Monday, January 31, 2011

Why I don't drink coffee, I take tea, my dear.

I think we could all use a little distraction. Desperately, actually.

The United Kingdom (and other bits and bobs) explained.

The United Kingdom Explained from Colin Grey on Vimeo.

Everyone clear?


Monday, January 24, 2011

Good kitty.

Photo above: the best place in the world.

Those of you in the previous post's comment thread who said she would let us know when it was time were right. She declined rapidly over Saturday night and Sunday.
We took her to the vet today at 1:00. The staff were gentle and professional and caring and made it as easy as such a terrible thing can be. She was very quiet and peaceful, and the last words she heard were her dad and I saying "good kitty". Because she was, she was a very good kitty. She held up her part of the bargain.

And I believe we held up ours, too.

Goodbye Veronica. Good kitty.

You'll have to excuse me, now. My heart is broken.



Saturday, January 22, 2011


Veronica is coming to the end of her life. I am not going to catalogue the myriad symptoms - it's too depressing and sad, and a majority of my small group of readers have gone through the process before and know them all by heart anyway. Disinterest in food, etc. etc.

We took her to the vet last Friday - a week and a day ago - and she was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. The vet gave us some pills to alleviate the fluid collecting around her heart, and she responded remarkably well. She is mobile, she is drinking water and using the litter box on her own; she appears content and apparently pain-free, she is no longer having trouble breathing thanks to the pills, and she is living. She enjoys being petted and still meets us at the door after work.

But she is not eating. It takes us multiple efforts every day to get a few teaspoons of food into her. She has lost a lot of weight. She spends almost all her hours - seemingly contentedly - on the heating grate in the dining room, her favourite spot. We've put water and a low litter box within a few steps of it. She's accessing both.

We are in a terrible gray zone - those of you who have walked to the end of life with pets understand this - of knowing when to make that phone call. We - we have never dealt with this before, personally. We had pets when I was a kid, but they all seemed to quietly die of old age in the middle of the night. Or they quietly disappeared and that was that. These are our first pets as adults, the first ones we have to take responsibility for at end of life.

We've talked about it endlessly for the past week. We are both in agreement that the moment she seems unhappy, or in discomfort, or distress, or in pain, we will end this. We are being extraordinarily kind to each other, and to Mojo, who is confused and worried as routines are broken. We are all in the terrible process of losing someone we love.



Monday, January 17, 2011

Closed-captioning and conspiracy theories

Sometimes, the sheer gasping stupidity of people just stops me dead in my tracks and words fail me. So if this post doesn't seem terribly clever or coherent, forgive.

Some people have been critical of the President's speech at a Memorial Service for the victims of the Tucson shooting last week. Apparently (I didn't watch the speech) there was cheering on the part of University of Arizona students, and applause at "odd times" during the speech.

Critics of the President and his administration searched feverishly for a way to make him, preferably, or them, personally responsible for the lack of decorum, and by God they found proof: they discovered that the jumbo screen inside the auditorium was flashing "applause prompts" instructing the crown as to when they should cheer and clap.

Yes. That's right. The White House ham-fistedly inserted the instruction [APPLAUSE] onto the jumbotron screen. Amidst the text of the speech which was also being displayed up there.

They turned closed-captioning into a conspiracy theory. Apparently a common aid for the disabled is not only a mystery to these pundits and their disciples, it's unrecognizable to the point of being unimaginable.

If you thought that couldn't be topped for sheer stupidity, some of them continued to cling to this theory even after being told - repeatedly - by users and creators of closed-captions that what they were seeing was the captioners reporting on the applause - not prompting it. Many of them demanded that the captioners couldn't possibly be that fast, which I suppose is a sort of backhanded compliment to them, as live-event captioners are just that fast, and bless them for it.

And if you thought that couldn't be topped for sheer stupidity, note the following comment by someone in response to the column and the resulting revelation that the "applause prompts" were actually closed-captioning:

For those who argue that the [applause] on the Jumbotron was just part of the closed captioning, I say B.S. Closed captioning is for the deaf. Those deaf people who were reading the closed captioning are DEAF, not BLIND. Don’t you think they would see people applauding, so why would they need to be told people were applauding?

NoNails on January 17, 2011 at 8:36 AM

Forget the fact that the closed-captioning on the jumbotron screen would've been the same cc broadcast to people watching on television.

NoNails, you win. I've seen and read a lot of stupid things about deaf people and about closed-captioning, but you, Sir or Madam, take the proverbial cake.

Makes you weep for humankind, it does.



Boiling water + -30° = ??

Any guesses?

This was filmed in Yellowknife, in the far north, but -30 is by no means unheard of in lower Canada. We'll get a dozen or so -30 days each winter, and four or five -40, for that matter. Perhaps we'll try this next time. Perhaps we'll cower inside instead.


Friday, January 07, 2011

Young me, now me

Well, then there was Christmas (which was wonderful), and then there was Boxing Day, and then there was New Year's (both nice), and then there was the crushingly depressing arrival of true winter with pitch-black mornings and double-digit-below-zero temperatures (not so much). So I've been away from blogging for a little while.

I'll be back, but in the meantime, I've discovered a really wonderful website that I think some of you will really like. It's called "Young me, now me", and it consists of people submitting childhood photos of themselves along with a contemporary photo that recreates the photo - often in the same spot the original photo was taken.

The best ones are where whole groups of siblings, or families, or friends, reunite to recreate these original photos, often decades after the original photo was taken. (See, for instance, this entry. Or this one.)

Speaking of old photos, I've been trying to find an old photo I have of me and some friends mummering in Newfoundland back in the 80s to illustrate a post about the practice. I know the photo album's around here... somewhere.

So in the meantime, enjoy. :)