Thursday, March 31, 2005

Captain Random

There's a song lyric I really like. It's from Iron & Wine's Freedom Hangs Like Heaven:
Mary, carry your babe, bound up tight like lips around a whimper.
It's just some neat imagery, there.

This has been a "Captain Random" moment. We now return to our (somewhat) regularly-scheduled blogging...

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Pics are up

Click on the photo above to see the rest of 'em!

Easter Feasters

Belated Easter blogging...I'll be putting up my pictures from the event when I get home from work this evening. A fine time was had by all, with our most excellent bounty (procured from the most excellent Vons/Pavilions) and general good company. We all got to try out Yaya's spiffy new "memory foam" mattress and watched Finding Nemo and part of the old Dr. Doolittle (mostly the scene with the Pushmi-Pullyoo) on Yaya's gigantic TV. Ham juice was spilled (and lapped up by two very enthusiastic dogs), fruit-laden jello was dissected (great debate ensued over the identity of the "fluorescent mystery cubes") and cute napkins with bunnies on them were applauded. Yes, we're an odd bunch, but we have a good time. Also, my dad called for a quick chat, so I got to talk to him for the first time in several months. :)

All right, that's all for now. Back to work...

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Rain and Banana Pancakes

Well, it's official. Tuesday's rainfall has pushed the total for the season above 35", making this the second wettest year in the recorded history of Los Angeles. The expected downpour tonight/tomorrow probably won't push us over the 38.18" record (set in the 1883-84 season), but the year is young, yet. I for one am happy we've had such a wet year. Yesterday when I was driving home from work, with the thick gray clouds looming over the San Gabriels, and the hills and miscellaneous freeway-side foliage all lush and verdant, I could almost believe I was on that stretch of the I-5 between Wolf Creek and Canyonville. It's nice. :)

Meanwhile Seattle's dealing with a drought and the whole Pacific Northwest is in for a season of nasty wildfires with no one to fight them (since the Nat'l Guard, which usually picks up the slack during fire season, has sent everyone on extended tours of duty in Iraq instead). That's not so nice.

Better get back to work. Fortunately, for me, I've got a 3-day weekend ahead (never heard of an American company giving its employees Good Friday off, but I'm not complaining). I'll leave you with the lyrics to one of Jack Johnson's new songs, Banana Pancakes. I've found this to be a particularly fitting song, of late.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Gallery Update

Added some more photos to my gallery yesterday. There are some new cat pics (including Loki's homecoming) and some new ones in the "Miscellaneous" album (including one of me, my cousin Shannon, and our remarkably similar glasses). So check em out and enjoy. :)

Friday, March 18, 2005


Before last night, I hadn't heard Loki purr so much since he was a wee kitten. He was very glad to see Tom - kept making himself comfortable either settled on or up against him. At bedtime, he nestled between us, moving to sleep on my legs sometime in the course of the night.

We suspect the vet may have sent home a different cat by mistake. ;)

He has two little shaved bands on his front legs, where the IVs were, making him look a bit like a poodle. How very undignified! ;) I'll be putting a picture up sometime this weekend.

Speaking of the's taking its sweet-ass time getting here! This afternoon has crawled by more slowly than a one-legged turtle. Just another two hours...

Thursday, March 17, 2005


When I arrived at the vet's this afternoon, there was a hissing, growling crate awaiting me. However, once the bills were paid, the special food collected and the care instructions relayed, it was time to go home. The moment I set the carrier down in the car, the racecar noises stopped. When I put my hand to the little crate door, there was no hissing; instead, a cautious nose took a sniff. Loki was almost completely silent during the whole ride home, save a few quiet meows. Before too long, he was snoozing. I think it's safe to say he's pretty darn glad to be out of there.

At the moment, he's locked in the bedroom with a litter box and some water, giving himself a very thorough bath. (He's had one of those plastic cone-collars on since Sunday so he wouldn't pull at his various IVs; hence, no self-grooming in almost five days.) Leo's desperate to go in and check him out, but I'm going to give Loki some quiet time for just a bit longer.

Cousin visit and cat update

Yesterday on my way home, I stopped by Gram Gram's to visit with my Aunt Linda & cousin Shannon, since they were in town for the day. We determined that it had been fifteen years since Shannon & I last saw each other. That's pretty wild. It was neat to catch up, and we had a good visit. :)

The vet called this morning to say I'll be able to bring Loki home today. Hopefully once he's back in his comfort zone, he'll be able to de-stress and get to feeling better soon. We'll be keeping our fingers crossed that his super-duper special food keeps him from blocking again.

Back to the grind...glad the weekend's nearly here...

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Poor Loki

Sunday we were graced by the presence of Yaya & the Easter Bunny (a.k.a. Aunt Julie), who ate fajitas with us in our new apartment and brought us beautiful daffodils & much chocolate. It was a fine visit. :)

Unfortunately, we noticed that morning that Loki was having some trouble at the litter box again. He had to go to the vet the previous weekend for the same reason, and some urine was taken at that time to be analyzed for a possible infection. The vet gave us some special food and said she'd call us with the test results. And never did. Even when Tom called mid-week and left a message. Stupid vet.

The special food seemed to help, and Loki got better for about a week, but as I said, he was pretty uncomfortable again by Sunday. Late that afternoon, we took him (growly and disgruntled) to the night/weekend emergency clinic, where it was determined he did in fact have a blocked urethra. The vet kept him overnight, knocked him out, catheterized him, and told me to pick him up in the morning.

So yesterday morning, I dropped Tom off at work and went to get Loki. Just after I got there, this poor old woman came in with her dog, who'd passed away in the night. Apparently he'd been born with a heart defect and wasn't expected to live to the age of 3, but he was a little more than 8 years old. She was (understandably) pretty upset, even though she'd been expecting it for some time. Another lady who was in there when I got there was taken to a back room and then emerged a while later, carrying a leash and sniffling. Needless to say, it was a pretty depressing way to start the day.

Finally the staff had time to go get Loki ready to go. There was a great deal of yowling, crashing and hissing coming from the back room, and when they brought him out, there was a big stick hanging out the front door of his carrier. The vet tech said, "Well, he tried to kill us all." She told me to take him straight over to our regular vet and then bring back the "Snappy Snare" (collar with a stick attached to it) later. I wasn't too thrilled about taking him back to the idiot vet who dropped the ball on us the week before, but as they already have his medical history and everything, it seemed like the only way to go.

The tech at the other vet's office remembered him (how could she not?) and showed me the puncture wound he'd made in her finger the last time when he'd bitten through her thick leather gloves. He can really be a pretty mellow cat, as long as he doesn't get stressed out. Unfortunately, it doesn't take much to stress him out.

The vet came in a few minutes later to look over his bloodwork and assess the situation. I never did get a straight answer about why she never got back to us about the urinalysis results, but I get the feeling our paperwork got lost in a pile or something. Whatever. Disorganized though they may be in that office, the vet really does seem genuinely interested in doing whatever's necessary to help Loki feel better, regardless of the fact that he's been nothing but violent and unpleasant whenever he's been in there, so I guess I have to give her some credit for that. Anyway, the final verdict was that he'd have to stay hospitalized for another 3 days and 2 nights while they pumped him full of antibiotics and IV fluids, trying to flush his system.

Side note: Here's a brief summary of Loki's condition, in case anyone's interested. The general cause of the blockage is the fact that cats have these things called struvite crystals in their urine. These crystals are usually dissolved but come out of solution at a pH of 7.5, so if a cat's urine becomes too alkaline, the crystals can aggregate. Male cats are particularly at risk because they have a very narrow urethra, which is easily blocked if a large enough collection of crystals accumulates. If they stay blocked for more than 24-48 hours, they are at risk for massive kidney damage and death. (Fortunately for Loki, he was not blocked long enough to harm his kidneys.) A bacterial infection is believed to be one possible catalyst for an attack because the bacteria not only raise the pH of the urine, but they also provide convenient little anchors for the crystals to affix themselves to. This is the reason for the extended stay and repeated doses of antibiotics; if there is indeed an underlying bacterial infection, we want to make sure it's completely knocked out. End side note

So now Loki's stuck at the vet's for another couple of days. I'm going to visit him today after work. I was trying to think of ways to lower his stress level (as stress is believed to be another possible factor in repeat outbreaks), but I can't exactly bring him cat treats or anything like that. However, Tom came up with a brilliant idea. He suggested that I bring a t-shirt or something so Loki can have something with our scent on it. See, antisocial though he may be, if Loki is asleep on the bed and we toss anything (jacket, backpack, shirt, etc) down, he'll move from his previous sleeping spot to re-settle on whatever it is of ours we've put there. He does like to be close to long as he's not in the same room with us. ;) Anyway, I thought a t-shirt would probably be too big, but maybe there's a chance the vet will let me put something smaller in the cage with him. So Tom & I took turns last night sleeping on a washcloth, and I've had it stuck under my lab coat for most of the day today, so hopefully it will be nice and smelly (in a good way) by the time I get to go see him.

Anyway, that's the story. Hopefully the poor guy will be back to urinating on his own tomorrow and we'll be able to take him home.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005


I don't have much of interest to say, so I thought I'd post a song I came up with (in my boredom) while fighting with one of the instruments at work this morning. Apologies in advance for its total lameness. ;)

I've got me a home
Where the SUVs roam
Where the Dodgers & Galaxy play
Where seldom is seen
Anyone who's too keen
On the traffic that's bad, night and day.

Home, home in L.A.
Where the Trojans of USC play
Where you might see a star
In a restaurant or bar
Or a limo while on the freeway.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Another Friday

It's been a weird week...and one that went by very slowly. By Tuesday afternoon, I was ready for the weekend. The rain quit for a few days but has since returned, which is not a bad thing except for the fact that it makes the freeways more nightmarish than usual.

Last week I found out I passed that Criminalist exam I took way back in October. I'm supposedly now on the eligible list for an interview, but I have absolutely no idea how soon I'll hear any more news than that. It's kind of exciting though to think that there's still a chance I could get a job in a crime lab sometime in the reasonably near future, maybe even before I start grad school.

Speaking of exciting news, congrats to Tom for getting his candidacy exam committee to settle down and pick a date (Apr. 6), congrats to Amy for getting hired as an RA for next year, and bon voyage to Marcy who's headed back to England for a month (congrats are also in order to her for getting accepted at Colorado State! Update: And Puget Sound!).

All right, back to work for my last 90 minutes at Sierracin for the week. Yee-haw.