You want a physicist to speak at your funeral.*

Saturday, June 23rd, 2012

You want a physicist to speak at your funeral. You want the physicist to talk to your grieving family about the conservation of energy, so they will understand that your energy has not died. You want the physicist to remind your sobbing mother about the first law of thermodynamics; that no energy gets created in the universe, and none is destroyed. You want your mother to know that all your energy, every vibration, every Btu of heat, every wave of every particle that was her beloved child remains with her in this world. You want the physicist to tell your weeping father that amid energies of the cosmos, you gave as good as you got.

And at one point you’d hope that the physicist would step down from the pulpit and walk to your brokenhearted spouse there in the pew and tell him that all the photons that ever bounced off your face, all the particles whose paths were interrupted by your smile, by the touch of your hair, hundreds of trillions of particles, have raced off like children, their ways forever changed by you. And as your widow rocks in the arms of a loving family, may the physicist let her know that all the photons that bounced from you were gathered in the particle detectors that are her eyes, that those photons created within her constellations of electromagnetically charged neurons whose energy will go on forever.

And the physicist will remind the congregation of how much of all our energy is given off as heat. There may be a few fanning themselves with their programs as he says it. And he will tell them that the warmth that flowed through you in life is still here, still part of all that we are, even as we who mourn continue the heat of our own lives.

And you’ll want the physicist to explain to those who loved you that they need not have faith; indeed, they should not have faith. Let them know that they can measure, that scientists have measured precisely the conservation of energy and found it accurate, verifiable and consistent across space and time. You can hope your family will examine the evidence and satisfy themselves that the science is sound and that they’ll be comforted to know your energy’s still around. According to the law of the conservation of energy, not a bit of you is gone; you’re just less orderly. Amen.

– Aaron Freeman, “You want a physicist to speak at your funeral.” (via NPR)

(More below the fold…)

"I got heathens aplenty right here!"* Merry CriFSMas from our crew to yours!

Saturday, December 24th, 2011

2011 FSMas Card MAIN

May your holiday be bright and shiny,
and your ‘verse, filled with shindigs and thrilling heroics.
– Kaylee and Jayne
——————————

Happy holidays, y’all! As I said the other day, I’ve been dying to do some holiday cosplay with Kaylee and Jayne ever since we adopted them five years ago, and this year I finally got to it! I decorated the entire tree with pirates in their honor (The crew of Serenity? Space pirates! Totally relevant to Pastafarianism, since doctrine holds that the decline in pirates is correlated with global warming – and thus in order to avert the apocalypse, we have to bring back piracy. Check and mate.), which was no small feat seeing as I made most of the ornaments by hand over a two-month period. I also hired someone to custom-make Kaylee Frye and Jayne Cobb outfits way back in August. Oh, the planning that went into this holiday card!

Unfortunately, my seamstress totally flaked (Updated to add: full story here!), leaving me to cobble together costumes from off-the-rack pieces at the last minute. Instead of a green mechanic’s jumpsuit and floral blouse, Kaylee is wearing her shindig dress – that is, a Cotton Candy Dog Dress by East Side Collection. And while Jayne isn’t sporting a trademark brown Jayne Cobb ringer tee, she does look pretty badass in a green army jacket – really an Army Green Utility Jacket by Zack & Zoey.

Of course, the Jayne hat is the star of the ensemble; I actually had three custom-made for me by two different etsians: Sam’s Crochet (that would be the adorably floppy, Rasta-style hat Jayne and Peedee are wearing) and Whitaker Knits (the smaller hats with the orange tie, as seen on Ralphie and O-Ren, below). Rounding out Jayne’s look is a Browncoats logo pin I scored on Amazon. (It’s on her chest and not clearly visible in all the photos.) I also picked up some cute ID badges on eBay, but couldn’t find a place for them in the final outfits. Instead, they became ornaments for the tree.

Here’s a little character collage I put together for my family, who are not Firefly fans (THE HORRA!) and thus didn’t get the reference. Side-by-side comparison time! How do you think I did?

2011 FSMas Card - Kaylee-Jayne Comparison Collage

All’s shiny that ends shiny, I say.

Outtakes and extras after the jump!

(More below the fold…)

Goodbye, but not forever.

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011

2002-11-13 - Ozzy-002

But before they could begin, a voice cried out, as loudly as a whisper could cry. It was the ghost of a thin man with an angry, passionate face, and he cried:

“What will happen? When we leave the world of the dead, will we live again? Or will we vanish as our daemons did? Brothers, sisters, we shouldn’t follow this child anywhere till we know what’s going to happen to us!”

Others took up the question: “Yes, tell us where we’re going! Tell us what to expect! We won’t go unless we know what’ll happen to us!”

Lyra turned to Will in despair, but he said, “Tell them the truth. Ask the alethiometer, and tell them what it says.”

“All right,” she said.

She took out the golden instrument. The answer came at once. She put it away and stood up.

“This is what’ll happen,” she said, “and it’s true, perfectly true. When you go out of here, all the particles that make you up will loosen and float apart, just like your daemons did. If you’ve seen people dying, you know what that looks like. But your daemons en’t just nothing now; they’re part of everything. All the atoms that were them, they’ve gone into the air and the wind and the trees and the earth and all the living things. They’ll never vanish. They’re just part of everything. And that’s exactly what’ll happen to you, I swear to you, I promise on my honor. You’ll drift apart, it’s true, but you’ll be out in the open, part of everything alive again.”

No one spoke. Those who had seen how daemons dissolved were remembering it, and those who hadn’t were imagining it, and no one spoke until a young woman came forward. She had died as a martyr centuries before. She looked around and said to the other ghosts:

“When we were alive, they told us that when we died we’d go to Heaven. And they said that Heaven was a place of joy and glory and we would spend eternity in the company of saints and angels praising the Almighty, in a state of bliss. That’s what they said. And that’s what led some of us to give our lives, and others to spend years in solitary prayer, while all the joy of life was going to waste around us and we never knew.

“Because the land of the dead isn’t a place of reward or a place of punishment. It’s a place of nothing. The good come here as well as the wicked, and all of us languish in this gloom forever, with no hope of freedom, or joy, or sleep, or rest, or peace.

“But now this child has come offering us a way out and I’m going to follow her. Even if it means oblivion, friends, I’ll welcome it, because it won’t be nothing. We’ll be alive again in a thousand blades of grass, and a million leaves; we’ll be falling in the raindrops and blowing in the fresh breeze; we’ll be glittering in the dew under the stars and the moon out there in the physical world, which is our true home and always was.

“So I urge you: come with the child out to the sky!”

But her ghost was thrust aside by the ghost of a man who looked like a monk: thin and pale, with dark, zealous eyes even in his death. He crossed himself and murmured a prayer, and then he said:

“This is a bitter message, a sad and cruel joke. Can’t you see the truth? This is not a child. This is an agent of the Evil One himself! The world we lived in was a vale of corruption and tears. Nothing there could satisfy us. But the Almighty has granted us this blessed place for all eternity, this paradise, which to the fallen soul seems bleak and barren, but which the eyes of faith see as it is, overflowing with milk and honey and resounding with the sweet hymns of the angels. This is Heaven, truly! What this evil girl promises is nothing but lies. She wants to lead you to Hell! Go with her at your peril. My companions and I of the true faith will remain here in our blessed paradise, and spend eternity singing the praises of the Almighty, who has given us the judgment to tell the false from the true.”

Once again he crossed himself, and then he and his companions turned away in horror and loathing.

Lyra felt bewildered. Was she wrong? Was she making some great mistake? She looked around: gloom and desolation on every side. But she’d been wrong before about the appearance of things, trusting Mrs. Coulter because of her beautiful smile and her sweet-scented glamour. It was so easy to get things wrong; and without her daemon to guide her, maybe she was wrong about this, too.

But Will was shaking her arm. Then he put his hands to her face and held it roughly.

“You know that’s not true,” he said, “just as well as you can feel this. Take no notice! They can all see he’s lying, too. And they’re depending on us. Come on, let’s make a start.”

She nodded. She had to trust her body and the truth of what her senses told her; she knew Pan would have.

So they set off, and the numberless millions of ghosts began to follow them. Behind them, too far back for the children to see, other inhabitants of the world of the dead had heard what was happening and were coming to join the great march. Tialys and Salmakia flew back to look and were overjoyed to see their own people there, and every other kind of conscious being who had ever been punished by the Authority with exile and death. Among them were beings who didn’t look human at all, beings like the mulefa, whom Mary Malone would have recognized, and stranger ghosts as well. But Will and Lyra had no strength to look back; all they could do was move on after the harpies, and hope.

…..

Will and Lyra exchanged a look. Then he cut a window, and it was the sweetest thing they had ever seen.

The night air filled their lungs, fresh and clean and cool; their eyes took in a canopy of dazzling stars, and the shine of water somewhere below, and here and there groves of great trees, as high as castles, dotting the wide savanna.

Will enlarged the window as wide as he could, moving across the grass to left and right, making it big enough for six, seven, eight to walk through abreast, out of the land of the dead.

The first ghosts trembled with hope, and their excitement passed back like a ripple over the long line behind them, young children and aged parents alike looking up and ahead with delight and wonder as the first stars they had seen for centuries shone through into their poor starved eyes.

The first ghost to leave the world of the dead was Roger. He took a step forward, and turned to look back at Lyra, and laughed in surprise as he found himself turning into the night, the starlight, the air…and then he was gone, leaving behind such a vivid little burst of happiness that Will was reminded of the bubbles in a glass of champagne.

(More below the fold…)

furkid friday: stunt kitteh (hope he kept his day job)

Friday, March 25th, 2011

Shane shot this video of the cats Wednesday night. The way that Ozzy and Lemmy were scoping each other out, he anticipated either a bout of playing or fighting (or some combination of the two) – but what came next was much more hilarious:

You can practically hear Ozzy laughing on the inside.

(By the way, that weird sparkly eye effect later in the video? That was just Shane messing around with his camera’s effects. It’s kind of creepy, actually, like Lemmy’s half-anime or something. *shudder*)

Ceiling Cat approves.

Sunday, January 23rd, 2011

OMG GAIS I HAS FOUND A KITTEH ON MAI DOORSTEP!

funny pictures of cats with captions

NO SRSLY! DIS B HOW TEH STORY GHOS. *

* BUT WE IS STOP WIT TEH LOLZ SPEEK KAY? I KOOD KEEP DIS UP ALL DEY, BUT I DUNNOWS BOUT U, C. U MAY KNOT B SEW AWESUM!

Okay, so. Here’s the scene: Tuesday, early evening, about 5-ish. The dogs are starting to work themselves into a frothing frenzy in anticipation of dinner, which is usually served at 5:30. As I’m walking through the living room, massaging my throbbing temples – having just spent the afternoon playing stimulating mind games with the cabin feverish dogs, which left me more mentally exhausted than them, a headache of epic proportions was in the works – I hear a meow coming from…somewhere. Somewhere on the “dog side” of the house, where normally the only animal noises one should hear is barking and such.

(Yes, we have a “dog side” and a “cat side”! The rooms in our house are arranged such that you can divide the house in half by closing the office and living room doors. Or gating them; we usually do a combination of the two. And on the rare occasions when we need/want to leave those doors open, Ozzy has his own dedicated room on the “cat side” – the doorway to which is blocked from the dogs by a large wooden box we made specially for the purpose. Ozzy can clear it; the dogs, not so much. Double protection: score! Anyway, it’s AWESOME! We were so lucky to find this place. The only thing it’s missing is a basement…which can be a BIG THING when you live in Tornado Alley. But I digress.)

At first, I thought that Ozzy had slipped through while the dogs and I were playing games on “his” side of the house. It was difficult to tell where the meowing was coming from: not only were the dogs being rather noisy, but sounds tend to bounce off our concrete floors and mostly-empty walls. After herding the dogs into another room, I started searching the house for a wayward cat, which by this time I was fairly certain was not Ozzy. (Hey, a mom can recognize her kid’s meow/bark/chirp, yes?) Closets, cupboard, corners: no cat. Finally, I had the bright idea (cue: duh moment) to check in on Ozzy; yup, napping on his chair, just as he should be. I chalked the mystery meows up to my headache and/or imaginations.

Later on, after feeding the dogs, I plopped down in front of the tv with a snack. (Ice cream, natch.) After not two minutes, I heard the meowing again; this time, over both the din of the television and the dogs. LOUD and INSISTENT. In that moment, it clicked: there must be an animal outside in trouble! Back into the bedroom with the dogs, who were Not. Happy. to be there. (Bark, bark, BARK. Whimper, whine, sniff-scratch-sniff. BARK!)

By this time, it was obvious that the animal was lurking outside the front door. Not really knowing what to expect – should I put my shoes on? coat? will I need to chase the little guy, wrestle him into a carrier maybe? – I opened the door, and..in he walked. Strutted, more like it. Like he already lived here. As though he’d done so a million times before. Meow, meow, meow. “Feed me, mommy!” Freaking. Adorable.

(More below the fold…)

domestic terraist doggehs selebrate crifsmas wit toefoo nog (like duh!)

Saturday, December 18th, 2010

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domestic terraist bear is one of teh kewl girls.
Left to right: Kaylee, Jayne, O-Ren and the pirate-polar-vegan-terrorist criFSMas bear.
——————————

Initially, I’d planned on doing a sort of “domestic terrorist” theme for this year’s holiday (read: criFSMas) cards, using the “domestic terrorist” apron from Green is the New Red as the centerpiece. (Product description: “‘Domestic.’ Terrorist. Get it? There’s nothing funny about the FBI labeling environmental and animal advocates the ‘number one domestic terrorism threat.’ But with the Feds attempting to infiltrate vegan potlucks, why not accessorize? […] Happy ‘terrorizing’! But be careful in the kitchen. Did you know tofu makes you gay?” Vegan chefs are scary, yo! Also: my dog-kids consume a fair amount of tofu. Additionally, they are super-psyched about today’s repeal of DADT. Draw your own conclusions, mkay.)

While my idea was solid, its execution was not: the apron proved way too large for the dogs (which was to be expected, even though it looks super-tiny – not to mention satiny – on the model), so at first I tried putting it on our pirate polar bear.

I think you’ll agree that she looks super-snazzy in it

2010-12-04 - O criFSMas Tree - 0011

but she’s also, well, kind of a big girl. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, mind you; she’s vegan and totes in shape. But it proved next to impossible to fit both her and a dog in the camera frame. And so I re-staged the set, hanging the apron from the tree and surrounding it with fake fruits and veggies and a vase filled with pasta-related kitchen utensils.

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(Ignore the white fur on the black apron. Living with four white dogs and a mostly-white cat, it cannot be helped.)

Better, but once I went back and examined the photos on my computer monitor, I realized that the paddles looked really odd and stupid. Tremendously so. Plus, there was still a lot of floor and wall showing. Dislike.

So on day #2 of shooting, I ditched the setup and instead opted for a sea of book piles, coupled with a vase filled with angel hair pasta, and complemented with a sparkly “peace” ornament and baby flying spaghetti monster. The new theme? Peace and pasta.

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That taste? Perfection!

Not wanting the domestic terrorist photos to go to waste, I decided to make a series of (VEGAN!) lol dogs out of them. And so I give you: domestic terraist doggehs! (And one kitteh, who barely sat still long enough for me to take three pictures of him. His caption is most fitting.)

lol ozzy - is a terror allrite

title: lol ozzy – is a terror allright
caption: “domestic terraist kitteh” is a redundancy
——————————

lol ralphie - thot u said petdown

title: lol ralphie – thot u said petdown
caption: domestic terraist doggeh will take that patdown now, mkay
——————————

lol peedee - go boom

title: lol peedee – go boom
caption: domestic terraist doggeh be a walkin’ thyme bomb
(idea shameless borrowed from a blog of the same name)
——————————

lol rennie - be happy 2 show u her mitts

title: lol rennie – be happy 2 show u her mitts
caption: domestic terraist doggeh be hostin a v-gun potluck next week
(u bring teh loaded taters kay?)
——————————

lol kaylee - kills wit spiceness

title: lol kaylee – kills wit spiceness
caption: domestic terraist doggeh is about 2 es’splode ur taste budz
——————————

lol jayne - is be busted

title: lol jayne – is be busted
caption: domestic terraist doggeh pleads deh lish
(hint: if you don’t get it, sound it out loud!)
——————————

In many ways, I think I like this series better than the “real” card I ended up with (and the outtakes I made for each dog; yes, I’ve been a busy bee). But hey, there’s always next year. Well, not really. I’ve already got plans for 2011, and they involve Kaylee, Jayne and Joss Fucking Whedon. (One hint: SPACE PIRATES!) 2012, perhaps. I’m sure the theme will still be relevant then, unfortunately.

The Season of the Vegan: VeganMoFo, Halloweegan & Birthday Kisses

Saturday, October 9th, 2010
  • If you’re vegan and on the internets, then probably you already know all about the awesomeness that is VeganMoFo. But a reminder never hurts now, does it?

    Vegan MoFo IV logo banner

    VeganMoFo is a month-long celebration of all things vegan food-related, in intertubes carnival form. Throughout the month of November, vegan bloggers the world over pledge to post about the joys of vegan food once a day, with the goal of generating at least 20 posts for the month (weekends are optional!). Topics run the gamut, from original recipes to theme days and photo essays to contests and giveaways. Last year, over 500 bloggers participated, yours truly included. (You can browse an archive of my VeganMoFo contributions here.)

    If you’re interested in being a MoFoer – in blog or in spirit – check out VeganMoFo Headquarters International, where a team of MoFoers will be recapping all the hot, sticky, NOMy vegan action in real time. You can also follow them on Twitter (@veganmofo), where you should totally share your own #veganmofo links – tagged according, natch. For the Flickerites among us, there’s even a VeganMoFo group; join and share, mkay?

    The sign-up deadline to be included in the RSS feed / “official” list of participants is 11/2, but you can jump in at any time! (Sign-up sheet here.)

    Last year, there was a push to garner media coverage for the event; I don’t know whether something similar is planned for 2010, but you should definitely keep an eye on the PPK forums for more. If necessary, last year’s sample press release can easily be reworked for VeganMoFo IV.

  • lol ozzy - cannibalizin

  • Not being a PPK regular, I initially thought that, as in years past, VeganMoFo IV was scheduled for October. But, not so much. Luckily, October is home to its own brand of awesomeness: Halloween!

    Wing-It Vegan is leading the Halloween festivities with a month of Halloweegan treats. (Halloween + vegan = Halloweegan, silly!) Spider Cupcakes, Vampire Cookies and Veggieloaf Coffins, oh my! You can browse an index of her Halloween-themed recipes here; she’s helpfully included links to other vegan creations ’round the interwebs, too. And if you’re on Flickr, join her newly-birthed Halloweegan group so you can get in on the fun.

  • Similarly, the good folks at VegWeb.com have assembled a dedicated Halloween page. Hit ’em up for Halloween-themed recipes, costume and party ideas, leads on yummy vegan Halloween candy and more.
  • Last Thursday was Kaylee and Jayne’s adoption day (four years) and observed birthdays (twelve and six years, respectively). I meant to at least mention it on the 30th, but happily we were too busy celebrating! At nine days past due, you’d think I’d just accept that the moment has passed, and maybe it’s silly, but…I feel a little remiss if I don’t at least give the kids an on-blog shout-out. Guilty, even. I know, I know, I’m such a mom.

    Anyhow, Shane and I drove the girls to nearby Smithville Lake, where we took a leisurely stroll along the water (2.11 miles in 53 minutes!). Kaylee is a naturally slow walker (she doesn’t walk so much as meander); whereas Jayne, possibly owing to abandonment issues, won’t walk more than five feet in front of you without stopping and/or retreating back, presumably to confirm that you haven’t ditched her while she wasn’t looking. It’s rather sad, actually. But it was a beautiful, shiny day and I think we all were happy to get out of the house.

    2010-09-30 - Walking Kaylee & Jayne - 0009

    2010-09-30 - Walking Kaylee & Jayne - 0011

    (More below the fold…)

  • VeganMoFo, Day 31: Ginger Snaps, Vegan Zombies & Hallow-weenies

    Saturday, October 31st, 2009

    null

    And the consumer becomes the consumed!

    It’s October 31st, folks! You know what that means: Halloween and the end of VeganMoFo. Thirty-one days, thirty-one posts. I don’t know about you, but I’m exhausted….and totally looking forward to VeganMoFo IV!

    The Mr. and I will spend the day taking in an orgy of Halloween horror movies and vegan junk food, so I don’t have enough time to put together a cohesive post. But that’s okay, because hopefully you don’t have time to read a cohesive post.

    On the schedule for today, movie-wise, is:

    The Alphabet Killer (2008)

    The Alphabet Killer is based on the double initial killings in Rochester, New York in the early 1970s. Eliza Dusku stars as Megan Paige, a police officer who is highly committed to the job. She develops schizophrenia, lasting for more than six months, and includes one month of active symptoms such as illusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech, and grossly disorganized or catatonic behavior. Megan’s obsession leads her to a breakdown and a violent episode which lands her in the hospital. She eventually loses her fiance, Kenneth (Cary), and her job. Two years later Megan is back working as an advisor, but her more or less normal life goes to hell again when another murder is called in. Her fire rekindled, Megan sets out to find the killer, and this time she plans to get the job done, with or without the department’s assistance.

    Fairly B-grade stuff, but it’s set in my hometown, so it’s a no-brainer. Still waiting on the Arthur Shawcross Lifetime movie-of-the-week.

    Ginger Snaps (2000)

    Is becoming a woman analogous, in some deep psychological way, to becoming a werewolf? Ginger is 16, edgy, tough, and, with her younger sister, into staging and photographing scenes of death. They’ve made a pact about dying together. In early October, on the night she has her first period, which is also the night of a full moon, a werewolf bites Ginger. Within a few days, some serious changes happen to her body and her temperament. Her sister Brigitte, 15, tries to find a cure with the help of Sam, a local doper. As Brigitte races against the clock, Halloween and another full moon approach, Ginger gets scarier, and it isn’t just local dogs that begin to die.

    Feminist horror: yes, please! (See also: Teeth. No, seriously, go watch it. Now!)

    (More below the fold…)

    VeganMoFo, Day 25: Have a Pumpkin (Not a Cow!) Loaf (for dogs & their peoples)

    Sunday, October 25th, 2009

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    2007-10-18 - Ozzy the Pumpkin - 0006

    Ozzy is not amused by all this talk of pumpkin-flavored dog food.

    The dogs finished off their last batch of homemade food yesterday, so I had to throw something together in a hurry. I decided to try a seasonal Halloween version of the “Have-a-Hearty Hound Loaf,” which basically consists of a base of mashed tofu and/or beans, dressed up with various goodies (Italian Tofu Styley, anyone?).

    This time around, I mixed mashed tofu with pureed pumpkin, black beans, ginger, cinnamon, dried apples and cranberries, and a bit o’ carob chips to give the loaf an orange/candied feel. My initial instinct was to use a sweet potato puree in place of the pumpkin, but little Miss Rennie doesn’t seem to care for sweet potatoes, so I decided against it. (I made a sweet potato soup/gravy for them a few weeks back, and she so disliked it that I had to make an extra dish of mixed veggies and beans just for her. Hmph!) But you can sub in sweet potatoes if you’d rather.

    Also, I was running a little low on pumpkin puree; I thought about mixing in some rolled or quick oats, but didn’t want to dilute the pumpkin flavor too much, so decided against it. Add extra pumpkin and oats if you’ve got ’em – don’t be shy!

    This dish is meant for the dogs, but you can probably play around with the seasonings and spice it up to your own liking. The finished loaf holds up well, retaining its shape and integrity, even though the center is rather moist and crumbly. The dogs sure like it, and as an added bonus, it gives off a very autumnal odor that will linger for hours – until well after you’ve cleaned the dishes and stashed the leftovers in the fridge.

    Have a Pumpkin (Not a Cow!) Loaf

    2009-10-24 - Have a Pumpkin Loaf - 0009

    (More below the fold…)

    Monday Miscellany

    Monday, August 31st, 2009

    2009-08-13 - Kaylee - 0002

    She may look sweet and innocent here, but as I type this, Kaylee is dancing around my feet, woofing up a storm, for no discernible reason other than that she’s a pushy old broad. Did I mention that it’s getting late and my head hurts?

    It’s been crazy ’round these parts the past few weeks, and as light as posting has been, my blogging will probably wane even more with the high summer temps. Shane and I have a number of outdoor projects we’d like to finish before winter (winter, ack! no want!), and even though we’ve finally admitted defeat and called in the pros to knock out some tasks,

    2009-08-27 - Tree Removal - 0001

    I so hate that I paid someone to cut down trees. Hey, don’t look at me like that. It was euthanasia, not biocide.

    there’s still plenty to do.

    2009-08-30 - Yard, Rock Wall & Paths - 0010

    I wonder what the previous homeowners would say if they knew we removed 50% of the landscaping they constructed?

    If I never have to build a rock wall again, I’ll die a happy vegan.

    (More below the fold…)

    Coming Soon: Adopt-a-Less-Adoptable-Pet Animal Companion Day!

    Thursday, July 30th, 2009

    2006-09-30 - PM-Kaylee&JayneMake5-0299

    I’m usually one to roll my eyes at pseudo-holidays – National Hot Dog Day, anyone?; and, hell, even some of the “real” holidays like Easter and Thanksgiving – but I’m pleasantly surprised to see that Petfinder has designated August 12 Adopt-a-Less-Adoptable-Pet Day:

    To help senior, special-needs and other often-overlooked pets find homes, We’ve named August 12 Adopt-a-Less-Adoptable- Pet Day. Visit our special section to:

    * Get widgets to help pets find homes
    * Find out which pets have it hardest
    * Read touching adoption stories
    * Learn why “less adoptable” pets rule!

    And help us spread the word: Some pets are “less adoptable,” but they’re just as lovable!

    Which animals have it hardest, you wonder?

    Big black dogs. FIV+ cats. Senior pets. Special-needs pets. To help these and other often-overlooked pets find homes, Petfinder has named August 12 “Adopt-a-Less-Adoptable-Pet Day.”

    We asked our shelter and rescue group members: Which pets are the hardest to place?

    Here’s what they said:

    * 30% senior/older pets
    * 15% pets with medical problems
    * 13% victims of breed prejudice
    * 10% shy pets
    * 10% those who need to be the only pet

    “Pit Bulls are the No. 1 dog put down in our local shelters. There are too many of them, and there is never enough time to get them all adopted.”

    “There’s also a ‘big black cat syndrome’! Hard to believe, but many people are still biased against black cats, especially if they’re big.”

    “Once a dog is past 1-2 years old, people flat-out expect it to be housetrained. They consider the dog too old to be trained if they’re not housetrained by 2.”

    (Links mine.)

    Speciesist language aside (HIM! People expect HIM to be housetrained!), I love the idea of promoting not just adoption, but the adoption of “special needs” animals, who usually fare worse in shelters and rescues alike. (Though, happily, some rescues do specialize in hard-to-place animals, while others provide them permanent sanctuary; Old Dog Haven is a personal favorite!)

    My own family is a mix of “normal” and “special needs” animals.

    (More below the fold…)

    Ready, set, snip -n- tuck!

    Monday, February 16th, 2009

    Update, 2/18/09: Want further convincing that the HSUS is undeserving of your financial assistance? Done and done.

    For those too lazy to click through, the HSUS led a raid on a dogfighting outfit in North Carolina, “rescuing” 127 pit bulls, including 60 puppies. With the HSUS’s blessing, the Wilkes County court ordered all 127 “rescued” dogs destroyed – murdered. By the time the court order was obtained and carried out – several months after the initial raid and “rescue” – some of the dogs had given birth to more pup. These pups had never even been exposed to the fighting ring, and yet they, too, were deemed “dangerous” and slaughtered. As of this writing, 146 innocent lives have been taken.

    With the HSUS’s blessing.

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    The deadline to enter the HSUS’s Spay Day 2009 contest is fast approaching – February 27th, to be exact. I finally got around to submitting photos of my furkids. Aside from my slow internet connection, it was fairly easy – you just have to create a profile, then you can submit a photo for each of your companions. There are a few cutesy questions for you to answer, but nothing lengthy. I was under the impression that they wanted a mini-essay, which is why I kept putting this off, but the longest field is a brief 200 characters long. True to form, I had trouble staying within the maximum.

    As for prizes, a panel of celebrity judges will choose a Grand Prize Winner, 10 Finalists, and 25 Honorable Mentions; the Grand Prize winner gets a $1000 shopping spree to HUMANE Domain.

    The HSUS also uses this contest as a fundraiser. In addition to the celebrity judging category, members can “vote” for one another’s photos by making a cash donation. The prizes in this “fundraiser” contest are way cooler (including a session with a professional “pet” photographer and a custom painting of your animal), BUT – if you’ve got money to spare, I highly encourage you to make a donation to a local or grassroots animal rescue/rights group instead. Trust me…most likely, they’ll make much more efficient use of the funds than the HSUS, which in the past has hoarded Katrina relief funds and offered a reward to help the FBI catch so-called eco-terrorists – among other offenses. Ahem.

    Naturally, I’m totally using this as an excuse to whip out the furkid photos. Here are my entries – all six of ’em!

    2004-01-11 - RalphieTire1-011

    Ralphie – dog

    My person: Kelly, Plattsburg, MO, United States

    Nickname: Ralphie Bear

    Favorite thing to do: walking, hiking, digging, eating, sunning

    Most endearing bad habit: bossily barking at me while I prepare his meal.

    Ralphie loves to dig, so we’ll go out to a pasture behind our house, and I’ll let him dig for a few hours while I read, nap or just enjoy his company. He’s my silly little cuddle bear!

    My Charity: Kansas Humane Society (Wichita, Kansas, United States)

    (More below the fold…)

    Post-holiday blues

    Sunday, January 4th, 2009

    2002-11-13 - Ozzy-0017

    It’s been a long week, especially for our cat Ozzy. He went to the vet on Monday with a blockage in his urinary tract, and returned home yesterday, with a gaping hole where his penis used to be. Well, not gaping so much as sewn almost completely shut. Quite frankly, I’m not sure how he manages to squeeze anything through it.

    To add insult to injury, his entire backside is shaved, from his belly on down to his ass. He looks as though he just finished filming some kitty fetish porn.

    On second thought, my week doesn’t seem so shitty after all. Relatively speaking. The little bugger had me worried, yo!

    (And no, I’m not posting a photo of his bald tush. Shane won’t let me.)

    Witches and leopards and piggies, oh my!

    Friday, October 31st, 2008

    Happy Halloween, peoples. Shane and will be spending the day watching horror movies, good and bad (think Black Sheep and Poultrygeist), and chowing down on all manner of vegan junk food. (I’ll post the food porn in all its sugary goodness tomorrow, in my final VeganMoFo post.)

    I spent a few hours last week harassing the dogs with Halloween costumes and such (any excuse to dress up the furkids, right?); and, since I wouldn’t want their suffering to be for naught, here are the requisite festive holiday photos.

    Last year, I dressed everyone up as pirates and pumpkins. Not wanting to reuse the old costumes (oh no, that would be embarrassing, right?), I mixed it up a little this year.

    I only had one new Halloween outfit – a witch’s hat with black and orange pigtails – so everyone took a spin in the witch’s costume:

    2008-10-28 - Ozzy the Witch - 0005

    2008-10-28 - Ralphie the Witch - 0001

    2008-10-28 - Peedee the Witch - 0014

    (More below the fold…)

    That’s, like, half a century in doggeh years!

    Monday, July 14th, 2008

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    Seven years ago today, LD and I adopted Ralphie from Dachshund Rescue of North America. At approximately this time 2555 days ago*, the three of us were making the long trek back to Rochester from Jamestown.

    Originally from Indiana, Ralphie’s foster Mom Janet met our local DRNA rep Lela at some dachshund parade thingie in Ohio and handed him off to her. We met Lela and her husband – who were traveling with a vanful of wieners, one of which bit Mr. Lela on the lip – at their home in Jamestown, NY to pick the little bugger up. Shane drove home while Ralph and I cuddled in the backseat. I sat on the floor so I could get plenty of Eskimo kisses in.

    When we first met him in Lela’s backyard, Ralphie ran away from us, huddling behind Lela – whom he’d only just met a few hours earlier – for protection. By the end of the car ride, we were BFFs. When we got home to our duplex in Fairport, he investigated the place dutifully, and promptly took a shit on the kitchen floor. I was so f’in happy to have my very own dog (he’s our firstborn, you see) that I couldn’t care less.

    2008-05-23 - Flowers & Dogs - 0091

    Seven years later, and he’s still my soul mate.

    I love you, buhbie.

    Warning: super crazy sweet nostalgia after the jump.

    (More below the fold…)

    My dogs hate Halloween. (Or so one would assume.)

    Wednesday, October 31st, 2007

    Just look at the shit I put ’em through:

    2007-10-18 - Ralphie the Police Dog - 0024

    (More below the fold…)

    LOL CAT SAYZ HAPPY BIRDAY SHAYNE!!!

    Monday, August 20th, 2007

    IM IN UR KEYPADZ (flickr)

    Friday Random Cuteness: In the Nick of Time

    Friday, September 29th, 2006

    Hey, I’ve had a busy day, catching up on email and scrubbing the house down and all. And now it’s finally time for bed.

    2002-11-13 - Ozzy-002

    Unlike Ozzy, though, I don’t think I’ll be able to sleep a wink. Tomorrow’s the day I’ve been waiting almost four weeks for – tomorrow we get pick up Gracie and Penelope!

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    Friday Random Cuteness: Enviro-Friendly Beer Bellies

    Friday, August 11th, 2006

    This week’s dose of cuteness will be served with a bonus story!

    Beer saves the planet

    It may sound like an excuse made up by someone heading off for a night out – but drinking beer is good for the planet.

    And, if you feel peckish after downing several pints, there is even more good news because a separate study reveals curry can boost brain power.

    It is not the ale itself that has the green credentials, but the stuff brewers throw away as they make it.

    One needs only consume curry once in a while for better cognitive performance

    The process of brewing from barley creates a waste product called beer bran.

    The bran can soak up potentially fatal and cancercausing chemicals, often used in paint and glues, which end up in rivers and lakes.

    Up to now, environment agencies have used expensive carbon filters to clean up polluted waterways.

    But they are not environmentally friendly to produce. Beer bran occurs naturally in brewing and is cheap, scientists from Kobe Pharmaceutical University in Japan told New Scientist.

    And now, I present Ozzy (Prince of Darkness), who – from the looks of his mushy belly – has clearly had a few too many brewskies.

    2002-11-30 - OzzyPest-0011

    No big backstory here, just marshmallow and fur.

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