Thursday, September 29, 2005

Giant Squid Caught On Videotape!

This is actually a huge deal - these creatures have never been observed alive before.

I am saddened, however, that the scientists set up a trap that hurt the squid they were trying to study. I hope the video is somewhat worth it.

A Real Pain In The Neck

Well, my surgery is set. I'm still having a weird disconnect about it, mainly because I am literally feeling better than I have in months. I don't know if it is due to the cooler weather, rest or what, but I have almost no pain, must better freedom of movement and only occasional tingles in my arm and finger.

Why, might you ask, am I going to let the surgeons cut into my throat and move stuff around when I am no longer in pain? Well, I tried to get out of it, but it turns out that, with testing, it was determined that my arm is still just as weak as ever. That means the nerve is still impinged and the weakness could become permanent. Seeing as that causes spasms after doing something so simple as washing some dishes, much less carrying groceries or laundry, and it's my dominant arm, I still have to have the operation. Three out of three doctors agreed - even my osteopath, who is generally very pro-alternative treatments. From what they told me, it is rare and lucky that my pain has disappeared - this happens only in 10% or less of cases with a disc herniation like mine. But it's still sort of a ticking time bomb until it gets fixed, just waiting to cause permanent damage or more pain or numbness. So, despite feeling rather spry, I'm off to the hospital on Monday.

I suppose I should count myself lucky, as at least I'm not uncomfortable now. The ironic thing is that I will actually have to go through pain to fix a condition that's causing me no pain now. Of course, many operations are for things you can't feel that much. But it's still somehow hard to wrap my head around.

Anyway, I'm all set. M will be home with me for up to Columbus Day, if necessary, although she is feeling horrible at home with a killer cold right now, so I hope she improves soon. My mom will be coming up the day before, stay a couple days and come back later if needed, and I even got an unexpected call from my dad saying he's going to try to get here to visit within a few days of the surgery. That really tickled me, because I rarely get to see him, so this whole getting sawed into thing is having a bit of a silver lining.

Wish me luck and Pudding Pops (I'll need them for the post-op sore throat).

Cats and Rabbits Living Together...

Mass hysteria! OK, maybe not that, but whoever is doing the Hoops & Yoyo site for Hallmark has got very good "clean humour" timing. Check it out - especially "The Runaway Marshmallow" parts 1 - 3.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Think of Laura - Part II

The "first lady" is up to it again, and even I can't believe such blatant image-fixing media-whoring is going on.

Just check this out to see what I mean.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Something's Happening Here

It's six in the morning and I've barely had any sleep. I probably had too much caffeine and sugar yesterday, but that doesn't entirely explain it. I'm having some weird kind of adrenaline rush, unable to sleep, tossing and turning. Finally decided to get up and eat something to settle my stomach, do something to occupy my mind.

But not before I did some girly push-ups in bed.

Why was I doing girly push-ups in the dark next to my sick girlfriend who sorely needs her sleep? I didn't wake her - she's truly out, but here's the reason: I didn't feel anything wrong. I was sleeping with my head turned to the right, woke up and I could feel my entire arm, right down to the tip of my forefinger. And it didn't hurt or tingle. It felt - almost normal.

Maybe not such a big deal, but it was a revelation in the pre-dawn haze for me. I haven't been able to turn my head to the right without experiencing pain or uncomfortable tingling for months. Over just the last two days or so I've been suddenly realizing now and then that I have complete sensation in my fingers. It took a while to sink in, because I've grown so used to numbness that it became normal, second nature. I expected to burn myself on the stove or iron because I couldn't feel it was hot.

So, what's going on here? My surgery is scheduled in less than a week and I am on high alert. All kinds of feelings from relief to resignation to abject fear are going through my mind as I get ready for the barrage of pre-op tests that start later this morning. Is my semi-panic leading to some kind of adrenalized, heightened sensation? Or am I truly, finally getting better? Will I need this surgery after all?

I feel a little foolish to hope I won't need it - afraid to be disappointed - but I can't shake this feeling that there has been marked improvement in my condition over the last few weeks. As I write this, my arm is starting to protest slightly - cramp up in the shoulder and elbow, tingle a touch in the finger. It hasn't been subjected to push-ups in... well, years, for real ones, but even girlie ones for some time because I've been babying it, and certainly wasn't capable most of the time, as it was weakened or throbbing due to nerve impingement. I've scheduled one last appointment to evaluate it with my orthopoedic surgeon and I don't know what to do with myself. How am I going to make it until that time? I am freaking out.

See, it's not just fear of the surgery. It's fear of not having it. For six months I've been dealing with this condition - not to mention the previous years of chronic lumbar episodes. The surgery is/was going to relieve me of it - the pain, the weakness, the tingling. It was going to let me be comfortable again, sleep again, be active again. Moreover,it was going to give me a break - a week or two being forced to rest my body and mind away from the daily grind to re-evaluate my situation, my life. Or just be really high on prescription drugs. It's become more to me psychologically, somehow, than just fixing a misplaced disc in my neck. It's become fixing something deeper - something inherently wrong with me that's been there for some time - the thing that makes me fat, makes me sick, makes me defective. It's become a fundamental change of me - not just from someone who's never been operated on to someone who's been cut and healed, but someone who has purged something and can start anew. It's taken on a whole new emotional symbolism that can't be boiled down to a two-inch scar and a titanium plate in the neck.

It seems like it should be a simple equation. If the doctors tell me I need surgery, I'll just have to get it. Suck it up and move on - nobody likes being cut, bruised and invaded. If they tell me I don't, I dodged a bullet, or maybe a pellet gun. I'm lucky and happy for a few days, and then, again, I go on with my life. But that's just not the way my brain works. For some reason, I've always been more... dramatic. Even if the results - back to the daily grind - are the same.

Well, I'll know in a few short hours - or a few long ones. Right now my shoulder is tightening up in a way that's making my stomach drop a little bit - "don't start dancing, just yet - you may have pushed yourself too hard and it just wasn't hurting you for a while 'cause you babyed it. The flaw is still there." We shall see. I don't know what to expect, am not sure if I should be hoping. But I do know that if I don't need the surgery, I'm going to have to figure out my next steps without the forced detour, the prescribed rest. I may have to take some time off and figure out what it means to suddenly be well and what I want to do with it. And I may have to take a few days off and party or collapse.

I'm scared and nervous, either way.

I definitely had too much sugar and caffeine yesterday.

Friday, September 23, 2005

The Power of Christ Compels You

Freaky Friday Edition

Did Katrina leave some angry spirits behind? I've had my paranormal experiences in the past, but I don't think I'd want them attended to by the national guardsman who thinks New Orleans is a center of cannibalism and soldiers spread the light of God wherever they go...

Check it out.


Take a look at this shout-fest between Phil Donahue and Bill O'Reilly.

Can't we all just get along?

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Words Fail

Think that the shameful aftermath of Katrina has finally spurred our government to take practical action for the people in need? Think again. And again.

At least local evacuation orders seem to be being taken seriously for Rita.

Back to You, Snoop Dogg

Note to reporters: if you are filing a story on burning piles of confiscated marijuana, stand upwind.

Alive in Truth

"The hardest part for me, the part that I can’t stand – I’m a taxpayer, I pay taxes. And you’re calling me a refugee. That hurts. Like hell."
Read this and other oral histories of Katrina victims at

Think of Laura

Laura Bush is trying to smooth things over for Shrub. Does anyone really listen to that woman or take her seriously?

I just couldn't believe what she said, so I wrote a rant in my underused dkos diary. You can read it here.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

It's The Best Thing EVERRRR!!!

OK, maybe not, but I was surprised and delighted to learn from the NY Times this morning that there is a Russian cat circus in town. That's right. CAT. CIRCUS. I am so there that I think I left a little poof! of dust and hairpins behind me.

Alright, so Russians kind of scare me (hey, I work with Russian artists now and then at my day job, and Russian + dancer or singer = a whole new kid of drama). And clowns? I could do without 'em. But check out the site for the Moscow Cats Theatre. If you were a crazy cat lady with a taste for camp, how could you resist?

We can't really afford the tickets, but I'm dragging M to see it. Even if it's cheesy, it should be fun. Besides, I might pick up some tricks for my all-coati circus idea I got in Costa Rica.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Bloggin' Fool - or - Once Again, Your Tax Dollars At Work!

Yes, it appears I'm back to my old multi-posting ways. Hey, it's been a slow week at work. Really slow.

It boggles the mind - but does not shock, alas - that someone in the federal government seems to be trying to find ways to blame environmentalists for the flooding after Katrina. What, you mean the environmentalists were warning that the degradation of the wetlands due to oil drilling, channel cutting and water diversion could lead to flooding? It must have been a smoke screen for some big, liberal... scientist... terrorist... uh, let's not play the blame game!

Here's a link to the news that the feds are trying to drum up some (nonexistent) connection there.

And here's a link to an excellent story American Public Media did in conjunction with NOW with Bill Moyers on the high likelihood that a hurricane would take out New Orleans due to destruction of the wetlands (among other things) - circa 2002.

Meanwhile, back in the present, folks in New Orleans are thrilled to find their power turned on 30 minutes before W's motorcade rolls through. Only to have it turned off again as soon as he leaves.

Let's not let a little thing like reality get to him, shall we?

Finally, Hunter from DKos does it again. There is laughter inside my tears...

Friday Cat (and Turtle) Blog

Have I mentioned lately that Maurice is just one awesome specimen of ideal felinity? Our poor putty man clearly had a recurrence of the old cystitis yesterday morning, and you didn't have to be an animal communicator to figure that one out. He was running like a madcat hither and yon, jumping in and out of each of the three litter boxes and howling. Finally, he bolted up onto the bed directly in front of me, spread his legs, licked his groin area furiously, then stared up and me and yowled "Mommy! Help me! It buuurrrrns!" Okay, maybe not in so many English words, but the meaning was clear. So, last night it was To The Vet with our kitty buddy.

Point being, on his visit he was The Best Kitty Ever. For while he clearly Did Not Like It, he gave nary a peep, and whereas his tail was expanded in the Puffy Display of Extreme Anxiety, he allowed himself to be poked, prodded, jabbed with needles and even anally probed with meek, cooperative acceptance. In fact, not only did the vet and tech love him, but they commented multiple times on how they could not believe he is eight years old, with his handsome, athletic build and silky fur. "He has the teeth of a two-year-old!" they kept exclaiming. Awww.

Anyway, he's on medication now, and here's an old animation I did of him to bug M one time:

Meanwhile, trouble in turtleland, as I found Edamame biting chunks out of Aubergine's shell again and had to separate them. I'm really worried about him - he seems lethargic, traumatized and possibly sick now. And I don't know what to do about her - she just has been so intractably aggressive. I hate to think we may have to permanently separate them or give one or both to a sanctuary, but that's starting to look like a very real possibility. Cross your fingers for us - I love my turtles and would miss them dearly (not to mention we still haven't paid off the ginourmous tank taking up most of our living room, yet).


It's The End of The World As We Know It

And Hunter over at DKos does not feel fine.

Funny stuff. Maddening - but funny.

Meanwhile, Bill's Cheers and Jeers for today is just awesome, from start to finish. Check it out.

Have you been wondering what those "nutria" are that search-and-rescue teams say have been taking over New Orleans? Well, here you go. They might give NYC rats a run for their money, but I have a feeling they'd do a better job protecting NO than the Feds.

Finally, I'm sure most of you have donated what you can to the human victims of Katrina. Please also consider donating to the ASPCA or the HSUS. They are both doing amazing work saving thousands of animals left sick and homeless by the events in the gulf, and they could use all the help they can get.

Peace out.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Why Blog Why You Can Get Someone To Do It For You?

Esepecially if 1.) you're lazy and 2.) nobody reads your blog, anyway. Unless somebody does. Anyone...? Bueller?

Anyway, Matt over at X-Entertainment has started his excellent annual Halloween countdown. If that's not awesome enough, he's added an article with some personal reflections on Castle Dracula, the old dark ride/horror house in Wildwood, NJ.

Castle Dracula was a monster-sized (heh) haunted house built in the mid-70s, after the owners of Nickels' pier realized just how much money the folks who built the infamous Brigantine Castle were making (said folks probably having based their creation on the horror craze of the time sparked by The Exorcism, The Omen, etc.). Lots of Matt's recollections are similar to mine, although I was always too chicken to go into the walk-through part of the Castle. Even in my tender single-digit years, I harboured the strange combination of an obsessive fascination with The Count and a mind-blowing terror at the thought of even going near a "scary movie" or "haunted house". The pain/pleasure adrenaline rush of even being on the same boardwalk as this place could get me higher than the sugar from a funnel cake, neapolitan waffle sandwich and cotton candy combined, with a side of salt water taffy thrown in. Even after finally braving the boat portion and mocking it mercilessly the whole way through with my stepbrothers, Castle Dracula still seemed to retain some of its bloody and fascinating cachet in my mind until it burned to the ground, as most boardwalk attractions do, in 2002.

Although Castle Dracula will always remain third in my heart behind The Golden Nugget and the Pirate Ship Skua, this article really takes me back to the days when some plastic monsters and teenagers in make-up were about the scariest things I could imagine. Good times.

Whaddaya know? I got kinda a blog post out of that, after all...

An Illustrated Guide to Spinal Fusion

In case anyone missed my handy-dandy guide to the surgery I have coming up, you can see it here.

In other news, I said I'd be blogging more, particularly about the Costa Rica trip, but apparently I lied. Just another check on the list of duties shirked and promises unkept.

More later...?