Sunday, July 30, 2006

Houston, we have a trail dog

And he's a herder.

I suppose that shouldn't surprise me, with the border collie and all. It was really quite charming. He would never go ahead of the leader, but if he felt the last person had fallen too far behind he'd trot back and circle around, issuing a gentle reminder to get after it, already.

He did 2.3 miles, and I only picked him up a few times. He fell asleep on TK's bed with him tonight.

Fat Celebs

Posted by Wasteland Fan

Okay, this site is wrong in so many ways, but also had me busting a gut.

Unless you have an employer with absolutely no sense of humor, this is work safe.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Idiocy of the Day: Those Devious Thesbians

Neo-Nazi? Sure! Completely unable to understand the implications of military service? Come on down!

Into community theatre? Get thee back, Satan!

Okay, I'm making this up. Well, not really -- just the part where I imply that it was the community theatre participation behind the army's dismissal of this decorated sargeant and -- argh, the stupidity, it burns -- Arabic language specialist. No, it wasn't that.

He was -- gasp -- gay.

I'll pause for a moment while you fetch your smelling salts.

Here's the part that would be funny if it wasn't part of this enormous pile of stinking ratfuckery:

On Dec. 2, investigators formally interviewed Copas and asked if he understood the military's policy on homosexuals, if he had any close acquaintances who were gay, and if he was involved in community theater. He answered affirmatively.
Well, we can't have that. And you know, he was just an Arabic linguist -- not like he was proficient in a language that might come in handy or anything.

But here's what I want to know. It's been almost ten years since I've acted in community theatre. Am I still gay?

Head, meet desk.

Actual conversation with TK this morning:

Me: Okay, those tennis shoes are still wet from yesterday so we'll have to find your Pumas.

TK: Mommy, why did I walk in the water with these shoes?

Me: I really have no idea. It's not a good idea to get in the water with your shoes on, because they'll be wet for awhile.

TK (picking up wet shoe): Are these the shoes that are wet?

Me: Yep.

TK: Why are they wet?

Thursday, July 27, 2006

New Jon Katz Piece in the Feed Trough

I think I've mentioned to you all how much I enjoy Jon Katz's work. I eagerly lap up each of his articles on (they are too few) whenever they come out. Bloggerdad forwarded me his latest this morning, about his working border collie, Rose. I also recommend the piece he wrote about his donkeys.

Anyone who wants to -- ahem -- get me a birthday gift could do worse than one of his books, by the way. (Hint, hint, family readers.)

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Entertainment News Stream of Consciousness

Lance Bass is gay. Oprah is not. The whole Superman's gay anti-scandal was just a silly little tempest in a teapot. At any rate, the movie appears to be a disappointment.

Speaking of disappointments, you won't catch me swimming with the Lady in the Water. Burn me once, Mr. Shyamalan, shame on you. Burn me twice, shame on me. Burn me a third time. . . . ain't gonna happen! (True confession: I actually have to really fight the urge to go see it, becuase maybe, just maybe, he can redeem himself. Be strong, Wasteland!!)

Speaking of Shyamalan, his little dead-person-seer is all grown up and nearly witnessed his own death last week.

Speaking of people you might need a paranormal expert to conjure up, presumably she's not dead, but still nobody's seen Suri Cruise. (Well, that's the same as nobody really. Isn't it?) On the other hand, everybody's seen Shiloh. At any rate, they can join Apple, Coco, Phinneas and Hazel, Pilot Inspektor, Banjo, and (hometown favorites) Speck and Hud in a "what-the-hell-were-my-parents-thinking-when-they-named-me-that" group therapy session.

Speaking of "what-the-hell-were-they-thinking," surely Steely Dan can find a better way to get some publicity than to bug poor Luke Wilson about a character that his brother Owen plays in a throwaway summer comedy that they claim is ripped off of their lyrics. Really. Luke's got his own trouble's fighting of his Super Ex-Girlfriend and the bloat problem.

Speaking of bloated loads of dung, when will CBS give up and finally jettison Big Brother? All Stars? There's a number of faulty assumptions in that characterization.

Speaking of assumptions, why is the fact that Lance Bass is gay considered news?

And there you have it folks; we've come full circle!!!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006


I'd forgotten what idiots puppies are. Fortunately, it's a benign and amusing idiocy. Thomas has shown himself possessed of a light-to-moderate capacity for dipshittery, mostly the standard puppy stuff: stepping in his water bowl when he gets a drink, tripping over his own paws and turning somersaults whilst chasing his ball, and trying to eat the camera.

He's a character. Slowly and methodically, he's weaving himself into our hearts. Boo would have loved him. In spite of her 'tude, Boo loved other dogs, especially young'uns. She had a strong Alpha Mama thing going on, though she never had pups of her own.

Monday, July 24, 2006

TV Tip: Watch Project Runway

Project Runway on Bravo is the best reality TV show, hands down. Even if you hate reality TV, even if you don't know Nina Garcia from Sergio Garcia, or even if you're so out of it you were under the mistaken impression that Vera Wang partnered with Connie Chung in 1986 to record the smash hit "Everybody Have Fun Tonight," it won't matter. It's just good TV.

Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on Bravo.

The Incredible Expanding . . .

At the risk of going deep into TMI territory, I share the following:

I spent this weekend recovering from a little elective surgery. (Hint: It starts with a "V" and ends with an "asectomy.") It was the right time and I'm sure I won't regret it . . . eventually.

But, the past several days haven't been fun. Some pain. Freakish anatomical reactions. What started as this suddenly became this.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Friday, July 21, 2006

In Which I Annoy The Hell Out of Wasteland, Again

I just checked and it's 105 degrees here. WOW. I had no idea it was that hot -- I was expecting 90 or something.

Anyway, I haven't turned on the air conditioning in the house -- you know, just to get an idea what life will be like after peak oil. (And to engage in my own tiny environmental rebellion.)

It's not bad.

I know it's an old cliche, but dry heat really is easier to take than sticky, humid heat. Back in the midwest, 105 is misery. But here, I check and think, "wow, I had no idea it was that hot!" This afternoon I took a cool shower and that sustained me for almost an hour. And really, it's just the upper level that's warm. Downstairs is fine.

But soon Mr. T's going to come home and kill my buzz when he turns on the air.

Update: Holy cow. In Cannon Beach, 80 minutes to the west, it's 66 degrees. The weirdness of the weather here is endlessly amusing.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

A Blog Away From Home

Rose has a new blog, y'all.


My sister forwarded me an alert the other day about Americorps. Apparently every year they go through this funding dance where the Republicans in the House try to kill it by gutting the budget. (They have a habit of doing that with public television as well.)

My sister works with Americorps, and says:

To me the most compelling reason to fund Americorps is that its existence is a win/win situation across the board. The recipients of the services win because Americorps provides reading tutors to grade school children, relief to natural disaster victims, conflict resolution training, elderly support, juvenile offender assistance, environmental cleanup and education, assistance to Habitat for Humanity, and many other services. The volunteers win because they receive career training and personal development that allows them to enter the workforce or an educational path with a solid foundation of real-life skills. They learn the value of service and giving to others.The taxpayers win because the cost to fund Americorps is pocket change. There is no other way we could fund such services for a little as it costs through Americorps. Our country wins because our citizens, our land, our cities and states are all better for the work done.

(Link added by me.)

Being the cynic I am, I can't help but wonder if all this isn't the reason the House wants so badly to get rid of it. After all, it's hard for Grover Norquist to strangle government in the bathtub if it's working, eh? But anyway. Let's get to the solution.

Here's what to do to help:

1. Call Labor HHS Appropriators and tell them to restore funding for
national service. Click here for instructions.

2. Write members of Congress and tell them that the national service
programs in their states are in jeopardy. Click here to identify your Congressional representatives and click here to view a draft letter that you can customize.

3. Forward the New York Times editorial, Keeping the Faith with AmeriCorps to your local paper and urge them to write about national service funding.

4. Spread the word on to fellow AmeriCorps alumni and supporters.

I'm going to ask my sister to describe her job for you all in the comments section. This is a program that makes our country better. If you have a spare moment and want to do something worthwhile today, let your congresscritters know.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Thank You, Johnny Cash

Because when TK tries to sing "Folsom Prison Blues," the world is a good place indeed.

I hear the train a'comin'
It's rollin around the bend....

He generally loses it at this point.

I think I'll play "A Boy Named Sue" for him tonight.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Tuesday Morning

It's always a little startling going to bed in our house after coming home from Montana. Though we're not right on a road, there's only a layer of buildings between our back deck and one. So after three nights in absolute silence, what little traffic we hear sounds like there's a drag race going on in the back yard.

So it's late July. Guess it's time to get back to it and make what I can of the rest of the month. August will be enjoyably busy -- back to Montana for a couple of weeks (a mere relocation of the workspace, Bloggerdad, so worry not), then a visit to Portland from TH Brother near the end of the month.

I feel like I'm waking up from a two week long nap.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

It's a Fine Day for a Blogiversary

I started this blog on an idle Wednesday morning, after I'd had a one- or two-day dip in workload, and would otherwise be sitting around picking navel lint. Wasteland and I had been gabbing about it for awhile, and I decided I'd start a "practice" blog. Well, as of today, I've practiced for a year.

It's been pretty fun, and I've connected with some great people: Rose was among the first, and responded to one of my posts about the inherent suckiness of work in which I quoted Homer Simpson: "Kill my boss? Do I dare live out the American dream?" I'm glad she did, because I've made a friend I've never met, and have been privileged to watch her daughter's first year of life. This is by no means a high-traffic blog, but a few more connections kept coming: Jeannie, jlb, sylvia, bert, kristy, and according to statcounter, a handful of lurkers (hi lurkers!).

One of the crappy things about this week is that I got off the trail renewed, with plans in a number of different directions (including this site), and all that has gone to hell with the loss of a dog who'd been part of this family for a decade. I am in a sort of mental and emotional disarray. Occasionally I'll look around and see her harness on the chair or one of the rawhides she liked to stockpile under my bed, as if in preparation for some imminent and disastrous chewie shortage, and I realize I have a few wounds to lick before I can revert to the energy and plans I had coming off the PCT.

One of those things was continuing a PCT section-hike, and beginning an Oregon Coast Trail section hike. But it may be awhile before I step back onto a trail without my trail dog.

So I'm going where these things are easier. Where else? Tomorrow we're packing up our work, our kid, and Lovable Mutt, and we're going to the Montana house for a few days. I'll probably be in touch from the Libby Cafe.

Meanwhile, thanks to everyone who left comments on the Boo post. Every single comment provided yet more comfort to both of us.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Boo. 1995-2006

"What we have once enjoyed we can never lose. All that we love deeply becomes a part of us." - Helen Keller

You're a good girl.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

And Then, A Reversal, Though Not Totally Unexpected

Right now, at 11 p.m., Mr. T is on the way back to Dove Lewis. She vomited three times today, and when we went to give her the 10 p.m. meds, she couldn't swallow and her tongue was hanging out of her mouth. I don't know how this will all end.

Diva Report

Packed cell volume up slightly today.

She needs an actual chart for the bunch of meds she's on, some of which are wicked enough that we're supposed to wear latex gloves to give them to her.

I just went to administer her 2 p.m. dose, which consists of a single half tablet, unlike at 10 a.m., 10 p.m, and 6 a.m., which involve many more pills. I carved out a small chunk of watermelon, one of her favorite snacks, and approached her. I always wait till the last second to stick the tablet into the watermelon so it doesn't dissolve and get messy. I waved it under her nose.

Not interested. Tried again. Still not interested. Got some bread. A mere sniff.

This was a challenge, because she's supposed to eat bland things to keep her from horking up her meds, so I was unsure whether to move to something more savory, and therefore more appealing. But she can't throw something up that isn't in there, and besides, this is the drug that's supposed to protect her stomach lining from the steroids we're giving her, and she really needs it. So I moved to a small chunk of delicious Tillamook cheddar cheese. A few sniffs, but no dice.

So I boiled some chicken. No thanks. A slab of pungent canned dog food. Not today.

I sighed, put the tablet down and stuck my fingers between her teeth to begin the tedious process of prying open her jaw. For a dog in her weakened condition, she showed remarkable muscle strength. She was not going to open her mouth. Fortunately, She With The Greater Packed Cell Volume won out, as Diva got tired of clenching her jaw. I popped the tablet on the back of her tongue, she gave me a pissy look, and then she swallowed it.

Just another glamorous day at Trailheadquarters.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Diva Comes Home

Tonight at 7:30. The next 2-3 days will be scary, so keep your fingers crossed for us.

I can't tell you how great you all have been. Thanks a million.

Update From a Suckalicious Weekend

I chatted with one of the vets over at the hospital this morning. Diva is no longer "icteric," or jaundiced, and is no longer "autoagglutinating," which means her red blood cells are no longer clumping together. These are good signs. But her red blood cell count is only holding steady, and not yet increasing. Still, they're going to do another blood test later this afternoon, and if she's still holding steady, we'll be able to bring her home tonight. We'll have to get her blood checked in another 48 hours, and if she seems to go downhill while she's home, then back she goes, and we'll have to take a really hard look at what to do.

Also, because we clearly haven't spent enough on veterinary bills this weekend, our other dog (let's call her Lovable Mutt) required a visit to the vet for an infected wound. Lovable Mutt has been a good hound through all this, but she's a good hound all the time.

I really appreciate the comments all of you have left. Thanks.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Diva Dog Gravely Ill (Updated)

Hello all. I did leave the trail early as my partner's and my paces and goals weren't really matching up. I'm pretty pleased with what I did, and hiking felt so good. I'll write more about this later, but for the last couple of days we've been occupied with something rather more pressing -- trying to save Diva Dog's life.

Diva has a life-threatening case of autoimmune hemolytic anemia. Essentially, her immune system has kicked into overdrive and is gobbling up her red blood cells at an alarming rate. She hiked for parts of two days with me -- I think it added up to thirteen miles in two days. This is nothing she hasn't done before. But she became extremely lethargic and unwilling to eat or drink when we returned. If you've read my Diva posts, you know what a departure that is from the norm. Mr. T suspected off-trail depression, but ultimately I dragged her to the vet. It's a good thing I did. Blood tests revealed a red blood cell count of 12. Normal for dogs is in the mid-30's.

Our vet advised a blood transfusion to save her life, as well as treatment with immune-suppressing steroids, but warned that we could be looking at an inoperable cancer behind this anemia. We waited until 5 pm yesterday to get results from X-rays and more blood tests (and giving her IV fluids and a shot of steroids in the meantime). We had no intention of putting her through a transfusion if cancer was the culprit. But these tests indicated that cancer is unlikely. So we transferred her last night to Dove Lewis, a truly amazing nonprofit emergency animal hospital here in Portland.

The receiving vet at Dove Lewis talked with me about a number of risks of transfusion that I won't bore you with here -- let it just suffice to say that there is no magic treatment for this anemia. "I really just have to give you a very guarded prognosis right now," she told me over the phone last night. But about 3 a.m., she called and said it had gone well. In another twenty minutes, we'll call again.

So here's the kicker. The receiving vet, having agreed that the tests make cancer unlikely, suspects Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, a tick-borne disease she probably picked up on our PCT adventure. Yeesh. (Needless to say, today will be spent consulting our various people-doctors to determine whether we ought to be evaluated or treated preventively for this deal, as it seems at least likely that if Diva got tick-bit, we did too.)

So our Diva Dog is hanging on, at least for now. Please keep a happy thought for her.*

*And please. I don't know anyone who regularly comments on this blog who would say this, but just a warning -- I really don't want to hear any bellyaching about the resources expended to save a "mere" animal when there are so many other ills in the world. Any comments of this nature must be accompanied by a justification of every sum you've ever spent on a hobby or other pleasure in your life, or be deleted. Because even if you can't allocate independent worth to the animal, you have no right to discount her as a pleasure in my life.

UPDATE: We visited Diva at the animal hospital this afternoon. Unfortunately, her red cell count is back down to where it was before the first transfusion. She has a fantastic vet tech assigned to her who advised us that this was not necessarily terrible for a number of reasons. Still, we anticipate that she'll require another transfusion tonight. The diagnosis of tickborne disease was questioned by today's assigned vet, so we just don't know what the heck we're dealing with, or whether she'll make it. Still, she showed some energy when we arrived, and tried to follow us out of the building. We should know more tomorrow.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Emmy Thoughts '06

I can't let today pass without going into full-on Wasteland Fan mode. Today the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences announced the 2006 Emmy nominations. A list of the major nominees is here.

To avoid that same old, same old feeling that seems to plague the Emmy nomination process, the Academy changed the voting rules. In a nutshell, the original ballots went out to the Academy membership for nominations. From the returned ballots the Academy culled the group of highest vote-getters (15 for awards for performances, 10 for awards for shows) from which "blue ribbon panels" would choose the final 5 nominees. So, it would be possible this year for a nominee to have gotten the 15th most nominations from the membership. The hope was to recognize excellent and cutting-edge work happening beyond big and/or established hits on the major networks and HBO. (Not that there isn't some excellent and cutting-edge stuff on the networks and HBO, but even some of those shows and performances (for instance, the stars of Scrubs on NBC) are often overlooked because they're not ratings behemoths. The basic cable networks like USA, TNT, the SciFi Channel, and FX and the netlets like UPN and the WB were particularly hobbled by the Academy membership's apparent collective blindspot for anything not on ABC, NBC, CBS, or HBO. (One need only look to the appalling lack of recognition by the Academy for Buffy the Vampire Slayer -- probably the best written and acted and most satisfyingly realized television experience of the past decade . . . seriously! -- to illustrate the point.)

The prevailing wisdom was that critical darlings like Veronica Mars and its star Kristen Bell; Battlestar Galactica and several of its stars, including Mary McDonnell and Edward James Olmos; and Gilmore Girls and its stars Kelly Bishop and Lauren Graham would stand a better chance of making it through the nomination process and a few of them would show up as the ultimate nominees. For goodness sake, they called the rule change "the Lauren Graham Rule" because its accepted knowledge that she's been criminally overlooked by the Emmys for five straight years.

I've made no secret of my admiration of Lauren Graham. She's just flat out awesome. So, I'm far from "neutral" on the matter. But, Tom O'Neil of the LA Times said it best: "If [Lauren Graham] doesn't get nominated this year ... TV critics of America will torch the academy."

As well they should.

So today was put-up-or-shut-up time for the Academy. What happened? Well, some surprises found their way onto the nominations list. How about the craptastic Two and a Half Men and its star Charlie Sheen? Or the nominations for Stockard Channing on the DOA Out of Practice and Kevin James on the what?-that's-still-on King of Queens?

Of course, the Academy couldn't let old standbys Will & Grace, Malcolm in the Middle, and The West Wing go off the air without multiple undeserved nominations.

Furthermore, there were a number of snubs that don't fit the "overlooked" theme from above, but are perplexing nontheless. Whither my beloved Lost? And, while Desperate Housewives did basically blow big smelly chunks this year, Marcia Cross was amazing and deserved to be recognized. (While we're on the topic of the Housewives, what is up with the nomination for Alfre Woodard? I mean, I think she's a fine, fine actress. And there was probably no worse case of wasted talent in Hollywood this year. But, Betty Applewhite's story was so poorly conceived and so inconsistently written and played that I can't fathom what the Academy members or, especially, the blue ribbon panel could have possibly been thinking . . . or smoking.) Finally, did someone forget to submit the tape of Edie Falco as Carmela Soprano in the episode "Join the Club"? Because that had "winged statuette" written all over it.

I should end on a few positive notes. There is some justice: Jaime Pressly, who plays poor white trash whore-with-a-heart-of-gold-plated-iron Joy to utter perfection on My Name Is Earl, was nominated . . . and better win. I was also pleased to see that 24 raked in a number of nominations, especially for Jean Smart's portrayal of bad ass -- but this close to a nervous breakdown -- First Lady Martha Logan.

Oh, WTF, who am I trying to kid? I can't end on a positive note, becuase LAUREN GRAHAM WUZ ROBBED!!!