Friday, June 29, 2012

Monday, June 25, 2012

Random Thought:
True Blood



The show is about redneck vampires! And strangely, the show is luring me in. My summer home has HBO and HBO On-Demand. Curiosity led me to watch an episode. It's not that bad. It also doesn't hurt that the actors have soap-opera good-looks.

I'm having a hard time figuring out who's a werewolf, a vampire, pixie, monster or a normal person. Also, I didn't know there were different  vampire factions.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Random Thought:
Synchronized Diving



How is it that NBC can find such sissy sports and make them the premiere event on their Olympic coverage? I have a feeling deep in fabric of my being that NBC is going to blast us with a whole bunch of synchronized swimming this Olympics.

And how in the hell did someone come up with the idea for that event in the first place? You know damn well that the individual divers in synchronized swimming are mediocre or else they would be competing in the individual events on the springboard or platform. I can almost hear the person who invented this sport saying "Why watch one sucky diver at a time when we can watch two?"

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Let the Milgram Experiment Begin



Yes, dear readers, I got  a shock-collar for Dixie hence the title, The Milgram Experiment. I'm at my wit's end on what to do with her and how to discipline her. She won't listen, continually gets in trouble and refuses to listen to commands.

Here are some things she still does or does not do that she knows she shouldn't

  • Harass the cat
  • Jump up on people
  • Grab things off the counter
  • Grab things off tables
  • Chew on lawn furniture
  • Does a full body tackle indoors on Archie
  • Chew on blankets
  • Chew on power cords
  • Fail to listen to  simple commands such as "stop", "no" or "come here."

I got the collar late last week and after an overnight charge it was ready to go on Sunday. The collar has two ways to admonish the dog: shock mode and vibrate mode. The instructions advises owners to use the shock mode first. Usually, the shock mode is all the dog will not for effective corrective behavior.

Before I tried the collar on Dixie, I held the collar in my hand and made it vibrate. It's an attention-grabber. I knew the vibrate mode would get Dixie's attention and freak her out, which it did.

When I first put the collar on her, she thought it was a game and grabbed the collar and tried to play. However, after I first set off the collar when Dixie did something bad, Dixie completely stopped what she was doing and twirled around a couple of times. She was scared. It was pitiful.

I've only used the collar on her a half a dozen times. Enough so that she now knows that when I put the collar on her, she cools her heels. Even showing her the collar calms her down. So far, this is a good start, but she has so many bad behaviors that this is going to take a while.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Back Biting

Archie is out of the pool

Archie bit my back yesterday while he was standing on the pool's edge and I was standing in the pool. He was pretty wound-up since both Dixie and I were in the pool. Normally, he gets excited when Dixie is in the pool but my getting in sent him into orbit.

Archie still won't swim, and I mean "won't" as opposed to "can't." During yesterday's activities, I pulled Archie into the water and he swam effortlessly to the steps after I pointed him in the right direction. Initially, Archie wanted to get out at the side of the pool. Archie resisted my efforts to point him towards the steps. Goddamn if he isn't a big and strong dog. He's got to be over 70lbs now.

For those wondering what I did after Archie bit me, I slapped the shit out of him.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Détente?


Dodo, Dixie and Archie, together in harmony


Dodo is starting to tolerate the Babies now. He's more relaxed around Archie than Dixie. Dodo will even let Archie lick him. "Let" may be the wrong word. Dodo will suffer through Archie's sloppy licks. He'll sit there indignantly while Archie explores this exotic creature. But Dodo needs some space between him and Archie or else he will hiss at Archie. Dodo will not tolerate any proximity with the dogs while he's on the ground. When Dodo allows any contact between him and the cats, Dodo has to be on the counter or in a chair.

However, Dodo is always on alert when Dixie's wild ass is around. Dixie's unpredictability makes Dodo uneasy around her. At least now, Dodo will let Dixie lick her. In contrast to how he acts around Archie, Dodo is more alert and tense around Dixie.

Lately, Dodo has had to deal with the dog's proximity because Dodo wants to love me which means he has to come around the dogs' space. Dodo will sit on my shoulder while I watch TV and the Babies sleep. Once in a while, Dixie will raise her head from her sleep and gaze at Dodo. She wants to do something with that cat. What, I don't know. Sometimes Dixie will work up the nerve to approach Dodo, but I'll scold her and keep her at bay.

I hope those animals can get along.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Changes in Movies That Would Have Made a Huge Difference:
The Green Mile





Movie: The Green Mile

Change: Time period set to nowadays and not the Great Depression

Had the time period for The Green Mile been set for this current time and not the Great Depression, the movie would have been drastically different. DNA testing would have exonerated John Coffey, or if he had been convicted, The Innocence Project would have used DNA testing to get him off death row. As a consequence, the movie would have been shortened quite a bit. I guess we could have seen Percy do a couple of sadistic things before the movie ended.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Dixie's First Bye-Bye with Me.






Andy and Opie



A week and a half ago, I took Dixie for a walk at the newly renovated Pullen Park. I wanted to see what changes were made there. Dixie also needed to burn off some pent-up energy since she couldn't play aggresively with Archie while he was recouperating from his injury.

Things went well overall except for the ride there and back when Dixie was being a pout-baby. Granted, I kept her away from the high-traffic areas closer to the rides and playground. Even when Dixie saw a squirrel at the base of a tree, she only looked at it but did not go haywire like Abby would have. We passed by some kids without any problems.

Dixie mostly sniffed around. She did not need much guidance on where to go. For example, when we were walking on a trail, she instinctively knew to stay on the trail and not veer far off. She almost read my mind on what direction I wanted to go. Dixie was a little hesitant to go down some stairs but she went nonetheless after a little prodding from me.

The only time I thought we may have an issue was at the pond. I thought she was going to go in. Had the fence not been there, I think she would have gone in. Her eyes were locked-in on the water and longed to get in. I left that area before something happened.

Dixie was scared at the statutes of Andy and Opie. She stood her hair up and got tense. Naturally, I went right up to the statutes to see what she would do. For a moment, I thought she was going to bark at those statues, which were donated to Raleigh courtesy of TV Land. Dixie gave the statutes a long, hard look but remained calm.

Overall, Dixie did good considering how high-strung and unmanageable she is.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Changes in Movies That Would Have Made a Huge Difference:
The Vow





Movie: The Vow

Change: The husband gets amnesia, not the wife

Could you imagine how much different that movie would be had the husband got amnesia instead of the wife? The moment he opened his eyes and saw that his wife was Rachel McAdams, there is no way in hell he'd reject her the way the wife initially did to the husband in the movie.

A guy would have looked at McAdams and said "If you say we're married, then I'll take your word on it. I'll do whatever I have to do to make this work." There would have been no anguishing and second-doubts as seen from the wife. That man would have been over the moon at his discovery.

Subsequently, the movie would have lasted about 30 minutes.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

I Think Dixie Ate Cat-Shit

Notice the bone at the bottom

I only have circumstantial evidence that Dixie ate cat-shit. First, when I woke up this morning and looked at the litter box which is just outside my door, there was a pee-spot and a turd in the box. Dixie, who slept in my room, put her nose right to the turd and took a long, hard sniff. I commanded her to keep moving. I went back to bed. For the rest of the morning, my mom took care of the babies.

However, when I woke up the second time, the pee-spot was still there but the turd was gone. I asked my mom if she had cleaned the litter box: "No" she said. My bet is that Dixie ate it.

The second reason I think Dixie ate the turd rests on her digging episodes at the litter box. A few times Dixie has dug out everything in the box and making a huge mess in the hall.

So, with the turd going missing after Dixie woke up, Dixie sniffing the turd, Dixie's continuing interest in the litter box and no one cleaning the litter box this morning, all signs point to Dixie as the culprit that ate the cat shit.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Random Thought:
In Walt's Method for making crystal meth, how is the chirality introduced?



We never hear about the enantiomeric excess for Walt's crystal meth synthesis. We often hear about the overall chemical purity, often > 99%. For those not chemists, a chiral center is a carbon that has four different things attached to it, or at least that is one way to achieve chirality. Walt briefly mentions chirality when Victor was trying to "cook" a batch of meth in "Boxcutter." However, Walt didn't go into detail of how he achieved his asymmetric synthesis.

Walt starts with achiral starting material such as methyl amine and phenyl acetone. How Walt achieves an enantiopure product puzzles me. A catalyst is one way to achieve an asymmetric synthesis but Walt's catalyst, thorium oxide, is not chiral so that cannot be the source of the asymmetry.

Some may say I'm being pedantic for fretting about the enantio-purity of the product, but it does matter. For an example, look at the history of thalidomide, a anti-nausea drug whose enantiomer caused birth defects.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Cat Goes "Meow", And
The Dog Goes "Oink, Oink, Oink."


Archie can snort like a pig when he's excited about food. He sounds just like Wilbur from Green Acres. I kid you not. People-food excites Archie, especially when someone is giving him some. He starts breathing rapidly through his nose and smelling the food when he starts snorting.

I thought Archie's injury resulted in a defect in his nasal system, but I was wrong. Dixie, too, will snort when she becomes excited about food. Her snort does not carry as far as Archie's. And to be honest, Archie is so damned cute. So cute in fact that I want to sneak more people-food to Archie to hear him snort like a piggie.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Random Thought:
Mad Men Season Finale


For those who didn't like the Mad Men season finale because it was dark, sullen and brooding, remember that this show is not a sitcom.

Monday, June 11, 2012

What Could I Do With My Life After Being Laid Off and Too Old To Pitch For the Yankees?



On this date (almost to the very minute) and just weeks after I turned 40, GSK gave me the ol' heave-ho.

There were a lot of things going on in my life then. I had gotten pretty sick a few months before and almost had to go on short-term disability. A relative died a year before. My dad's health was advancing to the edge of the precipice. Andy almost had to be put-down because of his temporary paralysis. And Abby was in the twilight of her life.

On top of all that, I had to think about what to do with my life. I was too old to pitch for the Yankees so I went to law school instead.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Archie Is Already Scared of the Vet

The way he looks at me in the vet's lobby

Archie on the Ottoman

Archie did not need much time to develop a fear of the vet. He shows this fear in two ways. First, while we are waiting in the vet's lobby, Archie will look up at me, whine, stand on his hind legs and reach out to me. The little boy is scared just being in the building. I find it endearing and sweet how he seeks solace from me in his troubled time.

The second way he shows his fear is when the vet tech tries to lead Archie away from me and he refuses to budge. I can feel his body pressing even harder against me no matter how nicely the vet tech asks Archie to go. Finally, the vet tech will try a different tactic by asking me to take a few steps towards the back to get Archie moving. So far, the revised tactic has been working.

I hope Archie's fears doesn't escalate his behavior to a severe level. As it stands, Archie couldn't possibly be any cuter.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Archie's 2nd Emergency Vet Visit

Non-swollen side

Swollen side

blurry head-on shot


Today, something must have bit Archie such as a bug or a small snake. My bet is on a bug because three days ago while I was doing yardwork, bugs bit me on the back of both of my calves: 1bite/calf. Those stings hurt like hell and caused red welts.

If the same type of bug bit Archie as bit me, then it must have been much more painful since Archie's bite was on his mouth. Normally, a mouth has much more nerves in the region so a mouth is much more sensitive to pain. Archie's mouth started swelling; his breathing was short and rapid and he was drooling. Also, he became quite clingy to my mom.

I was sleeping when it happened so I didn't see the events unfold. I only saw the final result: Archie's visibly swollen mouth.

Thankfully, our vet was still open since it was Saturday morning. He fit us in without any problems. After we checked in at the desk, we immediately went to an examination room. The vet thought a small snake or a bug bit Archie. He would have given Archie a steroid shot but combining it with the medicine Archie got from the after hours clinic could have harmed him. Instead, Archie has to take benandryl tablets. I think he's going to be okay.

The vet bill only cost $15.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Archie Has Found His Voice



And it's a shrill whine. Before the leg injury, Archie was mostly quiet. He'd bark if startled or cry in pain if Dixie bit the hell out of him. Otherwise, Archie was a quiet boy. Not any more.

He'll whine if he:

  • Has leg pain
  • Is lonely
  • Is irritated by fleas
  • Is bored
  • Is hungry
  • Cannot get to Dixie when one is out and the other is in
  • Sees someone he hasn't seen in over 2 hours
  • Has to go to the bathroom


Thursday, June 7, 2012

Dixie Shunned Me

Keeping her back to me

Refusing to look at me


Dixie hates car-rides, so when I took her to Pullen Park she was not happy during the trip. Although she can easily leap in the car, she refuses and I have to pick her up and put her in. Otherwise, car trips with Dixie are uneventful. What I mean by eventful, for example, is a dog urinating in the car because of an extreme phobia such as Father would do during his rides.

Despite the ride being uneventful, an observant eye could see Dixie's disgust with the situation. Dixie turned her back to me during the whole trip and kept it there. In contrast, Andy, who would also sit in the hatchback like Dixie now does, would lay down pointed in my direction and look at me or sleep.

Not Dixie. Even when I first called her name, she refused to acknowledge me. She did turn her head briefly and cut her eyes at me, but that was only after I begged her to look at me. Soon after, Dixie kept looking at towards the back.

She knows how to get her point across.

Archie's First Visit to the After Hours Vet




Archie's left front leg is hurt and he is limping. I think Archie will be the problem child as far as health is concerned. He has been limping for a week and a half. The limp became noticeably worse two days ago. I think Archie injured it in an extended session of play during the weekend my brother was here. While Dixie swam up and down the pool, Archie ran quickly from one end to the other. By the end of that weekend, Archie  developed a noticeable limp.

I had planned on taking him to our regular vet later this week but Tuesday night Archie was in excruciating pain.  Archie was crying when I came in the door after working out. Normally, Archie greets me at the door. However, he was in so much pain that he couldn't get up. His front left leg was contorted from the pain.

I took him to the after hours vet to get Archie some pain medicine. He got a shot of some morphine-type compound. Archie was much better by the time I got him back home around midnight. Thankfully, we got in and out of the vet quickly since no one else was there.

I recognized the vet but didn't remember her name. Before I left, she asked how my cat was doing. She thought Dodo was a gorgeous cat, which he is. I told her that Dodo was doing well, thanked her, checked out at the reception desk and went home.

On Wednesday, I took Archie to our regular vet to have x-rays. Our vet said there were no visible fractures. Archie probably has a bruised bone. He is going to need a lot of rest.

Archie and Dixie are going to be frustrated as hell for the next few days.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Archie, Dixie & Dodo:
An Uneasy Living Arrangement



Dixie After Trying to Lick Dodo

Dixie is pure jealous of our cat, Dodo. And Dodo hates Dixie. Dixie wants to lick Dodo or play with him. Dixie knows the sounds of Dodo's movements such as when Dodo's claws make a clicking noise when he walks across the hardwood floor. Dixie also perks up when she hears Dodo jump off the counters.

There have been a couple of times Dixie had a hissy fit when she knew Dodo was in my bedroom. One time when Dixie knew Dodo was in my room, Dixie went to the cat litter box and dug out all of the box's contents making a big mess in the hall. In a second incident, Dixie peed right by the litter box. Dogs sometimes use body excretions to send a message such as when Abby shit in Petsmart in an attempt to make me leave that store she hated being at.

Dodo can tell apart who Dixie and Archie are. Dodo cannot stand being in the same room as Dixie. If he knows Dixie is in the room, Dodo will not go in. However, if just Archie is in the room, Dodo will go in it. But he's not lovey-dovey with Archie. If Archie tries to approach Dodo when Dodo is not in a safe place such as on a piece of furniture, Dodo will hiss at Archie. Otherwise, Dodo has an uneasy tolerance of Archie's presence.



Dodo Separated For His Own Good

Monday, June 4, 2012

RIP: SpringFloat
5/31/12-6/1/12


The Little Conquistador


The new float from Lowe's brought much fun and joy while it lasted. Dixie was out to get that float the moment she first set eyes on it. I realized when I bought the float that it wouldn't last long. But I had orders to get a float and this was the only one Lowe's had. The inflatable float was made of thin pressed plastic. Dixie against that float was a mismatch.

Almost the moment Dixie saw the float effortlessly coasting along the water, she was completely fascinated. She locked her eyes on the float, crouched down and tried to grab it with her mouth. At first, that didn't work, so she started pounding at the water in frustration.

Eventually, she got in the pool and tried to get on the float. With some help from me, she was able to but she was so excited with my presence in the pool that she jumped off and started playing with me.

Later in the evening, I saw her dragging the float down the pool with her mouth. Sometime after that, she took the float out of the pool. I didn't see that event. All I saw was circumstantial evidence of a deflated float on the ground with tears in it. Dixie ripped that sucker open in a couple of different places.

That thing never stood a chance.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Consequences of Play Fighting


Dixie's Battle Scars

Play fighting caused the wounds on Dixie's cheek shown above. Archie has some but Dixie's are definitely more pronounced. She appears to get the short end of the stick when they fight. I guess it's justice since Dixie seemingly always starts these bouts. Archie is taller and bigger than her. The poor girl has bitten off more than she can chew.

I couldn't get a good picture of Dixie's wounds because she won't sit still long enough for me to snap a good shot. Trying to get a good photo of Dixie is like using a pair of chopsticks to capture dollar bills in a money-blowing machine. That girl doesn't sit still for too long.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Play Fighting












The Babies love it. Usually, Dixie initiates these bouts. They don't have to work themselves up for these bouts. It happens in a flash. For example, they could be walking past each other in opposite directions. Everything is quiet. One of them will casually lower its head and bite the other's leg. That is how suddenly a play-bout erupts.

And my picture-taking skills suck.