-byes, in case the last-ditch effort didn't work.

I'd barely gotten home when I got the call from Dr. Lon that TomTom died while they were getting him all set up. His breathing became very erratic, and then he just went peacefully.

TomTom adopted us. Mom, Dad, and Mandie had come home from picking up Mandie's bassoon in New Jersey when they saw a kitten sitting on the stoop of the house across the street. We had a cream-colored kitten at the time, BamBam, and they thought BamBam had gotten out. So, Mandie scooped him up and said, "Yeah, looks like he lost his collar." They came in the house and asked me how BamBam got out. I said he hadn't and pointed to where BamBam was sitting. They looked a little more closely at this kitten and realized he had darker, more orange fur. So, they put him outside, saying, "Go find your home." Which, of course, he did by banging and crying at the door, as if to say, "I saw others of my kind in there! I know you like cats! Let me iiiiiiinnnnnnnnnnn!!!!"

So, we did. Suckers for hard-luck cases and all that.

First thing we did was put him in front of the food dish. He sniffed at it, then wandered away and started playing with the cat toys, pulling toys out of the baskets we have around the house. And when he was done, he put the toy back in the basket. Assuming he hadn't lost it under the furniture, of course.

He got excited at Christmas time because he knew he was going to get more toys.

He loved cotton candy and potato chips. He'd steal potato chips out of your hand if you weren't careful.

Rich had to pass inspection for him.

The last few years, he slept on my head. Not so great in the heat of summer, but, in the winter, it was quite nice to have my own purring face-warmer. His belly fur smelled nice, too.

He loved the computer. He'd chase the mouse cursor, watch YouTube videos with me, and, in the days of IM, would tap the keyboard and respond to IMs while I was away at class. But he would also sit on my desk and tell me it was time to go to bed.

After Mom had her hip replacement and got stuck on the couch one morning at 3AM, he stayed with her, licking her hand, while Rocky came to wake me up.

More recently, he stayed with me while I crawled down the hallway with my first kidney stone earlier this year.

He never had a problem with any of the other cats. He and YoYo broke into my room to greet Riffy the day I rescued him. He accepted and played with Rocky, which helped Rocky with his aggression and abandonment issues. He was welcoming to Minerva, even though she only ever hissed at him. Once he smacked Brandon and Bridgett, he accepted them and had no problem putting them in their place and beginning to teach them the rules of the house.

I'll miss his snuggling at night and his company when I'm watching TV. I'll even miss the 3AM caterwauling-like Celine Dion impressions.

He was truly an awesome cat and ran this household. I miss him terribly already and am torn up inside. I'm comforted by the fact, though, that he had 15 years with us, 15 years he might not have otherwise had, had we not taken him in. He had fleas, worms, and ear mites so bad it was like someone poured mud in his ears. He had cement in his paws where he'd walked through wet cement somewhere. He had a pressure burn on his back foot where he'd gotten caught in a door.

He came right up to us, as opposed to any kind of feral behavior. Someone threw away a really nice kitty.

He was an ambassador of catdom. He was intelligent to the point where you could see the gears turning as he studied something.

After 15 years of being there for us, for me, when I needed him...he's earned a rest.

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HAPPY BIRFDAY [personal profile] elionwyr!!



Okay, TomTom update... First off, I'm on an emotional roller coaster with him. As in, I'm wondering if he's really going to make it. He has a hard time keeping his eyes open, and he has no voice. Though when I looked up his meds, they can cause dizziness, which could explain why he's been a little stunade lately. I've been squirting food into him every now and then. I also think he's exhausted, largely because no matter what he does, he just plain can't get comfortable. But...he's still fairly alert. He can see and track the Red Dot. He still walks around the room. Also? Rocky is in here with us. All the hissing and growling is gone, and TomTom seems grateful for just the company.

TomTom, while still thin, is looking a little "beefier" from the syringe feeding. Gods I hope this all pans out...

In other news... I still have a shitload of stuff to do around here, but, at least my lunch stuff is all done and ready to go. And I've got a good start on laundry and a handle on everything else.

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TomTom seems to be doing a little better with food. Though...those feeding syringes don't hold a whole lot of food. I figure some smaller "meals" throughout the day would work.

I would like to thank everyone here on LJ and also on FB who related anecdotes of having to syringe-feed their cats. This is one of those things I've never had a problem with - getting a cat to eat. And last night, I was definitely a bit freaked out with TomTom not eating. But having read your comments and done some research on the internets, I've come to learn that this isn't as uncommon as I previously thought it was. Your stories and support were all a bit of a much needed emotional and morale boost. Thank you all!

Oh, and Rocky just visited TomTom...and didn't hiss at all! Granted, he was just here for a few minutes and just sniffed at TomTom's tail, but, I'm glad he's definitely accepting TomTom as TomTom again.

Of course, as I'm pilling TomTom earlier, we had a power fluctuation. Nothing like trying to get a cat to swallow a pill and the lights going out. Trying to keep alert for signs he's swallowed the pill while trying to keep him from freaking at the loss of light and mentally debating whether to just remain still or risk him spitting out the pill while I grope in the dark for my flashlight... Yeah. But the lights came back on their own and all was well.
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What a day...

So, last night, TomTom was looking a little thinner and it looked like he hadn't eaten anything for about a day. Mom and I worked on getting a little bit of food in him with a spoon, but we got almost as much food in his fur. I was up until 3AM trying to get him to eat and being worried. Finally, I took a tranq and got some sleep after calling out of work. This morning, I took him back to the vet after calling up there to report his lack of appetite.

Dr. Lon checked his temperature to make sure he wasn't suffering from a secondary infection, and since that turned out okay, he's figuring that TomTom's intestines are just that inflamed. So, he doubled the dose for one of his meds - medrol - and also kept him for a few hours to tube feed him to make sure he got in a good meal before sending him home. And they sent him home with feeding syringes. I figure I'll leave some food out for him and also syringe-feed him daily for the next few days. Hopefully by then, he'll feel more like eating on his own.

And with the extra food, his leaky butt is improved. As in, less leaky. Which is good, since I went ahead and mopped the floor in here and will change out some of the protective towels.

Geebus, looking at him now, he looks a little better with having had just the one meal.

An interesting thought crossed my mind earlier: people who have had pets most of their lives - and who are in tune with them - I wonder if they're also pretty good with kids. And by kids, I mean babies. I mean, veterinarians are better doctors because they have to pick up on subtle, species-specific cues to diagnose their patients, and most of their patients also try to hide illness. So, I'm wondering if people who have pets are at all more in tune with human babies, when they're sick, what their moods are, and so on...

In related news... Rocky is visiting TomTom a little more often and the hissing, while not gone completely, has gone down in frequency and intensity.

Still in related news... I managed to stress myself into a massive GERD attack today. Mer. Yup, I'm a little wuss. Hell, I teared up a little when I got the news that this wasn't cancer and just really bad intestinal inflammation.

Comics )
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So...yesterday, I got a message from Dr. Lon about TomTom's biopsy results. No cancer. Repeat: NO CANCER!! This is, instead, some severe intestinal inflammation. One hell of a case of irritable bowel. Actually, beyond irritable and is just plain conservative cranky. But...NO CANCER! My little boy is gonna have a few more years, at least! This may be annoying as hell right now, but, it's treatable. And since TomTom's other labwork shows him to be in otherwise excellent health, he's kind of like the Patrick Stewart of cats: old, but fit, active, intelligent, and in general awesome.

I think his leaky butt is getting better, though, he kind of hides under the bed. See... TomTom is a very conscientious cat. We have baskets of cat toys throughout the house, and when TomTom is done with a toy, he'll put it back in the basket (assuming he hasn't lost it under a piece of furniture, of course). We've never had a litter box problem with him. He's just always been a very good cat with respect to all of that. So, with his butt leaking here and there, well, that seems to be upsetting to him, despite my reassurances that the towels and such I have out for him can be cleaned up. But then, the floor is cleanable, and is cleaned on a nightly basis right now. It's all good. I just don;t want him stressing out about this when I need him to just worry about recovering and getting better.

Though, I should perhaps take my own advice. I woke up around 4:30 this morning with an unhappy esophagus. I figure the change in weather - muggy 97 degrees in the afternoon, then raining and cooling to 70 degrees in a matter of hours - gave me some stomach cramping and bad weather in my own upper GI tract. TomTom must have heard me trying to get comfortable and he climbed up onto the bed to sit next to my head, touch my hand with his paw, and purr. I figured if a sick cat went out of his way to offer me comfort, then I was probably in need of some meds and care myself, so, I took some meds, called out of work, and went back to bed and slept until almost one this afternoon. Feeling better now. Not quite 100%, but, getting there. Trying to get a few things done around the house as well. Eh, we'll see.

I am very, very grateful that medical and veterinary science have advanced to where my kitty will recover, that I have already had him for 15 amazing years, and will hopefully have him for a few more years yet.

Tall Stack o' Comics )
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Posting in the clear for a TomTom update...

He seems to be doing better. He's eating more, which, right now, means he's got more leakage and diarrhea. He...seems a little embarrassed by his butt problems, and has been staying off the bed, even though I have a layer of towels on the bed to absorb things. Now, I took the lid off the litter box I dragged in my room so he'd have more room with his SuperKitty Cone Cape (TM) and used the top of it as a step up/step down for him to get up onto the bed. Well, he's taken to using it like a little hut instead, and I put some clean towels in there for him. I'm accepting that I'll be doing a daily load of towels until this is all resolved.

Oh, as for the eating... Last night, I put a little bit of the gravy from the regular wet food onto his low-bulk stuff, and that seemed to make it a little more appetizing for him.

This morning, as expected, I was a little late because I had to take care of his meds. I saved the one pill he only takes in the AM for last, and I finally had a successful morning medicating with him. Meaning, I got everything in him and got him to swallow and such. Size matters, but so does taste, apparently... Anyway, thanks to those who have suggested pill pockets, which we use for YoYo for his Clomicalm, but, the one's TomTom is having problems with are larger than pill pockets and have already been cut in half, and I worry that trying to cut them smaller will cause them to shatter and leave me with a mess and even more difficulties getting them into TomTom. TomTom doesn't like them, but he's not actively trying to bite me, which makes it a little easier for me to shove them most of the way to the back of his throat, and then I muzzle him until he swallows. The one AM pill causing problems is probably bitter, because he salivates like crazy, and that affects everything else. Saving it for last, like I did today, eliminated most of the problem.

But he's alert, purring, and, though a little put off by his butt problems and the fact he's confined to just one room, he still seems happy to just be home. Even better: no vomiting.

Rocky is still hissing at him, but with less vigor and vehemence. TomTom probably still smells funny because of his butt problems and such. But Rocky has calmed down considerably since we set up a space for him in the office.

Bonnie seems a bit lonely. She sings, but not nearly as much. But she's still singing, which is a plus. Yoda seems normal. If anything... He's always talked to Bonnie and greeted her by name. He never much cared for Clyde, and I wonder if there wasn't some sort of jealousy there. But Yoda hasn't showed any changed in behavior, which is good. However, he's started messing with the dogs. Well, with Bridgett, anyway. The other night, Rich was calling the dogs to bed, and Brandon went right up. So, he called for Bridgett, and Bridgett would head for the stairs, and then Yoda, in Rich's voice (African Greys have no gravelly, parrot voice of their own; when they learn to talk, they mimic the voice that taught them a particular word or phrase) would whistle for and call Bridgett. That dog ran between Yoda's cage and the steps for a few minutes before an annoyed Rich came down to physically get her. At which point, I told him to go easy on Bridgett, because she was a bit confused.

Yes, my life is interesting sometimes...

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HAPPY BIRFDAY [personal profile] greygirlbeast AND [profile] cookie_chef!!



What a day so far...

TomTom is home! He's doing well... I have him all set up here in my room with food, water, and litter. I need to make some sort of "bed" for him on ground level and keep him off my bed for awhile because he's got some "anal leakage" issues right now. And...he's got several prescriptions I have to stay on top of. Fortunately, only two weeks...

I told him his flexible "cone of shame" isn't a "cone of shame." It's a superkitty cape! I've also made the remark that he still has more guts than humans I know...

Rocky seemed glad to see TomTom, but now is hissing at him from beyond the door because he (TomTom) smells like vet. And I guess Rocky's not happy about being kept out of here.

Yoda is driving me nuts. He does the alarm noise, I give him fruit, and he throws it all away and does the alarm noise again. Why? He wants bananas, and he's pissed that we ran out yesterday or the day before and I haven't made a special trip for him. As is, I'm heading out in a little bit to get a haircut, and I'll probably swing by Path Mark for milk and bananas. Brat.

Anyway, I'm just glad to have TomTom home and on the mend, runny butt or no. I'll probably be doing some extra laundry, though...

Short stack of comics )
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Yay! Friday! And a three-day weekend ahead!

And maybe a shortened day, if TomTom gets discharged from the vet today.

So... I visited him last night. I was hoping to sit with him for awhile, maybe read with him on my lap or next to me. Instead, it was a rather short visit. They brought us in to a room and put him up on the table, and he was hooked up to an IV machine. It looked pretty much like the ones for us humans, except it was a little smaller. I told TomTom that the machines for humans had a button we could press for pain meds. He asked me where the button was to make me shut up and get him out of there. I pet him a bit, trying to be careful of his still-sore tummy, but he kept pushing his head and bib against my hand. And he kept trying to pull out his IV (it was secured to him pretty well). Then all of a sudden, there was this...smell...and he'd had an accident. So, I then did my airplane impression by using one hand to keep him from jumping off the table and the other hand to wave out the door for help. Fortunately, the nurse/tech came back in and helped me clean him up. Okay, she actually did the cleaning while I held him. He stuck his head in the crook of my arm and, though he was alert, seemed a little groggy, and I think he thought I was there to take him home and was pissed he (1) still had an IV and (2) didn't see the carrier. The nurse/tech told me that yeah, he'd been rammy most of the afternoon, and since I didn't want TomTom to hurt himself trying to jump down from the table and walk out the room and the whole facility, I decided that it was time for him to go back to his kennel.

Still, I'm glad I went to go see him, even if it was a short trip. What sucks is knowing that if I'm in the hospital, he can't come see me. Which doubly sucks because I'm sure I'd recover faster if I had my little purring furmonster with me. Though, he'd probably swat away those nurses that come for blood at 3 or 4 in the morning...

Both the ramminess and the accident, though, kind of show that he's doing well. The accident in that food/nutrients are moving through his system. The ramminess in that he feels strong enough to put up a fight, or at least assert his orneriness.

Rocky and Yoda have both shown some...concern...over TomTom's absence. Yoda, I think, understands the concept of going away for a few days and the reassurance of, "He'll be home tomorrow." Rocky simply hugged my TomTom-orange-fur-covered-shirt when I took it off and tossed it on the bed last night. He's...been hyper. Not wandering the house crying for TomTom hyper, but still running through the house like he's got to secure all that territory. He purrs loudly at bedtime and is trying to fill in for TomTom. Though this morning, he woke me up and then promptly trapped my arm with his 25 or so pounds so that I could pet him but not get up.

Now, as for today... TomTom is doing well, except he's not eating, at least not voluntarily. It could be he doesn't have an appetite, what with everything going on in his guts, or he could just be pissed that he has to wear a collar/cone of shame. Other than the eating bit, though, he's doing well, no temperature, but a little vomiting. He's hesitant to give him anything for the intestinal swelling until the biopsy comes back, because with some forms of IBS, the cortisone could make things worse. However, they've had him on fluids, so, it's not like he's in anything critical. But they don't want to send him home until he eats, so, I have to call them later this afternoon to see how he's doing and if he gets to come home or if he has to wait another day. They're going to try taking off the cone and see if he'll eat then, except once the cone comes off, he gets really ornery and either tries to clean himself or run away, and he'll just sulk if the techs hold him or hover over him to keep him in front of the food bowl. They may try feeding him with a syringe, too. Again, not sure if he's avoiding food or just being a brat. In any event, the fact that he's being rammy is a good sign.

Also? I may follow Mom's suggestion and go up there and see if he'll eat for me. Stop at the house first and maybe get one of his bowls, and maybe grab one of his kooshes, a shirt from the hamper (has my scent on it) and maybe one of the toys around the house. Like one of the ones Mandie made for Christmas.

And in somewhat related news... If TomTom needs some significant care for a few weeks, I may skip out on Ryan's (cousin) wedding in two weeks. As is, with all of us going, my sister needs to get someone to feed her cats and we still don't know who we can ask to come feed our cats and birds. I'd be perfectly okay with staying home, since I don't like most of those people anyway...

Mom and I were talking last night... Even if the worst happens, the fact that TomTom lived an amazing 15 years with us, coming as a dumped kitten, getting cleaned up, cared for, loved... I can't have any regrets. But...in this day and age, we have better technology, better nutrition, and a much better understanding of our feline (and canine, avian, amphibian, etc) companions that we can extend their lives and their quality of life. More than that...TomTom, as evidenced by his orneriness, has a will to live. He's not just giving up, and so, I'm not giving up on him. He knows he's got a pretty sweet home with hoomin servants. He also has a sense of purpose. I mean, he has helped me with my sleep disorder to the point where I am functional with it. He helps keep the other cats in line. He's absolutely wonderful with helping keep the stepgoggies in line. He was really patient with Rocky, which I think helped Rocky settle down after we got him. He and YoYo broke into my room after I rescued Riffy to welcome Riffy while I was in class. He and the other furkids are not just ornamental; they all have a purpose, even if it's just to offer comfort and understanding.

The other thing that has floated through my mind is that, once again, I see a higher standard of care given to my pets than what was given to Dad. I mean, even when we lost Lucky, we were still better informed by Dr. Lon than we were from the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Likewise with TomTom, there's been a higher level of communication and a higher professionalism and thoroughness in figuring out what's wrong with TomTom than there was in arresting the infection Dad had and eliminating it before it blew up into sepsis.

This is not to say that TomTom, Lucky, or any of my other pets are less deserving of the care they get. It's not even saying that it's "wrong" to have such a high value on our companionable critters. But, to me, it seems wrong that we value other humans so little. We shouldn't downgrade how we treat our pets; we should upgrade how we treat each other.

On a final (for now) note... Mom said something about renegotiating my monthly "rent" payment to help out with the vet bill and such. Might take her up on that, but, that's all secondary at the moment to getting TomTom healthy again first.

Tall Stack o' Comics )
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Okay, high-speed, low budget update on TomTom...

His biopsy procedure this morning turned out to be a bit of an adventure. They got the biopsies from the stomach and the small intestine. The good news is that there were no obvious polyps or lumps indicative of cancer. Though with the thickening of the intestinal wall of the small intestine, they still can't rule out cancer completely.

His large intestine, however... I can't remember the name of the disease, but it's where the intestinal wall becomes paper thin. Thinner, even. Of course, the wall is useless and is at risk of perforation by even light bowel movements, so, TomTom had a bit of an emergency colectomy. Fortunately, since he's a cat, he shouldn't need a coleostomy bag or anything, since felines have the tendency to be awesome and the lower portion of the small intestine takes over the function of the large intestine. So, some sutures later, and he's good to go. Well, actually, he's going to be on a "low-bulk" diet for a bit for the sutures to heal.

So... He's got to spend another night at the kitty hospital and will hopefully come home tomorrow. I'm planning on going up there and visiting him after work tonight.

Also on the good side: he handled the surgery well and woke up fine. Meaning the rest of his systems are working okay. He's on pain meds and such. Dr. Lon doesn't want to say anything definite until the biopsies come back, but the prognosis looks good.

In other news, I'm thinking I'll never be out of debt. Oh well. Student loans or medical bills, I suppose it's all the same in the long run. And...TomTom is definitely deserving of top-notch medical care. I mean, they use frikkin laser surgery up there! No, the lasers aren't mounted on sharks, but still. Oh, and the imaging software used? Yeah, that's derivative of tech they used on Hubble for deep-space imaging. All stuff they use on humans, too. My kitty is a space-age kitty. Woo?

Obviously, TomTom will be isolated from the stepgoggies this weekend. It'll be up to Rocky to boss them around.

Anyway, more details later. Oh, and the first person here or on Facebook to say, "It's just a cat" or any derivative thereof will have an effigy made of them and Italian curses shall flow. Such statements are why my cat is better than people.

For those who have sent positive vibes, prayers, and well-wishes? Thank you. It's appreciated. TomTom, though ornery, is such a loving, patient, loyal, dedicated, and helpful cat that he doesn't deserve discomfort, and anything that can alleviate this hopefully temporary rough patch is appreciated by both me and him. If I know my cat, he's got a few years left, and he'll recover quickly from this.

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So...it's been a semi-relaxing, semi-productive weekend thus far. I still have some stuff I want to take care of, like finishing my laundry, but otherwise, it's going okay. I spent the better part of the day yesterday cleaning out my linen closet so Rich can get to the pipes to fix my shower. I didn't think it would take all that much time, but, there was more crap there to go through than I thought. On the bright side, I threw out some broken stuff and a ton of things that were past expiration or not used or whatever. Old contact lens stuff and weird shampoos and stuff like that. I'm hoping that when the shower is fixed and I can put all this crap away that that will take a little less time and things will be a little better organized.

Last night, I went over to Jess' place because she wanted to have a Big Bang Theory marathon. She had a drinking game set up, but, since I can't drink, she made popcorn for me to use instead. Anyway, we watched the first four or five episodes of the third season. It was fun.

Since she lives in Wilmington in an area I'm not familiar with at all, I finally tried out the GPS "tomtom" unit my co-worker gave me when she got a new GPS a year ago... Anyway, the device worked out really well! Got there, got home, no problems, easy peazy... Woot!

This weekend, I also went to Concord Pet and got some rawhide bones and chew bones for Bridgett and Brandon. There seems to be happiness on their end and less destruction of cat toys. Hoomin wins! I also got a laser pointer that has a diffuser to make shapes of a butterfly, a smiley face, a star, and a mousie in addition to the Red Dot. I tried it out with TomTom and Rocky. Hilarity ensued. For a 15-year-old, TomTom is still quite spry! Then there was when I projected a laser butterfly on TomTom's hind leg, and Rocky did that little bunny hop thing to tackle it. As if that wasn't funny enough, TomTom just looked at him and said, "Really? Are you really that fucking stupid?" Anyway, I need to try it on Riffy and Minerva. I'm hoping to engage them in cooperative dot hunting with Rocky to see if that will help them all bond a little better.

To give another little peak into my supposed brain... I stopped at Path Mark last night to get another big bag of cat crunchies, since I had just emptied the last one. On the way to the cat aisle, I passed the produce section and got excited when I saw they had peaches. Because they haven't had peaches the last time I went there and needed fruit for the parrot. So, I think all the pets got something from me this weekend. I guess I should be too surprised - or put off - that I can't move around here without some critter hugging or licking me.

Eh, it is what it is.

Weekend Comics )
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HAPPY BIRFDAY [personal profile] awallens!!!



Feeling a little drained at the moment. Today was my appointment at the blood bank. Alas, I wasn't able to do the ALYX donation, since my hemoglobin was too low. It was great for whole blood donation, but not for them taking twice as many RBCs away. It could be allergies, or it could be asthma. In any event, I may try ALYX later. Maybe even over winter. In the meantime, whole blood donation is still pretty damn good, and I'll be donating again in July.

Since then, I've been getting some weekend chore stuff done and napping. Really feeling drained this time around. Probably still a little out of it from the severe GERD bout the other night. On the bright side, this is a lite chore weekend, so, hopefully, it'll be a nice, relaxing, recharging, restful weekend for me. Then again, the stepgoggies are here.

On a semi-related note... I'm reading Jackson Galaxy's book Cat Daddy. I've tried the "I Love You" blink with TomTom, but, so far, there's no reaction. Then again, he's pretty secure anyway, so... Yeah. Last night, he was sleeping on my head, as usual, and I touched his paw. In response, the purring went from "idling lawnmower" to "Saturn V rocket" and he insisted on licking my face. Not really a problem, except for the really bad fishy cat food breath. Oh well. Both Rocky and TomTom like that contact thing... Many times, I wake up and one of them has a paw resting lightly on my face or my hand.

My sister's cat, MiMi, used to crawl under the covers so she could snuggle under my chin. I still miss her, but, at least she opened a place in my sister's life for Lily.

You know... I really think the side project memoir of all the furkids I've had might stand a good chance for publication, all things considered. Gods know I have enough amusing stories of all the cats, dogs, and parrots, not to mention stories of their interactions together, from Yoda liking to ride on Boomer's head, to Nemo making Sugar psychotic with respect to squeaky toys, and back to Yoda for trying to teach the cats to say his name. Then I think about the times I lay on the couch and Yoda asks, "You okay there, bud?" Like he's going to do anything if I'm not okay. And the time TomTom and Rocky got me when Mom couldn't get up after her hip replacement. Or Rocky waking me up earlier this week when the house had no power, I had no alarm clock, and I needed to get to work.

When I hear stories of other peoples' pets performing similar intelligent acts of helpfulness and loyalty, I have to wonder if Human arrogance isn't actually a hindrance in our evaluation of these creatures' intelligence and awareness. One popular test they do on animals in general to disprove their self-awareness is to put them in front of a mirror and watch the animal either react to the image as a threat or whatever, but to not give any evidence that they recognize the image as themselves. And yet...four weeks ago, Bridgett and Brandon were on the steps, which have a mirror at the bottom, and they were at eye level of the mirror. They saw me coming in the mirror, then looked at me. Then they saw other movement and turned around to see TomTom at the top of the steps. In short, they were reacting to the reflection and understood that they saw the reflections of other actions and looked at the appropriate areas. I'm not sure if this has been replicated in a laboratory setting. Now, this doesn't quite go with the whole "mark them with lipstick and see if they try to wipe it off" thing, though (1) I see humans at Rocky Horror who don't remove the lipstick... Maybe these animals think that they're being marked in some sort of initiation like the kids going to RHPS. Maybe (2), given their lesser acuity, they don't really see the lipstick or they aren't familiar enough with their own reflection to know that something's different. I mean, honestly, we tend not to see certain zits right away or notice the formation of certain scars. In conclusion, I think the animals are fucking with us. Intentionally. So that they get spoiled with toys, food, and have the supposedly superior race fetch food for them, clean up their poop, pay for their food and health care, and show them off to their friends. A bit of an oversimplification? Perhaps. But the intelligence of cooperation, adaptability, routine, and so on is still there and higher than what people in general are aware of. Then again, I'm still convinced that the average person is an idiot.

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Well, I've had a busy Caturday! In between naps and blowing my nose, I have managed to take care of the cats boxes and bird cages, make my sandwiches for work for the week, make my bed, get my laundry started, make soup, and get a few other odds and ends done. All that's left now is some weekly computer maintenance and finishing up my laundry. Oh, and maybe getting my taxes done.

TomTom is awfully spry for an "old man" of a cat that he is. I worry about him sometimes, what with him being a little underweight due to geriatric-related hyperthyroidism, and sometimes he moves a little slow due to what looks like arthritis. Then there's today, where I'm at the foot of the basement steps to get a can of chicken and rice soup, and TomTom attempts to go into the forbidden zone. Granted, I'm a little easily winded at the moment with this cold, but he still dodged and juked on the steps and managed to get half-way past me. I barely grabbed a hind leg and held him in place long enough to scoop him up, where he still almost wriggled free. Twice. I take this as evidence that one can be elderly and still pack a wallop, and that you really shouldn't fuck with the elderly.

Not much else. Just kind of taking it easy, what with this cold, and stress, and so on. It's all good.

Caturday Antics )
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Yeah, I kept the blog "dark" in support of protests for SOPA and censorship.

I mean, seriously, can we really prevent widespread piracy? Or content-sharing? What would be next? Having to pay a fee and apply for permission to sing "Happy Birthday"? Being fined for quoting movies? As is, I'm kind of surprised the RIAA hasn't shut down karaoke bars. I mean, they've damn near come close to shutting down gyms and dance studios. I never advertised myself as a DJ for hire because technically I can't just go somewhere and play music without risking getting into a hell of a lot of trouble. I can do so at TTL and such because they're already raped up the ass without lube charged exorbitant fees to...provide music for us dancers to, you know, dance to.

And in another venue, something SOPA could put a crushing end to is fan fic. (Yes, SOPA could end far more things than fan fic, but, I'm going with more personal things to kind of narrow down my example machine.) Okay, so, those of us writing fan fic could still do so and just not share it on the internet. But there are whole groups who write and read each others' fan fic, and this has been greatly facilitated, and would then be greatly crippled, by SOPA.

Hell, even here on LJ and DW, how many icon groups are there? And why do we use a pop cult icon with a witty saying? Because it expresses something we're feeling or want to share. Fan vids, fan fic, icons, LOL cats, movie quotes, music lyrics, karaoke... They are all artistic manifestations of the human need to express. Indeed, it also emphasizes the importance of and need for art in general in society.

Dorkgasm has this post about sharing leading to interest. I share this link because, well, it's relevant. In fact, it even mentions Nine Inch Nails, which I became interested in after seeing a BSG fan vid with Baltar and Six. There have been several songs and bands I became interested in after seeing a fan vid set to their music.

Geeks are Sexy has a wonderfully comprehensive vid about PIPA and SOPA and the threat they present.

And then there's this cute parody...



In other news, The Mary Sue has an article about George Lucas retiring as a filmmaker. Well, he'll still do smaller projects. My take? Yes, I wish he'd stop screwing around with the original trilogy. Some of the improved effects were cool, but most? I don't think they're an improvement. If they could release a DVD or Blu-Ray where at the menu, you can select which version of effects and added or redone scenes you want, and create your own version, I'd be all over that. For example, in A New Hope, I'd have the scene with Jabba the Hutt, have the dewbacks, but have Han Shot First.

Unlike so many others, I don't think the prequel movies were an abomination. I liked Jango Fett, Qui Gon, and Mace Windu. Granted, this was more in the novelizations of the prequel trilogy, but Palpatine's rise to power, eroding of civil liberties in the name of security, and seducing Anakin to the Dark Side is actually pretty deep and has scores of social commentary on current events. Lucas' flaw, in my own opinion, is that he's a perfectionist and he's got enough clout to give in to his own version of OCD. I can criticize only so much because I have experienced this with my own writing. It's hard, but you have to know when something is done and learn to walk away from it, and still love it in spite of all the flaws you may see.

On a tangent to that, I have to tip my hat to so many authors... Michael Martin and Andy Mangels, James Luceno, Kirsten Beyer, David Mack, Dayton Ward, Geoffrey Thorne, Peter David, J.M. Dillard, Vonda McIntyre, and many more, who have either written novelizations of movies or used (shitty) material from movies of certain franchises and used them for compelling storytelling. I mean, Nemesis sucked, but the Titan novels and the Destiny trilogy and the Typhon Pact books have used Data's death, Romulan politics, and the Next Gen crew going their separate ways to launch some superb storytelling including some serious thought and visceral scenes. Joel Schumacker created the travesty of Batman Forever, but Peter David's novelization of that film thoroughly redeemed that story. Oh, and he did the same thing for Fantastic 4.

And I still say Ward and Dilmore and Mack have created a far more interesting Original Series-era saga with Vanguard than what J.J. Abrams could ever hope to achieve with his Trek reboot. If done right, the movie version of Vanguard would easily blow the Trek reboot out of the water. Unfortunately, the track record of making books into movies is not all that great. I mean, hell, Asimov's The End of Eternity was, actually, an excellent story as well as a compelling argument as to why we shouldn't let our space program stagnate, not to mention a very good twist on the old story of needing to take risks in order to achieve great things, but I'd be hard pressed to come up with a director and actors to do the book justice.

Moving along...

Yes, this post is in the clear. I figure that with the whole censorship thing, I should make this one available to the masses.

Anyway, took Mom to get her pain shots today. She's okay now, but the procedure took more than twice as long as usual.

TomTom does this caterwauling thing, usually at about this time of the night. Well this afternoon, he did it right behind me, and I actually got to watch him. I had always wondered why he did it... Vocalizing his status as the alpha? Mourning the missing people? In pain? Well, when I finally saw him, his face and stance was what I've observed of people when they're singing karaoke. In short, I have a cat who sings.

I think Tom's going to need the same thyroid surgery as YoYo. Fortunately, it's not critical at this juncture, which gives me time to save up money for it. The vet said they're okay as long as they get enough to eat. YoYo is kind of sedate, but TomTom was chasing me through the house when I was taking care of the cat boxes earlier. Not bad for a 15-year-old fuzzball. I think he yells at the birds - and kids - to get the frack off the lawn when we're not home...

Wednesday's Comics )
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January 2015

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