Friday, August 28, 2009

Mostly Crafty

Wow, it's been a long time since I posted here. I've been posting primarily at my other blog (Geek Kraft) because that's really the most interesting thing I've been up to. We've been busy this month with people coming into town, but mostly we're just hanging out and catching up, playing games, eating food, etc. The trips are great, but much more fun to experience than to read about, I'm sure.

So, here's what has been taking up my time: Feline medical care. Caring for Antonia was a lot of work and a lot of emotional stress. Then we had to put her down and there was a sort of respite from the stress of trying to get her healthy again. We decided to get a kitten to keep Levi company. The day we brought home the kitten (his name is Admiral Smithington, Smitty for short) Levi was really sick. We took him to the vet the next morning and found out that he had a really bad urinary tract infection. They gave us some meds to give to him and an IV bag to get fluids into his system via subcutaneous needle-poking. We did that for a few days and took him back to the regular vet. He told us to stop with the meds and just gave him a long-acting penicillin shot which worked much much better. We finished off the fluids and a week later, Levi is doing much better. he's out and about, playing with the new kitten, jumping up onto the bed and couch (so it's safe to assume there's little pain) and starting to get back to his old self. He still isn't eating or drinking as much as he should be, but he's eating a little bit and seems to be drinking a bit. If he isn't drinking more by this evening, we're going to get more fluids into him. So anyway, that has been our situation. When it rains it pours, I guess. At least Levi is recovering.

So now we have a new kitten and he is incredibly adorable. See for yourself:

He's really fitting into the family very well. He's super tiny and feisty and cuddly. He likes to alternate between playing very hard and snuggling very hard. It's super cute. We're really enjoying having him around the house, to the point where we're actually thinking about getting another kitten in a few weeks, after we're sure Levi is fully recovered. The thinking is that then these two cats will be roughly the same age, so when it finally is Levi's time to go, they'll still have each other. We'll see how that idea progresses, but we're at least considering it.

*Update* I didn't mention this before, but we're pretty sure he's a Russian blue. If not completely, at least a very large part. he has the double coat, the silvery sheen (right now, particularly around his paws) and the green eyes. His eyes aren't the perfect color they like, and he has a few white spots on his chest so he certainly wouldn't be show quality. Still, he meets almost all of the other criteria (even having maroon footpads) and looks quite a bit like most of the photos we saw of other Russian Blues. So that's cool.

I'm still going to jiu-jitsu classes, albeit far less regularly than I was. I would like to go to more, but it seems things always come up that require my attention. bah. I'm going to try to work much harder at making it to class at least 3 times a week, if not 4. I've also completely stopped doing my morning workouts. I really do need to get back to them, though. I stopped originally because we had to force-feed Antonia every morning and that always took quite a while. Recently I haven't been doing it because we've been staying up super late and it's tough to get up any earlier than I absolutely have to. Really, any reasons or excuses aren't going to do anything for my health or my stamina or anything, so they aren't worth much. I just need to buckle down and make it happen. I'll keep you guys informed.

I'm doing a lot of work in the garage recently, too. If you read my other blog you'll get the specifics, but basically I got a wild hair to try to make bows, and then got another wild hair to do some cool projects for halloween. Mostly these involve very simple little things that I could do pretty much in no time, but I'm trying to make them a bit cooler. I'm working on joinery, specifically finger joints, because i think they're awesome and they're easy to do with a jig. If I can perfect my jig and my technique, I should be able to get tons of these things done in pretty much no time, leaving me with a great-looking traditional joint and not a ton of effort. To me, that opens up a lot of cool small projects.

I've also started playing some video games again. Nothing too crazy, just grabbing a few hours here and there. I'm still working on Fallout 3 because that game is absurdly enormous, and I recently backtracked to Assassin's Creed. I want to get all the achievements for it, and that's no easy task. It's a great game and I'm wondering now about making a costume based on it. The aesthetic is very original and cool, and I'm thinking I could make an excellent representation of it with a little work. We'll see how that goes.

Aside from that, we're doing our normal gaming, trivia, hanging out, eating, visiting friends and family, playing with tiny furry babies and so on. I'm also reading a lot of non-fiction, primarily about making bows and violins (another project I'm sort of curious about).

That's it for now!

Friday, August 14, 2009

New Kitten

So, since we are now down to one cat and he is acting like the loneliest cat ever, we've decided to get a new baby kitten for him to play with. Levi is one of the most affectionate animals I've ever encountered, and he really needs a cuddle buddy. he hasn't been happy since Antonia got sick and stopped wanting to hang out with him. he's been crying a lot and following us around even more than usual. So, to help with that (and at least partially because I love cats and feel that I can never have enough of them) we're going to get a kitten.

Here's where you're all going to be shocked: We're going to the dumb friends league. I know that I have said that shelter dogs are lame and that I would never have one. That remains true. First off, I think that since darn near every cat you will ever find is classified as "Domestic Shorthair" (unless you go out of your way to find a specific breed) their breed really doesn't matter much. Whether you get them from a pet store or a Craigslist ad or anything else, they're going to be a pretty standard cat. Also, I am a firm believer in spaying and neutering pets, which the Dumb Friends League does as part of your adoption fee. They charge $115 for kittens and that fee includes spaying or neutering, vaccinations, microchipping and a first vet visit to any vet who participates in the program (and almost all of them do). You also get "new owner counseling" or some such, which is helpful if you get the pet home and find that he's got some issues. So, I think that's an incredibly good deal, financially speaking. Most Craigslist or newspaper ads want a $25-$50 rehoming fee (partly because they can make money and party because they want to be sure people aren't taking the cats and feeding them to snakes or something). Add the vet's fee for microchipping ($50, I believe) and spaying/neutering (something over $50) and the Dumb Friends League really is the only way to go. You also know that the cats are socialized and treated well. The DFL has folks who just go and play in the kitten cages. The cages are clean, bright, and full of toys and friends for the babies to play with.

Really, the whole DFL building was very impressive. You could tell it had been designed from the ground up just to make it easy for people and animals to interact. There were also a ton of people working there. I was pretty amazed. The dog enclosures were all very clean and well-maintained, and most dogs had a buddy with them (the space is easily big enough for two) so they wouldn't just be alone all the time. Everything was freshly painted, well-organized, clean, and bright. It wasn't at all like I expected an animal shelter to be. I was expecting chain link, small cages, just a few people walking around in poopy clothes, etc. Not at all. So anyway, getting a kitten from them just seems like the natural thing to do.

We're looking to get a male, probably a brown or orange tabby. His name is going to be Captain Doctor Smithington-Reece, Esquire and we will call him "Smitty" for short. We'll be taking and posting tons of pictures of him in his baby stages so we always have them even when he's a grown-up.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


We had to have Antonia put down today. She's been having some pretty serious health problems and the things we'd been hoping would help her get better just weren't working. The doc said today that her lungs were full of fluid and she was having a really hard time breathing. There's no way she was going to improve from that, so we made the tough (but hopefully right) decision to just let her go. We tried everything we could to get her better, and didn't let her suffer any longer than we needed to, so I'm really hoping we did right by her. She was my first real pet (aside from various small, caged pets and family-owned animals) and I loved her very much. She always had such a unique personality, and she always loved her daddy. I'm sorry it had to end this way, but it wouldn't be fair to her to keep her alive, struggling for air while we try to force food down her throat every few hours. I have to believe she's better off now.

Anyhow, I wanted to say thanks to everyone who has already expressed condolences. I really appreciate having so many great friends and such a great family. Thanks, everyone.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Something everyone needs to know about

Academic Earth

This site is the coolest thing I've seen in a very long time. It's a collection of lectures and even full courses from some of the best schools in the country. Everything from Psychology to Computer Science and Astronomy to Religion is available. It's amazing. I really can't adequately express my joy with this site. I'm going to do it up right, I think, and watch an entire course in order, and even attempt to do the projects along with the class. I'm starting with this one: CS 50 from Harvard

I think I'll continue on to math, physics, astronomy, and anything else I can think of. This is precisely how I learn best, and it's offering me a chance to see what a course is like and to gain the knowledge without needing to spend a lot of money on tuition and everything. Frankly, I have a degree already and the knowledge is what I need more than a piece of paper saying I know what I know.

Anyhow, this was worthy of me dusting off my blog and making a post. Everything else proceeds apace, really. Jiu-jitsu continues to go well, Antonia seems to be getting better, projects are progressing, I'm desperately in love with my wife, we continue to have ag reat time at trivia, visiting family and friends are keeping us thoroughly buys this whole month, etc. I may get a bit more specific if I have time, but we'll see. Thanks for reading!