Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Littlest Ferret

I wanted to take a few more minutes and write a bit more about Blink. She, like our other ferrets, was given to us by a family who had way too many pets to take care of. She was always the smallest of the group of four, and truthfully, the smallest grown ferret I’ve ever seen. I used to joke that she’d fit in a little teacup. My little teacup girl.

She was always an affectionate ferret – especially toward me. I could pick her up and she’d give me little ferret kisses all over my face. I think it’s because I’m a sloppy eater, but just the same, none of the others go so crazy about me. I’ll miss that most of all.

What happened was this. Blink apparently had gotten a blockage inside her somehow – probably from grooming one of the other ferrets. (Like I said, she was very kissy.) I guess because she was having trouble getting rid of waste, she lost her appetite and stopped eating. She seemed really light to us when we came home from Thanksgiving, and Kathy planned to weigh her periodically until we could take her and the rest to the vet on Friday for checkups. (We hadn’t yet realized she wasn’t eating.)

Then, on Monday night, Kathy picked her up for a cuddle, then set her down on the floor (a few inches above, actually – a height that any ferret would find a comfortable landing). Blink landed and sprawled on her side on the floor. She got up and wobbled around. Kathy immediately went to make mushy food with water and a bit of Karo syrup to boost her blood sugar a little. We fed her a little of the mush with our fingers, and she seemed to take to it okay. A half hour later, we fed her some more. We tried again before going to bed, but she wouldn’t take any more.

In the interim, her friends came by one by one to see her. To say goodbye, I thought, but I said “to say hi” out loud. I didn’t think it would come to that, at that point. I thought she’d pull through.

Our plan was for me to wake up around 3:30 in the morning to feed her again, and then we’d take her to the vet when it opened. When my alarm went off, I went downstairs and took Blink from her separate cage (we’d isolated her so she could have her own food) and tried to give her more of the mush. She actively resisted it – using what little energy she had to walk or turn away whenever I tried to give her some. I decided not to force her to eat. If she was blocked, I thought, she knew her body better than I did. And she was very clearly saying she wanted no more food.

Maybe she did know. She probably did, by then.

I went back upstairs, and dreamed we took Blinky to Dr. House. He (or rather, Cameron) was going to give her an MRI, but she started getting very active at that point, and House concluded that she couldn’t get an MRI because she had a little metal plate in her head from a previous injury. So then I took her to the doctors from Scrubs. They each were able to cure her in a different way, but when I got to Turk, and he had found a way to help her that left her walking on two legs like a little furry person, I thought, “This is one of those fantasy sequences, isn’t it?” And I know what those silly scenes set you up for.

When we woke up, Kathy made it down to Blink before I did. I heard her cry out from downstairs, and ran down immediately. Blink was clinging to life, just hanging on.

Until I got there. Within a couple minutes of holding her, she was gone for good.

I don’t want to tell you how we cried. You can’t imagine the noises I made, I sounded hollowed out, just howls echoing inside me. Eventually, we got ourselves together – a little – and buried her. Then we let She-Devil, Gus and the Dude out of the cage for a few minutes, and composed ourselves enough to go to work.

And now I’m back. And I’ve written a lot more than I’d expected to, but not nearly enough to do this little ferret justice. She was a sweetheart, a tender little friend. And while there’s a Blink-shaped hole in our hearts right now, it’s much, much bigger than she ever was. My little teacup girl, who always had a kiss for me.

If you’ve read all this, my apologies for being so maudlin. I wanted to get this down while my feelings were still fresh, and it shows. But I’ll close with a picture of Blink and me in happier times (with Gus as ferret hat).

Rest in peace, Blinky girl.


Sad News

I’m sorry to report that our beloved ferret Blink passed away this morning. She’s survived by her siblings Gus, She-Devil and the Dude, and of course Kathy and me, who miss her terribly.

I’ll post more about her (and hopefully a photo) when I get home and have some time. For now, I just thought everyone should know.


Thursday, November 23, 2006

Monday, November 20, 2006

Another Disappointment

I just saw a video of Michael Richards ("Kramer") going off on a racist rant in response to a heckler.

I'm gonna turn this damn box off. There's nothing good on today.

UPDATE: I should add that Richards has since apologized for his outburst. He did it on a satellite hook-up on the Letterman show, with Jerry Seinfeld sititng in the guest seat. The apology was awkward and somewhat disjointed, but -- probably in part because of the disjointed quality -- I believe it was very much from the heart. Richards seemed to be really not sure how to express how sorry he was, or even how to explain his actions. But, it seems to me, the important thing is not an explanation, but that he's taking responsibility for them. Letterman tried to throw him a couple lifelines during the conversation, and I thought, as a whole, it was really affecting. Richards said he had some "personal work," to do, and I hope he does it soon and well.


Why I’ve Been in a Bad Mood All Day

Last night before going to bed, I stopped by comicsworthreading.com, a blog I visit now and then. And I read this post by Johanna, which led me to another blog, Occasional Superheroine. In it, the writer (anonymous, but apparently a former assistant editor at DC Comics) talks about a horrifying physical experience she had, interspersed with incidences of sexism she’s experienced in the comics industry.

What she describes, it’s horrible stuff: Some of it cruel, some of it repulsive, some of it just thoughtless, but really cumulatively gut-wrenching. And I realize it’s just one side of the story, but it’s a pretty compelling side.

I don’t know how to write about this, so bear with me. I’m trying to be honest. Which is hard, because I know I’m going to come off as a heel.

I don’t know the writer. I feel, naturally, normal human compassion for her. She’s obviously going through a very tough time right now, as is her friend, and I hope she gets a handle on some new possibilities in life.

But she’s distant, several times removed from me, and you can only care about a stranger so much. Or maybe I can only care about a stranger so much. Or… I don’t know. I’m not writing about her, really. I hope she’s okay, but I can’t dwell on her any more. I need to move this essay forward.

Her story rattled me on a personal level, in very much the same way that one of the incidents she mentions (which I’d heard before from another perspective) rattled me. This is a company I’ve wanted to work for my entire life. It may not be the pinnacle, but it’s the peak I can see from here. And the people there act like this?

It’s ugly, and nothing I wanted to know. But at the same time, part of me says that some of it’s understandably human. She writes about an incident in which an artist sent in his most recent pages, in which a character is raped:

It started with my associate editor running gleefully into our boss’s office, several boards of art in his hand.

“The rape pages are in!”
I don’t know how to react to this. There’s a callousness to it that’s hard to take. But at the same time, no one real was harmed. It’s fiction. And what else was he supposed to call the pages, anyway? I imagine they called the rape scene in The Burning Bed “the rape scene,” too. What else could they call it? If you’re going to work with the story element, you can’t be afraid of the word.

So really, it’s the word “gleefully” that’s the most disturbing part of that passage. And that’s a characterization of his behavior, not the behavior itself. It all gets subjective, and subjective is messy. And again, no rape took place. Fiction is fiction.

But while that’s undeniably true, it still feels like I’m being selfish, like I should be more concerned, that I should give up my hobby and my hopes of being involved with it professionally one day and just chuck it all in the sewer.

All because of something that happened to someone else? How far does compassion go? How far does outrage go? Far enough to shoot myself in the foot?

I don’t know. I don’t know how to feel about any of this.

But I’ve been dreaming this dream since I was 8 years old, and I don’t want to give it up when I’m finally making some headway. Particularly for incidents that have more (but not everything, a little voice nags) to do with people than the medium itself. But when I do think about it, it can be paralyzing.

Everything is flawed. Everything.

It’s a lot harder to face in the ivory towers you build when you’re a kid.


Sunday, November 19, 2006

More Science!

Chris's Invincible Super-Blog gets totally badass with Batman and the Atom.

All fans of badassery will want to check this out.


Friday, November 17, 2006


You've probably heard about the Diet Coke/Mentos thing. Here's what happens when a guy tries it in his mouth:

And one day later, an explanation:


The Return

Little Bo Peep has lost her _________?

A) sheep
B) marbles
C) girlish figure.

It’s probably no surprise to you that the answer is D, All of the above. Lemme ’splain.

Kathy & I had spent a great night in a rainy city, having a delicious Italian meal (I had an amazing rabbit ragout on these thin, wide, perfectly-cooked noodles I could eat for the rest of my life), and then going to see the restored version of Renoir’s Rules of the Game (which is SO much more engaging than I remember it being when I saw it in college…but I dozed off through many a masterpiece there, yes I did). All of this is to explain why we were walking to Penn Station at a little bit before midnight.

And there, about half a block ahead of us, I saw a figure emerge from I know not where. A figure with linebacker shoulders and treetrunk legs, in a pink frilly dress that juuuust about covered the ass… with poofy white bloomers underneath. Add a shepherd’s crook and you’ve got Little Bo Peep. Well, make that Big Bo Beep.

As luck would have it, Peep entered the station, too. Once inside, we checked the schedule. Our train wouldn’t be boarding for about a half hour, so we decided to kill some time. “I don’t know about you, but I want a better look at that transvestite,” were, I believe, my exact words.

So we walked through the station, and sure enough, Peep appeared, wandering seemingly aimlessly. Kathy & I passed her, and were going to circle around a stairwell, intending to catch a glimpse from the other direction. Kathy said to me quietly that her closer look from behind – something about the wrists – suggested that Peep might actually be a girl. This prospect was even scarier, to be honest. If Peep was indeed female, she must have been a throwback to the females of prehistory, downing trees and eating triceratopses with one gulp. But then we turned the corner, and underneath the mane of pigtailed blonde hair we saw…

…oh, that’s DEFINITELY a guy. Old and leathery, he looked like Charlie Watts on Let’s Make a Deal. And as we walked away, I looked at Kathy and said:

“Looks like I’m blogging again.”


Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Killing Time

Since I seem to have totally lost my blogging mojo for the moment, here are a few videos for the betterment of your moral and spiritual self.

First, from the mezozoic era of MTV, Graham Parker's "Local Girls." He's one of my favorite songwriters, but I don't think anyone needs to see him sing from this close up. Yikes!

And now, a quick word from Tom Wilson, the guy who played Biff in Back to the Future.


Friday, November 10, 2006

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Still Alive

Needless to say, I'm happy about the election results. I'm kinda swamped with work lately, but posting should resume soon.


Tuesday, November 07, 2006

You...the Heroes

Want to know which political party your favorite superheroes belong to? The always-funny Dave's Long Box clues you in.

A sample:

* THE HULK – LIBERTARIAN “Hulk just want to be left alone.”

Happy election day.



(Via Atrios)

Show 'Em What You've Got

The Republicans want you too mad to vote. In many districts, they're sponsoring constant, harrassing robo-calls that only mention the Democratic candidate's name, in the hopes that the recipients will be too pissed off at the named candidate's supposed tactics to go out and vote for them.

Do it anyway. Prove them wrong. Throw their asses out.


Sunday, November 05, 2006

The Edison Hillbillies

A few months ago, a panel dropped off of our garage door, exposing the ugly-looking unpainted wood underneath. This missing panel has been bugging me ever since -- it looks a little too hillbilly, and kind of reveals our garage to be the glorified shed that it is. But between the book, the weather and other things, I just never seemed to be able to get it together to set to work on what I thought would be a two-person, half-hour job. (It's a long panel -- one person can't held it up and nail it in at the same time.)

So today, after I mowed the lawn for the final time, and Kathy got back from the gym, we took care of it. The construction glue didn't work out as well as we'd hoped, but when all was said and done, the panel is up, and it took us about a half hour. We're not gonna win any Better Homes & Garages awards, but at least now we can get to work on putting in that cee-ment pond.


Friday, November 03, 2006

Into the Night, Into the Light

Today's classic music video holds up pretty well, I think. Probably because it focuses on universal huuman emotions, rather than a fear of imprisonment by Japanese robots. I also like how the images work in counterpoint to the words. May I present...Joe Jackson's "Steppin' Out."


Thursday, November 02, 2006

A few words on the election.




Anyone who’ll rubber stamp the president will give us more of the same.


Wednesday, November 01, 2006

KT’s Got a Meme

The inimitable KTBuffy set me to shuffling my iTunes to discover the Soundtrack to my Life. To wit:

Here's how it works:
1. Open your library (iTunes, Winamp, Media Player, iPod, etc)
2. Put it on shuffle/Random
3. Press play
4. For every question, type the song that's playing
5. When you go to a new question, press the next button

Opening Credits: "You Don’t Pull No Punches, but You Don’t Push the River" by Van Morrison. There’s an ominous inevitability here, almost as if the story is already told, and is just waiting to play out.

Waking Up: Languid and gentle: Bill Morrissey singing Mississippi John Hurt’s “Hey, Honey, Right Away.” The best part of waking up…

First Day At School: Insanity! A 30-second clip from Davinci’s Notebook, with yodeling – “Uncle Buford #2.” “I’ve never used a spoon, but I heard about ’em.” Downright hyper.

Falling In Love: “Perfect World,” the Pietasters. “In a perfect world, I’d know our name…but it doesn’t seem to be that way.” Pure frustration. Been there, baby.

Breaking Up: Lotta horns. The Anders Osbourne Orchestra, “Pleasing You.” “You’re just pleasing you, that’s all you ever do.” Grievances expressed, check.

Prom: The Decemberists, “The Sporting Life.” A tale of humiliation in front of your entire school. I actually had some pretty good prom experiences, but this sort of thing could have happened at any minute.

Life's OK: “The only reason you used to need to be around me was me.” Dan Bern’s “Sweetness.” Ringing guitars, but not exactly the happiest of songs: “Sometimes I feel like an experiment,” and, of course, “Where has the sweetness gone?” If this is okay, I’m nervous about what’s next.

Mental Breakdown: The Rascals, “Little Dove.” Harps and all. This is the most serene mental breakdown I’ve ever had. My loony bin is an island paradise. Ahh…

Driving: ”Night by Night,” Steely Dan. If the Dan’s playing while you’re on the road, you know you’re going somewhere cool. “I don’t really car if it’s wrong of if it’s right, but until my ship comes in, I’ll live night by night.” Oh, yeah. I’m cashing in this ten-cent life for another one.

Flashback: Holy crap. “Angel of Lyon,” by Tom Russell, as a flashback? This is a song about a guy with a big-city job who leaves everything he has to search for the titular angel. :And he sang, Ave Maria, or at least the parts he knew…” He winds up as a saint of rag and bone himself. And as I flashback, I wonder how a guy can come back from that.

Getting Back Together: Oh, this doesn’t bode well – Dada’s “8 Track.” Baby’s got an eight-track mind… and I’m number nine. Yeah, that’s a good match. Things were so much happier during my mental breakdown.

Wedding: Weirdest Wedding Evah. “The Eyeball Kid,” by Tom Waits. The life story of a guy that is litterally just one big eyeball. “He was born without a body, not even a brow.” (And later, even better: “He’s not conventionally handsome.”) Mazel Tov!

Birth of Child: Buckwheat Zydeco, “Changes.” You don’t know how you touch my heart, honey. Got me goin’ through changes. You great big friggin’ eyeball, you.

Final Battle: “When You Dream,” Barenaked Ladies. When you dream, what do you dream about. Apparently in my final battle, I’ll be daydreaming about what my baby eyeball will be dreaming in his crib, and all his past lives. I should really get my head in the game before I get my ass handed to me.

Death Scene: “I Forgive You,” by Thomas “Big Hat” Fields. Another zydeco tune. Pretty happy way to die – and it’s good to know that whatever betrayal got me killed, I’m all right with it. (I think, anyway – it’s in French.)

Funeral Song: “Hard Times,” Eddie Bo. “Oh Confucious say, every dog got his day.” A nice piano blues to send me off with the promise of revenge.

Sex Scene: At last, after all this killing, now I get to get laid. And what’s on the radio? A “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” sequel, “Grandpa’s in Jail, He Shot a Reindeer.” If anyone in the world has ever had sex while this song is playing, they should get the clap. As should the DJ of my life. This is a cruel trick.

Dance Sequence: Rufus Wainwright, “The Consort.” Looks like I get a slow dance, with a threat to the status quo. “Together we’ll wreak havoc, you and me.”

End Credits: And finally, a moment to reflect over what’s gone before. As Richard Cheese’s lounge interpretation of “Rock the Casbah” caps what’s possibly the worst movie of all time. R-O-C-K the Casbah!

Oh yeah.