Archive for September, 2005

Friday Funday LVII

Friday Funday brings you some fun and interesting links from my travels around the internet during the previous week.

Geraldine [del.icio.us]

A young man wakes up to make a rather Kafkaesque discovery about himself.

Yiddish with Dick and Jane [del.icio.us]

Don’t be a Schlemiel, just watch the damn thing.

Working Title [del.icio.us]

The title cards from what could almost be every movie ever made, in alphabetical order.

The Picture of Everything [del.icio.us]

Only one question: Where’s Waldo?

Banana Milk [del.icio.us]

I don’t even know what to say. Pretty design, but what’s the point?

RIP: Fred

My parents’ cat Fred has expired.

Fred’s death has proven to be unexpectedly traumatic for me. This post will tell you the entire story, but before you read it, I want to offer a disclaimer: I will not be holding back. Fred’s death was not gruesome, but there are some details that could be considered as such. The story is emotional and detailed. If you don’t have a problem reading about the untimely passing of a seemingly-healthy, young cat, then read on. Otherwise, all you need to know, you have already learned.

For those of you who are reading on, I want to point out that I am writing this story in the present tense, which as I said is 29 September. So when I say things like, “yesterday” and “last night”, they refer to Wednesday, 28 September.

My parents have been in Canada for over a week visiting my Gran. Morah and I have been taking care of the cats while they’re away. This past weekend, we went to Seattle for four days. One of our neighbors agreed to take care of the cats while Morah and I were out of town. I have no idea if she did, but it more or less seems like it.

We returned from Seattle on Monday evening and, according to a schedule my mum had made, we were supposed to visit the cats the following Wednesday, which was yesterday. On both Monday and Tuesday, I had this weird feeling that we should go check up on them on Tuesday, but the schedule said Wednesday, and we didn’t really have time anyway.

We had last been at my parents’ house on Thursday the twenty-second. Just as we were leaving, some guy walked up to the door and left a bag with phone books in it on the door-step. I didn’t really think anything of it and assumed our neighbor would take them inside.

As we pulled into my parents’ driveway last night, I saw that the bag was still there. Instantly, I wondered if our neighbor had been in the house at all over the weekend. I had a vision of all three cats laying on the floor, dead from starvation. That’s when I started to get nervous.

We entered the house and again I was struck with an odd discomfort. Normally, Fred comes running to see who’s at the door. This time, Fred didn’t come. Fearing my premonition to be true, I quickly entered and called to him, but he didn’t come. Then I saw him lying on the stairs leading down to the living room.

At first, I thought he was asleep. He looked peaceful and was curled up in that lazy, feline manner that suggests some reverie about fields of catnip.

“Fred,” I said softly, trying to rouse him from sleep’s warm embrace.

He didn’t move. A twinge of fear once again manifested itself in my mind.

“Fred,” I called again, louder, but still playful.

Nothing.

I tapped my foot against the wall.

“Fred!” Why wouldn’t he wake up?

Still nothing.

Fear gripped me. My body tingled. The hairs on the back of my neck raised and in angry denial, I called again:

“Fred!”

Desperate, almost begging. Fear edged on my voice. I could feel my face cringing, the flood waters building just behind my eyes. That salty stinging prelude to tears.

“Fred!”

I called again as I carefully stepped over him to look at his face. I was afraid to touch him; afraid that what I already knew was true might actually be true.

His face.

His little face.

One eye half-open, the light glinting back it’s ghostly reflection that allows cats to see so well in the dark.

Blood.

His mouth, just slightly open, and something red. Blood and vomit? That’s what it looked like, anyway.

More blood.

His other eye shut tight, and what appeared to be a drip of blood, congealed in the corner of his eye.

And then it all came together. Seeing it all, knowing the undeniable truth. Not being able to change it.

Fred is dead.

I broke down. I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t want it to be real.

I buried my face in my hands and cried. Hard. Loud.

“He’s dead!” I wailed.

“What?” Morah, in disbelief.

Then a flashback to my vision. Three dead cats.

“Where are the others?” I shouted. “Find them! Make sure they’re okay!”

I yelled, barked the order. I was in shock. I was panicked. I didn’t know what to do, but I knew I had to find the other two.

We couldn’t see them.

I ran up to my parents’ bedroom, the favourite hiding place of both Moon and Stimpy when Fred was on the prowl.

Normally, Moon is sleeping on the bed. No Moon.

Normally, Stimpy is sleeping on the floor. No Stimpy.

“Oh God!”

I feared the worst.

I lifted the cloth on a side table and Stimpy looked up at me. I could tell he was scared. He seemed to be okay otherwise, so I lifted the bed skirt. Moon’s eyes reflected back at me. They were both alive. They were both as scared as I was.

I was relieved to have found them, but Fred was still downstairs.

I walked out and looked down at him. He looked peaceful.

I wanted him to wake up. I refused to believe it, but resigned myself to the truth at the same time.

It was late in Toronto, but I had no choice. I called my parents.

My dad answered the phone and I told him. He couldn’t believe the news.

“What do I do?”

“I’m not sure what to tell you.”

“Well, whatever needs to be done, I’ll do it.”

Then I broke down again. I just couldn’t believe it.

I couldn’t believe it was true. I couldn’t believe that my terrible fantasy was real, at least in part. I couldn’t believe that Fred, who was lying there, looking as though he could get up and be his usual, happy, energetic self, wasn’t really there at all.

There was only one thing to do: Put him in a bag in the garage until my parents return the next day, which they were going to do anyway.

“If you can’t do it, you don’t have to.”

“No, I have to. It’s not fair to the other cats.”

It wasn’t fair to Fred, either.

Back downstairs. Three plastic bags. Fred.

I couldn’t do it.

His face.

The blood.

I kept getting ready to pick him up, but I kept waiting. Waiting for him to wake up. Waiting for anything to happen so that I didn’t have to do this.

But I had to do it.

His face.

The blood.

Cats are cute until they’re dead; then they’re just creepy.

The large bag in place, the two smaller ones on my hands. I wish I had rubber gloves.

I gingerly pulled his tail down by his legs. I tested one leg, lifting it.

Pretty stiff. Rigor had set. His paw was cold. He must have been dead no longer than a day. Two at the most.

I backed off again.

His face.

The blood.

It had to get done. I had to do it.

I decided he would be easier to handle if I turned his back toward me, so I did. Slowly. A little bit at a time.

It was so hard. I was on edge the entire time.

It got a little easier once I moved him. My brain finally accepted that he wasn’t going to wake up; wasn’t going to move.

Into the bag. Tie it shut. Put it in the garage.

Done.

No little face, and just a drop of blood on the carpet. I cleaned it up as best I could.

I washed my hands. Three times with soap and hot water. I still felt dirty.

“Let’s go,” I said.

“Where do you want to go?” Morah asked. We had stopped here on our way to dinner.

“Home.”

My body said to eat, but how could I?

I ate. I forced myself to eat. Even now, the next day, I don’t have an appetite. I eat because I know I’m supposed to, not because I want to.

At home. Kisa.

I could barely look at my own cat and didn’t want to touch her; didn’t want to spread death across her coat.

My hands still felt dirty and the feeling was inching up my arms.

I washed my hands again. Again.

Last night, the whole thing kept playing over and over in my mind until I fell asleep. Same thing this morning.

I broke down and cried at work this morning. I was alone in the edit suite, and no one else had really shown up to work yet.

I’ve never been the discoverer before. I’ve never been the one who has to deal with it. With that feeling. That knot-in-your-stomach, cold, sickening realisation that someone or something you love is gone forever and it’s up to you to tell everyone else. It’s up to you to deal with it.

No one has asked me how I am today. I don’t know what I would tell them if they did.

I feel consumed.

I can’t stop thinking about it.

Driving up to the house and having the vision. Seeing Fred for the first time. Realising he’s dead. Feeling him through the plastic bags.

His face.

The blood.

His face.

All You Can Eat Calamari

A tasty title (tasteless, I mean) for a post about giant squid.

Scientists have finally seen a giant squid in the wild. Until now, all we’ve been able to learn about the cephalopods is what we can find out from their carcasses when they wash ashore or were accidentally caught by fishing vessels. But Japanese scientists lured one into view and snapped more than 500 photos of the beast.

Here’s what intrigues me most about the story, however: The photos are a year old. Why did it take them so long to release the photos, especially when this is such a huge breakthrough (no pun intended)?

Perhaps now that they’ve found an elusive giant squid, perhaps the team should go after the Loch Ness Monster.

Spice Up the Night

I went to Seattle this past weekend to visit Kris and help him shoot a fashion performance (which I can only describe as… Interesting). On the Saturday night, we (Kris, Lindy, Aaron, Morah and I) went to a Pho restaurant. I had always wanted to try Pho, so I was really excited about the meal. I chose to get steak strips, flank steak, and quail eggs in my soup. When it came, Kris and I starting spicing it up (because, not only do we both like spicy food, but apparently so do the Vietnamese and far be it for us to eat Pho the wrong way).

There were some chili pepper slices on a plate of stuff that you could add. Kris said they were pretty hot, so I tore the middle out of a couple and tossed them into my soup.

Why did I tear out the middle? Because that’s where the heat is. A lot of people are under the impression that the seeds of the pepper are what cause its piquancy (spicy heat); not true. The seeds are piquant because they grow on the white membrane, which is where an oil called capsaicin is produced. The piquancy of a pepper depends on how concentrated its capsaicin is. You’ll typically find that the smaller the pepper, the more piquant it is. The white membrane is usually found in the middle of the pepper and forming ribs down the sides. To make something spicy, you would leave the white membrane intact. To make something flavorful (but not spicy), you would cut the membrane out.

So, since I didn’t want the peppers to be too spicy, I removed the white membrane in the middle. This would prove to be my worst mistake of the night.

I have this habit of unconsciously touching my face; my eyes in particular (I’m sure you can already see where this is going). So we’re sitting there eating and my left eye starts to feel weird. At first, I didn’t think anything of it, but soon it really tingles and burns. Then it dawned on me: The peppers. I had used my fingers to extract the membrane from the peppers and subsequently touched my eye. The burning became worse and before long, I couldn’t keep my eyes open. That’s right, even though only my left eye was affected, both of my eyes had to be closed because of the awesome burning power of the capsaicin.

I started to get a little scared (I always get nervous about my eyes because I absolutely require them to be able to do my job), but managed to remain calm and just try to bear the pain. The searing pain. A blast in the eyes from pepper spray must feel something like what I felt, only worse. I was told that the restaurant’s wait staff looked nervous (I was trying not to make a scene, but when someone is cringing in pain, it’s hard not to notice).

After several minutes, I was able to open my right eye and navigate to the bathroom. I washed my hands extremely well with soap and hot water twice before attempting to rinse out my left eye. It helped a bit (capsaicin is an oil, which is why water doesn’t help stop the burn), but as the head chef said, I was just going to have to wait.

I returned to the table and finished the meal, which was delicious.

So I think the moral of the story is don’t touch your face. Ever.

Friday Funday LVI

Friday Funday brings you some fun and interesting links from my travels around the internet during the previous week.

Atome [del.icio.us]

I have no idea what any of this says (looks like it’s in German), but all you have to do is put the atoms together. After each level, you get a password that allows you to continue from that point.

Queen Mum, We Love You [del.icio.us]

An odd (and, at times, sadly accurate) tribute to the Queen Mum. And grans in general.

The Story of Marzooq [del.icio.us]

It’s from Egypt. I have no idea.

Ant Kendo [del.icio.us]

Which, as unlikely as it seems, features more actual fighting than Dog Judo (from Friday Funday LIV).

Falldown 2 [del.icio.us]

Move the little ball back and forth. Seems easy, doesn’t it?

ALLOpod Episode III – The Interdictor Interview

ALLOpod Episode III – The Interdictor Interview

We break format this month to bring you a very special interview. As you know, hurricane Katrina has devastated the Gulf Coast of the United States. We felt it only fitting to pay tribute to those affected by bringing you an interview with Michael Barnett, better known to the world as interdictor.

Michael’s gained recognition after a number of prominent sites posted links to his blog. His point of of view was like no other seen in the media; honest, immediate, and unabashed. Blogging from within NOLA itself, Michael was often privy to information before the news networks. His live video stream of the central business district became mandatory watching for those curious to catch a glimpse of what was really going on.

We are ever grateful to Michael for taking the time to talk to us. We asked him about life in NOLA during and after the storm, as well as a few questions that no one else seems to be asking (for example, when the sewage isn’t working, where do you go to the bathroom?). Yes, this podcast is rather long (1 hour and 12 minutes), but I feel it’s well worth it.

Next month we will return to our regular format and will present our interview with Dr. Bill Youngs, a history professor at Eastern Washington University. For more information about Dr. Youngs, please refer to the links below. If you have a question for Dr. Youngs that would like to hear answered on ALLOpod, e-mail your question to: podcast alifelessordinary .

Links:

Survival of New Orleans Blog [del.icio.us]

And to find out more about Dr. Bill Youngs:

Dr. Bill Youngs’ Website [del.icio.us]

Friday Funday LV

Friday Funday brings you some fun and interesting links from my travels around the internet during the previous week.

Since we’re right in the middle of Holy Pasta Week, I thought I’d share some FSM-related links. May you be touched by His Noodly Appendage!

Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster [del.icio.us]

Here it is, the site that started it all. While you’re there, be sure to play the game.

Wikipedia: Flying Spaghetti Monster [del.icio.us]

A fairly comprehensive look at FSMism

What if God Wanted Pasta Sauce [del.icio.us]

To the tune of ‘What if God Was One of Us’. Very funny.

Thou Shalt Have No Entrees Before Me [del.icio.us]

The creator of the popular comic (and clothing line) Diesel Sweeties has created a LiveJournal icon based on His Noodliness.

FSM as Jesus Fish [del.icio.us]

You know those annoying Jesus fish that Christians put everywhere? Well, here’s a PDF of something similar, except that it depicts the FSM. Print out thousands of stickers and stick them everywhere. Do it.

UPDATE: Two quick sites I want to add:

Flying Spaghetti Monster Plush [del.icio.us]

A stuffed animal in His form.

eBay: FSM Grilled Cheese [del.icio.us]

I suppose it was just a matter of time before someone did this. Another one of those things where you look at it and wonder, “why the hell didn’t =I= think of this?”

First Annual Holy Pasta Week

Today marks the beginning of Holy Pasta Week; the most sacred week of the year to Pastafarians, such as myself.

Morah and I plan to eat pasta for at least one meal every day this week. Be it something as simple as Ramen or complex as lasagna, pasta shall be eaten.

To usher in the week, Mike and Emily are coming over for dinner. We’re planning on having chicken fettucini alfredo and I heard that they might be bringing a chianti (the holiest of wines). Much fun shall be had by all as we watch Survivor and discuss our plans to convert the non-believers.

Don’t forget that the final day of HPW, Monday, is National Talk Like A Pirate day, so ye should be talkin’ the talk o’ the seadog that day. Matey.

I hope your Holy Pasta Week bring you fortune, good cheer, and many meatballs. May you be touched by his noodly appendage!

Real Life Mamet

The Kid: “Your outdoor webcam doesn’t work.”

Me: “It’s night.”

The Kid: “That could be it.”

How Much?

Cost of Petrol: An Arm and a Leg

I took this picture myself and I promise that I haven’t Photoshopped it. A local petrol station said they did this to add a little humour to the current cost of petrol. I think everyone would be happier if they’d just lower the price.

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