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Thursday, 31 January 2013

Rock the Shock, Home Decor for the Daring

It's time for deep purple hair, me thinks. I like to change it up a bit. They're temporary colours, and I love lots of colour in just about everything. Red is a favourite of mine, and only partially because it's the only colour that ferrets can see. It's bright, it's bold, and I like to think it's a lot like me. Still, red is limited since it's only one colour. I'm fascinated by prismatic effects, whether it's an oil spill in a puddle, light shining through cut crystal, or the back of a compact disc. I have plans for my home when I finally have it put up, and colour is something that will be involved.

Oddly, my tastes are really simple. I'm not into fussy fabric patterns and lots of knickknacks. I prefer very clean lines in the furniture itself. I love themes in decorating, though. I love belly dancing, which comes from all over the middle east and Egypt. I like to incorporate the feel of that into rooms, as well as Asian-style stuff. My daydreams for a house have been the same for a long time. Black Asian screen-style wall panelling, with red rice paper rather than white, dramatic black and red. Pool table in black with red felt. Open-concept moving into the kitchen area, which has modern black or stainless appliances - thank God they finally coated the stainless to almost eliminate finger-print smudging.

Home theatre and living area, with large pocket doors to close it off from the rest of the open-concept area when watching action movies in 9.1 surround, or whatever it will be by the time I finally get there. And floors that look like the 'rainbow bridge' at Asgard in the movie Thor, flashing, rippling lights and all. That part is probably a fantasy, since I'm still trying to work out how to do that. I mean, how would I change the bulbs when they eventually died? Sure, LED lasts a while, but not forever. I'm not replacing my floor for a burnt bulb.

Ah, now we come to the bedroom. A whole different world in here. Almost literally. The walls are reminiscent of the blocks used to build the pyramids. The bed is a giant four-poster with wooden canopy, built right in, up on a dais with a step - inside which I will store my shoes. I've designed the bed, actually. I've built furniture pieces before, and boy, when I build something it's damn hard to break it down after. Just ask anyone I know who's had to dismantle one of my projects later.

I'm not sure if I want a king-size bed. I'm 5'5" and not real big either, except for the chest region, so it's not a requirement for me, and a queen is tall enough for most men, assuming there comes a day when that's a concern. That's also assuming any man will want to live in this dream of mine. After all, there's got to be a bit of give and take, doesn't there? Back to the bed, though. The one I designed is plotted out as a queen-size, listing all the building materials I'll need for the project. The fabrics on the bed will be the only area in the room with real colour. Shades of India in jewel-toned purple, turquoise, red and gold. Just that one piece of flash and colour for the exotic, harem-like atmosphere, while leaving the rest of the room soothing, with the occasional hieroglyph patterning the walls on the stone-like surface.

Walk-in closet, despite the fact that I'm the farthest thing from being a clothes-horse. I couldn't care less if I wore anything other than pyjamas most days. Alas, that can not always be the case, so I'd prefer to keep the clothes in their own separate room where I can close the door on my sloppy nature. More shoe storage, too. I do like shoes. I'm ashamed to admit I'm very female there. I love buckle- and lace-up boots, the occasional hooker heels (both in boots and shoes), platform clogs, and pirate boots. I used to have a couple of really awesome pairs of cowboy boots, too, which I miss a great deal. My pant-legs went over the boots, though, not inside like the weird women you see in bars, line-dancing, and the men they call "Eastern Cowboys" in the west. Yes, it is said with much derision.

En suite bath is a must. I got used to having two bathrooms, and living in apartments has been a bit of a culture shock for me. Separate tub and shower, I think. Toilet partitioned off a bit from the counter to create the illusion of privacy. The partition I imagine will be acrylic block, internally lit. Another lighting thing I'm working out the details on. I will not be using natural stone in the bathroom, unless I intend to pay a cleaning lady for the rest of my life. If you've ever had to clean anything that was stone, you'll know why. Granite for counters and flooring is different. You treat the stone once a year, and you're done with it. Bathrooms are already a hideous place to clean.

Back in the bedroom, opposite the bed there is a vacuum-tube elevator that takes me to my office. It's not a loft, but close. Everything built-in in this room as well. With the exception of emergency ladder access, the only way in is through the elevator in my bedroom. The house's security system is kept here, in temperature-controlled cabinets for the server and other components. I have access to the system in every room of the house, all media is stored on the system, with no external access.

This will be where I spew my creative visions, so the room will be free of clutter and sound-proofed. Maybe I'll keep my Ludwig drum set up here. 9 pieces with double-bass and Zildjian cymbals. Maybe not, because a music room is a dream, too. I want another guitar, and a piano of some sort. As long as it has touch-sensitive keys and a full keyboard I'm happy there. Yeah, a room off the garage is better for that. Plenty of room for all the toys, then. A music room needs a computer these days for mixing down tracks.

And, yes, absolutely, a really good microphone. Some of you may know that I really can sing, but some have only heard me when I was drunk enough to get up in front of people - which is when I sound like a cat gargling a cannoli and can't remember any of the words. It's not a good sound,  except perhaps to a horny cat.

Maybe one day I will exhibit the courage to stand in front of a crowd of people and sing my heart and lungs out. As I get older I care less and less about making a fool out of myself when there's no emotional risk involved, so it's definitely possible. I've had someone giving me lots of encouragement recently, who has actually heard me sing without alcohol being a factor. Interestingly, he gives me a lot of encouragement with pretty much everything. There aren't many men you can say that about.

So many dreams, so little time. It doesn't matter. As long as I have the dreams, then everything is worthwhile. You know, yada yada, it's not the destination, it's the journey, blah, blah. Platitudes, but occasionally true. I'm sure everyone could detect the eye-roll in there.

You know, I have to wonder, if there is someone willing to share such dreams with me, or similar ones, how inclined he would be to do so once he learned my destination for today. Today is Doomsday for little man Pepper and his manly essence. He will be brought home little boy Pepper. I have no idea how long it will take to render him a eunuch. Poor baby. I actually hate having to do it, but there's no choice in the matter. I wonder if he will ever forgive me.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

The U.S. Constitution Debate, As I See It

This is not about gun control. It is about the legalities surrounding the altering of the United States Constitution. Because of the gun control issue, however, the U.S. Constitution has become a topic of debate.

So many people talk about the second amendment, trying to decipher the various so-called intricacies of it. Some say the language is quite plain and distinct. Simple is better. Simple is less open to interpretation. Then others say it is multi-faceted and complex, regardless of the simple wording. Still others wish it had been written out more specifically.

Be that as it may, the document does state that they are rights that can not be taken away by government. That sounds pretty plain to me.

What the document does not address, apparently, are the rights of the citizenry of the United States, with regard to making changes to the U.S. Constitution. In Canada we have similar documents to those found in the United States. We have the Constitution of Canada and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which are rough equivalents to the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights from my understanding of them.

Here's the kicker. The amendments are amendments. Are you understanding what I'm saying? An amendment is a change to something. That's their sole purpose. The second amendment is a change, and as inflammatory as it might be as subject matter right now, it doesn't negate the fact that it's a change in itself where people are trying to argue that the U.S. Constitution can NOT be changed. Excuse me?

The U.S. Constitution can and HAS ALREADY been changed with every single amendment, including the one being so hotly debated with people saying you can't change an amendment.

Isn't anyone else baffled by the insufficient logic to all of these arguments? Isn't anyone else confused as to why there should be an argument at all? Laws change. All the time.

That being said, however, even if the U.S. Constitution were to be considered an iron-clad document stating that the government is not allowed to take away any of these rights, it does not stop the people themselves from doing so.

Yup, you read that right. If every single person in the country decide they did not want free speech, the first amendment would disappear in a heartbeat. Why? Because the people are allowed to change any damn thing they want about the laws that are governing them. The people are the ones responsible for writing the Constitution, as evidenced by the words, "We the People," and it doesn't get any plainer than that, folks.

The people wrote the laws, the people can change the laws. This is not something written in stone by some God pointing a finger in the general vicinity of Moses. If the people are feeling trapped by the laws they have imposed upon themselves, then it is up to them to make the changes.

If the majority of the American people want gun control, they will change the second amendment as they see fit. The government will probably get a sneaky hand in there, too, but that's the risk you run when you open up laws for amendment (see, there's that word again).

The thing people really fear is the lack of control they have over their government. They feel they're being trampled in the wake of overbearing politicians, their needs ignored. In the United States, as well as in Canada, the government does not fear its people. The people fear their government. We do not force the changes as citizens that we really should. We do not exercise our rights as we should, and we do not punish our governments for breaking the rules after they attain the power of their office.

In France the government fears its people, and the people are not hesitant to show their displeasure should the government do something they don't like. It's an inherent part of their culture, and has been since the French Revolution. You know, Marie "let them eat cake" Antoinette, and the whole "Off with their heads" thing? Once the people took over the supervision of their government, the government responded as they should have done in the first place - as paid employees of the people, not rulers of the people.

Speaking from experience, the government in Canada does not fear or respect its people. They waste money constantly, spending it on things we do not want, balancing the budget with an eye on the next election, rather than on long-term goals. Government employees are our servants, not our betters, even if they do have better job security. In my mind I imagine a conversation something like this taking place in my near future:

          "You work for the government, do you not?"
          "The government of...?"
          "What is Canada?"
          "A country."
          "A country is made up of what?"
          "What am I?"
          "A person?"
          "So, who do you work for?"
          "A bitch?"
          "You're damn straight, now get crackin'."

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Busy & Interesting Day, Leading to Fairly Happy Ending

Today's been interesting for me to say the least.  First, my ferret, Stimpy, had a really bad morning from being overheated, since he can't seem to regulate his internal body temperature anymore. It wasn't too hot in the room, but he was covered in a blanket, and nearly went into a full-blown seizure. My daughter and I got him cooled down, and finally, after a full day of weakness and seeming misery for him, he's now up and about again, doing what he does best. Eating.

Stimpy eats with focus. He is a serious eater. It's one of his adorable quirks, actually. You can do almost anything around him when he's eating, and he will completely ignore you. When he was younger he would eat so fast he'd hiccup for about half an hour after. He was never deprived of food as far as I know. He just 'loves his foods'. He's eaten quite a few times today. 5 or 6 times a day is normal for a ferret, and he's almost hit that mark despite being behind on his 'work' because of his unfortunate episode. So, all's well that ends well there.

I did manage to talk to the vet this afternoon, and she thinks it's more likely a tear in his intestines than an ulcer, possibly from a tumour. It's possible to repair something like that, but with his prognosis it's not going to extend his life and will likely just cause more pain from what I understand. He's not long for this world, so we were discussing pain relief for him today, to make sure he's comfortable for his remaining time. I wouldn't want him to be completely unaware of things, since he's still pretty happy for a dying ferret, but I won't let him suffer either. He'll have to go in to the vet for a check-up, though, in order for her to give him a prescription for opioids. It wouldn't be ethical of her to do otherwise.

Today I also actually spoke to my new boss, +Steve Kovacs, on the phone for the first time. He's the host of the show I've just become the producer for. It's kind of a weird thing. That's the way things work these days, though. Technology can suck the voices right out of us until we're nothing but text on a screen. No emotion coming across, really, seeing as most messages online are short ones. It's not like you're going to describe every ounce of angst or happiness you might be feeling, whoever you're talking to, or be able to explain your thoughts adequately, in 140 characters or less.

Even on sites like FB, messages are usually kept pretty short, and quite frankly it's a lot more efficient to talk to someone, seeing as it's faster and they're hearing it at the time you say it. No waiting for them to read it, or servers to compile and send data to the other party. Text is all well and good, and non-threatening usually, but it's limited no matter how many emoticons you might use. I tend to shy away from using those things anyway. They were cute when I was in my early thirties, but at 41 they're just silly. I'll use the old style for happy faces and winks and such, but rarely, and never those irradiated-looking yellow balls or boxes.

So, first conversation with my new boss (and you can't tell him I called him that - it would ruin my image,) on the phone, and my lovely, free internet phone line seems it has decided to be a complete ass, or at least make me look like one. Making me feel like an incompetent fool, the program decides to hang up on him...several times. That was until I thought to unplug my stupid router that is on its last legs and has been cutting out on me for some time. It's fine for normal internet use, usually, but when on phone calls online those interruptions kill the call. Finally I plugged into the modem directly, and lo & behold a conversation was born. For some time things went well, but then the call dropped again.

When the floor didn't open up and swallow me, I sent an apology. Turned out a dead cell phone battery was to blame, so I was slightly redeemed. The worst possible time to have the program get funky, and it does, but I suppose it was likely the router issue. I called the vet's office twice after that and everything was fine.

We still had a good discussion about the show, which will only be of benefit to the viewing audience, and shortly after we talked he started forwarding some guest requests to me. Now comes the fun part of reading through them. We're likely set for guests for the show on the 13th, but until they're finalized there's no point in telling you about them. I'll save that for a future post. The request I have now will be looked through for future shows, and a couple look very promising. A bit of digging will probably help clarify whether or not they're good fodder for The Kovacs Perspective. I have some interesting work ahead of me.

Once I post this, I'm also doing a book review tonight. It's a good thing I'm a night owl, eh? I love working at night. A writer I follow on Twitter, Alex Myers, has published a new book called Time Change and sent me an advance copy for quick review. I also offered to write a review for him and post it on +SearchWarp where my regular articles appear. I'll be reading that tonight. I won't likely write the longer review until tomorrow night, though I'll at least be able to let him know what I think about it.

I've had multiple conversations with people today, where I've ended up getting a bunch of new ideas for articles, including one about my experience with CO poisoning. Seeing as I was pretty much dead, it's a fairly interesting thing. Out of body experiences happen, folks. I was two years old, with no preconceived notions about that kind of thing, and it happened to me. As to whether or not it was a paranormal thing, or just plain lack of oxygen in the brain causing hallucinations, is left up to the individual to decide. I'm looking forward to writing that one. My last article called Vastly Underrated Women in History is garnering a fair bit of attention still, so I won't write the CO article just yet, but it'll be soon.

So much to do, so little time as they say, but if you enjoy what you do it's no hardship at all. I'll yap my butt off as long as someone wants to listen, and apparently they do so I haven't shut up since September or so.

Now then, with little-man-Stimpy tucked up happily in bed finally, I'm going to take a bit of a breather once I post this, and then get right back to it. As miserable as it might be to be temporarily disabled by injuries, I love where it has led me. I'm home with Mr. Stimplesworth (Stimpy, yes), I'm doing many things I love to do, and I'm pretty darn happy. I'm still stuck on the little brain blip that desperately cried out for a dose of sodium amytal or sodium pentothal the other morning, which you can read about here, but I'm coping. Oddly, the mention of truth serum seems to have made that one of my most popular posts this month. I wonder what that means for the state of the world.

Monday, 28 January 2013

Insomnia Strikes - Time to Fight for My Rights

Aaargh. I managed about five and a half hours' sleep, after two days where I only got two hours each day. Ack! The fits and starts of insomnia are upon me. The fits being the jumps of my central nervous system as it tries to work without appropriate rest. The starts, of course, being the massive twitchiness that requires peeling me off the ceiling every time my daughter enters the room a startles the hell out of me.

My brain is like a jellyfish today. Squishy logic, rather than fuzzy, the tentacles of my nervous system zinging me every now and again with absurd thoughts. This is your brain. This is your brain without sleep.

Still, this kind of insomnia is nothing to me, and is temporary these days. I'll be fine after a few days of it, and then probably go through a period of really good sleep or REALLY good sleep. It doesn't matter. There are very few things I have to worry about being on a schedule for.

Sure, there's a deadline for the show I've just started producing (The Kovacs Perspective, should you wish to check it out), but I can have everything done long before that, and will. Of course, I'll be watching the show, but as tired as I might be I won't have a problem staying awake for that. It's on bi-monthly, by the way, on the second and fourth Wednesday of every month. The next show, and the first of my production efforts to be seen, is on February 13th, at 9 PM EST, so be sure to check it out. More information coming soon about upcoming guests.

The only other thing on my schedule these days is the visit to the vet in three days for the removal of poor Pepper's source of inspiration. The inspiration to rub himself on things, that is. No, he doesn't hump anything, technically, even if it might look that way. Male ferrets apparently have marking glands on either side of their penises (no, they don't have two penises - I refer to the plural only in relation to multiple ferrets - I'd be doomed if Pepper had more than one), and they rub their intimate regions on things to mark them. Someone I knew called it 'dicking', which is a pretty funny term for it, but not altogether appropriate for children when you try to explain the behaviour to them.

Oddly, as though sensing the end of his 'dicking days', Pepper has actually gotten really good with his potty training. He's been horrible for that, probably because of the need to mark his territory. Stimpy's awesome. He picks his places (in corners) and sticks to them, so at least I can lay down the appropriate floor coverings (puppy pads or even newspapers will work). I'm hoping to see further improvement from Pepper after the surgery so that I no longer have to pick up the accidental little bombs. It's a good thing ferret poop is small and easy to pick up (as long as it's the solid kind - if it's not, it's more like concrete filler as another friend observed). The pee just wipes up with a mild cleaning required after (with non-toxic cleansers, of course), since our apartment has no carpet. Probably for the best with us right now.

You would think my sleep would have improved lately, because I've dealt with a lot of stress-inducing issues and they're off my mind now. Stimpy's health seems to have improved drastically. He's not getting the crazy nausea he was getting before, where he was pawing at his mouth, drooling and making weird noises. Now we can just leave it to human males to do that. He's still got enlarged kidneys, but I think it was the ulcer that was making him feel so sick. Cancer is still a likelihood, but he might have a hell of a lot more time to live now that an underlying issue has been resolved.

I've dealt with the landlord issue appropriately, I think. When I got the notice I felt like going off half-cocked and slapping them with a lawsuit for unsafe living conditions. If they do follow through on an eviction, after me spending $400 to get Pepper fixed, as well as offering to scrub down and repaint the apartment once his hormones have finished leeching out, I will slap them with a suit. First I'll fight the eviction and win, and then I'll make them pay for making living in this building such a terrible experience.

The unsafe living conditions I refer to have to do with people smoking in the halls, smoke spewing into my bathroom from the apartment either next door or underneath mine (coming through the walls), and the marijuana I keep smelling. I don't give a damn if people want to smoke pot. I think it should be legal. I just don't think I should be forced to inhale something I do not want in my system. Pot has never killed anyone from smoking it, unlike cigarettes, but it's still not healthy, and it sure as hell isn't safe for small animals. Back in the days when I smoked cigarettes I smoked outside even when I lived alone. Pets get cancer from second-hand smoke, too.

In my response to the notice I also requested that they post the non-smoking signs (my second request, this time written), and gave them a web address from the Ontario government where they could find information out about the duties of a landlord regarding the Smoke-Free Act of Ontario. Yes, there's a subtle threat there. If they decide to be dicks, the threat will be a lot more than subtle. I won't be kicked around by a landlord. Greedy, illiterate twits that think they can walk all over the people who rent from them, usually. Especially in the 'economy-price' apartments. Still, $700 a month should be enough incentive for them to do what's right. Never mind the $5000 fine they face if I call to complain about them.

Maybe that's where my stress is coming from. You think? Durrr. I'm looking forward to a day when I can let this go. Either they'll acquiesce to my demands, which means I can let go of the anger, or they won't and I can slap them upside the head with their ignorance. You know, I don't think I'm afraid of anything anymore. Not stuff like this I mean. I can get so angry that I start shaking, but I'm very good at control. I can channel it into justice just fine. Most people do not stand up for their rights, and so their rights get trampled. I remember reading a quote once, but I don't know where it comes from. "We only have the rights that we are willing to fight for," or something to that effect, and it's absolutely true. It is listed in a firearms refresher course, but I doubt very much that that's the original source.

Well crap!!! I've just received another reason to stress out. My power bill has very nearly quintupled. It went from $77 for two month, to over $340. I expected a bit of a jump, but nothing like this. WTH? We bought two small space heaters, because the apartment was too cold, not wanting to complain about it to the landlord, but I'll be damned if I pay that kind of money to be nice. Not when they've done nothing for me.

Personally I think I received the eviction notice because I mentioned that they're required to have no-smoking signs posted in all hallways, stairwells, entries, etc. I guess they think I'm some sort of troublemaker. I was being nice to them, giving them a chance to do something about it. All it would have taken was a couple of signs to make me happy. Then the onus would have been on the individuals who were breaking the law. Well, they were right. I am a troublemaker. If they're stepping all over me, they're going to be crushed by me. The gloves are officially off, and soon it will be time to throw down the gauntlet. FYATHYRIO - or, f-you and the horse you rode in on.

Reading through the by-law from the City of Hamilton, they're going to be so screwed. They have to maintain a 20 degree Celsius temperature in all habitable areas. They will be required to fix the issue or it will be fixed for them by the city, and they will be billed accordingly. We all know how expensive government-run projects turn out to be. Tee hee. They want to play with me, I'm going to annihilate them. These particular landlords are not smart enough to even know their own legal requirements as landlords, so they're sure as hell not smart enough to know how to fight a tenant who has the full weight of legislation on her side. Man I hate slumlords.

Timing is everything, however. I'm waiting until the eviction thing smooths over (if it does), and then I'm pouncing. If I do it now, they'll be pissed enough to do everything in their power to get me out. Believe me, I do not want to be living in this building any more than they seem to want me here, but I'm not uprooting my life yet again. I hate moving. I haven't even unpacked most of my crap yet, and there's quite a bit of it that's not even here yet because I haven't been able to go get it. That and I'm not the least bit domestic so I hate that kind of thing. I can cook, if that counts.

If the eviction thing doesn't go away like I think it will, I'm launching everything I've got, which should probably put them under. Then someone else can buy the building under foreclosure. Maybe the tenants here will have a decent landlord then. I'll have them inspected for everything under the sun, and they'll fail miserably. The roof leaks, too, by the way. They're planning to fix it and have had people in, but it ain't fixed yet. Just another nail in the proverbial coffin. Then there are the plumbing issues. I think I'm going to have some fun with this actually. Been a long time since I had a good, impersonal fight, where I could so thoroughly kick someone's ass.

The thing about sitting idly by and letting someone trample on my personal rights, is that it does a disservice to the next person who comes along. That person may not have the benefits of my knowledge, or my research capabilities. I've actually experienced this in a very personal way. I allowed an old employer to screw me over. Later a friend of mine went to work for the same company, and they ended up doing the same to her, only much, much worse. They basically branded her a criminal, yet it was them breaking the law. I felt really guilty for that. I could have shut them down myself, and I didn't. So, instead, I helped her write her complaint to Employment Insurance. Not only did she get her EI, but it was also cause to launch a successful human rights violation case. It also got the insurance company off her back that was trying to force her to pay for something she hadn't done. The last time I looked they were closing all their stores. It doesn't pay to mess with a friend of mine.

Still, however irritating these 'little' battles are, they pale in comparison to the fact that my little man (Stimpy) is doing so much better. Every day that goes by he seems healthier and more alert. His fur is thicker and silkier already, and it's only been a matter of days. He's gained a bit of weight, which I'm keeping an eye on. I have to make sure it's real weight and not internal bleeding. It's actually making it harder to feel the enlargement of his kidneys, so it's a nice bit of weight. It's not firm like abdominal distension, though, so I think it's okay. I know how to triage an animal, which is a good thing.

I'm starting to wonder if it's possible he's had this ulcer the whole time, and it's what put the strain on his kidneys, causing them to enlarge. Time to do more research before I call the vet in the morning. She may have a different opinion about his situation once we talk.

My daughter has another job prospect on the horizon, too, so it looks like things are pulling together for her there. It's a retail clothing store, and they're looking for a keyholder, which she has experience with and she's been wanting to work in a clothing store. It's not as cool as she thinks it is. One of my first jobs was with Pantorama as a keyholder. Yeehaw. Then there's the other potential at the grocery store still.

Somehow we have also managed to train our oldest cat to throw up only on the newspaper in front of the litter box. This baffles me. It happened just like litter training, too. Why is it that this never occurred to anyone to do? It didn't occur to us, either. I'm not pointing fingers. My daughter would just move him over to newspaper when he would start heaving. Now he does it on his own. We call him dumb kitty all the time, because he looks like he's really stupid, but he's actually really smart. Rabbit is the one won't lie down if I say 'lay down' but he will if I used proper grammar and say 'lie down'. Very strange animal, that one.

Yet again, no matter how crappy a day might seem, there really is always a light at the end of the tunnel.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Boot to the Drugs - Here's Your Brain OFF Drugs

Pharmaceutically clean, whatever the cost, is where I've hedged my bets now. I've decided pain is the lesser of evils. It's a lesser evil than shutting down my brain and living like a freakin' zombie, although I distinctly recall not moaning for brains...well, maybe once, but I was probably moaning in nostalgia for my own. Either that or I was really hungry? Maybe I was just moaning.

Pain is also usually a lesser evil to dying from medication toxicity, but it's a subjective thing. There occasionally comes a time when I'd gladly chew off a body part to rid myself of the pain, but since most of the pain comes from my hip joints that would just be perverted. If I could bend that far I might be a happier person, pain or no pain.

Now tell me you don't have a really weird image in your head.

As for the remark about dying, it's only half-serious, but drugs poison us. It doesn't matter if they're legal or illegal. They alter our chemistry. If I'd known as much about chemistry back in high school as I do now, I might have bothered to graduate. There's nothing more educational than being forced to learn about a million different drugs that could, possibly, help you, but generally do more harm than good.

About a year or two ago, I was sent rather quickly to a hospital emergency. They were going to send me by ambulance, but I refused since I was borrowing someone's car. I wasn't dying, so it was stupid. I had an enlarged liver. Looking up the information, it turns out they call it drug-induced hepatitis (no, not contagious hepatitis). It disappears as soon as you stop taking the drugs, which means acetaminophen in my case. They tested me at the hospital and no emergency intervention was necessary. I had to lie on a gurney for about 6 hours to discover I was fine. Sigh.

The great thing about the liver is that it will repair itself. They can do transplants using only portions of a living donor's liver. They will grow back the missing piece, and the recipient will grow a full liver out of the portion that is given to them, assuming there's tissue compatibility, etc. Just hope you don't start developing a sudden taste for vast quantities of alcohol if your donor is a little too happy in life. (No I don't have stats to support that - it was a joke.)

Drugs damage more than the liver, of course. The kidneys have to process portions, the bladder has its own fun I'm sure. There's basically the whole path the drugs have to follow, as well as where they're absorbed and sent. Drugs go to the brain. I wonder what's been done to mine. Time to activate a few brain cells to replace the old ones. I guess it's a good thing I have new things to occupy me all the time. Apparently with every new thing we do, a new pathway develops in the brain, allowing your brain better access to the information stored there.

While researching computer storage a while back, I discovered that the storage capacity of the human brain was approximately 2.5 petabytes (a petabyte will be the next unit of measure in computers after the terabyte). Pretty cool stuff, huh? Just imagine being able to have all your music files uploaded to your head. You wouldn't need an mp3 player ever again. People would look really stupid, though, since most would be bobbing their heads to cerebral vibrations. A bit like brain farts if you ask me.

Wanted: Sodium Pentothal or Sodium Amytal

In case you don't know what sodium pentothal and sodium amytal are, they're what's commonly called truth serum. Their use isn't quite as successful as the movies would suggest, but hey, at least they loosen up a person's inhibitions and get them yammering. I'm just not sure if I need to inject myself or someone else.

Don't you just hate when someone says something to you that you think means something, but you're not entirely sure, because you don't know the context they're placing it in? I guess that's a complicated way of saying you want to ask, "What are you trying to say to me?" I find myself in this unenviable position at the moment, and it'll probably drive me crazy, making it impossible to sleep.

Luckily I have a place to vent in lieu of said sleep, because maybe the crazy-making will be less damaging that way. Why is it that someone who writes constantly should find herself incapable of asking a simple question? Well, it's the implications, of course. You see, if she cares enough to ask, it means she cares, which opens her up to potential humiliation and degradation in front of a person whose opinion actually matters.

People are terrified of opening themselves up, and it's not just me. We're far more vulnerable than we like to admit. I'm usually really tough with this kind of thing, just blurting stuff out, but sometimes things matter more than usual. In my younger years, when I was afraid of openness more than I am these days, alcohol was the lubricator of choice - get your mind out of the gutter. I refer to a social lubricant, not something that causes you to find yourself afflicted with a social disease! Not to mention burns in weird places.

This time I'm totally out of practice with the social arts. Five years of singlehood will do that to you. Now it matters, and I have no 'out' to cut the inhibitions. By not taking a risk, though, there's a bigger risk. A moment passes, confusion makes people pass each other by, and then the chance could be gone. I mean, if opportunity comes knocking and you've got your headphones on, you're gonna be screwed.

The original risk is the complete loss of another person in your life should the whole thing just be a coincidence and a stupid misunderstanding. Now, admittedly, I'm perfectly capable of flipping the switch and letting go of a fantasy. With my personal history, you tend to learn that handy trick when you're young. This skill helps to restore the balance should such an upset occur. Sure, "It's already out there," you might say, but I've been on the other end of it and was able to remain friends with people who held some delusions about me that I had to disabuse them of.

The question is simple: Do you risk looking like an idiot, or do you risk losing out on the potential rewards? It feels a bit like being a game show contestant. You know what you've already won, but now you're being asked to risk it all for what's behind curtain number three. The rewards of a game show don't really amount to much in comparison, however, and you can just shrug your shoulders and yell for them to open the curtain. If it turns out to be a membership to the local bridge club you're disappointed, but not suffering potential hurt, unless of course your spouse kicks you in the ass after the show for throwing it all away.

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Productivity Despite My Best Intentions

My daughter asked a question last night that took me by surprise. Something she seems to do often. Nearly three weeks ago, it was a complaint about all the hot guys being my age (see that post here). Last night she asked me if I ever took a break. My answer was the intellectually-stunted, "Huh?" Actually I think she asked me first how many articles I'd written this week. I was slightly ashamed that it was only two articles, since I have others in my head that I really want to do. I answered her, and then added that I've done a blog every day. That's when she asked the question I referred to.

There I was, thinking I've been completely unproductive, taking it easy perhaps, what with all the upheaval with Stimpy and not having painkillers. This is not the case, apparently. I've also been plotting out past guests for The Kovacs Perspective, so that I have an idea where to go with the guests for the show. You know, not repeating topics or guests without a good reason to do so, making sure they fall in line with the theme of the show, and aiming for enlightening subject matter. I still have to go back and watch all of the previous episodes, although that's not a hardship in any way. It's a great show, after all. It just takes a bit of time.

Then there's still my novel. I've actually got that open even as I write this - I'll have chapter eight done of the final draft today, which puts me at about 20% completion. I've done a couple of pages, but I didn't want to cut close to my self-imposed deadline for this blog again, like I did last night, so I popped over here. I've been making it a practice to have a new post every day. I didn't start out that way, but as my traffic continues to go up I realize it would be stupid to lose the rhythm at this point.

I can't seem to resist the urge to work lately. Admittedly, the work I do is by choice, always, and since most of it involves writing that means it's something I enjoy. Even doing the guest plotting on spreadsheets is something I like. I have a sick enjoyment of Excel. I don't know why. There's something very cool about what I can do with it. It's far more versatile than most people realize. I love doing drop-down menus and options, data validation...okay, I did say it was sick, didn't I? What can I say? I used to work as an accountant. Not a field I imagined myself working in before I got there, but there you have it. Another weird and winding road in life.

With Stimpy's illness easing off a bit, and it not being a constant life and death battle for several days now, I've been able to get a lot more done than I realized. However, my gaming is suffering tremendously. I haven't been able to play a game for more than a couple of minutes at a time, and I spend most of that time multi-tasking something else. Sad, I know, but it can't be helped. My brain demands to be taken out for a walk when it's like this.

Man, if only I had full brain capacity like this, but without pain, I can only imagine the crazy stuff I could be doing. I wish I could handle the pain without going crazy, actually. I have zero interest in being high these days. For me this pharmaceutical interval of several years has cured me of any interest in recreational drugs. I used to think I had an addictive personality, but I really don't. I've walked away from everything addictive in my life with almost no effort. Smoking, you name it.

Well, it's back to the book for me. I might as well take advantage of the mood. Maybe I'll get the damn book on shelves yet. Watch for it. It's a killer.

Friday, 25 January 2013

A Damn Good Day - Roll Credits Please!

Today's been really cool. I woke up and found out I was going to be working with/for someone I happen to like and respect a great deal, which is definitely something to look forward to. Now, if I didn't have confirmation on this, I wouldn't be saying anything, even with my big mouth. But confirmation has been received, so here it is. I'm the new producer for The Kovacs Perspective. +Steve Kovacs is the host of the show, and I suggest you head over to the website to check this guy out, because he's done some pretty awesome stuff. Just click on the link for The Kovacs Perspective above. Take a look at his bio first.

Now, as if that wasn't cool enough, click on the icon between the big blue arrows to get to the podcasts of his show. The most recent show will be a great place to start. If you're into learning about productivity apps for your smartphone, the first half of the show has a great guest who talks about all that - how you can save time and recover time while you're waiting around for other people, by using some of the apps that are now available.

The second half of the show is going to blow you away. Jeannie Kerrigan is the guest. She's the author of a book called Layla, which is an autobiography. I watched this show live, while trying unsuccessfully to keep one eye on the score of the Raptors game since I was already 'rapt' with attention, focusing on this amazing woman. She survived abuse, ran away at twelve, lived on the streets, was abducted and raped, and then finally came to the end of the horror and turned her life around. Now she helps others do the same. You have to hear about what she's doing now.

Steve's had great guests in the past, and he's going to have great ones in the future. You see, that's going to be my job, along with a couple of other details. I have to give him something to work with. I can't take credit for the guests he lined up prior to this point, but there have definitely been some awesome ones. I've got a lot to live up to.

Now, if you want to be a guest on the show, on the home page of the site there's a place at the bottom right corner of the screen that tells you how. You may have to side-scroll to see it, depending on your screen's aspect ratio. If you have a great story to tell that is pertinent and relevant to people today, Steve may be able to help you tell it.

In the future, on this blog, you're going to see a line-up of the guests that will be coming up on The Kovacs Perspective, so stay tuned...pun intended.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Living in the Moment Gets Old

As great as it is to have the ability to live in the moment, after a while it gets really boring. I've been stuck in a moment for some time now, unable to move my life forward, and I learned not to think about past and future too much. When your life is in limbo, all you have is the moment, and you don't know when you're going to get the 'tomorrow', so it's best not to drive yourself crazy thinking about it.

It's especially difficult for someone like me. I have to have constant mental stimulation. I used to require constant physical stimulation, too, but that's a whole other subject I'm not planning to share at the moment. (Before anyone gets too excited, I was never a nympho if that's what you're thinking, just...healthy...normal...mostly. And here comes the Monty Python bit..."Wink wink, nudge nudge, say no more.")

I keep my brain engaged constantly, because if I don't I'll go crazy. Maybe I'm already there, but I can pretend, can't I? Even when I'm lying in bed (mind out of the gutter please, maybe I'll get mine out of there one day, too), my body in agony from my various injuries, and my head on fire because I'm going through pharmaceutical painkiller withdrawal, I have to keep using my brain. My daughter brought home a Sudoku book for me, so I've been doing that. With my head splitting open, it's about the extent of my intellectual capabilities at the moment.

My point is, and this time I have one, I miss being able to plan for the future. I still have dreams I want to fulfill and goals I want to achieve. They're always there in the back of my mind. The problem is, I can't plan anything. I can't take steps to make things happen. You want to talk about frustration.

This definitely affects the whole love life thing, of course. Even if a man became interested in me, why the hell would he want to involve himself in the current state of my life? I'm okay being alone, and even wrote a blog about it at one point, but that doesn't mean I rule out the possibility. My problem there is that I'm happy enough being alone that I'll be damned if I'm with someone who isn't what is right for me.

I'll also be damned if I'm with someone who doesn't think I'm right for them, or I'm not good enough for them. Being at the lowest point in my life (and believe me I have a huge basis for comparison there), I don't think I am good enough. I'm on disability for crying out loud. In other words, I don't have a real job. Sure, there are damn good reasons for that, but they're temporary so I feel pretty stupid about the whole thing. I'm used to carrying my own weight, running my own company, or at least working my ass off for someone else, not sitting on that ass and doing nothing useful. If the disability were permanent I'd be able to go for retraining, and at least move on with my life in a wheelchair should it be necessary. At least I'd know where I stand, and be where I'm supposed to be in life. Still, I'm very grateful it's not permanent.

My 'love life' is kind of like the Groucho Marx quote, "Please accept my resignation. I don’t care to belong to any club that will have me as a member," although that's not entirely accurate in my case. I mean, there are a few men I'm sure, who would understand the whole temporary thing, and see me for my past and future conquests in the world, but if they don't know me well enough to know about them, then they shouldn't want to be with me. Yes, I'm a human being deserving of respect, but guys with low standards usually expect me to have low standards, too, and I really don't.

The flipside of this is that a man would have to be prepared for the person I suddenly am when I'm no longer hopped up on pharmaceuticals and unable to live a normal life. I have a wee bit more energy then, and I tend to launch myself into things somewhat. Can you say "obsessive"? Okay, I'm sort of kidding, but the principle still applies. I won't be the same once I'm off the pills and disability. Back to my old, passionate self, basically. Not that being old or passionate is a bad thing. (I think I hear Monty Python chiming in again.)

Someday I would like to be with someone again. I'm picky, though. Damn picky. They better respect women, love animals, and be good to children. They also have to respect me and accept me for who I really am, and not who they want me to be. I've been on both ends of that bang-your-head-against-the-wall experience, and I won't do it again. You can't change someone into what you want them to be. It's an exercise in futility and extremely hurtful to boot. You're giving them the message that they're just not good enough the way they are, and that you don't really love them.

I need to be understood and accepted, because if one more person utters the words, "Calm down" at me when I have good reason to be pissed off about something that's going on in the world, they're likely to be emasculated. Well, verbally at least. I guess I'm getting old, and I've gotten to the stage of chew-'em-up-and-spit-'em-out when it comes to lack of patience with people shrugging off the inequities of the world. No, it's not okay that animals are being abused. No, it's not okay that women are dying of gang rape. No, it's not okay to joke about those things, because they're very real sufferings that are going on and they need to be stopped.

Of course, that's one more source for my frustration with living in the moment. There are things I want to be doing with my life to help make this world a better place. I have chosen to focus my efforts on animals for the most part, but that doesn't preclude me helping humans at the same time. I was supposed to be helping ferrets all over the world, only to be shut down just when I was getting started. I feel like I've let down a lot of animals in the meantime, and that really hurts me. Never mind the suffering they might have gone through that I could have prevented.

I can't concentrate well enough, for long enough periods of time, to effectively operate a business, and my business was built to support shelters. I'm incapable of working the 60 or 70 hours a week that I used to. I'm lucky to manage the time I can focus enough just to write this blog and my articles. I have to take breaks, though, and sometimes it takes me a really long time to do a post or article. Especially when I'm not on pain meds. They fog my mind so I'm not as smart, but at least I can work until the piece is done.

I think the most difficult thing for me with my writing at the moment is editing. I've written the words, so reading them loses a bit of excitement for me, assuming anyone gets excited reading what I say. Then I have to really focus, avoiding letting my thought stray while I try to be ruthless with grammar and spelling. It doesn't always work, and I end up with mistakes, which drives me battier than usual.

One benefit of living in the moment, however, is spending time with Stimpy, my ferret who is at the end of his lifespan it seems. I'm not in a rush for that, that's for sure. For those who have been following his progress, he's been good since yesterday morning. He's not bleeding internally (as evidenced by normal stools the last few times), the famotidine seems to be helping, he's eating and drinking quite well, he's not grinding his teeth (he does that when he's in pain), and he's moving around fine still. Cancer with an ulcer, and yet he's still truckin'. He's one ferret that's determined to live. Maybe it's because he knows how much he's loved, and how devastated we're going to be when he's gone. We, meaning myself, my daughter, and our other ferret, Pepper.

Even Rabbit, one of the cats, is going to miss him. Dip (AKA Dippy Doo) is ambivalent, although she did give him a lick a couple of times. It's the other ferret she hates. In case you're wondering, her name comes from the white spot at the end of her tail that makes it look as though it was dipped into a can of white paint. There's no other white anywhere on her body. Rabbit is named because of his facial markings resembling those of, you guess it, a rabbit.

So, maybe I should be thankful that my life is where it's at, rather than bitching about it, huh? Well, damn, I like to get a good bitch on.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

A Really Bad Night for Stimpy

This may be a little bit graphic, so if you don't have ferrets and aren't concerned about their health issues, it may not be the best blog post to read. Don't worry, I'm not including pictures.

My ferret is getting worse, a lot worse. At the moment, Stimpy is back to normal, eating drinking, etc. Last night was a bloody nightmare, quite literally. He was having some nausea issues that started to resolve once he 'used the facilities', but his stool was very dark, which usually indicates blood in the fecal matter, and he bled a bit afterward. Again, I was certain it was time to let him go, but then he was eating and drinking happily, and then sleeping normally again.

He's eaten at least twice in the last few hours, on his own. Before that I softened some of his kibble in water, starting him out by giving him the water from the dish that had a bit of food flavouring to it. I have a few syringes lying around for this purpose (without the needles, I mean), and for giving meds.

It's so confusing to have him doing so well for a few days, and terrible for one. Usually it's just nausea, but even that is terrible to watch. The bleeding is a whole other level. I palpated his abdomen, and he's not bleeding internally. If he was, there would be distension (hard swelling). His kidneys haven't gotten any bigger either.

If you have a ferret, you tend to look at their poop a lot. It's one of the first indicators of health problems. I know blood in the stool is not a good sign and requires medical attention, but he's been to the vet already. We know what the problem is. Lymphoma, or lymphosarcoma, probably, but some form of cancer anyway, which is causing secondary concerns, including ulcers. We know he's going to die. We're just waiting for him to tell us he's ready to go. I wish I could say it was hemorrhoids or something, but I know it's not.

He's had a bit of blood in his stool prior to this, but it 'cleared up' for long periods in between. I'm hoping that's the case this time. His nausea is usually followed by a poop of that sort, so the possibly is good an ulcer involved. In the case of ferrets with cancer, though, this isn't a bacterial ulcer like it usually is in humans, that can be treated with antibiotics. This type of ulcer most likely comes from the impairment of other organs, such as the kidneys. According to the information available on PetMD, it indicates a poor prognosis. Not a big surprise.

It all comes back to the same decision. If he's ready to go, he'll go. When he's in a lot of pain he grinds his teeth, so that will be a sure sign for me. He did that when he had a blockage many years ago. Complete lack of interest in food and water will also tell me he's had enough.

Speaking of interest in food, Stimpy is right back at the kibble dish as I write this. It's the third trip in about five hours. Adorable little guy is determined to keep going. Who am I to say he can't be allowed to do so? I've just given him the ferret-size dose of famotidine (brand name Pepcid AC). A lot of vets recommend you keep the stuff around, and in Stimpy's case I'm glad I did. He was prescribed it (although it's OTC) when he had his blockage to decrease inflammation of his intestinal tract. Once the inflammation goes down, it makes it a lot easier to pass the blockage.

In Stimpy's case he managed to pass it even before he'd absorbed his first dose, but the vet recommended keeping him on it for the full ten days anyway. It's not a drug that's likely to cause permanent harm. It has been known to cause food sensitivities in humans, which likely translates to ferrets as well, since decreasing acid production means undigested proteins make it into the intestinal tract and lodge there. Stimpy is far beyond worries of food sensitivities at this point, I'd say. From what I've read of it, it does not have a detrimental effect on kidneys, so it should be safe in that regard.

I've given Pepcid AC to Stimpy now, because it will help him pass his next stool more easily. It also impedes acid production, which will help with the ulcer end of things. It's an inexpensive drug with a lot of uses.

I'm sure Stimpy wasn't too thrilled to be attacked by Pepper last night, either. Pepper is more aggressive, and will be until he's neutered and the hormones have flushed out of his system, but I think there was more to it than that. Animals will attack other animals in a pack if they're sick and weak. Often with the intent to kill. So, when Stimpy is in his sick stages he has to be closely watched. He was rescued in seconds, but Pepper had a really good clamp on the back of his neck. He didn't pierce the skin, thankfully, but it was indented for a while. It's a good thing ferrets have thicker skin than humans. My daughter had the joy of prying his jaws apart, giving him the opportunity to clamp down on her finger as well. I don't think he drew blood this time.

Pepper has calmed considerably since he came to live with us, so it's very rare for him to get in a good nip, and despite his sex drive he hasn't been too bad with going after Stimpy. I'm sure if we had a different living situation where at least one of us wasn't home at all times, Pepper would have been neutered some time ago. It just didn't seem vital until the whole thing came about with other tenants in the building taking issue with the smell.

Again, it's the same tenants who are illegally smoking in the hallways, and who are also allowing their cats to roam free in the halls potentially passing illnesses onto other animals and allowing them to piss and spray wherever they want. Do I sound bitter? I am. The smell of a ferret will not hurt a living soul, but cigarettes are listed as Class A carcinogens by the Ontario government.

Part of the problem I face there has to do with the fact that the owners are smokers themselves. They don't smell how bad it is, but they can smell my ferret because they're not used to it. I'm used to Pepper's aroma, and although it is a bit pungent it isn't life-threatening. I used to be a smoker, but quit years ago, and now I can't stand the smell of it. There's nothing worse than a non-smoker, I know, for advocating non-smoking, but the law is the law. They're not supposed to be smoking in the building's public areas.

I wonder if I'll ever get over the anger of this smoking thing. I'm stuck getting my ferret fixed at the worst possible time, financially, possibly making things worse for my ferret who has cancer because I might not be able to give enough resources to him. Granted, I'll do what I have to do there. If I thought I could get the money trolling on the street for Johns I'd probably consider it, but we can hope things don't go that far wrong. My boys need what they need, and we're certainly not going to be any better off if I allow us to be evicted.

Letting any of my pets go to other homes is simply not an option. If there comes a time where I really can't look after them, I would have no choice, but until then I'll fight tooth and claw for them. They don't deserve to be given away just because times get tough. I don't agree with it, or believe in it, and if I ever had to do it, I think it would be the end of me as a decent human being. There would be nothing left of who I am.

On the positive side, I've just found out from a Kurzweil AI newsletter that there have been good results from treating lymphoma with nano-particles. I'm going to do some research about it first, and then possibly see if they're willing to give him an injection. These nano-particles are used as a replacement for chemotherapy, so I just might be able to get some free treatment. Not likely, but since ferrets are used to test flu vaccines, it stands to reason Stimpy would be a good place for them to try it out.

They're already using it on mice that have the human tumour. Stimpy certainly can't be any worse off. I'm not a proponent of animal testing, but for him it's like trying an experimental drug, the same way it is for human, except this isn't even a drug. I'm sure it's a shot in the dark, but I'll take the chance. It's better than not doing anything. I'm contacting the main researcher involved, as I've already located his contact information. One benefit of being a writer, is the ability to research things.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Medical and Veterinary Dealings - A Sad Day

The province of Ontario apparently has a referral service for patients looking for physicians, which I found out when I tried to call another family doctor. The number went straight to the referral service. This isn't a bad thing, I have to say. In my case I'm going to benefit from it, anyway. I did have to remove myself from my former doctor's patient list, and I should be receiving a letter in the mail within 10 days once it goes through. That will free me up to use the referral service. Because of my current physical issues, I will be fast-tracked. I'm not just waiting around for my next physical, I'm supposed to be having surgeries so I can get on with my life, and I'm in a lot of pain.

That's the medical end of things taken care of. I also called my vet back to get the dollar amount from them that I'm going to have to pay for Pepper's neutering. Between the examination, which is required by law since he hasn't been examined by this vet before, and the surgery itself, I'm looking at close to $400. The surgery is $300 even without the exam and taxes, so it's what I expected. I just wanted to confirm so I make sure I have the money with me and don't use it for something else, and there are lots of 'something elses' I could be using the money for, like food, pain killers, prednisone for Stimpy to help make his cancer a bit more comfortable with the vague possibility of extending his life and quality of life.

I also checked into chemotherapy for Stimpy. According to my vet, the fact that his cancer involves his kidneys makes his prognosis poor. Other affected organs, such as the spleen, would have a much better prognosis. He would have to be referred to the University of Guelph for the diagnostics and treatment. All told, she said it would run around $1,000 to $2,000 for him, which was actually less than what I expected, but still somewhat out of reach for the next couple of months. His prednisone, because it would have to be in a liquid suspension, would be about $35 to $40, but it's a large amount she said, so it would last a couple of months. I have to see if I can afford that, even, but that may also have an impact on his kidneys, which are already weak. She did say she thought it was worth trying.

Every time I think of having to let Stimpy go, I start bawling like an infant. He's actually like an infant to me. People may get snarky about people who say their pets are like their children, but they can go to hell. I have a daughter, I know how it feels to be a parent. I happen to have a pretty damn good relationship with my daughter, and she's 23 years old, so I must have done something right there. I still think of my pets as my children. The difference is, you don't have to lecture them so much, or worry about how the world perceives them as individuals, especially animals that are house-pets and don't go roaming about. Oh, and they have fur and you don't need to worry about their career prospects.

Stimpy may be like an infant because of his super-gentle nature, but Pepper is like a toddler, always getting into mischief. Both of them have a child-like innocence and wonder, though. Until Pepper starts chomping on one of the cats, that is. Then he just seems like a bully.

I always thought Rabbit (who is a cat, yes) would go first. He got a urinary tract infection many, many years ago, because of crystals that had built up. The vet didn't have a very good explanation as to the cause back then, because they used to think it was the dry kibble that did it, when it was simply the crappy ingredients - for proper cat nutrition (which is a lot more important than you might think) check out my article here. Cats are obligate carnivores, just like ferrets are, and should NOT be eating grains, corn or rice, but almost all commercial cat food is comprised mainly of those ingredients. Do your research, because the good stuff is out there.

My point with Rabbit is that he was the first animal in the house to have issues having to do with the development of crystals, and this was many years ago. I thought I was going to have to put him down at the time, which would have really sucked because it was Christmas Eve, which is when my family always celebrated Christmas. I had to go straight from the vet's to my parents' Christmas dinner, so it was with much relief that we learned he just needed medication to treat an infection, because it wasn't a blockage.

Whiskey was the first cat I lost, instead, and it took us completely by surprise. He seemed great one day, and within a couple of hours he was at death's door. I got him to the vet, thanks to Stimpy letting me know that Whiskey was sick (he laid on the floor, nose to nose with him and wouldn't move until I came over to check it out), and the vet pulled him back from the brink. She got a catheter into him, which dislodged the blockage. A week later he was blocked again, and by then the damage to his kidneys was too far gone and I had to let him go. He was only 11 years old, with no previous health concerns other than a bout with fleas many years ago (thank God for the drops on the back of the neck there - couldn't believe how effective that was).

Rabbit, on the other hand, is about 17 years old now, which is pretty old for any cat, much less one that we thought we were going to lose damn near fifteen years ago. I honestly thought he'd be the first to go, and now it looks like I'm even going to lose Stimpy before I lose Rabbit, and Stimpy is only five. Ferrets live much shorter lives than cats, sadly, so I knew I wouldn't have him as long I wanted, but five years is just not long enough. I thought, with the proper nutrition, keeping him out of the light to avoid activating his pituitary gland and triggering adrenal issues, tons of love, and good vet care, I could have him for at least the average life expectancy of six to nine years. He's just too sweet to stay long in this world, I guess.

If nothing else, having ferrets has taught me to appreciate the time I do have with them. Knowing how short the time was likely to be, I've never taken them for granted, dreading the day they'd be gone. That day is coming for Stimpy, and I can't stop crying even though he's still here. He's sleeping right now, but had some nausea this morning. He'll probably have one of those days today, so it's good he was doing so well yesterday and had a bit of fun for a while. He's still got kidney function, despite the enlargement of them that even I can feel. He still eats and drinks, and still lives a fairly normal life.

For now, I need to go lie down or something, because I'm feeling pretty miserable myself. Aside from the splitting headache from withdrawal from painkillers, I also have my pain back full-force. I'll have to have a snuggle with Stimpy and Pepper, so we'll all feel better. I hope everyone reading this is having a better day than I am. Maybe a nap will help, and I can be a bit cheerier later.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Not-So-Blue Monday

Today has just been one of those days, but it certainly isn't the most depressing day of the year either, despite what the pseudo-scientists from travel agencies might want you to think. According to some idiotic ad campaign this is the most depressing date of the year, and it's been called Blue Monday for that reason - in case you were wondering at the reference. I had to look up the term, but then I don't watch television either so I probably missed the commercials.

I have found out that I absolutely have to get my ferret neutered, or find another place to live. I wasn't too surprised about that one, but pissed off nonetheless. People are still smoking in the halls, illegally, and the landlord has yet to put up signs despite the fact that I informed her exactly two weeks ago that she was required to do this or faced the possibility of some pretty high fines ($5,000 per incident coming directly from her personal bank account).

Well, whatever the case may be, it had to be done, but I was hoping to wait until the end of next month, rather than doing it next week, seeing as the finances are already stretched so tightly. He's got an appointment for the 31st, so it's goodbye balls for my little man. My vet assures me it won't change his personality too much. I told her I wanted him to stay my little brat. I love my feisty boy.

Stimpy is my gentle boy, and Pepper is like one of those mischievous little boys that like lighting cherry bombs in toilets. Thankfully he has no access to pyrotechnics, and his nearly-opposable thumbs just aren't quite opposable enough to actually light anything up anyway. He gets into enough mischief without the fireworks, though. I love them both like mad, and don't want either of them to change at all.

I have also just run out of all my pills which means no pain relief for a few days. I guess I don't mind that so much either, since it gets me off the narcotics for a bit and lessens the likelihood of developing a real dependency on them. Since I don't like the way they make me feel, though, I don't see myself wanting to take them any longer than necessary. A few days of pain won't kill me, and I'll get back partial use of my brain in the meantime.

Finding a doctor is a priority now. It's too late in the day for those kinds of phone calls, so I'll have to take care of that tomorrow. I can at least make a list of numbers to call, seeing as I can search available doctors online. There's a database of them. Once I get a doctor I can be on prescription painkillers again, if necessary, which means they're covered by my disability, rather than buying them from a pharmacy. I'd rather be on Gabapentin, though, which actually gave me a normal life when I was on it instead of making me so sick that I have to take Gravol.

I spent so much money on vet bills for Stimpy, I ran out of money for my pills, but I'd rather take the pain. I'm going to lose him at some point, but it's my responsibility to delay that if possible, so long as he has quality of life. He's actually having a really good day today. He came out of the bedroom and has been playing in the boots and shoes, and he originally came out looking for some attention, which he usually gets in such abundance that he never comes looking for it (I've been trying to leave him alone because he's been tired and sick). He's fallen asleep again, which is typical for ferrets, but now he's sleeping in a fluffy coat beside me, content rather than limp and sick. There's a very visible difference.

My daughter's day started out crappy, too, because suddenly her PS3 wouldn't access its own memory database. I told her to Google the error message. She tried, but gave up after a while and reformatted her PS3. She was highly please to note that she did not lose her trophies, however, and her DLC (download content for the non-technical & non-gamers among you) through the PlayStation Store is still available for re-downloading. It does give her the advantage of clearing massive amounts of space on the HDD (hard disk drive). Hers is a bit old so it's only 80GB, so it's probably for the best. She lost some stuff that made her sad, but she's hopeful she'll finally be able to get her DLC for Fallout 3 working finally.

One day, when money isn't so much of an issue, we need to buy an external hard drive. At least a terabyte. The next level of memory technology will be petabytes (I looked it up today, actually) and by the time I have the money for stuff like that again I might be able to get that much storage. Cool. Looking into the technology a bit further just now, I discovered they're doing tons of stacks that contain a lot more than a petabyte of storage, so it's not far off.

I really wish my vet's receptionist didn't call it a castration when I booked the appointment, but I have to face the fact that it's exactly what I'm doing to him. His furry little grapes will be forever gone from the range of our vision. Maybe he'll get a bit better with the potty training now, and not feel he has to mark his territory so well. Maybe he'll even stop chomping on the cat.

Of course, there's been an upside to that, too. Every time the little 3-pound menace hops on the 13-pound cat, or tries to drag him across the room because he likes to hide his toys, the cat gets new life in him as soon as he's been rescued. Rabbit, my oldest cat, is about 17 now, I think. As soon as he gets a visit from Pepper, from which he is ultimately saved by myself or my daughter, Rabbit starts running around like a kitten again, playing with toys and cables and shoelaces. It happens every single time. A very strange phenomenon indeed. Hey, whatever keeps him young!

As much as this day might have been a pain in the ass, it will all turn out okay in the end,or it already has. That's typical of my life, though, and I think it's really typical of most people's lives. In general the worst that could happen isn't what usually happens, and often what does happen is better for us than it would have been otherwise. In order to get to that philosophical perspective, however, you have to have a bit of experience with things going wrong in your life. Boy am I experienced there!

Sunday, 20 January 2013

You Had Me at "All Rivers Are Dangerous"

As much as it might irritate my daughter (more than) occasionally, our conversations often end up the basis of thought for my writing. Not just blog postings, but also articles I've written where carelessly spoken sarcasm shoots an idea bubble into my brain. Probably the only instance where being shot in the brain is a good thing.

Well, today my daughter was working on her adaptation of Red Riding Hood, which will most likely turn out to be a twisted tale of psychotic violence and weird sex or something. She is my daughter, after all, and her brain veers along many a dangerous path, as does mine.

While she was writing (hogging my laptop, no less, seeing as hers died a few months ago), she turned to me to ask a question. By the time time I yanked the Def Leppard out of my deaf ears, she was already irritated by the delay - she's cranky like that. I'm so proud. Oddly that was not sarcasm.

Her question was, "Are there rivers that are dangerous to drink out of?" So is the general state of the education system, apparently, that they don't teach any sort of ecology in school. My first response was, "All rivers can be dangerous to drink from." I meandered from there to babbling about the way nature filters water, the difference between stagnant waters and fast-running rivers, and then veered into +Les Stroud who's from the area I was raised in, and does that really cool TV show Survivorman. He mentioned water purification tablets being a useful thing to carry, and I've seen other survivalist talking about them, too.

Needless to say, I bored her and she stopped listening. When I stopped rambling, I looked at her knowingly. All she said was, "You had me at, 'All rivers are dangerous' and after that I stopped listening." Well, at least she's honest about it.

My daughter has a short attention span. She's ADD, same as me, but doesn't have the same fascination with learning that I have. Still, I keep trying.

Her sex education was interesting to say the least. A very frightened seven-year old girl looking at my sketches of human anatomy that explained exactly what happened during the mating process to create another human being. Poor kid. Even with the inducement of horror, she still zoned out somewhere amongst the scads of information on sexually transmitted diseases. At least she's never caught anything or gotten pregnant.

I still believe in over-educating, and hope one day it takes hold with her. Maybe she'll remember some of it sub-consciously, sort of like subliminal messages.

The funny thing is, even thought she knows she's going to be inundated with information, she still asks me rather than using Google or Wikipedia to get an answer. So, I guess my time isn't really wasted. She seems to think I know everything, and whether she listens to everything I tell her or not, it's nice to know she thinks so. Or maybe I'm just kidding myself and she's only asking me because she's too lazy to read.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Morning Mood Swings - My Shower is Tri-Polar!

I live in an apartment building in Hamilton, and there is something very wrong with the plumbing. In the space of a single shower I laughed, cried, screamed and was boiled and frozen in between bouts of tolerable temperatures during which I could scrub up. In order to get decently showered I damn near had to stay in there long enough to get pickled, too.

Then there's my kitchen sink, where the hot water merely trickles from the tap. The water flow in the bathroom sink is fine, so I'm assuming they're different water lines. Takes a long time to run a sink for doing dishes, but that's okay. I don't do dishes anyway. They freak me out. Yes, that's a weird thing. I hate bits of food floating in water, and it makes me want to gag. If my daughter didn't voluntarily do the dishes, I'd have bought a counter-top dishwasher years ago.

I could complain to the landlord about the water situation, but it's a relatively minor inconvenience that gives me fodder for this blog (case in point right here). Believe me, coming up with stuff every day is not easy, even for someone as loquacious as myself. There are plenty of things I'd love to talk about, but either I can't, or nobody is as interested in the topic as I am.

I have kind of an odd personality quirk now, actually, where I really don't mind when things go totally wrong. Not just because of my writing either. The kinds of unavoidable problems I'm referring to actually make for an interesting day. Times when I've run out of gas and had to wait for the tow truck, or couldn't start my car (when I had one before). Days when I forgot to rinse the shampoo out of my hair because I was half asleep in the shower, even. It would just make me laugh. Being ADD my whole life, if I didn't learn to laugh at those things I'd have more problems than a crazy-ass shower.

I actually have to have a list of things I do immediately after getting out of the shower, as well as a very specific routine while I'm in the shower. Otherwise I forget things. I've forgotten to put on deodorant, forgotten to clean my ears, forgotten to brush my hair, you name it. It would be embarrassing if it weren't so funny. Usually I catch the error in time, but not always, and then I just had a joke to share with co-workers.

I used to be accused of having no sense of humour, but I know for a fact that's not the case. I'm not amused by juvenile humour or baby-talk, fart jokes (or even fake armpit-fart jokes). I'll leave those to the really mature gentlemen of the world. I am amused by the ridiculous and satirical. Sarcasm is a close, personal friend of mine. We share a pillow. I have a bit of bite to my wit, and either a person can take it or they can't, but I get pretty sassy.

Tongue-in-cheek is something I'm having a lot of fun with lately, as I've been chatting a lot with a very intelligent man with a similar bent. I'm kinda being a bad girl there, but that's okay. He's a grown man. He can take it. Of course, in all honesty I could take that, but sadly it's location, location, location.

Ah, well. Life is what it is. It's not just my shower that goes through mood changes. I get them when my brain kicks in and smacks the fun right out of my daydreams. Logic is my greatest enemy some days. It's a good thing I have a fantasy life, though, or I wouldn't be able to write the stuff I do. Some of it is more than just a little naughty, and I've got mad skills there. They do say, write what you know, and that's all I'm going to say on that subject! For now anyway.

Friday, 18 January 2013

Pepper the Poofer Strikes Again - Not Conducive to Writing Erotic Scenes

I have to say, the erotic nose brain, otherwise known as the amygdala, has never made a reference between brimstone and hot sex. Possibly why Hell is considered Hell? The stench of sulfur from my intact ferret is right now closer to making me gag than it is to being any kind of inducement to bestiality. I don't know how female ferrets can stand it!

Why am I making the comparison? Well, I was working on my novel, the operative word being 'was', and this part is supposed to evolve into an erotic encounter of some sort between the heroine and a cop who is investigating her best friend's murder. Pepper was sleeping on my lap, curled into a tight little fur-donut, his nose tucked into his own butt. Apparently he's immune to his own poofs, because he continued blissfully in his own little dream world while I was trying not to choke.

The stench from an unneutered male ferret's poof is unmatched by anything I've encountered in my home to date. There have been times I've had to leave my own bedroom to avoid the involuntary rejection of whatever food I've ingested that day.

Maybe you don't know what a poof is? Well, I can explain. Think skunk. They're related to ferrets, as are otter, mink, meerkats, ermine, polecats (the European animal, not what they call a polecat in North America, which is actually a skunk), etc. Ferrets have anal scent glands like a skunk does, and they can spray. The odor is not as potent as that of a skunk, but in an intact ferret it's plenty aromatic. Rotten egg, sulfur, whatever you want to call it, it's foul. The biblical term for sulfur being brimstone, I can see why no one wants to go to Hell, assuming there is one.

Pepper has since woken up (possibly from his own stench finally) and vacated my lap, so the smell is dispersing. I can only hope it isn't lingering in my clothes, but it's hard to tell since it's still lingering in the room. It's a good thing I don't get visitors. I can only hope my neighbours in the building don't complain. Yes, it really is that raunchy.

Of course, it's a good bet no one would know what's causing the smell. Ferrets are the third most common pet in North America, but the numbers are skewed by the fact that the average ferret 'owner' has seven ferrets. (I have two, so I'm still considered mostly sane by non-ferret people, but am looked on with pity by ferret people.) Most people don't have regular contact with ferrets the way they do with cats and dogs, so there's a lot they don't know about them.

Also, most ferrets in North America come from breeding mills like Marshall Farms, where they neuter and descent them far too early so they can get them sent out to pet stores. Don't get me started on Marshall, because I'll be here all day bitching about their practices. Maybe one day I'll do a rant about them, but until then I'll try to stay on-topic.

There I was a few minutes ago, however, trying to work on my book, a nice little fantasy of an erotic scene cooking in my brain, when I was struck by ferret-induced writer's block. I take my responsibilities as a ferret-parent seriously, though, and let him continue sleeping until he woke up on his own to launch himself off my lap in order to accommodate a sudden itch.

Anyone who has ferrets will understand that phenomenon. Not just the tolerance of their ferrets, but sudden-itch syndrome. Ferrets can go from sleep to 100-mph scratching in a heartbeat. I have to be observant with quick reflexes to prevent them from flying to the floor from my lap, (so I can catch them in time and set them on the floor in a safe manner). This is a behaviour practiced by every ferret I've ever heard of. They're itchy a lot, and the sudden itch is like the attack of an itch-monster that needs killing with claws and teeth.

Pepper has been gone from my lap for a while now, and either the room has mostly cleared from the smell, or I've just grown disgustingly accustomed to it and no longer notice it. So, I guess it's time to get back to the book. "My ferret stinks," is not an excuse not to get some work done. Thank goodness most of the smell from poofing disappears once a ferret is neutered, or I'd be seriously considered descenting - something I've always considered unnecessary. Time to get that boy to the vet! Poor little guy. Hope he doesn't miss his balls.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

I Love Barack Obama - There I Said It

From the day +Barack Obama first came to my attention as a potential leader of the American people, I was impressed by him, and by his intelligence. My first concern, should he manage to become POTUS, was the possibility of assassination. There is still so much racial hatred all I could think was that if he became president someone, somewhere was going to try to kill him. Thankfully this has not come to pass, and I hope that continues to be the case.

Once Obama took office I was impressed with more than his brain. I was impressed by the fact that, though he's a Christian, he did not intend to inflict his religion on others, saying that religion had no place in the White House. I was impressed that he made it clear right from the beginning of his first term in office, his family time was sacrosanct. No other president has shown such family loyalty. Either they were afraid to put their family first, or they didn't care enough to do so.

I was impressed when Obama declared there would be no more financial assistance for oil and similar industries, and that preference would be given to emerging industries in ecologically friendly energy production such as solar power. He mentioned a company that created photovoltaic roof tiles, which is something I'm more than a little bit interested in. I'm impressed that he chose to make this declaration despite the fact that it was going to paint a huge target on his back. If people didn't hate him because he was part black, the oil conglomerates were going to hate him, and they have the resources to order a very expensive hit.

I was very impressed that he finally managed to extract American troops from the mess in Iraq. After a US President that went blundering in with no thought to an exit strategy, this was indeed a very big accomplishment. Never mind the fact that the war had nothing to do with helping people in Iraq, and had everything to do with laying claim to the oil. There was a very big mess for Barack Obama to clean up.

A friend of mine posted a picture on Facebook years ago, with a sketch of George W. Bush on it saying, "I screwed over the entire world, but thanks for blaming it on the black guy." It was true, in most senses, and illustrates crowd mentality. People don't realize how long it actually takes to clean up a mess that big, or how long it takes before we sometimes see the full picture of what that mess entails. In fact, most financial experts blame the current state of the economy on deregulation of the financial industry, and that particular Act was signed by none other than Bill Clinton, who was himself an Economics graduate. So, as much as I might have hated GWB, he didn't start the ball rolling when it came to the economic crisis.

Sure, there are things Obama has done that I haven't felt were the greatest. However, I also understand that there are sacrifices that need to be made for the greater good. Unless you're incredibly naive you know that as well as I, and no matter how many movies are made that show how evil it is to hurt one person for the greater good, it's a fact of life.

Today, I discovered yet another reason to love, and be impressed by, Obama. I saw a video of him giving a press conference on the new laws that have been drafted for gun control. There are apparently 23 steps he wants taken, but the video was cut quite a bit so I only saw four. The first was complete, uniform background checks on everyone who wants to buy a gun. The second was a 10-round limit on magazines. The third was a complete ban, or restriction, on military-style assault weapons.

The video was cut here to exclude all but the last measure he wants to see taken, and the last measure was tougher penalties for those who deal weapons to criminals. The way he phrased it would lead one to think he was referring to including gun shops, as opposed to just the street dealers. It's hard to say for certain without seeing the actual proposed legislation.

As I've stated before, there isn't a single reason why a civilian would need more than ten bullets in a magazine, or the ability to fire off hundreds of rounds per minute. This is not the zombie apocalypse, and neighbourhoods are becoming war zones only because people are carrying such nasty weapons. You can say, "Guns don't kill people, people kill people," all you want to, but the fact is guns that are capable of rapid-firing and hold large numbers of bullets are certainly assisting those who want to kill as many people as possible. The guns are enablers. They should be charged with aiding and abetting, but seeing as they non-sentient then it should be the manufacturers and dealers that allow assault weapons to make their way onto the street that are charged with the crime.

I'll put it this way when it comes to magazines: If one of your family members was the thirtieth person to be shot and killed from a thirty-round magazine, you'd probably think a little differently about high-capacity magazines. You might start to think a ten-round limit is probably for the best. If a killer has to take time to reload, that gives your loves ones a much better chance of getting away if they weren't part of the first round that was taken down.

Even people who use guns for sport shooting, (such as the Bushmaster used by Adam Lanza in the Newtown shooting,) do not fire off repeated rounds. They aim for accuracy and skill, no pun intended. The idea is to make a single shot count, not spray a target until it's reduced to confetti. They don't do it to "get their gun off" so to speak.

Barack Obama is an intelligent man, and he has redeemed my faith in Americans just by virtue of the fact that Americans were smart enough to vote him into office. Not just once, but twice. Now, if we could only get the idiot running Canada out of office, we Canadians would be much happier. Do you think Obama would be willing to relocate?