Monday, November 30, 2009

Shut Up and Drive

To my fellow drivers,

I have a few comments that I think will go a long way to improving everyone's road experience:

1. If I can see the shadow of my car in front of me because of your headlights, you're either driving too close, or have your highbeams on. I'm not too happy with either of those, so BACK THE FUCK OFF.

2. If I drive slower because you're in a hurry and decide to crowd me, guess what, BACK THE FUCK OFF.

3. If I come to a stop and you have to slam on your brakes and angle your car as though you are going to go around me, you need to BACK THE FUCK OFF.

4. To anyone who drives an SUV, truck, minivan, van, or any other type of vehicle that is higher off the road than a sedan: if you're driving behind a sedan at night your lights are at their eye level. That means you're blinding the driver. Please BACK THE FUCK OFF.

5. If you're in such a hurry that you feel it necessary to pass another vehicle at night, in a non-passing zone, going up a hill on a blind need to slow down and BACK THE FUCK OFF.

So in conclusion, if everyone would just BACK THE FUCK OFF, the world would be a better place.

Thank you.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Green eggs and ham? No thanks

Dear Manufacturer,

I don't need artificial sweeteners in my products! I don't need them in my carb loaded bagels, or any other bread product. I don't need them in my gum or mints. I don't need them in my toothpaste, and I don't need them in my mouth wash. I don't need them in my chapstick or lipstick. I don't need them in my nail polish. Enough already!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Pretty Vegas

In the past month I have made 2 trips to Las Vegas totaling 8 days. I had a great time, and learned several things:

1. The Sahara hotel, although a bit run down, is comfortable to sleep in.

2. Zumanity is a riot and a great show

3. The Stratosphere is walking distance from Sahara and has a great buffet.

4. The cheapest way to get around Vegas (aside from walking) is a combination of the bus system and the monorail.

5. Taking the Deuce (bus) from one end of the strip to the other will take more than an hour. You are better off taking the monorail to the nearest location and getting the bus from there

6. The strip is between 3 and 4 miles long. That's a lot of walking.

7. If you want to see a burlesque show, see Peepshow

8. The Chin Chin in New York New York remains my favorite restaurant in Vegas

9. New York New York is a great hotel to stay in

10. Coyote Ugly is more fun when its packed, but allowing the crowd control of the music results in some very strange musical combinations.

11. The bar at Coyote Ugly is way fun to dance on

12. The CSI Experience at MGM is easy, corny, and fun

13. I've got the names of 2 women I can go hang out with if I'm ever back

14. Pimps in Vegas are so stereotypical it was hilarious

15. 4 days is the max before the air and the smoke start to really get to me

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Behind the times

I'm always behind the times, late to the party. I don't know why, I just am. In the aftermath of Comic Con (something I vow to go to one of these years!) I read a lot of Tweets and Blogs referring to The Guild. Curious, I looked it up. Then I proceeded to watch both seasons immediately. In one sitting. It was fantastic! I have no idea how or why I missed it before, but if you haven't watched it, you should.

On 8/17 The Guild released their music video and song (Do You Wanna Date) My Avatar. Since I was in NY for work, I again missed the boat. However I caught wind of it when I got home, and immediately checked it out. I've yet to get the song out of my head, which I'm cool with, but the video inspired me with something else too: this year's Halloween costume.

I'm not sure if I can pull it off, but I am going to attempt to go as Felicia Day as Codex for Halloween. I'm excited!

That said...anyone know a good seamstress?

Friday, August 7, 2009

Have I got an eye for you

I have been remiss in blogging - I apologize. There just doesn't seem to be enough hours in the day to get everything done that I want to.

Geekiness abounded at work today. I got into a discussion with one of our developers about the possibility of using Biometrics as a security measure in our software. Specifically we were discussing the use of fingerprint scanning. OK so we were mostly talking about how cool that would be, despite the knowledge that it is completely unrealistic for our application. That led to talking about retinal scanning. Oh the geek levels were off the meter!

That was pretty much the extent of the discussion, but as I was driving back from my popcorn craving run, I had the craziest thought: what if touch screen monitors were Biometric? Our software is touch screen compatible - if the screen itself was able to identify the operator with every touch, you couldn't pass yourself off as someone else. It's the ultimate security - unless someone steals your body.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

And now for a word from my OCD

Anyone who knows me will agree that I am obsessive compulsive. There's a bit of attention deficient disorder mixed in there too. I *have* to have something to obsess over. What that is varies - sometimes it's a game that I spend every waking moment playing. Sometimes it's a bar or restaurant that I *have* to go to every time I go out for a drink. Sometimes it's a job, and sometimes it's a bit of information.

Since Holly's death I have been obsessed with feline diabetes. I want to quit my job and devote my time to teaching cat owners and vets about feline diabetes. (Only my long list of bills and the need for a roof over my head keeps me from actually quitting my job to do that.) There is a diabetic cat at the shelter that I volunteer for and I made it my personal mission to find him a home. (There are actually 2 diabetics, but the other is also FIV+ so I don't know that I'll be able to find him a home, though I will certainly try.)

So for anyone that cares to read my blog, here is my personal PSA about feline diabetes:

Do you own cats, or care for them? Listen to me very carefully, for what I am about to say might one day save you a lot of money and heartache:


Cats are carnivores ok? Do you think they feed the lions and tigers at the zoo dry kibble? No, they feed raw meat. The digestive system of a cat is not designed to be able to handle/process grains. What is the primary ingredient of dry cat food? Grains!

A lifetime of eating dry food is a leading cause of diabetes in cats. In a diabetic person the first thing the doctor will tell them is that they need to change their diet. The same is true for a cat! Yet most vets have little to no experience with diabetic cats, and they will prescribe DRY FOOD as the diet! These cats end up on huge doses of insulin, and a shortened life span.

Diabetes is not a death sentence for a cat. Many live very full lives after diagnosis. With proper diet many also go into remission.

If you love your cat, I strongly urge you to visit this website and read all the documentation, especially about diet.

Thank you.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The New Star Trek (Wars)

WARNING: Major spoilers, so do not read if you have not watched the movie. That is all.

I just got home from watching the new Star Trek movie. As a long time Star Trek fan, I faced watching the movie with trepidation, because they were messing with an established line of characters and an established universe. I didn't think that I would be able to watch the movie and not see Harold and Sylar. I didn't think I would be able to accept this new cast in the roles established through years of work on the part of the original cast.

As it turned out, that was the least of my problems with the movie.

OK, to be fair, it was a good movie, and I did enjoy it. I will even watch it again. That being said, here is what I had trouble with:


I didn't have as much trouble with this as I thought I would. I actually thought they did a really good job. The only characters I had trouble believing were Scotty and Uhura. In Scotty's case, it may have just been because he didn't have much screen time. Or maybe it was the Ewok he was hanging out with.


The story. was I watching Star Trek, or Star Wars? There are soooo many parallels that were drawn that I just started to laugh at one point. I mean come on, the scene with all the cadets marching off to their shuttles - rebel base anyone? Since when do cadets crew starships (much less command them!) anyway? What the hell is the point of even having the academy and the military rankings if you can just toss any cadet into a high ranking position on a starship?

Star Wars parallels aside, my biggest issue with the story is of course the time travel, and the resultant parallel universe. Now, from the perspective of JJ Abrams and the reboot of the franchise, this was brilliant, because it gives them carte blanche to do whatever they want with Star Trek now. Spock and Uhuru were never lovers? Well this is a parallel universe! Kirk didn't grow up without his father? Well this is a parallel universe! Cadets don't captain starships? Well this is a parallel universe! You get the idea. The problem is, the whole parallel universe thing pisses me off. It's such a cop out, it always has been. Instead of rebooting the franchise while remaining true to the established universe, they've said fuck you, we're doing it our way. Which maybe isn't a bad thing, given that the Star Trek franchise had essentially died.

All in all, it isn't my Star Trek. That's probably a good thing. But I will be watching, and waiting, to see what the future brings.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Kitty Mafia Part 3

With proper diet and medication, Holly was soon back on her feet and ruling the Kitty Mafia again. The house we lived in had a rival kitty mafia in the neighborhood. A territory war soon broke out. Holly entrusted Cleo with the job of running off the other cats. She did a good job of it, culminating in busting through a window screen to attack the enemy.

After a couple more years I finally bought a house and the Kitty Mafia had a new locale to run. Cleo got straight to work making sure the place was fit to be their headquarters. Once again there was a rival kitty mafia in the neighborhood, so she set out to run them off. The Kitty Mafia more or less tolerated my presence, as long as I continued to bring them food that satisfied their cravings.

Before long Holly took ill again. This time she would not recover. To help Cleo with her mafia duties, I brought in Danu. Cleo became the underboss, and Danu the new associate. Danu was charged with waking me and keeping me on task with my feeding duties, while Cleo focused on the enemy mafia.

The mafia was dealt it's final crushing blow with the passing of its Don. Unsure what to do with themselves in the resulting chaos, Cleo and Danu have turned mercenary. On her death bed, Holly must have left orders for Cleo and Danu to avenge her, because I have become the target of numerous assassination attempts. Cleo tries to kill me by tripping me and poking holes in my veins so I can bleed out. Danu tries to decapitate me, and chew off my legs, leaving me at their mercy. They are quite tenacious, except when I bring their food. Then they grudgingly take a break to replenish their energy.

Will I survive the Kitty Assassins? I'm not sure. We'll have to wait and see.

My Heart Will Go On

WARNING: This blog contains graphic depictions of death, and raw emotions. Read at your own risk.

My cat, Holly, died this month at the age of 16. I got her as a kitten, so I have had her for more than half of my life. She was a constant companion. 4 years ago she was diagnosed with diabetes, but that is not what she died from. She had been doing fine until February of this year. I didn't know then that I was starting down a very long path from which I will never be the same.

In February, Holly's appetite declined and she was barely eating. Besides her appetite, she was fine. She slept on my bed all day, sunning herself. She would get up when I came home and go to the food dish (although she wouldn't eat.) I thought maybe it was her teeth, since she has always had trouble with them. I took her into the vet and he agreed that her teeth needed work. We scheduled the dental work. I dropped her off the day of the appointment and they started with blood work, to make sure she was ok to have the anesthesia. She was not. They discovered that she was anemic. They had trouble with the tests, which were also telling them that she had leukemia (cancer, not FeLV.) They sent out a CBC and the results were not cancer, but definitely anemia. The good news was that it was regenerative. So we took a wait and see approach. Subsequent CBC's showed no improvement, but no decline either. Something was destroying the cells at the same rate that they were being created.

After her second or third CBC, she had some sort of incident. (I now believe she had a seizure.) At the time I didn't know what happened - I was sitting at my computer and heard a thud in my bedroom. I got up and looked and found Holly on the floor next to my bed. She was trying to get up, but couldn't. I picked her up and put her on my bed, but she didn't stand, she immediately flopped over. I could not get her to stand. I was scared, I didn't know what to do. I stayed up with her all night, moving her around from my bed to the food bowl to the water dish and the litterbox, holding her up while she did her thing. By morning she was able to stand and walk, although not very well. She kept falling over onto one side. She could not get on my bed anymore, so I setup a bed for her in the living room, and took to sleeping on the couch so that I was near her and could keep an eye on her during the night. I told the vet about it when they called with the latest CBC results, and they didn't think much of it. Because she was improving, they decided to leave it at that. Later I brought her into the vet so they could see the way she was stumbling around. Stroke and arthritis were the possible conclusions that the vet came to, but again they did nothing about it.

With some further investigation, it was determined that Holly had Hemobartonella, which is a blood parasite. She was put on a course of antibiotics and steroids. (I should mention that she had steadily been losing weight, but was still eating.) After almost 2 weeks on the meds, she started to throw up. It was caused by the antibiotics, but she refused to take any more medications. So we took her off the meds. She improved, although another CBC showed that her count had dropped more, and was now 15%. We needed to continue the steroids, but she wouldn't take the pills. We were well into March now and the constant sleep/awake/sleep/awake nights were beginning to take their toll on me. I was tired. With the help of some objects used as stairs, Holly was able to get on my bed, but preferred to stay on her makeshift bed in the living room. Then one night I witnessed the most horrible thing I have ever seen - Holly was happily eating her dinner when suddenly she was on her side, her legs pulled up to her body, and everything was jerking. Then just as suddenly she righted herself, but she wasn't there. She stayed like that for several minutes before she started to respond to my touch and went back to eating. She had had a seizure.

We needed to get ahead of the anemia. Since she wouldn't take the pills, liquid steroid (prednisilone) is what we ended up using. Holly was not happy with me squirting it into her mouth, but at least she was getting the meds. After a week she started throwing up and had diarrhea. I stopped giving her the prednisilone and she improved. So I gave her the prednisilone again, and again she threw up and had diarrhea. I consulted the vet and we decided to halve the dose. That seemed to be ok for her.

My heart wrenched every time I looked at her. She was just skin and bone, she had lost all fat and most of her muscle. She did not react to my presence or voice. She could barely move around and she just looked like she was on death's door. I started giving her MB12. She immediately showed improvement - she was alert and aware of her surroundings, and was able to move around more easily. Hope fluttered in my heart. It was quickly dashed at the end of the week when I realized that Holly was constipated. She was constantly going to the litterbox, and straining so much I thought she was going to have a heart attack. I took her to the ER.

The ER vet hospitalized her to give her an enema and fluids. I signed a DNR. I have never hated myself more. I felt like I had paid for a hit. The next day they sent her home, saying she would be fine for home care. I took her home, but she was still constipated. 2 days later we were back at the ER so they could keep her comfortable until I could get her into my regular vet's office. The next day I brought her in. The vet looked at the CBC result from the ER, and gave me the grim news:

Holly's red blood count was now down to 10%, and was no longer regenerative. Her white blood count showed every indication that despite our efforts, cancer had set in. Her only treatment options were chemo and blood transfusions, neither of which she was very likely to survive, given her condition. I could not tell the vet to put her down, even though the vet's body language and facial expressions were screaming at me to do so. I felt like I would be murdering her. I couldn't do it. The vet told me she wasn't in pain, that she would probably fall asleep and never wake up, or go into heart failure. She said that Holly probably wouldn't survive the week, and it was ok to take her home. So I did.

Holly survived the week. And 2 weeks after that. I had stopped all medications, and she actually seemed to improve. She was walking around more, and eating and drinking like it was going out of style. She would go lay in the sun in my room (although she couldn't get on my bed anymore, even with the "stairs" there.) I spent as much time as I could with her in the evenings, holding her. I was still sleeping on the couch, waking every time she got up. I had sort of gotten used to the lack of sleep now.

Partly through the 2nd week I had to travel for work. She was ok when I left, and I hoped she would still be fine when I got home. While I was gone her kidneys failed and she started urinating wherever she was at the moment. She held on until I got home. I got home at 11:30pm and found the cat urine mess that was my house. I cleaned the worst of it, spent some time with Holly, then went to bed. When I got up the next morning for work, Holly was curled inside the cat condo. She responded when I touched her, so I gave her chin some scratches and then went to work. When I got home, I finished cleaning the house, mopping all the floors. When I was done, I set myself up on the couch to sit with Holly, as I had been. That is when I discovered it.

Holly was still in the condo, but she was no longer responding to my touch. She was not moving at all, except to breathe. I carefully pulled her out of the condo, and sat with her on the couch. She was not there, in the same way as she was not there after her seizure. I suspect she had one during the day, and never recovered. She had not eaten all day, so I used the syringe to put water into her mouth. She would not (or could not) open her mouth, but she did swallow the water. I fretted if I was making things better or worse with it. I cleaned her up and stayed with her. All night I stayed with her.

Around 11pm she had another seizure. I held her to me, to keep her from flailing off the couch, until it passed. Around 12am she had another. And another around 1am. And another around 2:30am. Around 3:30am she started having seizure after seizure. Her tongue was hanging out of her mouth and I was afraid she would bite it off. She was shaking so violently all I could do was hold her and cry. Finally she stopped shaking. And breathing. I thought that was it, she was done. Then she sucked in a gasping, watery sounding breath. Then nothing. After what seemed like an eternity she gasped again. I was praying, begging for it to just be over. Twice more she gasped in a breath. And then it was done. She was dead.

I was flooded with emotions. Relief that it was finally over, that my sleepless nights were gone. Grief that a longtime friend was gone. Guilt, a lot of guilt. Had I done the right thing? Had she suffered because of my choice? Resentment that so much of my life had centered around her health care. Anger at myself for the resentment.

The myriad of emotions has not gone away, but I hope over time they will fade. I have come to realize though that I would not have been able to accept her death if I had let the vet put her to sleep. I had to experience her death with her. I needed it, to accept and let her go.

Rest in peace Holly.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Kitty Mafia Part 2

After my realization of living with the mob, I began to notice other things:

1. Holly eats first. Cleo sits nearby on protection duty while Holly eats. When she has finished and has gone to sun herself, Cleo takes a break from protection duty and eats.

2. Cleo is on protection duty anytime Holly is vulnerable. That means when Holly is in the litterbox, Cleo is on protection detail. When Holly is asleep on my bed, Cleo is on protection detail.

3. What does protection detail entail? Primarily running interference if anything (i.e. me) comes near. For example, weaving in and around my feet to trip me, preventing me from getting close to Holly.

4. Cleo is charged with keeping away the riffraff. This means birds, squirrels, other cats, etc. If they approach and Cleo does not immediately send them running, Holly growls and swishes her tail impatiently.

5. Bugs are not allowed. I once saw a spider crawl into Holly's food dish. She sat back and looked at it, then looked over to Cleo. Cleo immediately got up and went to the food bowl. Spying the spider, she snatched it out and proceeded to munch on it, while Holly went back to eating.

This is just a small sampling of the madness. After a year we moved into another apartment, and then in another year we moved into a house. At that time Holly was diagnosed with diabetes. This shook the Kitty Mafia to its core. It was in disarray. Holly no longer had control over Cleo's actions, and Cleo did whatever she pleased. This also meant Holly had to wake me for food on her own, and lost her protection detail. Things were not looking good for the former don of the Kitty Mafia.

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Kitty Mafia Part 1

I grew up around cats. We always had at least one. Rarely did we have more than one. After I graduated college and got my first apartment, I brought my cat Holly to live with me. I soon discovered that due to work, I spent more time away from my apartment than in it, so I brought in another cat, Cleopatra, to keep Holly company. It was then that I discovered that my apartment was actually run by the Kitty Mafia.

I didn't make the discovery right away. At first everything seemed fairly normal. Both Holly and Cleo would sleep on the bed with me at night. This was normal - every cat I have had has done this. They would also wake me up in the morning for food. Again, this was normal. (See these youtube videos for reference.) We had a routine - they would make noise to wake me, and I would grumble, tell them to go away, and roll over. They would make more noise, and I would throw something in their general direction. The noise would continue, and I would get up and put them out of the bedroom and shut the door. This of course would result in scratching at the door.

After awhile it finally dawned on me that it wasn't Holly that was waking me up in the morning - it was Cleo. I was only seeing part of the story. (I use the excuse that they were waking me up, so I wasn't really with it.) This is what was really happening:

Cleo, Holly and I were sleeping peacefully. The sun began to creep above the horizon. Sensing the change in sunlight, Holly gets up and stretches. She bats Cleo, who wakes up, and then jumps down from the bed and ambles out of the room, but stays near the doorway. Cleo then stretches, and begins to knead as close to my head as possible, pawing my face when necessary to wake me. Still sleeping, I pet her and try to convince her to lay down and go back to sleep. A low growl eminates from the doorway. Cleo jumps down from the bed and searches out any bit of plastic that she can rustle. She rustles, and I grumble, tell her to stop, and roll over. Another growl from the doorway. Cleo increases her rustling - tackling the bag as though playing. I pick up the nearest empty water bottle (or chapstick or anything else non-breakable that won't injure) and throw it in the direction of the rustling. Cleo retreats to the doorway, where Holly hisses and boxes her ears. Cleo backs into the room submissively, and finds something even more annoying to make noise with. Exasperated, I get up and put her out of the room. As soon as the door is shut, the sounds of hissing and growling and a lot of boxing can be heard. A pitiful cry is heard and some more growling, fading into the distance as Holly stalks off into the living room. Then the scratching begins.

Once I put this all together, it hit me: Holly is the Don in this Kitty Mafia, and Cleo is her associate.

The Dead Zone

I have a fairly good collection of TV shows on DVD that my dad surreptitiously dumps on me every now and then. Some of the shows I have seen, others I had never even heard of. I recently started going through them, and have come across some amazing shows. Pretty much all of which have been cancelled. Two shows that were cancelled that are worth watching anyway: Kitchen Confidential and Threshold.

I just finished Season One of The Dead Zone. I had caught a few episodes here and there when the show was still on the air, but I never got into it because their portrayal of Maine really irritated me. Since I had the entire first season on dvd, I thought I would give the show a chance.

If it took place anywhere other than Maine, I think Dead Zone would be up there as one of my favorite shows. Unfortunately, I just cannot get past the inaccurate portrayal of the state of Maine. Not just Maine...New England in general.

As an example, in one of the last episodes of the season, John Smith gets stuck in this podunk town in Massachusetts where they want to burn him at the stake for being a witch. When asked if he had an alibi for the satanic murders that occurred in town the night before he rolled in, his response was: "We checked out of our hotel last night, and have been driving up the coast since." The hotel, by the way, was in Boston. Anyone in Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire or Maine knows that Boston is only 2 hours from Portland. This means that in order for them to have left Boston, drive all night and STILL be in Massachusetts, they had to have been stuck in the Big Dig all night and only just broke out of it.

It is a shame that stupid little things like that prevent me from enjoying the show. It makes me wonder - do shows based in other cities/states have this same problem? Do other people get irritated by shows based in their area? Is Maine unique in being badly represented in Hollywood?

Friday, March 20, 2009


As they say, opinions are like assholes: every one has one. Here is my opinion on Dollhouse. WARNING: SPOILERS!!!!

Dollhouse seems to be getting mixed reviews from fans, and overall it seems to be something that people are having to warm up to, myself included. I didn't watch Dollhouse when it first aired - I watched it on Hulu later because I wanted to see what all the buzz was about. I'm not a Whedonite (is that what they call themselves?) but I do like Eliza Dushku. The premiere definitely left me wanting. If it weren't for the fact that I like Eliza, that probably would have been the end of the show for me. Instead I decided to wait it out and see what happens. I'm glad I waited. Each episode has gotten better for me.

I've seen other reviews of the show that made some interesting points, some of which I agree with, and some that I don't. For example,
Nickolas posted the following on his blog:

"Worse yet is the fact that her 'default' position is that of a vacuous, wide-eyed "doll." Wow. She is totally wrong for that. I don't buy her as a doll in any way, shape, or form. I think she has too much self-assurance shining through for it to seem realistic, and as bad as I hate to say it, she's not quite talented enough to hide her inner strength and be that empty husk."

I feel differently about Eliza's "dollness." I may be reading too much into it, but it seems to be that her character, Echo, is more than what initially meets the eye. We are supposed to think that she is "vacuous" when in her wiped state, but I believe that she is really pretending. She is far more aware of what is going on than she is letting on, and they hint at that in little ways throughout the first few episodes. As an example, the first time we see Echo and Sierra together after they have had their first "mission" together, Sierra clearly recognizes Echo and Echo just as clearly gives her a "not right now, you don't know me" signal.

Tantalizing bits like this are really what are keeping me watching the show. I want to know how much she knows, how much awareness she has. I want to know what happened with Alpha, and why Echo was spared. I could care less about the story line with the Fed, and I could really care less about the "doll" scenerios. Which is not really good given that, well, that's the premise of the show...

On an interesting (to me anyway) side note, I was just in Orlando and there is this rundown building with a massive sign outside that says: "Dollhouse." It proclaims that you will find Orlando's best dolls inside. I'm pretty sure they're not of the porcelain variety *snicker.* I had to wonder though, what sort of impact the tv show will have on these "real" dollhouses, and vice versa. The more I thought about it, the more surpised I became that there hasn't been some sort of public condemning of the show just based on the title. Then I realized...oh yeah, who's watching? (Except us geeks and well, we're not going to protest are we.)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Cute Story

Today is my mother's birthday. I won't be able to spend time with her, so I had flowers delivered to her at work. I didn't put on the card who they were from, just "Happy Birthday Mom!" Probably 2 mins after she received the flowers, I received the following email:

Did you send me flowers? The card just says "Happy Birthday Mom!!"

I replied:

I donno, are they nice?

Obviously I knew they were from me, but I wanted to have a little fun.

They are beautiful, they are in a basket with purple and pink flowers.

Now for the kicker.

Oh, well, then they are from me.

After I finished work I called my mom and she asked me if the flowers were from me or not. I told her they were, and she gave me the following story:

I picked up your sister from dance class and asked her if she had flowers sent to me at work. (My baby sister is 8 yrs old.) She looked at me thoughtfully and said "I don't know. Were they nice?" I told her that they were, and described them. She smiled and said "Well then I guess I did."

All I could do was laugh.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Month in Review

You might have noticed a severe lack of blogging in February. That would be because February came in, knocked me around, and flew out again. Here's a quick recap of the month:

Good News: Went on an install
Bad News: It ruined my birthday plans

Good News: Took Holly in for dental work and found out that the vet is running a dental special.
Bad News: Dental wasn't done due to blood work showing that Holly might have leukemia

Good News: Holly doesn't have leukemia
Bad News: Her diabetes medication is destroying her immune system and she has to be taken off of it immediately

Good News: Holly is making a recovery now that she's off the meds
Bad News: She fell off my bed and couldn't stand or walk

Good News: She's again making a recovery and can walk again (although not very well)
Bad News: Cleo's attempts to play with her are stressing her injury I'm afraid

Good News: My mother gave me a timely family update
Bad News: The update was that my grandfather has cancer

Good News: The doctors decided my grandfather doesn't have cancer
Bad News: They don't know what he has

Good News: To give Cleo someone other than Holly to play with, I adopted Danu
Bad News: Getting Cleo to acccept Danu is a slow process so far, and late nights at work are preventing me from spending much time with them

So there you have it, the ups and the downs of February. That's not even counting all the snow storms and late nights at work. For once I'm glad it's a short month!

Monday, February 2, 2009


My birthday is this week. (I say "week" because I don't want to say what day.) It's usually a happy time for me - I enjoy celebrating the day I was born. I enjoy it because it's one of the few times a year I get together with my friends, and because it's also one of the very few times a year when I can just do whatever I want. This year however, I have faced my impending birthday with dread. Dread, because with this birthday, I actually feel OLD.

I'm not really anywhere near old...I'm still quite young. Still, I couldn't shake the feeling that this birthday was the beginning of a downward slope. I decided to take a moment and examine why it is that this birthday has me so blue.

When I was in high school, planning out my life, I had a pretty specific idea of my life:

1. Age 18 - Go to college
2. Age 22 - Get a well enough paying job
3. Age 24 - Get married
4. Age 25 - Buy a house
5. Age 28 - 1 or maybe 2 kids

Of that list, I have gone to college, gotten a well enough paying job, and bought a house. Really I'm doing quite well for myself, but number 3 and number 5 plague me. I believe that to be the source of my melancholy.

Since I can't help what order my life "goals" happen in, I'll just have to accept it and try to enjoy my day.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Twitter: the new way to people watch

The Internet has always had a strong social component, but the world has never felt more connected than it does now. For me, it all began with myspace (yes I am aware that social networking existed before then...I have used many of them.) I joined to find out what this "myspace thing" was that my friends kept raving about. I quickly discovered that not only could I keep in touch with friends, I could also find bands that I had never heard of to listen to. It was exciting. Sure, I couldn't load most of the myspace pages without waiting f.o.r.e.v.e.r, but when they finally loaded, it was game on.

After awhile I started to find more main stream bands on the site, and that was cool too. I could keep up on tours, listen to new tracks, and otherwise keep updated on band info. Comedians too. I knew when myspace had become uncool - it was after I had gone to a GNR concert and added Sebastian Bach as a friend. Shortly thereafter, a friend sent me a message that it was so cool that I'm friends with Sebastian Bach. It was in that moment that I knew myspace had gone too far.

Although I still have my myspace account, I rarely log into anymore. I moved on to Facebook. I liked Facebook so much more because it was more personal. You didn't have all these different people adding you as a friend so they could whore themselves to you. I got back in touch with a lot of old friends and schoolmates. It was great. But it was limited.

I had known about Twitter for awhile, but hadn't really paid much attention to it. That all changed when Facebook was blocked at work and I could no longer keep up with my friends updates, which had been the most addictive part of Facebook for me. What was I to do? Answer: use Twitter to update my Facebook status. This soon led to my friends joining Twitter too, and once again, it was game on.

I soon discovered that Twitter is a lot more than meets the eye. People don't just answer the "what are you doing now?" question that is posed; they share. They share information, news, and glimpses into the their psyche. And Twitter isn't just for the average joe...there are a lot of famous people who use Twitter. The first famous person I followed is Wil Wheaton. I wasn't really sure what to expect (until now I was not aware of his blog; I'm now an avid reader) but as I liked his work I decided to see what would transpire.

Now, I'm not the type that reads trash magazines, or finds it necessary to know every little thing about celebrities. If I like their work, I follow it (i.e. watch the movies/tv shows, whatever.) The idea of being able to read a celebrity's personal thoughts online seemed almost like reading one of those trash magazines. It took all of 5 mins of reading through tweets to cure me of that line of thinking! It struck me that although these people are celebrities, and to whom I would make an absolute ass of myself if I ever met, they're people too. (Yeah, that seems a bit obvious I know.) They, despite the fame, are just like the rest of us. That of course does not mean that they should be expected to respond to every tweet as if you're their best friend. But I digress...

I've built up a nice little group to follow, and am greatly enjoying it. As I read through the tweets today I came to realize why I am enjoying it so much: it's people watching. And I love people watching. You can be yourself, you can lie, you can promote, you can help... you can do whatever you want on Twitter. No matter what you do though, it reveals little things about you. And the way other people react to you reveals little things about them. It's completely fascinating.

And completely addictive.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


*overly dramatized sigh* I thought I had left this sort of thing behind when I abandoned Myspace, but here I am, tagged once again. (Thank you, Mrs. Bai.)

So....the rules are: link to the person who tagged you, write down your six happy things, write down the rules too, tag six other people and let them know they’re tagged, and let the person who tagged you know your entry is posted. Rebel that I am, I'm not going to tag others, but I will write six happy things. Prepare yourself! (I donno, sounded good.)

In no particular order:

Happy thing 1.

Watching planes fly. Especially if they fly really really fast.

Happy thing 2.

Watching really fast cars. (No, not Nascar. I'm talking Bugatti Veyron.)

Happy thing 3.

Reading a fantastically good book.

Happy thing 4.

Sleeping in and finishing that dream.

Happy thing 5.

Playing with cats.

Happy thing 6.

Watching a show/movie that I've really been looking forward to seeing.

To Boldly Go

I'm following Wil Wheaton, LeVar Burton, and Brent Spiner on Twitter. Although I associate all of them with their other projects, together they have sent me on a Trekkie trip down memory lane.

I was first introduced to the world of Star Trek when I was 5 yrs old. (It may have been earlier than that, but I have no recollection of it.) Sundays were the one day of the week that I got to spend time with my dad - and that time was spent watching TOS and Dr Who. TOS of course was well before my time, but my dad had grown up with it and was a big fan, so he enjoyed watching the episodes, and I just enjoyed the time with him. I suspect I drove him a little crazy with questions about this world of science fiction that I was being introduced to.

I don't remember exactly when my dad and I started watching TNG. It may have been in 1987, but again, I have no recollection of it. Star Trek just became part of my life. It was fascinating to me, and inspiring. I wanted nothing more than to go out and explore the stars. Unlike most Trekkies, my favorite TNG character was actually Wesley Crusher. Even as a kid I understood the difficulties with the character, and why it was not a popular one (my dad always had a few choice words when Wesley was in an episode,) but for me Wesley was proof that kids could be in space. I wanted to be brilliant like him, and skip the whole growing up thing and just head straight into space. Obviously the whims and fantasies of a child. It didn't hurt that Wil Wheaton is just damn good looking too ;)

I remember how thrilled I was when Voyager and DS9 came out. By then I was a larger Star Trek fan than my dad, and followed the shows much more religiously. (Side note: my dad finally found a character he despised more than Wesley Crusher: Kathryn Janeway.) I find the divergence in fan opinion regarding Voyager and DS9 to be very interesting. Most who liked Voyager hated DS9, and vice versa. I liked both. However, TNG reigned supreme in my world of Star Trek.

I had a few Trek figurines and other objects you would expect a Trekkie to have, but my siblings teased me mercilessly about my Star Trek affinity, so I would avoid visible representations of my Trekkie nature. It didn't, however, stop me from stockpiling some really awesome posters, one of which I still have up in my room.

When Voyager and DS9 came to an end and I heard about Enterprise, I was thrilled. I cleared my schedule specifically so I could watch the premiere - only to be pissed about the theme music! This isn't the classic Trek theme! (Side note: over time I became used to the theme, and was pissed all over again when they shortened it.) I liked the show well enough to keep watching it, but I was a little dubious. Season 2 was the start of something great. Enterprise was brilliant, and fast becoming my favorite Trek series.

You can imagine my fury when the show was canceled.

I knew, after watching the last episode of Enterprise, that the Star Trek franchise was done. Sure there would still be conventions, books, and maybe even some more movies, but without the TV shows I couldn't see it having the power and effect on the masses that it once had. It was a sad, sad day for me.

On a happier note, I finally made it to Vegas and the Star Trek Experience, before it shut down. It was a big moment for me...not just because the Star Trek Experience was Trekkie heaven, but also because after years of publicly denying and hiding being a Trek fan, I was not afraid or ashamed of saying I LOVE STAR TREK!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Show me no mercy, Severine

I returned yesterday from an installation in Indiana. For the most part it was a snoozer, but it also tested me in ways I wasn't really expecting. It amazes me how little things can make a huge difference.

When I first started this job almost 4 years ago, my skills lay in troubleshooting PC problems and working with PC hardware. Networking was definitely a weak point. I have since learned enough networking to do my job, but I haven't really gotten beyond that. The only hurdles I ran into on this install were network related, and I'm proud that I was able to overcome them. The highlight was when I had to telnet into a Cisco router to dig out the info I needed to replace it with my Netgear router. I had never used telnet before, had only heard of it in passing. Shockingly, I got the info I needed and replaced the router without incident.

I am a very nervous driver. It took years before I was able to drive out of the state on I95, simply because there are *gasp* 3 lanes of traffic. Now, because of my job, I sometimes have to drive in 6, 7, even 8 lanes of traffic. Although I'm still not happy about it, I am able to make the drive. On this trip however, I not only had multiple lanes of traffic to deal with, I also had 3 snow storms to drive in! The fact that I was able to drive in and out of Chicago, and home, in the snow, without incident astonishes me. The fact that I was able to do that and actually walk after driving is proof to me that I am finally beginning to relax a bit. For me, that's a huge accomplishment.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

What's in a dream?

Let me start by saying that I have truly fucked up dreams on pretty much a daily basis. Call it an overactive imagination. The dream this morning though, caused me to question my sanity.

A little background...during the regular season, I spend my evenings watching my favorite TV shows. During the off season, I spend my evenings gaming. This being a quasi not really regular but not really off season, I've been doing both.

In the last 2 weeks I have played the following games:

Divine Divinity (RPG containing magic and inhuman enemies)
Heroes of Might and Magic (RPG containing magic and inhuman characters)
Crisis Core (RPG containing magic and mostly human characters)
Spellforce Universe (RPG containing, you'll never guess, magic and inhuman characters)
Wind Slayer (MMORPG beta that so far has consisted of running around whacking bugs with a stick)

My dream this morning was interrupted by my alarm clock going off, so I only remember bits and pieces of the dream. This is more or less what I remember:

First thing I remember is an in-game mini map showing the location of my party, the enemy, and my home town. My party was moving to the north, to fight the enemy. Suddenly, a large contingency of the enemy snuck through a hidden path to swarm my now undefended home town. The enemy, it should be noted, consisted of orcs, imps, wraiths, and dark magicians.

Seeing my home town in immediate danger, I did the only thing I could - teleported my party back to my home town. Upon returning to town, I find myself in a house with my family. (My real life family, and the dream was no longer in-game...think more like Harry Potter.) I explained about the urgency of defending the town from the oncoming invaders. We went outside to see to the defenses, and were suddenly in the 1970's.

"Are we in the 70's?" I asked my mom.

"Yes, it was a wonderful time," she said, dancing around in a field of flowers wearing stereotypical flower child attire.

"Well what the hell are we doing here?" I demanded.

"Gathering our defenses," she replied.

I didn't know what the fuck that meant. I turned and found myself staring at the dust cloud rising above the approaching enemy. We had returned to the present. I turned back to my mother, only to find that I was at the head of an extremely large army. I was a mage, and in my hand was a stick that I apparently use as a wand. My army consisted of other mages, ghosts, skeletons, and other figures that I couldn't quite identify. I knew that this is why we had gone to the 70's - to bring back this army.

I turned again to lead my army into battle. Large bubbles came careening into view (think Glinda in the Wizard of Oz.) Using my stick, I sent magic out to the nearest bubble, bursting it. We were suddenly covered in lizards, and although they didn't actually do anything, I knew they were evil and set about destroying them one by one with my magic stick. By the time I finished, the bulk of the enemy army was upon us, and I was busy directing my magic stick at various orcs and imps.

I was just about to be lunged upon by a dragon when my alarm went off, jerking me back to reality and out of the dream. As I lay there, trying to hold onto the last remnants of the dream, I fell asleep again, but dreamt of something else entirely.

Either I've been playing too many games lately and they are consuming even my sleeping brain, or I'm finally losing my grip on sanity.

A third option did occur to me as I drove to work: I have created the best RPG game ever.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Evolution of the geek

It started with an innocent question at work - who is the geekiest? It got me thinking about just how much the term geek has changed in recent years. According to Merriam-Webster, the word geek originated in 1914 and meant a carnival performer often billed as a wild man whose act usually includes biting the head off a live chicken or snake. That definition reminds me of Ozzy Osbourne biting the head off a bat. The last word I would associate with that is geek.

In later years, the term geek came to mean a person often of an intellectual bent who is disliked. I, like many others, experienced this personally growing up. Computers were still such a novelty that my interest in them didn't immediately brand me as a geek, however my interest in Star Trek and Star Wars did. By today's definition, that made me a scifi geek. In high school, it just meant that I was supposed to hang out with my own kind.

Thankfully, as computers became more mainstream, and with the birth of the internet, being a geek became less derogatory and more of a badge of honor. Today it has come to mean an enthusiast or expert especially in a technological field or activity. Geeks rule the world.

This leads me back to the question that started it all: who is the geekiest? I don't think there is a clear winner among my co-workers. We are all geeks, but in different ways. Andrew is a flying geek. Justin is a game geek. Dan is a computer geek. I am...well, that's sorta undefined. I am a scifi geek, that is certain. I am also a bit of a film/tv geek, a computer geek (I built my own gaming pc) and a bit of a gaming geek. Perhaps, despite all the breakdown, when it comes down to it, I'm just a geek.

Are you?

The original death by foofoo

To blog or not to blog, that is the question of the 21st century. I have attempted on several occasions in the past to blog, but found myself posting insipid drivel that even I didn't want to read. As I have gotten older however, I find myself being more introspective, and found a desire to write that I haven't had since I was 12. My fantasy stories are blossoming as a result of the creative juices flowing, but I find I want to write more than that. So, I will blog. I can't promise it will be anything more than the insipid drivel I used to write, or even mildly entertaining. It will be what it will be.

In the spirit of blogging, here is my first ever posted blog, an excerpt from an email to my dad:

Death by foofoo

Ponder this - They say spiders are more afraid of you than you are of them. I say that's bullshit. If that was true, then explain to me this - why is it every time I see a spider some distance from me still, it will disappear before I can kill it (though the attempt is made,) only to reappear just centimeters from being on me? If I'm such a big thing to be feared, why get so close? I think spiders are like cats - they do it just to laugh at my reaction. You know the one - running off into the next room screeching and doing the "get it off me" dance. Well the jokes on them....dead bastards.

Editors note: Yes spiders were harmed in the making of this story. That's what they get for dropping down in front of my face while I'm trying to watch TV. They're just lucky Cleo didn't get to them first - she likes to toy with her prey until they're so worn out they just give up. Then she chews em up and spits em out.

On a side note - those wolf spiders are nasty! They have this move where they flip themselves over onto their back - not sure if it's to play dead or to bite the attacker. Either way it doesn't stop death by foofoo.

And shit.