Sunday, January 31, 2010

I'm on Twitter

I caved.

I've been thinking about it for a while, actually, but I finally signed up tonight.

You can find me over here:
or, see what's up with my feed on the sidebar.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Fox in the Woods

No, I'm not talking about my friend who I call Fox when I blog about him, I'm talking about a red fox. I have seen one in the woods outside my condo before. Yesterday, I was looking out the window with a cup of tea and saw a funny reddish thing. At first, I thought it was a roll of carpet. And then I wondered if it was a deer or a fox. And then I wondered if it was alive or dead. So, I got my camera and (sans coat) stepped out onto the balcony to get a better angle.

It stirred!

He actually looked up in my direction at the sound of the door, but I didn't have the camera ready. So, I made some noise.

Isn't he cute?! This is super zoomed and a little fuzzy because I was shivering in the cold. Look at that sweet little fox face! I went inside and watched him for a bit longer. When I came back after a short thirty minute nap, he was gone.

But, cute! I hope he keeps warm in all this snow.

And, yes, we did get snow. It's light and powdery, but my fingers are still swollen from cleaning off the car. I think I need to wrap them around a nice hot mug of tea.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Waiting to Know

I know you're all waiting to hear how the cardiologist visit went yesterday. I guess I can start there and come back to Wednesday.

The cardiologist was in the same building as the emergency clinic. I actually liked this place quite a lot. They took us to a room where Miss Luna was able to get out of her cage and wander about, jump on the window sill, cower under my chair. A technician came in to weigh her and she played peek-a-boo with another through the door window. She was distraught, but otherwise well behaved, and she came to me every time I called her (which impressed everyone who witnessed it). Then the doctor came in and listened to her heart. Then we all went into the next room, where we held her down while the doctor slimed her and had a look. If you've ever been through an echocardiogram, you know exactly what I mean by slimed.

They found that her heart is enlarged a little and has some thickening of walls, causing to blood to pump a little abnormally and causing a murmur. At this time, she doesn't need medication. She needs to be monitored by the regular vet every six months and to come back every year for another echo. As young as she is and as early as we're finding this, we should be able to catch it fast if it really develops into a problem and medication should take care of things.

I'm glad she's not on regular meds right now. And, I'm glad I know what's going on so I can keep an eye on it. And I'm glad I'll have time to save up to pay the cardiologist in the coming years. Right now, well, I can only cut back so much, but I'll make it work.

On Wednesday, my parents and I each had a dental appointment. After lunch and some Trader Joe's grocery shopping, we went to the community that they've been looking at for my grandmother. She had a physical and cognitive assessment to see if she is fit for independent living in their apartments. She is mentally sharp and gets around her small house with minimal aid, so there was no reason for them to not recommend her for independent living, which, of course, they did. They're planning on getting her a scooter or electric wheel chair to help her get around. After her assessment, we looked at a couple potential apartments (an efficiency and one bedroom), toured the large dining hall, and went through the library.

Unfortunately, my grandmother does need the full assessed price of her house (or close to it) and that brings it out of my range. However, the sales rep who was working with us mentioned to me that they have an open position and she thought, by the way I was interracting with others in the community, that I might be good for it. Phoenix is going to help me update my resume, then I will give them a call. If nothing else, if feel like that would be a much more fulfilling job than the one I currently hold. And I could probably join my grandmother for some meals, which I think she would like. Depending on what happens with this, I may revisit the modular that I couldn't get two years ago. We'll see!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Feels Like Friday

I'm going to my parents' this evening. We all have dental appointments tomorrow, and we all go to the same office. It kind of feels like Friday, probably because I'll be off for the next two days. I'm hoping I can convince mom to make a run to Trader Joe's tomorrow.

I'm also going to talk to my parents about the possibility of buying my grandmother's house. Other than the fact that the opportunity is presenting itself, one of the reasons I'm doing this now in the face of Miss Luna's still-growing bills is that, depending on the asking price, I might be able to get my mortgage payment to be less than what I'm paying right now for rent. It will wipe out my savings (which, I'm happy to say, I did not have to dip into to pay vet bills. Sure, it would help with the bills, but it wouldn't improve my situation any if I used it.), but a home is really what my savings are for.

We'll discuss it anyway. It may not work out. But it may. There are pros and cons for all of it.

Miss Luna heads to the cardiologist on Thursday. For a mini-weekend, I'm going to be super busy!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Weekly Weigh-in 1

After one week of Weight Watchers, I'm 4 lbs less!

Loosing weight is really a perk of this plan. My intention was to learn what I need to eat better - better portions, healthier choices.

So, for this start of week two:

I've learned that a cup of peas is a lot of friggin peas.

I can refrain from using my extra weekly points until the end of the week when they're really needed.

I don't make very healthy choices on weekends - but still don't go overboard.

I can have only one cup of coffee a day because I don't want to spend the points on cream and sugar. Except on weekends, the points on cream and sugar add up fast.

My goal for last week was to eat more fruits and veggies. I didn't do so well on the fruit front, but I improved greatly on the veggie front. I had bags of frozen veggies in my freezer that have sat for weeks and even months. I'm down to one cup of corn.

My goal for this week is to eat even more fruits and veggies. I did well last week, but I know I can do better. I can eat more. I can get bags of salad and not let them go bad in the fridge before I finish them. I know I can.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Dreams and Things

Yesterday, I went back to working on a sewing project that I started years ago. Although it was bright and sunny, I decided to hold off taking pictures of the newest line of Gnomes until today (just because I really felt like sewing).

It's cloudy and rainy today. Go figure.

I guess that means more time in front of the sewing machine. Which is fine, naturally, but I'm not selling this dress. I do have some Gnomes to work on until my roommate wakes up.

I dreamed that I was living in my grandmother's house last night. When I woke up, I decided that, if I do get this place, I should get a dog. While I like Shiba Inus and Alaskan Malamutes, I might go with an Akita. They're like Shiba's, only larger. Well, if I do get a dog, it will be a fairly large one, and from a shelter or rescue. So, we'll see what we can find. Of course, it will have to tolerate Miss Luna. Miss Luna will have to learn to live with it!

Friday, January 22, 2010


Ever notice how the first three letters in diet are D-I-E?

While I've got tons of Weight Watchers tools to track my progress, I'm going to write some things here as well. Probably mostly observations.

I've finally learned that one tablespoon of soy sauce goes a long way. And it's zero points. Huzzah!

I've also learned that I can avoid a twelve point cookie simply because it is a twelve point cookie.

And I've learned that I can hang with knitters and not eat a ton of chips or cheese Danish.

I think it's a good start for being more than halfway through my first week.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Feels Like Snow

Phoenix and I left the condo together this morning. It felt like it was going to snow. So much, in fact, that I had to ask Phoenix if she knew if it was supposed to snow. I'm so out of touch with the weather right now because I've been filling car time with a dramatization of the Chronicles of Narnia (Thanks, Fox and Fae!). She didn't know. I heard some people in the office talking about storms this morning, so I had to look it up.

Sure enough; rain, sleet, and snow are in the forecast for the next couple days. How interesting!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Miss Luna has a cardiologist appointment next Thursday. Roscoe went to the vet yesterday for yet another high fever. His doctor doesn't think the problem is toxoplasmosis at all, but bartonellosis. While that is much more common, it's kind of the same as toxoplasmosis - as in it's rare that symptoms are shown. And, the symptoms caused by bartonellosis are not in line with the behavior I observed in Miss Luna, nor would it account for Aura's blindness.

So, we're probably never going to know what the real problem is. It's far more likely that three cats would come in contact with the same thing than for each to have contracted something different. The only thing that my roommates and I seem to agree on is that the trouble started with Aura (not that any of us are trying to blame Aura in the least).

It looks like I didn't mention this a year or so ago, I couldn't find any reference to it anyway. It was some time last year, we've been trying to convince my grandmother to move out of her home and into an assisted living community. My mom and her siblings have done some research and some recommending. Usually, nothing sounds appealing to my grandma. On the last attempt, I mentioned buying her house. It's not in the best area, really, but she's been living there with no major problems for years.

Fast forward to now. My parents have identified yet another assisted living possibility. It's very near by and mom says the facilities are very nice. She also said some of their retirement cabins are bigger than my parents' house. Grandma seems to be considering this place seriously. Which means we'd have to sell her house. Once again, I'm considering looking into me buying her home.

It's a quaint little single-floor place with three bedrooms and one bathroom. They had an addition put on the back many many years ago that served as a dining room. There is a detached garage and a little fenced-in yard. It's enough space for me (though I would like to see about adding another bathroom) and possibly a roommate. (And it's possible that LDS and Gnome might need a place to live in the near future. Phoenix and Sunflyr, while they would be welcome, would likely not come with me.) It would put me close once again to Sunday brunches and kayaking and the Renaissance festival, but further away from the ministry I work with and the friends I've made out here.

As far as the neighborhood, well.... We really wanted my aunt to get out of there when she moved to Albuquerque. And we really want my grandmother out of there now, though those reasons are not all for the neighborhood. I went to high school in that area and, while I know things can change in thirteen years, I never thought the area was that bad. I know most of her immediate neighbors are kind and helpful. If I need my parents for something, they could be there in about twenty minutes.

There are a few downsides. If I see Robin infrequently now because of our schedules, it will be more so if I move back to Maryland. He won't be able to visit after work, and likely not after school either. We'd have to plan to spend weekends together or something. I'd once more have a near fifty mile commute to work. Though, for some reason, I don't see those drives as being all that bad anymore. Sitting in traffic may be another matter, though I hear the improvements to the Wilson Bridge have really helped on that.

I mentioned this to my dad this morning, who asked if I could swing it and if I really wanted to live there. Being able to swing it depends on the price, naturally. While I'm sure my grandmother would like to give me a deal, I don't want her to sell to me for less than what she needs for it. About wanting to live there, the simple answer is that I can deal with it. Dad also mentioned that the might be able to help me with financing, just as they offered to try to help me with Miss Luna's bills. And then he said it's something to talk about. I think I'll call my mother this evening.

Would it really hurt to look into it and consider?

Monday, January 18, 2010

Gone and Done it

A few weeks ago, I signed up for Weight Watchers at Work. The first meeting was today. Now, I signed up before Miss Luna spent some time in the hospital, and I really shouldn't spend the money on this in light of the bills I'm facing now. However, while it would be a perfectly legitimate reason to put this off for another twelve weeks or more, I decided to go forward anyway.

They can't hold classes without a certain amount of people signed up. I already signed the payroll deduction form. And, if I don't follow through now, who is to say I won't come up with some other excuse the next time it rolls around. No, going forward was a good idea. I may think differently when I see what it does to my paycheck, but right now, I think it was a good idea to do what I said I would.

I have a few extra pounds that would be nice to loose, but I'm not really doing this because I'm hoping to fit into a size six again (as if!). I'm hoping to learn how to make better choices, how to fill my diet with good foods like vegetables. I like eating vegetables but, more often than not, they just go bad in my refrigerator. Every bag of salad that I throw out is money going in that trash can too. I'm the first to say that spending money to save money is illogical but, in this case, I really need the help.

A friend of mine from the Renaissance Festival has had great success on Weight Watchers. LDS's mother also made the plan work for her. My dad started in November and has made some real progress. While I can't speak for LDS's mother, the other two people were at unhealthy places and could really see the benefits. The Leader even said that accomplishments do not have to be on the scale. I hope to see a change in what I buy, what I eat, and how long that energy will last me. And, as a bonus, this should work well with the Blood Type Diet that I've been (roughly) following for years. I can still get the no-migraine benefit.

I'm reminding myself to see it for its benefit, and not for the money that could be going to vet bills. It will be an added strain for a while, but I think it will prove worth it.

Friday, January 15, 2010

A Step Away From Brains

I could write another post filled with made-up words. Or I could simply say I'm tired.

If I ever have kids, I'm going to be a wreck when they get sick.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Newest Thought

When the assistant at the ER handed me the estimate for treatment, she told me that the doctor said a few things were optional. One of those things was the toxoplasmosis titer screening. When faced with the estimate I had (and that was not including the follow-ups that have yet to be added) how much is one little $130 test going to really save me? I decided to ok everything they suggested, including the optional tests, because I don't do well if I don't know. If some of those other tests came back negative, then they probably would have taken more samples and sent out those optional ones later.

I'm glad I did it. I'm glad I didn't dwell on that small amount compared to the larger total. Especially since this seems to be the culprit. Maybe this knowledge will help me deal with the cardiologist too.

Tests and Results

The ER doctor called last night to say one of the tests showed an exposure to Toxoplasma gondii (not a confirmed toxoplasmosis infection, just exposure, but the test is somewhat inconclusive in that regard).

Here is what I know of the parasite. It is common. Many humans are carriers. The risk of toxoplasmosis is the reason pregnant women should not change a cat's litter box, though people are far more likely to become infected from tainted meat than from their cats. Many cats already have it and may never show symptoms. However, once they have it, they develop antibodies and should never show symptoms after the initial infection. They also only shed eggs after the initial infection.

Who wants to hear about symptoms?

Toxoplasmosis can cause fever, loss of appetite, lethargy, pneumonia, blindness, loss of coordination, or seizures. Miss Luna had fever, loss of appetite, lethargy, respiratory issues, and loss of coordination. And, get this; it's possible that toxoplasmosis, not Feline Herpesvirus, caused Aura's blindness. Actually, with this news, it's highly likely.

That also means it's highly likely that Aura brought the parasite into an environment that should have been, for all intents and purposes, free from it. Symptoms, if they appear at all, are usually after initial infection, which means it wasn't dormant in Miss Luna and just choosing to come out now. It means exposure was recent. It also means that, once it runs through the cats of the house, they will all have the proper antibodies and any eggs still in the environment won't harm them. It further means that, once it has run through and the period of egg-shedding is over, there is no reason why I can't take Miss Luna with me when I visit my parents if I want. There's a bit of a bright side. This is assuming my information from the doctor and my research is correct.

I am racking my brain trying to figure out how the parasite could have been passed on, though. If we got Aura during her period of shedding eggs, that would bring them into the home (where they can survive without a host for a year or more and are very resistant to things like bleach). But, the eggs are shed in feces and must be ingested. To the utmost best of my knowledge, the cats do not eat each other's poo, and they're certainly not eating rodents that have eaten cat poo. I'll ask the doctor about that today, but the only thing I can think of is eggs got on Aura's feet through the regular use of her litter box, she tracked them through the house, the other cats walk there, lick their paws, and ta-da. I'm not sure if this is possible but, if this is what the problem is, it's the only thing that makes sense. How else does an indoor cat ingest a parasite that usually comes from eating an infected rodent?

Now, DreĆ” had the fever/loss of appetite/lethargy bit, but they didn't test for toxoplasmosis. Roscoe had a slight fever and some lethargy. It is possible that Roscoe has a stronger immune system than the other two cats, so symptoms didn't hit him as hard. I wonder if the anemia or enlarged heart is what made the symptoms so awful for Miss Luna.

There are still mysteries, and it's still frustrating. But, if my conclusions are correct, that actually makes things a little easier because, once we get this under control, our animals shouldn't have any more problems and shouldn't be a danger to other animals. Miss Luna has a follow-up today to check her red blood cell count, and I'll be sure to bring my questions. And I'll be coming home with yet another antibiotic. They also want to re-test her levels in a few weeks.

Since I had the ER doctor on the phone, I also got to ask about going to the cardiologist. He insisted it was necessary to assess the severity of her heart condition. If the results say it's minor and nothing to worry about, that would really be nice. If the results say she'll need monitoring or management, then I need to be aware of that. I understand. I'll call today.

My poor baby. She had to spend a weekend with the evil (but helpful) doctors, and she has to go back at least thrice more (and, if we're both lucky, that's all she'll need). She has to take this awful antibiotic and another will be added (hopefully in a pill form). The good side is that she is doing worlds better. She's talking to me like she used to, begging for her food, and prodding me to wake up. She's all over the house, climbing on things, jumping on things. That little part of her arm where they had to shave her for the catheter looks funny, doesn't it? Poor girl!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Do Anything

I would do anything to ensure my cat lives a long, happy, healthy life. I will put myself in debt (and have!), buy less for me if it means food for her, even move back in with my parents if that's what I have to do to keep a roof over her fuzzy cat head.

But, is a cardiologist really necessary? It is worth the stress on her, and the expense on me, for them to just repeat what the x-ray already confirmed ("yep, her heart is enlarged")? That's all well and good, but what can be done about it? They can't shrink it down to normal size. What good can they really do?

And on top of this, I have guilt, because I know part of my thinking is that I don't want to add to the already substantial bills and that I'm too late in getting her on an insurance plan. I'm also concerned about her stress. Going to the doctor is not an easy thing on an animal. It's bad enough that I must take her in tomorrow for more blood tests, and it's bad enough that I'm shoving disgusting medicine down her throat twice a day. But, what am I to do? I'm not an expert, I rely on people with the degrees to prove they know what they're talking about to advise me.

I would do anything. That's probably why I'm feeling so terrible about not wanting to do this.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


A sleep-deprived brain can create words that don't exist with ease. Somehow, one thinks this word should exist, and wonders why it does not. Funny thing is, it must exist, because it's in use in many places, but it's not entered in the dictionary, or the Unword Dictionary. Does that seem right to you?

Elusivity: noun the quality or state of being elusive

And, we all hate when a word is defined with a form of itself, so we go to Merriam-Webster Online to see what elusive means. Which is "tending to elude." Bother. One degree of definition is about all I have in me.

In any event, I'm talking about the elusivity of sleep. The tendency of that thing that living creatures need so much to evade us in times of trial or worry.

I haven't been sleeping the past couple nights. I've really been cat-napping. Because, you see, if Miss Luna experiences some distress in the night, I need to be awake for it. So, I've spent the last couple nights dozing while she beats her ear. This should, naturally, tell me that all is well(ish) so I don't have to spend my nights not really sleeping. She did wake up in the wee hours of yesterday morning and let out a weird howl, but I think she was just having a bad dream.

It remains to be seen if I'll get any sleep tonight. I do fully plan to go home and take a nap. We'll see how this works out.

Monday, January 11, 2010

A Plea

Miss Luna's weekend visit at the hospital has put me under the weight of more veterinary bills than I have ever had before. And it's not over. I still have at least two follow-ups of more tests, and that number could increase depending on how test results come back over the course of the next week.

These are troubled times for all of us. If it came down to buying food for me or buying food for my cat, my cat would eat where I would not. She relies on me, and I have an obligation to take care of her. Not to mention a deep and unfaltering desire to do so.

As a result of this, my dreams of moving out of this rented condo into a purchased house by the time our lease is up in May are gone. My boyfriend and I were planning a trip to Miami in the spring which I had to cancel. Adding to my savings account for the house fund has come to a screeching halt. But, all of that doesn't matter compared to the life of my cat.

Now and for the foreseeable future, all purchases in my Etsy shop will go towards paying for Miss Luna's hospital care. We would be so grateful if you could please find it in your heart to help a cat by buying a Gnome. Thank you.

Holiday Gnomes are still available and are $10 off! Now is the perfect time to get them! When the current listings expire, they won't be back until next season!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

She's Home

So, here's what happened.

I mentioned that she had been acting strangely since I got home from the weekend. It looked like she was getting back to herself, though still not completely.

Yesterday morning, I slept through my 0530 alarm and didn't wake up until 1000 or so. Miss Luna did not try to wake me up. When I finally did get food to her bowl, she ate about half of it.

I went about my day and came home around 1900 or so. She still had about a quarter of food in her bowl - from the morning. She favored her right hind leg when she stood, like she didn't want to put weight on it. I carried her into the living room so she could be near me while I worked on something. She rolled on to her right side and put her shaking left paw over her face like the light was hurting her. Then she stood up, arched her back like she was stretching and jumped off the chair. She didn't land on her feet, though, she fell. And when she collected herself, she walked with her back arched and her back feet turned inward. She stepped gingerly and wobbled like she was drunk.

That was enough for me, that's when I found the emergency number and called them.

To make a long story short: we still don't really know what's going on. She had a fever and started an antibiotic. They found that she has an enlarged heart, so I need to follow-up with a cardiologist in the next couple weeks. The enlarged heart makes IV fluids complicated. They found she has non-regenerative anemia, had to change her antibiotic because of it. They drew some blood to test for immunodeficiency, which was ruled out, and will test for the presence of a few plausible bacteria and parasites. She had bacteria in a sterile urine sample, and they will test for possible UTI.

Basically, it looks like there are several things going on independent of each other (i.e. cardiovascular disease usually doesn't come with fever). I need to follow up with the regular vet by the end of the week (or sooner if she doesn't seem to be improving). She ate a meal when we got home around 1800, she really hates the liquid antibiotic, and she seems to be very thirsty. She's a little jumpy and her back is sensitive to touch, but she's here with me and she followed me into the kitchen when I got some food, and she's been licking the place on her arm where the catheter was.

I'm so glad she's home. And I'm glad she's on the bed, not hiding from me. And I'm glad she ate something, and I'm glad she cried all the way home (she barely let out a peep on the way there yesterday). Mostly, I'm just glad she's here. Last night was a very hard night without her.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Miss Luna is Sick

I had to take Miss Luna to the emergency hospital tonight. She had a fever and was walking very funny. Initial x-rays found she has an enlarged heart and low blood pressure (which may account for walking funny, but not fever). They will keep her at least overnight and run some more tests.

So I left her there.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Critical Thinking

"Thinking about your thinking while you're thinking in order to make your thinking better."

Quoted from one of Phoenix's nursing school books. Seriously.

Critical thinking apparently does not involve thinking about what you're saying before you say it so as to not appear a redundant idiot. Isn't there some rule about not using a word to define itself?

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Kitties Kitties

Miss Luna is starting to be more like herself. I think she was just pissed off because I had spent so much time away from her. On Tuesday, the other cats in the house all got flea baths. Miss Luna didn't get a bath because she has Frontline. She was definitely rubbing it in to the other cats that she was not subjected to the bath tub torture.

I'm glad my kitty was just angry with me and not sick. Sick kitties are dreadful things.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010


I learned today that my brother's sister-in-law died suddenly on Christmas Day. And I learned this by reading my sister-in-law's blog. It disturbs me that my brother and sister-in-law didn't let us know when something important happened. She seemed a little confused when I called her this afternoon, but it felt like it was more because of the fact that I was calling her than anything. Kind of like she wanted to ask why I cared.

I'm confused myself. I know we'd never hear from my brother if my mother didn't call him every now and then, but it still really shocked me that I get information about his family from a blog.

I understand that sometimes people need to deal with things on their own. But, my brother's wife's family is our family too. I don't understand why they didn't think we would care to know.

What bothers me the most is probably that this...confirms how removed from my brother I feel. I know he has his wife and his home and his life, but he is my only brother, and his life is important to me.

What does it mean?

And What About Apple

The recent buzz I hear is that Apple is planning to launch something that will be a serious competitor to Amazon's Kindle. Those of you who have been following me for a while will know that I've been planning on getting a Kindle for some time now. My goal of saving up the dough to do so is at hand.

But, the rumors say that Apple's device will "kill" the Kindle. Ok, that's all well and good. But what I want in an ebook reader is variety in content, super affordable content, ease of getting that content, and then, of course, the details of the device in ease of use, comfort, portability, all that jazz. Kindle has it. Apple, what say you?

Now, bear in mind, it took me many many years to own an iPod and I only have a Shuffle. I went with a Dell mp3 player because, at the time, it offered 5 times the GB for the same cost as the early iPods. No brainer! I still have and use that mp3 player from Dell, far more frequently than my iPod Shuffle (PS I have never made a purchase through iTunes).

I do not own any kind of Apple computer and I have no desire to own an iPhone that has far more bells and whistles than I would ever use on a cell phone. I've heard that Apple's Kindle competitor will actually be a tablet computer (still, all rumors), not just an ebook reader. Sure, many people like things that can do many different things, just ask Alton Brown, but I don't need another computer (we're not even going to talk about that brief period in November where I nearly bought yet another laptop). What is the point of buying a multi-function device if you only need it for one thing anyway?

I've researched other ebook readers. The problem with the Nook is that it can't play audio files from (Apple's device likely will, this is one of the reasons why I want a device like this in the first place). The problem with the Cool*er is that the books are crazy expensive compared to Amazon's prices. None of the other readers on the market have Amazon's text-to-speech feature, which goes along with why I want something to play my audio books.

It almost sounds like I'm talking myself out of waiting to see what Apple is doing, doesn't it? But, there's another side to that. If I wait for Apple to launch whatever Apple is launching, is there a possibility that the Kindle will come down in price as a response to it? What will Apple's price be anyway? Will it even compare?

I need to know! But, I want my gadget now!

Tuesday, January 05, 2010


I saw this film last Saturday in 3D. It wasn't a made-for-3D film in the sense that many parts are deliberately filmed for the 3D effect (like parts of the recent Journey to the Center of the Earth, which was very clearly made with 3D in mind so things would appear to come at you throughout the film), but more to give depth and realism to this world. And this kind of 3D is not the motion-sick-inducing kind, which helped a lot.

Let me start with something simple: music. At one point, I remember noting it was good, but I can't even think of it now. It didn't detract from the film, but it really took a back seat to what was going on visually.

I remember reading a random forum post where someone said the film looked good but it had no plot. I'd have to ask what film he was watching. Before I get into that, let's talk a little etymology. The word avatar is from Sanskrit. It was originally used in Hinduism to describe a vessel - usually a body of some sort - in which a deity incarnates. The most common use of this word (in my experience) is in video games, specifically rpgs, where the character that you create and control in the game world is your avatar. My first thought was that he-who-thinks-there-was-no-plot must not be a gamer.

The namesake of the film was a genetically engineered body that resembled a native and dominating species of the life-supporting moon that is the setting for the film. Human characters interfaced with their personal avatars through a claustrophobic MRI type of device. One of the main themes was the conflict of the main character, a disabled Marine, who already felt alienated among humans and finds himself torn between following orders and a growing love for the moon and all the living things he came to know through his avatar.

The other part of the story, the main plot, if you will, is reminiscent of European colonization of the Americas (among other similar incidents) where humans want what the natives have and will take it if they don't give it up. My parents and I read a review in the Washington Post where someone compared the film to a completely different period in human history. In my opinion, this guy failed to draw the most logical parallels and was entirely incorrect in his assessment of it. But, that's really beside the point.

In line outside the theater, I was talking to a lady who mentioned that she was a little worried about bringing her two little girls into a PG-13 film. She read that what made it PG-13 wasn't that bad in the grand scheme of things and hoped they'd be too distracted by everything else to really notice. I don't know how that worked out for her or her little ones, but I can say the film was a visual feast. The lush setting was filled with bioluminescent plants, great beasts of land and sky, and if you've seen the commercials, you've already seen the floating mountains. Really, I can't say enough about what this film was in terms of appearance. Perhaps the highest praise I can convey is that I want them to make an RPG out of this world, so I can go in and explore it on my own. (That being said, what I have read about the video game version leaves much to be desired, but that's something else altogether.)

If you haven't yet, go see this film. Even if the story seems uninteresting, even if the actors are not your favorites, even if 3D makes you sick as it does me, go see this film. It is worth it to experience that fabulous world even if nothing else is appealing to you. And don't forget to blink.

Monday, January 04, 2010

In 2010

Here it is, another year. Another decade. Oh, it's been this way for four days? Where have I been?!

On New Year's Eve, Fox and Fae joined my parents and me for mondo movie night. We managed to only get two movies in, but one of them was pretty long. It was really about hanging out with people who matter in our lives, and that we did. This was the second time we've done a New Year's Eve like that. I really enjoy it.

New Year's Day was dinner at my grandmother's with the folks and both of mom's siblings and their better halves. And then we managed an after-dinner movie. All during the day, Guild Wars was having their winter game festival thing. I was able to log in and let the thing run and get lots of useful game items.

On Saturday, my parents and I did the only thing we could do: went out into the world to see Avatar. This film deserves its own post, so movie review later!

Sunday was monthly brunch, which somehow mom managed to tell Fox we would not be attending. I don't know why she figured that, I had been including it with my weekend plans all along. After a bit of grocery shopping, my aunt and uncle who are visiting from Utah came by to play with Buffy, check out the new non-carpeted living room, and experience some Wii. I ended up getting home quite a bit later than I wanted to last night, but I got to hang with family I don't get to see very often, so it's all good.

Miss Luna was acting strangely last night and this morning. She usually begs for food in the evening and inhales what I put down. She wasn't begging, and when I put food in her bowl, she sat in the hallway and then came in and ate half of it. She ate the other half quite a bit later. She slept very close to me all night, and did not wake me up early begging for breakfast like she normally does. She wasn't even begging while I was making my bed and getting ready. When I did feed her, she ate it all, but then went back to sleep on my bed, where she normally runs into the hall to find a kitten to play with. The roomies said she was perfectly normal all weekend. I hope it's just that she's mad at me for going away for two long weekends in a row and not a sign that she's sick. I'm not going away for a night or longer again until the end of the month. Maybe that's all she needs. I really wish I could have stayed home with her this morning.

So, here it is, another year and another decade. And this year brought with it frigid air and gusty winds from Canada. And I hear there's a possibility of more snow, similar to the double feet of a few weeks ago, in our future. I can take the snow, and I can bundle up in the cold, but that wind is harsh! And, the heat appears to be broken in the office too. I think it's time for more coffee.

I hope everyone had a fabulous year changeover!