Feline Urethral Obstruction: Be Aware

All cat owners need to read this article:  Help… my cat can’t pee! Feline Urethral Obstruction: Be Aware.

kissyWP
My Kisses. The sweetest, cutest, most adorable boy in the world. He loved to play with “weeds.”

My sweet, beautiful, gorgeous boy died of this today. I didn’t even know it was possible for this to happen! The first signs are very similar to constipation and that’s what I thought it was when he spent an abnormal amount of time in the litter box. I have, or had, now, two cats. When I scoop out a pee, how am I to know which one did it? And by the time I noticed, it was too late.

Everyone everywhere is always telling you to spay and neuter your pets. They don’t tell you about this and they should. It should be included in the information they give you about the surgery.  Before you comment, no, I am NOT advocating against spaying/neutering, but for the pet owner’s being completely informed.

Please, if you know anyone who has a cat, especially a neutered male, please tell them about this.

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Fifty Shades Fatigue

50-ShadesAm I the only one who wishes this “phenomenon” would just go away?  Or, at the very least, that I didn’t hear about it every time I turn on the T.V.?  And, before any of you decide to point this out, I know I’m adding to it by writing this.  What can I say, the hoopla is finally getting to me.

First, it was the books.  I held out against the public mania and have not read them.  Mostly because my sister read the first one and told me it was like a Barbara Cartland novel, but with sex.  That’s all I needed to know to stay far, far away.

Now its the movie.  And let us not forget the soundtrack.  When will enough be enough?

 

My tax dollars at work

NC GOP leaders file motion to block gay marriages – WCTI 12
October 9, 2014

I don’t agree with them, but that is their right.  What isn’t their right is to use my tax dollars to pay a lawyer from California $400 an hour for this.   The motion asks that they be given until October 17th to assemble data in support of their arguments.  You do the math.  Not that much, you may be thinking, for a lawyer.  I’d agree with you if they were using their own money.  But they aren’t.  They’re using ours.

Speaker Tillis, this is not the way to get my vote.  Express you opinion all you want.  I don’t care.  But don’t use my money to do it.

And, by the way, the motion was denied.

Judge in NC gay marriage case denies delay – WCTI 12
October 9, 2014

They have until noon today.

Banned Books Week 2014: September 21-27

bannedbooks-2014When most of us think of censoring books, we think of the book burnings of the Middle Ages. The books were deemed heretical, and were, therefore, consigned to the flames.  St. Patrick, celebrated with shamrocks and green beer, burned many precious manuscripts in Ireland due to their pagan nature.  Cardinal Wolsey and Thomas More burned many heretical tracts in Henry VIII’s England.  The Inquisition did the same on the continent.  It wasn’t just Catholics, though.  Protestants were just as quick to burn books, and people, they considered damaging to their “True Faith”.

As shocking as it may sound to the modern reader, there are still people who would ban books. Who would keep the pleasure and knowledge found within these volumes to open and inquiring minds.

Many beloved titles have been challenged for whatever reason.

  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • The Color Purple by Alice Walker
  • 1984 by George Orwell
  • Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
  • Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
  • Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
  • The Call of the Wild by Jack London
  • The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
  • The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien

These are only a few of the hundreds of books that others try to tell us we cannot read.  And it’s not just classics.  There are many more modern titles.  The entire Harry Potter series, for example.  R. L. Stine’s Goosebumps series for another.

Every year, readers take to time to celebrate these books, and to challenge the challengers of these “Banned Books.”  Banned Books Week is all about the freedom to open any book you want to read, because you want to read it.  Because you want to know, see, and feel.  Its about the freedom to turn the page.

bannedbooks-2014-2

Confused in Tibet

Over the last month or so, I’ve read the last three Inspector Shan novels, a series of Tibetan mysteries written by Eliot Pattison:  Beautiful Ghosts, Prayer of the Dragon, and The Lord of Death.  Some books are just brain candy.  Sweet confections with light, airy prose, entertaining wit, and/or, feel good stories.  This is not the kind of book Pattison writes.  His complicated, layered mysteries are aerobics for the mind.  They make you work through the dimensions of facts and truths (not necessarily the same thing in Tibet).  Sometimes, the whodunit part is easy to solve, but the whys and the hows can leave you as mystified as they do Shan.

Having finished The Lord of Death, I was curious to see if the blurb for the next book in the series, Mandarin Gate, to be released November 27, has been posted yet.  It has:


In Mandarin Gate, Edgar Award winner Eliot Pattison brings Shan back in a thriller that navigates the explosive political and religious landscape of Tibet.

In an earlier time, Shan Tao Yun was an Inspector stationed in Beijing. But he lost his position, his family and his freedom when he ran afoul of a powerful figure high in the Chinese government. Released unofficially from the work camp to which he’d been sentenced, Shan has been living in remote mountains of Tibet with a group of outlawed Buddhist monks. Without status, official identity, or the freedom to return to his former home in Beijing, Shan finds himself in the midst of a baffling series of events. During a ceremony meant to rededicate an ancient and long destroyed monastery, Shan stumbles across evidence of a recent murder in the ruins. Now Shan is being torn between some officials who want his help to search the ruins while others want him to disappear back into the mountains – with one group holding out the tantalizing prospect of once again seeing the son from whom Shan has been separated for many years.

In a baffling situation where nothing is what it appears to be, where the FBI, high ranking Beijing officials, the long hidden monks, and the almost forgotten history of the region all pull him in different directions, Shan finds his devotion to the truth sorely tested. Traveling from Tibet to Beijing to the U.S., he must find the links between murder on two continents, a high profile art theft, and an enigmatic, long-missing figure from history.

This sounds very familiar.  In fact, it sounds suspiciously like the fourth book in this series, Beautiful Ghosts.  So, I looked it up.  Here’s the blurb for Beautiful Ghosts:

In an earlier time, Shan Tao Yun was an Inspector stationed in Beijing. But he lost his position, his family and his freedom when he ran afoul of a powerful figure high in the Chinese government. Released unofficially from the work camp to which he’d been sentenced, Shan has been living in remote mountains of Tibet with a group of outlawed Buddhist monks. Without status, official identity, or the freedom to return to his former home in Beijing, Shan finds himself in the midst of a baffling series of events. During a ceremony meant to rededicate an ancient and long destroyed monastery, Shan stumbles across evidence of a recent murder in the ruins. Now Shan is being torn between some officials who want his help to search the ruins while others want him to disappear back into the mountains – with one group holding out the tantalizing prospect of once again seeing the son from whom Shan has been separated for many years.

In a baffling situation where nothing is what it appears to be, where the FBI, high ranking Beijing officials, the long hidden monks, and the almost forgotten history of the region all pull him in different directions, Shan finds his devotion to the truth sorely tested. Traveling from Tibet to Beijing to the U.S., he must find the links between murder on two continents, a high profile art theft, and an enigmatic, long-missing figure from history.

They are the same.  Word for word.  So, now I’m confused.

I don’t know who wrote the blurbs for these books, but they need to be fired for just plain laziness.

Amendment One

Today, I’m sorry to say that I am ashamed to be a North Carolinian.  I know I don’t usually post on controversial subjects, but this one has got me so steamed that I need to vent.  Everyone is entitled to their own opinions.  The freedom to think as we please is part of what makes our country so great, but, unfortunately, our narrow-minded Puritan roots are showing.

The results are in and Amendment One has passed.  Apparently most of my fellow Tarheels agree that “marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this state”.  Not only do I feel this sentiment to be unfair, but think it asinine that such bigotry and discrimination should be written into our state’s constitution.

Then again, this is a state where it is still, technically, illegal for a woman to move in with her boyfriend before they are married.  This state, and the rest of the South, need to wake up.  It is the twenty-first century, people, not the Middle Ages.

Byte Me!

Okay, as you all know by now, the library system is seriously screwed up.  My sister went to pick up our books the other day, and according to the new online catalog, I had two to be picked up.  One of them was there, the other was not.  The librarian told her that the site will only let them print out one page of requests per patron, and, when the books were delivered to our branch, there was no labeling to say what book was to be held for which person.

On my end, as a user of the site, it will not let me delete two of the books from my hold queue.  I don’t need them to be held any more, because I have them checked out.  Also, I can only see one page of my queue.  The old catalog had its problems and quirks, but, at least, it worked the way it was supposed to most of the time.

Anyway, while we were (and are) are all gnashing our teeth and having fond thoughts of the new server swathed in duct tape, I needed something to do with myself, I stumbled over this:  A-Z of Photoshop Tutorials to Create Realistic Gadget Design.  As y’all know, I don’t actually have Photoshop, but I can improvise in GIMP and Paint Shop Pro.  I think my results look pretty good.  My nephew particularly liked my X-Box, which annoyed him since he loathes the things.  🙂

Well, after I drew some stuff, I decided to put them in a kit:  Byte Me!

Byte Me! contains:

  • 16 papers
  • 12 frames
  • 4 ribbons
  • 4 ric-rac
  • 12 icons
  • 4 doodles
  • 3 borders
  • 1 overlay border frame
  • 2 alphas (One is both upper and lowercase, the other just lowercase.  No numbers or symbols, sorry)
  • 5 parental warning stickers (One is blank)
  • 1 CD
  • 2 earphones
  • 4 digital cameras
  • 2 external hard drives
  • 1 Blackberry
  • 1 iPad
  • 1 iPhone
  • 1 iPod nano
  • 1 LCD monitor
  • 1 mouse
  • 2 mp3 players
  • 2 sim cards
  • 1 USB stick
  • 1 Wii and Wiimote
  • 1 Playstation 3
  • 1 X-Box 360

Lots of tutorials for this one.  The ones marked with an asterisk are PSP.

I’m probably missing one or two, if I am, I’m sorry.  The font for the carbon alpha is Impact, and round alpha is X360 which I got while doing the tutorial.

Download:  In Parts or In Full

October Reads, 2010, and a Halloween Rant

ReadingRoundup_dsHappy Halloween, Everyone!

This is definitely one of my favorite holidays, though I can’t help being annoyed that it’s on a Sunday.  People always make a big deal about Halloween being on a Sunday.  I even heard someone say that they didn’t like “evil” associated with Sunday.  Evil?  Sure, it’s a barely disguised remnant of our pagan past, but evil?.  Halloween is not evil.  It was a harvest festival, and a day, and night, for the dead.  The Celts believed that on Samhain, the barriers between our world and the Other World, Annwn, were weakened so that the spirits of the dead could more easily pass through.  It was also the ritualized end of summer and beginning of winter, where the deities of one were put to sleep and the deities of the other awakened.  I don’t see any of this as evil.  And the kids don’t either.  They just want to dress up in awesome costumes, knock on doors, and get lots of free candy.

And, for all of you who go on and on about celebrating a pagan holiday on a Sunday, take a look at Easter.  Sure, you go to Sunrise Service to celebrate the resurrection, but, then you have egg hunts, and your kids have candy filled baskets and stuffed bunnies.  Eggs and rabbits are the pagan side of Easter.  An obvious festival for a fertility goddess that most of the world has forgotten.

I know these comments will get me into trouble, and probably offend some of you.  For that, I am sorry, I honestly meant no offense.  And, anyway, it’s time to get down from my soapbox and get to the original purpose of this post:  my October reads, most of which were surprisingly good.

  • Bone Mountain by Eliot Pattison –  For me, the most fascinating aspect of this book was that it showcased just how much of Bod, the traditional Tibetan faith, has been integrated into Tibetan Buddhism.  And just how similar Buddhist philosophy and principles are to Taoism.  The mystery wasn’t all that mysterious to me.  I figured out who Tenzin was fairly early in the book, and the whole Serenity Campaign was rather transparent.  The only real surprises were Colonel Lin, and just how Yapchi was “liberated.”  While I didn’t enjoy Bone Mountain as much a s I did Water Touching Stone, I love this series, and will definitely continue reading it.  Rating:  4
  • Deep Kiss of Winter by Kresley Cole and Gena Showalter – This book was a two for one deal.  I liked Cole’s offering, mostly because of the whole Ice Fey thing.  The imagery I got in my head in some of those scenes was really cool, if you’ll forgive the pun!  Showalter’s tale was okay, I mean, it didn’t put me to sleep or anything, but it didn’t really stand out.  Although I did kind of enjoy the part where Aleaha turned into a particular man at an, uh, interesting moment.  It was weird, yeah, but it struck me as funny.  Rating:  3.5
  • The Lonely Polygamist by Brady Udall –  After I got used to Udall’s writing style, I really enjoyed this book.  I almost cried a few times.  In the end, it all boils down to this:  families all over are complex, no matter how many fathers, mothers, or children there are.  Everyone struggles for recognition as an individual.  My one true disappointment was Tracy’s ultimate decision.  I was really hoping she would take Rose’s advice.  Rating:  4.5
  • The Vine of Desire by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni – I liked this book very much, but I would like to have seen more developement of the character of Anju.  On the one hand, the ending was satisfying, but, on the other, left a feeling of emptiness.  Rating:  4.25
  • Cracking India by Bapsi Sidhwa –  This novel wonderfully describes the horror and tumult of the split that formed India and Pakistan through the innocent eyes of a child.  The character of Ice-candy-man was subtly creepy.  He was a stalker with a passionate obsession and a fluid, chameleon brain.  Cracking India is a poignant, harrowing, thought-provoking read.  Rating:  4.5
  • Call Me Mrs. Miracle by Debbie Macomber – I was pleasantly surprised.  I pretty much expected this book to be as cardboard as the last few Cedar Cove books have been, but it wasn’t.  It was sweet, yes, but not saccharine.  And, of course, the surprise really wasn’t a surprise.  Parts of this book were really funny.  The exchanges between Emily and J. R. come to mind.  Another thing that surprised me about the book, and mildly amused me, was that the blatant reference to the movie wasn’t really blatant.  When they were watching Everybody Loves Raymond, no one remarked on how much Mrs. Miracle looked like Ray’s Mom.  Call Me Mrs. Miracle is a light, funny read, just sweet enough to cleanse your palette.  Rating:  4