Too much hot!

Filed under: @ 11:31 am

Mid ’80s, possibly early ’90s. Humidity less than it was over the last few days, bright clear skies. A vast improvement over the stinking sticky moist than it had been over the last few days, but hot. Too. Much. Hot.

Rained like a sonovabitch Thursday which did decrease the humidity some.. or at least organized it a bit. Because it was threatening to rain Friday, Andrew and I spent most of the day at The Honolulu Acadamy of The Arts which is the local art museum. Beautiful stuff from all over the world, some of the furniture in the Asian exhibits was enough to make me weep. Lovely air conditioning, great cafe for lunch, beautiful garden courtyards. A wonderful time was had by all (all two of us) and it did not, in fact, rain.

Woke up Saturday morning when it was still cool and lovely in anticipation of hitting the garage sales with Joan et al. Left the house at a little after 0800 and very swiftly discovered that doing ANYthing outdoors, with the sole exception of falling into the pool to congeal, was a BAD idea.
Which isn’t to say that we didn’t hit some neat sales. While I haven’t found the lacquer tray that Andrew wants to go under his coffee maker, within half an hour I found not only a stuffed llama (for those that know the story of Joan and Joanne’s stuffed llama) but a stuffed donkey besides. Didn’t purchase them, I didn’t say I NEEDED a stuffed llama or a stuffed donkey, but had I the need I would have been able to fulfill it.
Gave up on the sales at a little before 1100 because we were all dying of heat prostration and we came home. Libby and I fell into the pool to congeal, which was GLORIOUS.

Andrew declined to join us at the sales and was, in consequence, cool and refreshed enough to sit on the edge of the pool and fuss at me about how I was going to get sunburned if I stayed in long enough. Andrew started working on replacing the hard drive in Lucy’s computer so it can run Windows instead of Linux (a slightly more complex system than a 9 year old needs). I was switching between blogging (duh), knitting while listening to my i-Pod, and spraying lavender and lemongrass moisturizing spray on my sunburn.

It’s not a glorious adventure filled tropical vacation. It’s more like a stay-cation (gads I hate that term) at someone else’s home that is also partly yours. A home with a pool in the back yard and all of Hawaii out the front door. We’re having a lovely time.


Presented for Your Confusion

Filed under: @ 6:36 pm

It’s not quite food fright, but it’s damn weird nonetheless.

Found this while we were poking around at Long’s Drugs in the Manoa Marketplace (went there for okazu and manapua at Island Manapua).

Vermont Curry?!

I’m not even sure where to start.
Curry? Fine, I understand curry. I can even get my mind around curry sauce with a touch of apple and honey.
Vermont? Yep, got a solid handle on Vermont.
Product of Japan? No problemo. Especially in this state, Product of Japan doesn’t create any confusion at all.

All three together? Nope. Sorry. Does not compute.

The manapua were fantastic though. :mrgreen:
Sorry Dave, there won’t be any of this batch left by the time you get here, but we can always get more.

Oooo yah! Tropical!

Filed under: @ 12:48 pm

Standard story for leaving the house yesterday morning. The cab picked us up a little early which is partly why I came away without my glasses making it fortunate that the vast majority of my reading material is on my i-Pod and not actually something I have to look at.
Despite the fact that we did e-tickets and online check in, when we checked our bag we were presented with NEW boarding passes and asked again for the $15 that Hawaiian Air is charging for checked bags. However being the paranoid soul that I am, when I did the online check in Tuesday morning I not only printed the receipt for the $15 that I paid then, but I also put the receipt in my purse. Wednesday morning the price of paranoia was $15 in our favor.

Breeze through security. Really I’d never seen so few people at security. I guess the moral of this story is that if you’re going to travel by air, doing it on the day after a long holiday weekend ends is a good time to do it. We managed to make it through the security checkpoint with our empty 1 liter water bottle, a triumph for us as the last few times we’ve flown we’ve had to discard our empty water bottles at security and purchase brand new full ones at one of the stores that is past security…. at a greatly inflated price over what we paid for the ones at the grocery store.
The water bottle made it through security, Andrew’s wallet almost did not. Andrew purchased a RFID proof wallet that has a metal mesh woven into the fabric that blocks RFID transmissions. All very well and good in terms of protecting credit cards and personal security, but the metal detectors at the airport don’t like the metal mesh AT ALL.

And not at all an unpleasant flight, really. We had a window and aisle seat just behind the exit row and while there wasn’t a lot of leg room for Andrew, at least the guy sitting in front of him didn’t feel like reclining and crushing Andrew’s patellas. Me, I had sufficient room especially since I had a crotch novel on my i-Pod, a new knitting project to keep me busy, and Xanax. For the record if you want a decent flight and a good nap while you’re in the process, a combination of scopolamine to prevent motion sickness and Xanax to keep you from running amok and slaughtering people is a good combination. It was a great nap. :mrgreen:

ANYway, we landed in Honolulu and aside from having to traipse the entire length of the airport to get from our arrival gate to our baggage claim and a minor bit of confusion meeting up with Tony the trip couldn’t have gone more smoothly.

Honestly the rest of yesterday was a bit of a blur. The temperature has been nice (in my opinion), but even for Hawaii standards it’s been humid. The combination of the soporific weather, a little jet lag, and the remains of the chemical stew that I brewed for the flight lent the rest of the day a somewhat surreal nature.
I crashed out by 8 p.m.

At 0200 today my internal clock went DING and told me that it was morning and time to get up. I turned over, looked at the alarm clock, and told my internal clock to go to hell.
At 0500 today my internal clock went DING and told me that it was morning and time to get up. I turned over, looked at the alarm clock and tried to tell my internal clock to go to hell, but it wouldn’t listen so I lay in bed for a while and finally decided that I might as well get up and to take a walk before it got warmer and moister. I honestly enjoy a little humidity seeing as I’ve always got dry skin, but it’s just been plain old MOIST. So at 0600 I was up, dressed, and wandering down the street to hit the trail through Kailua beach park and the Lanikai loop.

The trail I walk through the beach park goes over a canal that opens out into the ocean. The water in the canal is green, sludgy a lot of the time and usually full of small fish, Cattle Egrets, and the occasional sea turtle. The banks of the canal are always chockablock with pigeons, mynahs, and doves. It isn’t uncommon to see people standing on the bridge over the canal and feeding the fish in the canal or feeding the birds on the banks of the canal. I was not, therefore, surprised when I saw a little Asian woman with a grocery bag over her wrist standing at the bridge railing and throwing something over the railing and into the canal. I was prepared to be a little mentally annoyed with her, I feel that the only reason one should feed pigeons is if one is planning on eventually eating them. She started moving off down the bridge before I got to the spot where she had been feeding whatever it is she had been feeding off the bridge. I looked over the railing, expecting to see a flock of pigeons or suchlike and instead what I saw was….
A black crowned night heron snorking down a fish.
This little Asian lady had a grocery bag over her wrist and a ziploc bag of fish in the grocery bag. I asked as I caught up to her, she’s down there a few times a week feeding the herons.
Which left me giggling for about the next two miles.

And seeing as it’s only about 1030, that’s all I have to report for the moment. I have no doubt we’ll get more interesting at some point, but gimme a break. We’ve not even been here 24 hours. The little Asian lady feeding the herons is about the most entertaining thing that’s happened so far.
We’re saving teasing Caitlin about the bag full of testicles under her bed until later in the week.



Filed under: @ 8:30 am

Okay, it’s a little convoluted, but the moral of the story is that if you keep your eyes open the world will never cease to amaze you.

Having gotten to the end, let’s get through the beginning and the middle.

One of the entrances to our vegetable garden in the back is guarded by a rose trellis. The roses, memorials to Scamper and Scrum, are not yet big enough to cover the entire trellis (give them a few more years…).
In the hopes that we would attract nesting birds, some years ago we hung a small finch house from the very top of the trellis. The idea of having a rose covered trellis with a family of finches in residence as an entry to the garden was just so damn pastoral I couldn’t resist.
But since the roses haven’t gotten big enough to cover the trellis and provide sufficient cover for the bird house, we’ve not been able to attract any nesting pairs yet. We’ve had some interest, every year that the bird house has been up we’ve seen finches, chickadees, and small wrens check the place out, but while the house has apparently been appealing, the neighborhood, as it were, has been a little too low brow for them.

I was out puttering in the garden the other day. I’d dug several dandelions out from around Scamper’s rose, worked fertilizer in around the base of the bush, and was just standing up to go and get the root waterer to give the roots a good soak using the trellis as a bit of a lever to help me keep my balance as I stood up. Which, of course, joggled the trellis, which, of course, got the bird house swaying a bit. I heard buzzing and saw some sort of flying bug in my peripheral vision. I waved my hand to discourage the whatever it was from flying in my face then bent down to grab my weeding fork that I’d left at the base of the rosebush. Grabbing onto the trellis which set the bird house to swaying again.
All of a sudden there’s eight or ten buzzing things in my face and a searing stabbing pain in my upper lip.
Terrified at the thought that I’d managed to irritate a ground nest of yellow jackets and that I was about to get stung by a swarm, I shrieked, dropped everything, and went running. Andrew met me at the back door, confirmed that I wasn’t covered in wasps, and got me some ice, Benadryl, and ibuprofen for my lip which was swelling up like a balloon.

After a little time to get my adrenaline levels back down to something approaching normal we went tip-toeing out to the trellis and, keeping a respectful distance, watched the damn bird house.
One fat, furry, pollen covered little bumble bee.
TWO fat, furry, pollen covered little bumble bees……

The bird house is now a bee hive and the most convenient entry to my garden is now guarded by critters that get pointedly (heh) irritated if you joggle the trellis.
If it’d been a wasp nest I would have had no compunction about getting a can of that long distance wasp killing spray and filling the bird house with chemical death, but…. Bees. You know, pollinators. Beneficial bugs. And critters that are currently suffering from some mysterious plague that is dropping their numbers by the billions. I can’t kill those.
Long story short we decided, for the moment, to leave the bird house and its resident bees (one could make jokes about the birds and the bees, but I think I’ll leave that alone for right now) where they are. Not quite sure where we’ll put them once we get back from Hawaii, but they will not be covered in chemical death.

To quote Bill Cosby, I told you that story to tell you this one.

We’ve never really had much in the way of Bluejay action in our garden. They’re not really interested in sunflower seed feeders and the neighbor’s filbert tree is only a draw for them for a few weeks in the late summer. This spring though, we’ve had a notable upswing in our Stellar’s Jay population. I like Stellar’s Jays, they’re sassy and they’ve got turquoise eyebrows.
So when a pair showed up on the top of the trellis over the kitchen window this morning I pretty much froze so I could watch them.
Jay #1 lands on the trellis over the kitchen window, looks at me looking at him, then flies off as jay #2 aims to land in the same spot.
Jay #1 lands on the rose trellis in the garden just above where the bird-cum-bee house is. Which joggles the trellis which sets the bee house to swaying. A bee comes out to investigate, jay #1 reaches out and neatly noms the bee out of the air.
My jaw drops slightly, it was a great catch and I didn’t know that jays would EAT bees, but there it is. How cool is that?

It gets cooler.

Jay #2 takes off from the trellis over the kitchen window and displaces his buddy on the rose trellis. Jay #1 flies off into the garden to finish snorfing down his bee. Jay #2, however, had landed on the rose trellis too far down to get the bee house swinging. After a few seconds with no bees he hopped up to the top of the trellis being deliberately clumsy, it had to have been deliberate, no bird could be that clumsy without doing it on purpose, and sets the bee house swinging. Bee comes out to investigate and jay #2 takes a swipe at him but misses. Bee flies off, jay #2 is still without his morning snack. And so, standing at the very top of the trellis, jay #2 hops up and down a few times then peers over the edge of the trellis and into the door for the bee house. Bee flies out, jay #2 noms him out of the air and then takes off to finish snorfing down his bee in peace.

If that’s not learned behavior I don’t know what is.


We’re Still Not Sure Why…

Filed under: @ 7:48 am

WHY did we choose to be married on Memorial Day weekend? (For the record our actual wedding day, May 25, 1996, was a Saturday.)
Don’t know.
Haven’t been able to trace the logic on that one back to it’s origin.

Certainly the date didn’t mean anything to either of us beforehand. It wasn’t the anniversary of our official engagement, it’s not either of our birthdays although mine is next week. We didn’t graduate on May 25th, we didn’t start shacking up on May 25th, we didn’t move anywhere, adopt any pets…. And, for the record, we didn’t realize that the 25th of May is somewhere around Memorial Day weekend until AFTER we were married and we were in San Diego on our honeymoon trying to get to a national park that you have to access through a corner of a naval base and national cemetery. A VERY crowded place on Monday May 27th, 1996. Some days we’re a little dim.

Andrew and I have been together for 19 years. We decided to get married on a early spring trip to Hawaii in 1995. Joan was showing us the safe, installed in response to a recent break-in, in which she kept the family jewelry. I dutifully inspected the safe, admired its clever camouflage, and went back to reading my book. Andrew and Joan did some further rootling in the safe, I heard Joan mumble something and Andrew’s reply of “I don’t know, I’ll ask her.”
Andrew came to me with a ring, gold with rubies, and asked if it would fit. I was sitting in a dining room chair, he was kneeling on the carpet beside me. I tried the ring on my right hand, he told me that was the wrong hand.
It wasn’t very romantic on my part (remember the part about me being a little dim sometimes?), but I goggled at him and asked what he meant at which point he took the ring off my right ring finger, put it on my left, and asked if I would marry him…..
Well, y’all know the answer.

A while back someone on my online DVM site (both a professional and a social networking site) asked whether or not those of us who are married consider our marriage to be “perfect” and why. I answered in the affirmative and gave the following reasons.
It’s not suited to everyone’s morals, but the shacking up period (as my maternal grandmother would have put it) was a great test for marriage. We got a chance to see each other’s foibles before making anything permanent…. and decided we wanted to keep it permanent anyway.

I am his, as he is my best friend. There is no one -NO ONE- I would rather spend time with. Which is not to say that we don’t have our own passions. I garden obsessively, he dissects computers and shoots zombies. I wouldn’t dream of asking him to participate in the gardening (which he views as a somewhat pernicious perversion on my part) and he wouldn’t dream of asking me to participate in the computers and zombie fest (which I view as drop dead boring). We respect each others’ individuality, but love our duality with a deep and abiding passion.

We share. I loathe taking out the garbage so he does it. He can’t get his head around doing laundry so I do it (I find it soothing really). He cleans the cat box, I clean the bedroom. He maintains the house’s technology, I maintain the pets. He does the majority of the cooking, I take care of the finances. While both of us are willing to take on the other’s chores (except for me taking on the technology, I’m only barely capable of using the remote for the TV) neither of us expects help with our responsibilities.

We impress each other. I am utterly in awe of what he can do –the art, the computer geeking. He thinks that what I do is just drop-jawed amazing.

We support each other. He is willing to be THE BIG MAN and deal with scary noises in the middle of the night, to say nothing of spiders and the odd cockroach. I understand that my BIG MAN is utterly incapable of helping me vaccinate cats, snap the necks of the mice for the snakes, or clean up cat puke.

It helps that each of us genuinely likes the other’s family and that our families like each other. And it helps that both of us had enough of being lonely in our youth that we’re constantly aware of how grateful we are to be with the other. Not a week goes by when one of us doesn’t thank the other for participating in this relationship…. to say nothing of being saved from the dating scene. UGH!

Happy anniversary sweetie.
Us At Morimoto


Now *this* oughta get some interesting responses

Filed under: @ 8:18 am

Andrew has, on occasion, discussed the odd and/or disgusting, search terms that have gotten people to this blog. Milk and molasses enemas being one of the (shudder) more common.

So this is for all of you milk and molasses enema fans who may come trolling looking for information about milk and molasses enemas.

There is absolutely no information in this post, or any post on this blog to be honest, about milk and molasses enemas…… although they do play a part in the following story.

My place-o-biz is an all girl show. Unless you count our male technician, who is gay, we are all users of various feminine hygiene products. Also most of us, at least most of us who live in households that consist of more than one person, have a small stash of sweets SOMEwhere in the house generally in a location that only we know about.
So we were having a conversation the other day with N. N is a nice gal who lives with her husband, a French Bulldog, and a Mastiff in a relatively small house. N was bemoaning the fact that she not only has to conceal her candy stash from her husband lest he narf down the entire thing, but she now has to conceal her candy stash somewhere her Mastiff can’t find it. There was an incident, N reported, of the loose end of a bag of Cadbury mini-eggs having protruded ever so slightly out of the drawer in which she had concealed it. It wouldn’t have been so bad if N’s husband had found the bag, but as it was the Mastiff found the tail end of the bag peeking out of the closed drawer and, having decided that whatever in the drawer smelled REALLY GOOD, she grabbed the piece of bag in her teeth and used it to open the drawer at which point she found the candy stash and disported herself to a great degree. Not only causing the loss of N’s last bag of Cadbury mini-eggs for the year, but creating some -um- interesting Mastiff sized gastrointestinal side effects.
We were brainstorming with N, trying to help her figure out a place where she could conceal her stash where it would remain unmolested by both her husband and her large and obnoxiously intelligent dog.
Someone suggested that N could hide her stash in her box of tampons. N thought it was a great idea because her husband is so squeamish about feminine hygiene products that he can’t even go into the aisle in the grocery store where they are sold. Then she remembered the dog and realized that the tampon box would not only not provide any protection from the dog, but were the dog to find the candy in the tampon box she’d not only eat the candy but she’d likely chew up the tampons as well which would create further -um- interesting gastrointestinal side effects.

And so the suggestion of keeping the box of tampons with the candy in the freezer. Dog can’t open the freezer and sure as hell can’t smell the candy through the freezer dog. Husband won’t touch the tampon box. Viola! Problem solved!

N: “Won’t my husband think it’s odd that I’m keeping my tampons in the freezer?”
Me: “No problem! Tell the husband that cold tampons are a cure for cramps.”
N: “But he’ll Google it or something and find out that cold tampons aren’t a cure for cramps!”

That’s where the milk and molasses enemas come in. I related that this blog has, more than once, been hit by people using Google search terms for milk and molasses enemas (causing much jaw dropping in my mostly very sheltered coworkers) which lead me to have faith that if N’s husband did even the most rudimentary Google search that he would, somewhere, find a site that would tell him that cold tampons cure cramps.

I do not know whether N moved her stash to the tampon box nor whether her tampon box is currently in the freezer.
But N’s husband, if you hit this site looking to see whether or not cold tampons cure cramps, it’s true. Cold tampons do cure cramps.


My Mini-Review of Wanted, Now Out on DVD

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 8:20 am

I’m trying to come up with a description for the kind of person who would like this film without getting too personal about it, but it’s tough. Viewers who don’t pay much attention to plot, who are just in the mood for a rollicking roller-coaster ride of special effects and car flippings will probably enjoy Wanted. People who can’t ignore the screams emanating from their prefrontal cortex while watching a movie probably will not. 

Needless to say, I didn’t care for this film. More specifically, I thought it was awful. James McAvoy puts on the worst performance of his career as a pathetically over-the-top parody of a Caspar Milquetoast office worker who discovers that his father was part of a secret brotherhood of worn-out clichés tasked with protecting the world through CGI gunplay and, apparently, rampant violation of the laws of physics. In fact, the whole point of the casting of this movie seems to have been to stretch the actors’ ability to deliver a mediocre performance to the breaking point. With the exception of Morgan Freeman who. like Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino, never plays anyone but himself. He’s not so much an actor as he is a brand name; either you like Morgan Freeman™ or you don’t.

Every hackneyed action-hero vignette is played out in this film: the denial/acceptance/ascendance arc of the main character, the training montage, the HUGE SHOCKING SURPRISE, the betrayal, the revenge. Wanted has it all. But it’s all been done before, and much better. If you want a great tongue-in-cheek treatment of the Brotherhood of Assassins genre, rent Remo Williams. It’s nowhere near as flashy, and it doesn’t include a shot of Angelina Jolie’s naked butt, but it’s a whole lot of stupid fun. To me, Wanted is just a whole lot of stupid.


Things I Probably Should Just Let Alone

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 8:37 am

Why is it that you almost never see a chicken omelette on a menu at a restaurant? Is there some sort of unwritten taboo against dishes that suspend the carcass of an animal in the secretions or emanations of the same animal? Is that why you also almost never see a Porterhouse milkshake?


Well, That Was Interesting

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 8:44 pm

Had me a bit of an experience at work the other day, and I thought ‘d commit it to disk here so that others possibly trawling teh InterTubes looking for answers to a similar problem might come across my words and derive some edification therefrom.

Last week I took it upon myself to build a Virtual Machine server for our office. We have more than a few folks—myself included—who need to be able to tie into our office system from home or abroad. For lots of applications, VPN works just fine. However, when it comes to running our order-fulfillment software, a VPN tunnel just won’t cut it. You can’t run a piece of ‘ware that is at its heart a database-hashing program over a cable or DSL Internet connection, with the database itself on one side of a long string of hops and the client on the other. Not unless you want to take a time-out to go make a sandwich between every minor step in the process. No, for this sort of thing, Remote Desktop is the way to go; you fire up a VPN tunnel, launch the remote desktop client, and you can connect to and control a PC at work as though you were right there in the building. It’s like you never left work at all! 🙄

Thing is, in this age of 500-dollar supercomputers, it doesn’t make sense to build and maintain five extra computers just for people to hook into from home. Not when you can build one computer and have it host five virtual machines instead.

When I started this project I originally planned to run the beast using Citrix’s free XenServer, which is an operating system and virtual server package for 64-bit computers all rolled into one. But since everything in our whole damned office runs on Microsoft software, sticking with the more plain-Jane but also free Microsoft Virtual PC, running on a Windows OS. Likely not as fast, definitely not as exhilarating, but at least I’m fully familiar with all the components, and am not likely to run into any surprises.

Remember that last line, would you? That’s what we writer types like to call “foreshadowing”.

So I toodled on down to my favorite local computer store and picked up a nice spirghtly motherboard and processor, four 2-gigabyte sticks of RAM, and a hard drive to stuff into a spare server case I had sitting around. My first choice for an operating system was Windows XP Pro x64 because it can handle the 8 gigabytes of RAM (32-bit XP can only recognize 4 gigs), but they no longer carry the 64-bit version, having fairly little call for it. The closest thing they had was Windows Vista Business x64. I’d worked with Vista a bit in the last 6 months or so and had found it to be not entirely horrifying, so I figured I’d give Vista Business a try. It was that or waylay the whole project by at least 24 hours.

The install went off without a hitch—Microsoft has really improved the setup process over the days of XP—and a number of hours later I had a fully-functional Vista computer running three (to start) independant Windows XP virtual workstations. All that remained was to slot it into place in our server rack at work and fire it up.

Recall that word I told you to remember earlier….?

Connecting the computer to our domain controller went like butter. Everything was fine….for about five minutes. I had to reboot the machine after joining the domain, and shortly after coming back up, the activity lights on our switches were flashing almost solid yellow. Some piece of network equipment was shrieking volumes of unintelligible gobbledygook into our network, causing all other network conversations—like the ones between all of our clients and our servers—to fail to be heard. Of course, I had a pretty good idea what piece of equipment was responsible, and pulled the Ethernet jacks out of the network ports on the back of the new computer.

The shrieking did not go away.

Frantically, I and David the network guru searched for the source of the problem, or at least the other half, since the incident was almost certainly initiated by the new VM server even if it were no longer capable of perpetuating it. It was David who thought to try taking down the cheap civilian router that manages our guest wireless connections (it’s a little surprising how many network crises can be solved, at least temporarily, by removing one router in a dual-router environment) and the feces-fusillade ground to a halt. Keep the router off and everything was fine, even with the new computer wired into the network. Plug the router back in and everything went to Sheol in a satchel, even if you then removed the computer from the network.

We looked at the usual suspects in multi-router setups: no multiple DHCP servers, no weird NAT traversals, etc. Nothing seemed to be out of place. However, while poring over the router’s settings, I noticed that UPnP was enabled. I disabled it, and voila, the problem disappeared.

Universal Plug and Play is supposed to help various network devices, including computers, talk to and work with each other. In my limited experience, UPnP does little more than help network devices to fail faster and more spectacularly than they would be able to otherwise. You are reading my newest case in point.

Like other pipe dreams of zero-config, UPnP generates a lot of “chatter”, conversations of varying levels of usefulness between two or more devices on the network. In my case above, that conversation took place between our new Vista Business workstation and the guest wireless router, and would seem to have gone something like, “Hey any UPnP devices out there Yeah I’m a UPnP device how about you Yes in fact I am a UPnP device but what about you Oh you betcha I’m a UPnP device and how about yourself Oh indeedy I’m a UPnP device are you Oh hellzyeahI’maUPnPdeviceareyouYesIambutareyouYourFucking-AIamandhowaboutyouaaaaaaaaAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH….” On and on, growing ever more frenetic, until the two devices were for all intents and purposes executing a Denial of Service attack against our network.

It’s like a TCP/IP version of those pointless, crazy-making round-robin conversations that take place between every dog in a given municipality on many a summer night: “Hey I’m a dog are you a dog Yeah I’m a dog are you a dog Yeah I’m a dog what about you over there are you a dog Yeah I’m a dog what about you three over there are you dogs Yeahwethreearedogsareyou twentyeightovertheredogsYEAHWE’REALLDOGS—“

Turns out there’s a reason why this technology is often referred to as “Plug and Pray”. Though “Plug and Scream Obscenities While Clawing Your Eyes Out of Your Skull to Relieve the Pressure of Your Exploding Neocortex” would also apply.


Misanthropists Divide!

Filed under: @ 8:07 am

Well I couldn’t very well cry out “Misanthropists Unite!” could I? Unity not being a particularly misanthropic trait.

Semantic quibbling aside…..

Most of my last several posts have been in regards to the cooler aspects of veterinary medicine. Maybe it’s just that I’ve had a particularly noxious week, maybe it’s a conversation that I’ve been participating in with my VIN (Veterinary Information Network) buddies regarding the more -um- annoying aspects of clinical practice, but I was struck with the thought that I needed to add some balance to the overall impression that I am creating of veterinary medicine.
It also may explain a change that I’ve noticed in my personality. I don’t think I was NEAR this anti-human before I started my professional career.

So. In a word, the major problem with veterinary medicine?
Far and away the major problem with my vocation and avocation is the fact that my patients can’t come to see me with a note detailing their problems and a credit card to pay for treatment tied around their necks.

Many of you will have heard me rant about my clients and, to be fair, the ones I rant about are thankfully in the minority. That having been said however, I also must point out that that minority is responsible for the majority of ANY clinical veterinarian’s stress. And are, in great part, the reason that I spend much of my time outdoors with ear buds jammed so far into my ears that my cochleae vibrate and why I let Andrew do much of the interacting with people outside of our immediate circle of friends.

The loonies range from the merely daffy — I had one, a rather good client actually, who insisted that her cats communicated with her through the services of a pet communicator and would bring her pets in based on the problems that they were having as dictated by the pet communicator. Who was, for the record, rarely correct about the medical condition of the various cats. And a second woman, quite blind, who nonetheless managed to detect me whenever we ran into each other outside of my office (which was distressingly frequent), who wanted to spend much of whatever time I would spare her discussing “fuzzy Hawaiian men”.
One step up from daffy we have the kooks. The woman who insisted that her neutered male cat was gay, the one that was certain her neutered male (and re-plumbed) cat was pregnant because he’d had “a sex change operation”, the woman who convinced her sister to breast feed an orphaned pit bull puppy, and the thoroughly baked woman who was sure that her equally baked maltese puppy was suffering from a wasp sting and was convinced that a vital part of the puppy’s treatment included this colorless goop that contained “the eloptic essence of God” (No, I don’t know what it means either.)
From the kooks we go to the seriously mental. The man that insisted that he’d “just heard on the radio” (when he walked into the building without any form of radio around him) that we had a psychic vet and that he had to talk to the psychic vet. While debating with the manager about whether or not there was a psychic vet on the premises he danced around a little and then left us the turd that had run down his pants leg as he walked out. An older man that came by a few years later was certain that his Doberman had had two silicon microphones implanted in her trachea (one to record, one to transmit) by his neighbor children. He brought his pathetic, paralyzed, dying dog back to us something like six times over the space of two weeks each time with complaints ranging from the cyanide that was in the (unopened) bags of balanced electrolyte solution that we had sold him for her (the cyanide was also the fault of the neighbor kids) to the fact that the dog was talking to him and he wanted us to tell the neighbor kids to stop making the dog talk. The last visit we had with him he came within six inches of driving his truck into the side of our building, wet himself in our lobby and finally was hauled off to the happy house after he collapsed screaming about the neighbor kids (we kept the dog until he was released).
We’ve had dangerous — there was one man in Olympia that I refused to see any further when he showed up with his dog wearing full military kit with a large Buck knife on his belt. I didn’t mind the camo and the knife so much, it’s just that he also handed me his “business” card that listed him as some high muckity muck in the church of the Aryan Nation. Being a small woman married to a Jew, I thought it wise to NOT interact with him any further. There was one guy who, when confronted with the possibility that his dog might die responded “Lock and load!” when he was asked about his plans for what would need to be done if the dog died.

But the vast majority of the stress comes not from the outstanding loonies, rather the run of the mill loonies. The average American is woefully ignorant and is willing to take as gospel ANYthing that they see as forwarded e-mail, on the nightly news, or written in a photocopied, poorly written document that they got from the person from whom they just purchased a puppy. Additionally there is a frighteningly large number of people who think that they are just one lawsuit away from a life of ease.
In 2007 when huge numbers of pets were sickened as a result of melamine contamination every single damn thing that was making pets ill was, naturally, because they had eaten tainted pet food. We even had people coming in with CREMATED REMAINS of pets wanting us to have the ashes tested so they could be part of the class action lawsuit.
At least once a week I will have someone tell me that something about their pet is markedly different from every other dog and cat based on something that the breeder of said pet has told them. Frequently the breeder who, in most cases, is awarded their authority simply on the fact that they can put two animals in a room and watch them successfully mate, has little, if any, secondary education. When I point out that I spent eight years in pursuing my degree and have had numerous years in practice to one of these nimrods the answer often is “Well my breeder said that they just don’t teach anything about (insert the breed here) in vet school.” (For the record that is usually true. For the most part we don’t get significant education on the peculiarities of individual breeds because in most cases, C. lupus familiaris is C. lupus familiaris regardless of whether it’s shaped like a chihuahua or a great dane.)
And I’ll try not to rant too much about people who try treating their pets at home. The man who was treating his dog’s runny eye with the eyedrops that he had been prescribed after his corneal transplant was astonished that anti-rejection eyedrops had done nothing to cure the dog’s eye when the dog had a grass awn stuck under his lower eyelid. Bacon grease and/or Bag Balm on everything from mange to abscesses. Bleach to kill earmites, Nair to remove hair from a poodle’s ears. Aspirin, godforsaken aspirin for arthritis, for vomiting, for paralysis and just last week, aspirin to treat a heart murmur in a cat. When I told the woman who had been giving her cat aspirin for its heart murmur that aspirin was not indicated to treat heart murmurs and can be dangerous in cats she replied: “Well I wish someone had TOLD me!” (Sorry lady, my psychic license expired three years ago and I’ve not had it renewed yet.) And the woman that Shawn and I actually plotted to kill in a semi-serious way who treated everything that was wrong with her dog (and that was a LOT) with aloe vera gel.

I’ve actually encountered very few people who were abusing their pets. Most of the abuse I’ve seen has been more along the lines of neglect (benign or intended) and extends into areas that many people wouldn’t see as abuse (the people with the poorly socialized, fear aggressive dogs who won’t do anything to help train the dog out of it are, in my estimation, abusing the dogs by allowing them to remain in a psychotically fearful state for their whole lives, but that’s a different argument).

There are volumes more that I could write about the people that I see or those that I discuss with my colleagues –I have a friend in Florida who was recently presented a dog for a breeding soundness exam. When he pointed out to the dog’s owner that the dog was neutered she said that she was aware of it, but that she was going to take the dog for stem cell therapy so he could grow a new set of testicles– but I’d be writing for days. If I wrote a book about veterinary medicine I wouldn’t be able to keep the loonies from creeping in which would mean that the book would only sell well to other veterinarians.
As eccentric as are most of the people in this group and yes, I am talking about YOU, dealing with the general public has made me much more aware of and much more likely to value those people I know that actually aren’t nuts.

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