badness, goodness, life, manfolk

Get Shorty

he looked a little bit like this, pretty disoriented

On my walk to work today, I saw what looked like a plastic bag in the street.  Then I realized the part in the air was a tail.  It was a light gray kitten, and his head was resting in a small pool of blood.  I thought, “How sad,” and kept walking.  Then I heard it meow.  Not a normal meow, but a loud, kinda of skreeching-howling meow.  I thought, “O god,” and kept walking, trying to figure out what to do.  I would be late to work if I helped it.  I had to go to work, right?  It was probably next to death and would die soon anyway, right?  Its injuries were probably severe, so it would die any second, so I should just go to work, right?

I couldn’t say what stopped me.  I just realized it wasn’t in line with my priorities to let a kitten die in the street when I hadn’t even checked to see if it was save-able.  I turned around and walked back, searching on my phone for emergency veterinarians in the area.  I knelt down to have a look at the kitten, which was still breathing, and struggle to open its eyes to look at me.  The only damage I could see was to the part of its face that was on the ground.  The rest of him looked ok.  Fine, I thought, I’ll try to get him some help.  I stood up next to the kitten as some cars approached to make sure he didn’t get hit.  A mail drop-off at the base of my parking structure was open, so I walked over and asked around for a cardboard box.  The guy who found me one said, “Is it for that cat?  Is it still alive?”  I nodded.  [it only just now occurs to me that he may have hit it]  He came out with me and held my Kindle while I scooped up the kitten as gently as I could and placed him in the box.  I wiped some blood off my hand onto the box and thanked the man as I stood to leave.  He called me back as I walked away and told me that there was an animal hospital not far from us.  I booked it to the car and drove east.

The place I found wasn’t a vet, but was definitely cat friendly (there were young cats playing, sleeping, sitting all over the place.  One slept on a pile of mail in an in-box, another dozed on a computer tower).  She printed out an address for an animal rescue that could help.  I sped west, keeping an eye on the kitten to make sure I could still see it breathing.  Once I found the place, a blonde woman waiting for service inside took one look at the box and knew it meant trouble.  I told her the details, and she thanked me for being a good person.  “Hey,” she said to the woman behind the counter.  “We’ve got a trauma case here.”  They said they weren’t taking trauma cases right now, and that I should go to the shelter a few blocks away.  The blonde woman next to me wasn’t taking no for an answer.  “Is the doctor in?  Yeah, we need to see her.  We can’t leave this kitten like this.”

Turns out her name is Mary K, and she owns a shelter in Las Vegas called All the Same Wild and Tame.  She drives to LA once per week to pick up animals that would otherwise be euthanized.  Her “bestest friend” was also there.  She gave me some pamphlets and info on their organization once I was done crying.  She took charge of the situation, and for that, I was very grateful.  I called work to let them know I’d be late.

looks accurate

We went back with the nurse (doctor?) to get the kitten checked out.  She had a look at him, wiped some of the blood off his face, pulled his eyelids open one at a time, and had a look inside his mouth.  Then she picked him up and felt along his body and legs to see if anything else was damaged.  He tried to run away, but they wrapped him back up in the towel Mary K had brought in from her truck for me.  She left to check on getting me an estimate, and a few minutes later, another nurse (doctor?) came in to let me know that they wanted to do x-rays to see if there was damage to the bones in his face in particular, and to put him on fluids and antibiotics, and keep him over for a couple of days.  Total: $200.  I said yes to everything.

I went outside and paid.  Mary K gave me a hug and thanked me for being a good person again (at which point I almost cried again), and I drove to work.  My coworkers wanted to know how the kitten was, and how I was.  I gave the shelter a call a couple hours ago; they said the kitten’s x-rays were clear, and that he was fine.  They’re still going to keep him for a couple of days, just to make sure he’s ok.

Now I just need to figure out how to convince Boyfriend to let me keep him (if I move in with him, STILL WAITING TO HEAR BACK ABOUT THAT PART OF MY FUTURE, GAH).  I already told him all about it when he called me about an hour ago.  He could not stop laughing and saying, “Adorable.”  I don’t think he thought I was serious about keeping the kitten.  But I think I’d like to.  I think I’d really like to.  And kinda not.  I don’t know.  Pretty torn.  He’s so cute.  They needed a name when I paid the bill.  I wrote down “Shorty.”  The nurse said he probably wasn’t gray, but white and filthy.  A white cat named Shorty.  Pretty cute.

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badness, goodness, life, manfolk

A sudden change of scenery

Diminutive Roommate has been looking for a house for the past year and a half or so.  She made an offer on a house Wednesday, and heard back Thursday that her offer had been accepted.  I felt a stab of panic on Thursday.  Today is Friday.  I”m waiting for the stab of panic to fade anytime now.

within my price range (DM’s is a little higher)

In all seriousness, I’m pretty excited for Diminutive Roommate.  We got to chat about the house for the first time tonight, and she’s (obviously) feeling overwhelmed, and worried that we’ll stop hanging out (note to self: harass Diminutive Roommate endlessly for the next three months, or until she gets sick of me).  I let her know that she would have my weekends for a while to help her get situated, and at the very least get the place in order so it can feel like a home and not just a new space to store herself.

Meanwhile, this is the perfect time to move out of our apartment for me.  I have good credit, but apparently it wasn’t good enough for me to not need a guarantor when we moved in here.  I was furious and embarrassed.  My dad signed on with much grumbling.  He and Mom didn’t seem to understand how angry and ashamed I was to have to ask for that kind of help at age 27 until they were delivering yet another lecture about how they didn’t like having to do this kind of thing at my age, and they hoped I understood the implications of blahblahblah, and I burst into tears and went on a tirade about how much effort I had put into being fiscally responsible and how mortified I was to have to do this in front of my friends, in front of my family.

Fast-forward ten months later, and Diminutive Roommate’s sudden escrow looks like an escape route for my parents who are financially on the hook until this lease ends with finality.  Plus, boyfriend and I have been talking about moving in together, but that’s all contingent on the approval of his family, who owns the house he’s been staying in rent-free for almost two years.  Plus the logistics of where my stuff would go in a house where they have expressly forbidden Boyfriend from doing anything as extreme as moving the furniture around (how would they ever fix such a permanent change?!).  So where would my stuff go?  How much rent would I be expected to pay?  How long would I be safely housed there until we got booted out because they suddenly decided to sell the place?

Then there’s the possibility that they’ll just say no outright.  Where would I go?  Would I stay here?  Would my parents take me in?  They let Sister live there for a while before she couldn’t stand it for another second (that was explosive exit).

I’m expecting the panic to subside anytime now.  Yep, aaaaaanytime.

Side note: It’s Saturday now, and I’ll be going to see Diminutive Roommate’s house this afternoon.  I’m pretty excited.  She said there are two cats that come with the place, lol.  I wonder what she’ll do with them (adopt, obviously).  More as this story unfolds.  Back to you in the studio.

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goodness

Oban to Ayr

Breakfast was at 845 today: Canadian bacon, mushrooms and a poached egg with toast and tea, just like yesterday. I had about an hour to pull my things together and be out by 1015.

the man in the blue shirt and cap is the owner

My train to Glasgow wasn’t until 1, so I meandered down the hill and found a picnic table to sit and enjoy the view for the last time.  I pulled out my ukulele for he first time since JFK, tuned it up, and played just a couple of songs before some happa guy with glasses approached me and said he loved playing uke.  We started chatting and I invited him to sit down for a spell.  Turns out he has the same Lanikai ukulele back home in Atlanta (he was American), and an almost identical case (from this store on Etsy). We talked about what we liked about Oban, Edinburgh and Dublin (he loved Galway).  I asked where he’d eaten (food is an important topic while travelling), and he named a few fish and chips places, but he hadn’t been to the shack where I’d had oysters every day.  So we went and had half a dozen oysters each (his treat).  He was thoroughly impressed, of course.

We found a seat under the clock tower near the bus stop (his bus left at noon), and chatted some more until he left.  While we waited, an old man approached us with a smile and said, “I thought I should know your names since I took a photo of you!”  He had taken a photo of the clock tower, and since we occupied its base, we ended up in the shot.  I offered him a seat next to me, and he proceeded to monologue with pride about his Panasonic digital camera (similar to mine, but nicer), how he didn’t need to add extra lenses (so cumbersome) because of the excellent optical zoom on his camera.  And so on until he abruptly stood, blurted a friendly good-bye, and walked away.

fish stew and “crusty bread”

My American buddy and I exchanged emails; he lives in Atlanta and travels a good amount, so we’ll have to keep in touch.  After he left I went back to my picnic table and had some fish stew from a stand on the bay, so delicious.  I grabbed a good seat on the train, and started reading A Walk in the Woods, a hilarious and fascinating book by Bill Bryson about walking the Appalachian Trail.  I got bit by the hiking bug during my walk around Kerrera.  I’ll have to do some hiking when I get back.

After a transfer at Glasgow I was on my way to Irvine to see Scottish friend, whom I haven’t set eyes on since the 2004 trip to Romania where we met.  She met me at the train station with a hug, and laughed when I tried to get into the driver’s side of the car.  We picked up her cat from the vet, and chatted during the rather scenic drive to her house, where she lives with three very friendly and playful cats, and her boyfriend of several years.  He had food poisoning, and couldn’t come to dinner with us (which I was happy about, actually), poor guy.  Scottish Friend took me to a restaurant called Scott’s (I think?), where I immediately ordered the haggis as a starter, and an enormous seafood platter for the main dish.  The haggis was… amazing.  So delicious.  It was put together with some mashed potatoes on top and a cream sauce over the whole thing (which is typical, apparently) in a somewhat cylindrical fashion.  I was extremely impressed.  I asked Scottish Friend if people there really eat haggis all that often, and she said eats it about twice a week.  I’ll have to find a good place here in LA for it (although it’s such a volatile dish, that should be an adventure).

OHAI I DIDN’T SEE YOU THERE

We went home and looked through her photos of the Romania trip.  She remembered almost everyone’s names (I couldn’t remember hardly any).  She and her boyfriend and I stayed up and chatted about accents (apparently it’s commonly known that Scottish Friend is universally difficult to understand, since she has somehow managed to create an accent all her own), and their burning desire to visit America, bolstered by the boyfriend’s current obsession with Man v. Food, a show on the Travel Channel where some American man with inevitably high cholesterol eats ridiculous portions of enormous foods at diners and the like all over the country.  I told him I would be sure to show him all the best places too eat around Los Angeles: Korean food, sushi, pho (which they had never heard of!), burgers, pasta, sandwiches, etc.  This fanned the flames a good amount until it was time to go to bed.

I slept in their guest bed, which was the softest, warmest, fluffiest cloud-of-a-bed I had slept in during the whole trip.  I was devastated to get up at 5am to catch a flight in Prestwick to Dublin.  Scottish Friend was nice enough to wake up early and take me to the airport.  How do we get along so well after all these years?  Strange how a connection between two people can be so easy.  She is such a blast.  I can’t wait to see her again, soon I hope.

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family, goodness, humor, life, manfolk, nerd

The one percent

I was looking through my iPhone photos this morning, and a random thought occurred to me: what would my life look like if I could only see every hundredth photo?  I recently cleaned out my phone of extraneous contacts, photos, emails, apps, etc., and the aftermath is just over a thousand photos of the past year and a half.  Here’s what one percent of my life looks like:

#1
I have to include number one; it’s a good starting point.  My mom gave me her iPhone 3g when she got a Blackberry from work, so I inherited some of her photos, and haven’t had the heart to delete them.  She travels for work (too much), and took this shot at a waterfall.  It was nice to turn on my “new” iPhone for the first time, and see that my mom has a good eye.

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#100
I work at Karate Job in Redondo Beach three times a week now, and there’s a pretty strong jalopy following down there.  I used to see at least one every few weeks.  This one was particularly shiny and handsome.  The owners are always  happy to let me snap a quick shot.  It’s like a car version of really good cosplay; they put a ton of work into it, and are happy to share their enthusiasm with others.

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#200
I’m your average nerd in a lot of ways: table top/online/video gamer, cosplayer, renaissance attendee (with costume), BSG fan, anime fan, manga reader, etc.  When I bought some go-karting tickets for Boyfriend for his birthday, we decided to go with a group of friends, who promptly decided it would be fun to dress up like Mario Kart characters.  Some of us bought our costumes, others made theirs from whatever they had lying around.  I did a combination: I painted an old helmet like an 8-bit piranha plant, bought a green spandex body suit, and voila!  A costume I could wear on the track without using any of the public equipment.  This is the helmet in-progress.  It turned out really well.

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#300
My friends are (of course), nerds too, bless their little hearts, and for a while, Wrath of Ashardalon was our game.  We couldn’t get enough.  I even drew my own character art, and wrote a dozen spells specifically for him.  This is one of those games where you pick your final boss at random.  Our first game, we pulled the game’s namesake: the main boss, Ashardalon, a giant fire-breathing death lizard.  His character dwarfed ours.  We were honestly a little scared.  It was a close one, but we pulled it off!  A very exciting game, and one that I felt the need to document.  As you can see, one of us has already died, while another has just rolled horribly.  Note the cave-in in the adjacent room.  That was a fun series of disasters.

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#400
I love the Renaissance Faire.  It’s so harmless and fun.  Women dress like tarts and men dress like warriors, and no felony sexual assault results.  People walk around fully armed with many very sharp swords and daggers, and no one fights.  Everyone is friendly, even to that one guy who dresses as a ninja, or that other dude who came as Captain Kirk that one time.  Everyone is so wrapped up in admiring costumes, eating turkey legs, playing games, and going to hilarious shows that a sense of good will permeates the fair grounds, and one feels out of place without a smile.
Boyfriend couldn’t make it to last year’s fair, so I took this photo to remind him of how pretty I look wearing girly stuff.

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#500
Diminutive Roommate has been on the hunt for a house for the past year or so, and most of the houses within her price range are in the valley.  I like to go with her whenever I can go give her a second set of eyes, and just to hang out.  Of course, it’s sweltering hot in the valley half the year, so on our way back from visiting one of her prospects this past summer, she blurted out, “Let’s get a watermelon!”  I said, “You’re a genius.  You’re my favorite person right now.”  We pulled over at a Trader Joe’s, grabbed this little guy and strapped him into the back seat.  I’m still pretty protective of my new Fiat, and Diminutive Roommate was eating raspberries or something in the front seat, and had her hands full.  So I improvised.

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#600
I can’t believe it took six hundred photos to randomly fall on one of Calico, Diminutive Roommate’s adorable cat.  She’s like a dog trapped in a feline’s body.  She flops over to have her tummy rubbed.  She loves smelly feet.  She begs when we eat delicious meats.  She’ll cry until we feed her, or if she just wants some company in the morning.  She tackles our legs with all the force her little body can muster, and sometimes it’s really scary.  She’s very sweet, and super cute.  She loves her tennis ball, and she occasionally chirp/meows at the birds outside.  She had just gotten trimmed before this photo, so she looks tiny.  She’s usually pretty poofy.

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#700
My room needs some overhead lighting, so when Dad and I went to Ikea to pick up some cabinets for the apartment we’re fixing up, we decided to see if they had any cool light fixtures.  In order to get to the lighting section, you have to pass through the entire store, so like most people in Ikea, we went a little crazy.  Dad has a great sense of humor, so when he saw these stuffed sharks, this is the first thing he did.  I made him freeze so I could snap a quick photo.  Y’know, for posterity. (note the Lanikai Canoe Club hat 🙂 )

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#800
My family has had a rough time this past year and a half, but this Christmas was really nice.  Mom asked Sister and me to spend the night Xmas eve, and sleep in our old beds, just like when we were little.  She coerced us with a promise of pancakes and bacon in the morning.  It’s a commonly-known fact that my mom’s pancakes are the best pancakes.  You didn’t know?  Yeah, they’re the best.

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#900
Diminutive Roommate and I used to go grocery shopping together all the time, and we always had a blast.  It was like going to a theme park.  Every isle held something fun and stupid to laugh about.  It was a golden era; we were both dating nice guys named John, we shared a room in a pretty gated community in Culver City, we were still in school, and everything was as it should be.  This talent to find fun in ordinary places is one she and I have retained, but when we found a hat in the shape of a giraffe at Joanne’s while hunting for fabric to cover my couch, the pieces sort of fell into place on their own.  I think it really suits her.

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#1000
I just took this photo last night!  Diminutive Roommate’s coworker came over a couple weeks ago to play poker, and mentioned that he had taken up playing the ukulele.  He’s the outdoorsy type, and wanted an instrument he could take with him on backpacking trips and the like.  I said I had always wanted to learn to play the uke, and he offered to teach me.  Diminutive Roommate said she wanted to learn too.  My Lanikai uke just arrived yesterday; hers is arriving tomorrow.  I can’t wait to jam with her and her friend.

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A quick summary of the first thousand photos on my phone:
Mom has quite the artist’s eye on her travels.
Jalopy’s are fun and remind me of Archie.
Go-karting is a perfect venue to show off your love for Mario Kart.
My friends and I love our table-top games.
The Renn Faire is the only place I feel comfortable dressing like a lady.
Watermelons are the ultimate summer snack.
Calico is as adorable as she is deadly.
Dad allows himself to be mauled by a shark to keep us sane at Ikea.
Mom makes a delicious Xmas morning breakfast.
Diminutive Roommate does her part to maintain tradition of being weird and fun.
I love my new uke.

I’m pleased with the turnout here: family, hobbies, friends.  It’s a happy collection, but I’m disappointed at the locality of them.  New goal for the next thousand: exotic locations, new experiences.

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goodness, humor

Adorable implosion

I can’t believe, given how long the internet has been around and the direction it’s taken, that a scale for measuring nothing but absurdity has yet to be created.  You’re looking at a ‘painting’ of a Scottish Fold being adorned like a royal by fat little putti.  It’s modern ridiculousness flawlessly folded into Renaissance portrait painting.  Stuff like this is going to make the internet collapse inward on itself like a dying star.

MORE SALMON FOR HER MAJESTY

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Xmas: Always a hilarious semi-disaster

wait until there are presents!!

My hands smell like a pine tree!  We just bought, carried upstairs (via freight elevator), and decorated our 6-foot tree with white and red lights, and gold and red ornaments.  Also, little Gregory (a felt gingerbread man I bought at the fabric store) almost made it to the top of the tree this year, but was usurped by a cheap, glittery, plastic gold star we use every year, which really tops the whole thing off nicely.  We figured out how to punch a whole in it and wind some twine through it and thereby affix it to the top of the tree so we didn’t have to hot-glue it this year.  Yep.  Classy shit.

Diminutive Roommate’s cat, Calico, is fweaking out, as usual.  It’s an annual ritual: the tree comes up, she investigates, goes medieval on the white twine that was used to tie it down to the roof of the car, then tears around the house when we hiss at her for attacking the lights.  It’s quite a little show.

The first year we lived at the old place (2008), it seemed like everyone was out of town with family: all my friends, both my roommates, even Sister I think.  I was pretty alone at home, and a few days before Xmas, I decided to spruce the place up, and bought myself a tree.  It was pretty tiny, only three or four feet high.  I threw it on top of the Pontiac, grabbed a stand to put it on, bought some seriously discounted lights at the local grocery store, and went home.  The guys at the lot gave me one giant nail with which to secure said tree to the wooden pieces of the stand, plus a plastic bowl for water.  It’s a pretty simple formula:

simple enough... for some

And yet somehow I was so excited about putting the tree up that I forgot about the bowl, and nailed the ever-loving shit out of those boards onto the bottom of the tree.  I stood it up and immediately realized my problem: I had fucked it all up.  And I could not for the life of me get the nail out of the boards or the tree stump.  I had done a world class job of securing them together, and it was going to take some creativity and muscle to separate them.

First I tried using the other side of the hammer.  No dice.  I tried standing on the wooden stand and pulling.  Painful and fruitless.  I realized I would have to apply all the force I could muster against something with more resistance than my body was capable of.

I came up with a brilliant, obnoxious plan.

The rear door to the building was made of metal, and opened up on an alley.  I decided to place just the portion of the tree with the stand on it outside the door, then close the door just enough so that when I YANKED on the tree, the stand would be forced off.  It seemed like a simple, if absurd plan.  I was pretty sure it was going to work.  What I didn’t count on was the noise, and the number of times I would have to repeat this amazing strategy to get that fucking stand off my goddamn tree.

mad genius

It must have been 2am by the time I started hurling the stand against the door and its frame.  The alley provided for some horrifyingly efficient acoustics.  I pitied anyone who lived within fifty yards.  After the first ten or so swings, I really got the hang of it, and threw my whole body into it.  A few minutes in, I took a break to laugh hysterically at the sweaty absurdity of my situation, then got back to work.

Eventually I succeeded, and none of my neighbors complained about the racket I had made (maybe because they were CRAZY).  I affixed the stand properly, decorated the tree sparsely, and placed it in an empty corner where it sat, looking warm, yet lonely, which described that Xmas perfectly.

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Ultimate internet thing

Diminutive Roommate was nice enough to show me this truly horrifying video: Welcome to Kitty City.  It has many cats.  And when I say cats, I don’t mean “Aww, so cute,” or “Wtf is that cat doing?  Weirdo.”  I mean I stared at the screen with a confused, I-can’t-look-away kind of face.

There are no cats getting eaten alive or anything horribly violent like that.  This video is what happens when the internet is focused by a giant magnifying glass, and that tiny point of concentrated interwebz hits your brain and makes it hurt.  That’s what this video is: dehydrated meme, force-fed into your eyeballs with terrifying efficiency and a hypnotizing broken-down carnival-ride soundtrack.

Here’s the creator’s website.

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