Thursday, May 27, 2010

Three Weeks Old

Week three is supposed to be monumental for the kittens, what with learning to walk, moving from the bottle to lapping milk, using the litter box...well, one out of three isn't bad I suppose:
video
They ARE adorable. Even Tarzan can't keep up the macho facade when they crawl over him, mewing and sniffing and looking at him with those big eyes. Spike has huge eyes:
I don't know if her eyes are actually bigger than average, if her head is small, if she's underweight or what but compared to Chubbs:
They're much more aware of their environment and are startiing to be awake other than to eat. They really like to walk off the table, into my hand or not, though when I put them on the floor they don't move around so much:
video

This is me and that's the update on the kitties.
Facebook peeps, you should come here to see the videos.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Footloose

As promised, though it is all over the Internets already, I give you my take on this, the last round of dancing with celebrities for the tenth season of Dancing With The Stars.
What is up with four, FOUR! dances per couple? I don't remember that from previous seasons. Two new dances each night is a lot to create and perform in one week.
Erin's samba was cute and fun. Her skirt had a life of it's own; my TV couldn't handle all the color and blurred it out. I thought it could have been faster but she was having a good time it looked like.
Evan's waltz was fast enough to be considered a Viennese waltz - but it wasn't - and it was very liquid, graceful and lovely. I would give it a perfect score.
Nicole's rumba was oddly staged I think, though that's not really a reflection on her dancing. It was an improvement over her last rumba, but I think her ankles still wobbled in places. Most women I've seen don't know how to walk in heels so I don't know why I expect famous people to know. Odd ending. I don't think I like the rumba as a dance so it's hard to judge it fairly.
Then we come to the freestyle set of dances which are always freaky, full of lifts - appropriate or not - and usually decide the winner of the whole show.
Erin's freestyle seemed shorter than other dances. It was odd that she didn't wear shoes but I liked it. It had some scary lifts but there was a definite connection between them and it was not all hip/hop/crumping for which I was very grateful.
Evan's freestyle was perfect for him and Anna. He being the gawky teenager, she the glamorous girl. Great song, great character and good use of jive I thought. The judges clearly did not but they have an odd sense of what makes a good dance.
Nicole's freestyle was interesting. I liked the quickstep bits, the costume changes were unnecessary but done well. I was really scared when Derek almost dropped her on her head at the end but she's still going to win it all.
And while we are speaking of winning it all, let's talk about the last show. The finale is always one of the best shows, in part because the whole circus is coming to an end I think, and because there are some great performances.
The opening number was highly entertaining. Not all in a good way though. Sad, sad, sad Kate Gosselin. So sad. It was as if she got dropped in the dance two seconds before the lights came on. Even Buzz looked like he knew what was happening.
The dance off was helpful I think - I am amused that they all chose a dance where lifts were allowed. I am also amused that they used the same costumes and music as before.
Nicole's Argentine tango was perfect as usual so I don't have much to say about it.
Evan was better than the last time he danced the Argentine tango I thought. He was much more powerful, more compact and less balletic. Really excellent. I thought they should have gotten the thirty points.
Erin's Argentine tango was good but she seemed more nervous than the others.
I am okay with having all the stars come back for the final show, getting to dance again, even a dance they've never done before - Buzz and Star Wars? - but why does Jake's fiancee get to dance? She was never a contestant. I don't watch this show to see two amateurs dancing with each other.
It was a safe bet to have Erin coming in third. I don't know how fair it is to have them find out they didn't win, watch an emotional video of their friendship and then have to dance again.
The university dance teams were back for their 'finals.' I was glad to see Purdue there, not only because I got to scan the audience once more for that friend of mine. (I saw him this time, right behind Tom Bergeron up in the mezzanine.) I have to give Utah Valley University the props for their samba number. Really sharp, much more difficult and great transitions. I think the camera guys need a lesson in formation filming. Focusing on a single foot or face does not help the viewing audience judge the synchronicity or lines of a group dance. But whatever.
As for the final, final dances. Nicole's jive was frantic fast and Derek was almost more hyper than she was. It was good, no question.
Evan's quickstep had a great song and he's good too, no question. I've always wanted him to win this thing and he's so cute.
No surprise that Nicole won it. SUCH a cheesy introduction and SO dramatic. Oy.

This is me and now what will I write about on Tuesdays?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Re-Installation Fun & Games

That was a long and arduous process.
That Google error I mentioned on Friday? Turned into a very large problem, what with finding and deleting certain items that were preying on certain vital items, like my desktop access and my Internet drivers.
Enter the blue screen of death.
In the end it became a bigger problem to fix the missing pieces than to just reinstall my operating system. Fortunately this time I did not have very much stored on my computer that needed to be retrieved before reformatting my hard drive. What I didn't count on was not having the right drivers on my re-installation disks to get on back on the Internet and get all the updates that are necessary. Skip ahead to my getting on Tarzan's computer and trying for three hours to get the first of six drivers to download to my flash drive so I could connect and fix everything else.
In the end it did - obvi, since here I am - but starting at 11am this morning my computer has been restarting itself non-stop installing updates. One hundred and ten updates thus far. I am sure there will be more.
In the down time though, there has been quite the flurry of activity. People in the hospital, the kittens, my computer issues, Dancing With The Stars. It's a madhouse over here.
All will be posted on in a timely fashion - although the finale for DWTS is tonight and we will all know tomorrow I will finish out my commentary. No worries there friends, no worries.

This is me and that's a lot of updates.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Google Out

Is there something wrong with anyone else's Google? The page loads just fine and the search gives me what I want but when I click on a link - only one click mind, I'm not one of those people who still lives in the double click world - I'm directed to another, COMPLETELY different, site which is usually trying to sell me something, or to another, less imaginative search engine.
What is going on here? I have had a few brushes with the blue screen of death lately and I'm wondering if it messed up my web browser somehow.

This is me and that's just weird. Annoying and weird.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Two Weeks Old

I think the sleep deprivation has evened out since the kittens haven't died and I'm a little more confident in my ability to feed them so I don't wake up every two hours to make sure they're okay and that makes me a little less cranky for the rest of the day which makes Tarzan happy.
The kittens are well and are growing, which also eases my anxiety. Spike is over 5oz. now which is a huge improvement over last week's barely 3.5oz:
Chubbs continues to pack on the ounces and now weighs almost 10:
They are so much larger and move so much more that I had to increase the size of their box:
They still choose to sleep on top of each other however.
Other benchmarks this week; both kittens have opened their eyes and they are eating more less often. I don't know if that's what's supposed to happen but they seem annoyed when I wake them up to feed them now as opposed to ravenous the week before.
As I suppose is logical with their eyes open they are more aware and interested in their surroundings. Chubbs: video
Spike's mew is very soft and mostly drowned out by the ghetto bird going by outside:
video

This is me and for those of you reading this on Facebook, you'll have to come over to the blog to see the video. Sorry, but that's how FB rolls.

Trials and Tribulations

Tarzan here. My school library is on the third floor of my school and usually that is a very good thing. Gravity combined with the abysmal state of physical fitness of today's youth prevent most of my school's thugs from causing trouble up here in my little piece of heaven. On the other hand my location makes it a challenge to keep the library open to students at lunch. The students eat their food on the way up and often leave a trail of trash on their way to the third floor that my school administration naturally objects to. Last month the school cafeteria served blueberries and there was an indelible purple trail all the way up to my door.
Lately I have a charming group of individuals who are applying condiments (mayonnaise, taco sauce, ketchup etc.) to the handrails of the stairs on the way to the library. Naturally this situation has hilarious effects on unsuspecting library patrons and adds a delightful baby poop brown color to the already dingy walls of the hallways. As you can expect I am none too pleased about the situation, but the cannot find the words to properly describe my reaction to the situation. So I will borrow some of the priceless dialog from the immortal Eddie Murphy as seen in the classic 80's film, The Golden Child.

"If that bum didn't take my hundred dollas we coulda got a boat with a motor."

Shut up and paddle."

"Yeah, I'll paddle. I'll paddle his butt when I find him. I'll paddle your butt when I find you!! I'll use this row. I'll row yo' butt!! 'Til it bleed!!!"

"You got to show up sooner or later! And when you do, your butt is kicked! I'm gonna sell your clothes, leave you naked and bleedin', with no money, in Kathmandu, ya hear me!"

Amen Mr. Murphy! So on that note this Tarzan of the Urban Jungle fighting the good fight and signing off. Goodbye and Good Luck!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

If You Don't Know Me By Now

Okay, so kittens and Dancing With The Stars. It's a small niche but it's all mine.
Revelation - during the opening sequence the camera panned to the orchestra and the vocalists were actually singing the "buh, buh, buh" of the theme music - which was tres interesting. I always thought it was a trumpet or a percussion instrument.
Erin's waltz was pretty but not perfect. I think I've mentioned my dislike of pants on the women, in part because it shows the flaws far more than a nice skirt would. Like when she wobbled in her spins and shuffled her feet.
Nicole's Argentine tango was pretty awesome. I didn't like her half a dress but they never ask me about costumes clearly. The steps were precise but at times the emotion was lacking in her face. That's all I can criticize.
I really think I might throw up with all the effervescent emotions spilling out on to the floor. I thought the exit of Jake would take the tears and sniffles off the show. It would seem not. The next competitors will slip and fall.
Chad's waltz was very nice. It was a little flashier than I think of when I think of waltz. And I didn't think his rise and fall was all that but he didn't screw anything major up so that's good.
Evan's foxtrot was really good. I felt it was almost frantic in a few places but he kept it under control well enough, his smile was huge and Anna's dress was gorgeous.
Erin's paso doble did not start out well - Len was sure to criticize the opening - and I worried about her lack of a skirt but it came together when they got off the stage. I was amused when Maks fell over at the end.
Nicole's cha-cha was good I suppose, but not to my taste. Again with the pants - and in that color too, even if it is to a Prince song - and the solo with the chair was dumb. It's pretty much a given she will win now, no matter what she does with the remaining dances.
Chad's samba was a good effort. He's so tall that it sometimes looks awkward. Especially during his solo bit his arms had a tendency to flap but his six pack abs were very distracting.
Evan's paso doble did not lack for emotion. Man. I hope Jonathan was not watching Evan dance with his wife. His solo was possibly the longest and best of this group. His cape work was excellent and I really loved the dance. Anna looked awesome again and Evan managed to put his feet down like he meant it which is hard for the celebrities to do.
The results show was quite varied in talent this week. All the way from great university dance teams - go Utah Valley University - to not quite as good - sorry Rutgers.
Then the musical guests. Sarah McLachlan was good but I thought it was odd to run those two songs together. I wouldn't have minded having her perform twice. And Miley Cyrus not only Can't Be Tamed but she can't walk in her high heeled boots. The history of the professionals was fun to watch and I could not be happier with the three celebrities who will be dancing next week. I am pretty sure it will be Nicole first, Evan second and Erin third but I don't care how it comes out now.

This is me and that's all she wrote this week.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Not A Good Omen

I turned on my computer a few minutes ago and got the dreaded blue screen of death. This is a really new laptop, what's the deal?
I AM sort of amused that in the diagnostic, it's called the blue screen error. Nothing else. Everyone knows what that means.

This is me and that's not a good sign.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

One Week Old

We - meaning myself, Tarzan AND both the kittens - have made it through their first week and other than Spike's very scary pneumonia thing, it's been pretty good. They eat, poop, sleep and then repeat about six times a day. I am not sure if this is the case with all kittens, or just mine because I am not a real mother cat, but I have to wake them up to eat. This is clearly insane behavior when you have a human baby - because if they are asleep, one does not mess with that - but these kittens don't seem to have a routine to establish or disrupt. Once they are stuffed full they fall asleep. Ofttimes right off the bottle and down on the bottom of the box they call home:
It amuses Tarzan greatly to watch them eat themselves unconscious.
And there they lay for three to four hours.
But.
When they wake up they don't hold still very well. These are the best pictures I could get, right after a nap this morning. Chubbs:
Who has put on a quarter of her weight since last week. The Internet says they're supposed to double their weight in the first week it but both veterinarians we saw this last week didn't think it was a requirement for healthy growth.
Spike:
Who fell behind the eight-ball but has rallied nicely I think. She's barely heavier than she was at birth but that may change now that she has energy to eat.
They're both girls, by the way, according to one vet. That may change, it's really hard to tell at this age.
This is me and it's a good thing I picked gender neutral names.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

I've Got You Babe

As the Dancing With The Stars season comes to a close I remember previous seasons that have had good elements and not so good ones. Here we are with the two-dance-a-night section, including the choose-a-decade portion. Which I find to be a little problematic. What if the dance doesn't match the decade? Each of these dances has developed over time, becoming popular when the music was right or getting a new twist. Sometimes they just don't match. One can't really waltz to 90's rap you know?
Chad's tango was really dramatic. I think he may have missed step or two in the middle of it. It looked awkward there for a moment. I do have to give him credit for progress. He has really grown as a dancer throughout this competition. Cheryl must have some sort of fixation with her back. She never has a back on her dress and she's given up a skirt too apparently.
Niecy's waltz was lovely, very lyrical. I thought her arms flapped a bit, especially at the beginning, but it flowed really well and it was pretty. She could be sharper with her feet, sometimes she shuffles through the steps but nice.
Erin's Argentine tango was really good. I liked the emotion and the commitment to the dance. Her feet and knees could have been sharper, faster and she lost her balance twice but still, I think it was one of her best dances.
Evan's waltz was interesting. It didn't flow like I thought it could have, especially with that song. I think his feet missed something at one point, and their emotional connection was touch and go. Did he just feel Anna up, there at the end?
Nicole's foxtrot was full of tricks and amusing bits but it didn't give me a lot of foxtrot. Maybe I'm a traditionalist but I thought there could have been a little less kitsch and a little more technique.
Chad's jive - from the 60's - was fun and funny. He sure embraced the decade if not the dance itself. His knees should have been higher and there could have been more kicks and flicks but we have already discussed my dissatisfaction with the dances not matching the decades.
Niecy's paso doble - from the 90's - was much more dramatic and powerful than I expected it to be. I worried about her feet not being fast enough, and they weren't, it was very unsteady, but she embodied the persona very well and put her whole self into it and I have to give her credit for that.
Erin's rumba - 80's style - was more appropriate than I anticipated. It went with the music, she didn't mess anything up and she and Maks did it well together. Seriously, who thought up the clothing for the 80's? Where they still stoned from the the 70's?
Evan's cha-cha - from the future - was freaky. Why is the future always portrayed android-y and devoid of emotion? He did well, it matched the theme and his steps were good. It's a good thing he didn't need to show emotion in it because there wasn't any and it worked.
Nicole's paso doble - from the 50's, don't even get me started - was really exceptional. Derek is just a really great choreographer. It was impressive. The attitude, the musicality, the movements.
My prediction: Nicole's gonna win this whole thing, Evan will come second and it's a toss up for third place. I would like it to be Erin, but it could be any of them.
The results show was hilarious - mostly because of DanceCenter with Kenny, Jerry and Len. Love them. This is one of the best things that happens at the end of a season.
The Gypsy Kings as the musical guests were quite adorable. Not even speaking the language I could listen to them for a long time. Very easy, friendly music.
The university ballroom dancing teams squaring off was a new trick. And not a totally retarded one. I like having different groups doing actual ballroom dance. The competition stuff is irrelevant for the demonstration models.
The UC San Diego samba was precise but a little to pose-y for me. I wanted more actual dance steps and not just pretty lines.
The Purdue team had a lot more dance content though they didn't move around as much. And in my 'I knew him when' moment I want to let you know I am not at all biased even though I used to date their coach when we were both at USC either. Of course I haven't seen him for years so I couldn't tell which one he was. I really hope he wasn't the bleach blond guy in the studio.
Again, not surprising, but saddening that Niecy went home this week. She was funny and cute, not a bad dancer and she certainly was not obnoxious which others have been.

This is me and that's the scoop.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Mother's Day 2010

I have a brand new respect for mothers.
Which is saying a lot as I have always wanted to be a mother and think a lot of people who choose to be moms.
I love my mom and the example she was to me. She has never expressed regret she had nine children, that she missed something by being with us, that she needed a vacation from us. If she thought those things she never let us know it. She is always proud to be our mom, she is always happy to see us and shares in our joys and and our heartbreaks. It's never too late to call her, she's never too busy to help us out and she has lived a life that makes me want to emulate her.
I have learned a little of what it's like to be a mom these last few days. Not that having two kittens is the same as having a kid, but I begin to comprehend the effort and involvement required to care for another helpless living thing. Getting up in the middle of the night, every night. To be invested in their welfare and the hopelessness you feel when you can't fix what is making them cry. Also the panic when you have to take them to the doctor and the relief when the antibiotics actually work and you can't hear them struggling to breathe all the way across the house. That relief, of course, comes after the first moments of alarm when you can't hear them breathe after being able to do so for three days.
Yes, despite Tarzan's bemusement, we took poor little Spike to the kitty hospital last night because she was having a hard time breathing. Terrible rasping and sometimes she would stop breathing for a few seconds and then start suddenly with a really heart wrenching cry. Poor thing was in a bad way. Tarzan put a limit on how much we could spend to save a four day old kitten, the veterinarians wanted an x-ray and were preparing us for lots of horrible things, including euthanasia. Turns out she aspirated some milk and was in the early stages of pneumonia. They gave us some antibiotics and fortunately, she seems to be doing much better.
Chubbs - we named the second kitten Chubbs - has not had any adverse effects of being orphaned. Here's to some less dramatic days in the future.

This is me and I thank my mom for the example, even I am spending it on kittens.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Be Honest Now

Is it weird to be excited because the kittens pooped by themselves?

This is me and we are all still alive. I think we can count that as a success.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

In Need Of A Large Trap Door

You know that phrase, 'morals of an alley cat?'
Or when Rhett Butler tells Scarlett that a cat would be a better mother than she is?
These are not random insults. Apparently cats kind of suck at mothering. They sleep with pretty much every tom in the neighborhood, don't care where or when they have the kittens and sometimes they up and walk away from the babies. No qualms at all.
Thankfully we have had all of our cats neutered or spade. But, as you may or may not know I am a sucker for a hungry face, so I feed a few other cats that are not mine. They aren't mine because they won't let me pet them and if I can't pet them than I don't claim them but still I feed them. Go figure. The short version of this randomness is, one of the stray cats that I feed was pregnant, she had at least three kittens and apparently isn't doing a good job being a mother because this is Spike:
And this is the one we don't have a name for yet:
We're open to suggestions.
But wait, I thought there were at least three, you ask? Yeah well, we can hear another one under the house - we have a small crawl space and a raised foundation - but we aren't sure exactly where and we can't reach it. (I really worry if we ever break a water pipe or something because I don't know how we'd get under the house to fix it.) And none of the critters are really ready to come when I call just yet.
Right before we went to bed last night I heard some mewing and figured the stray - we call her Drool - had had her kittens somewhere nearby. But the crying didn't stop and when I looked outside there was a kitten on the walkway rolling over and crying and crawling around.
I'm not sure if I am proud of myself or not for not going out right then and picking it up, but I didn't and left Drool to fetch her own offspring. This morning though, the poor thing was still there. We thought it might be dead but it wasn't. So I gave in, put it in a box and on my way to the car, to go to the pet store, found the second one behind the shed, laying in the dirt, crying and crawling around. I succumbed to that as well and so we have two. I only heard the third one right before dinner and am wondering what Drool has done, spreading them around the yard like Easter eggs.
We'll see if any of them make it through a second night.

This is me and I'm going to be busy for the next few weeks. Busy and/or sad.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

You Don't Love Me Anymore

I was whining this week how I don't get many comments on this blog - though apparently people are following - and Tarzan suggested it's because I don't post anything significant except about Dancing With The Stars. (I believe "your blog is inconsequential" was his wording)
Thoughts?
And while you compose your astounding comments I'll tell you what I thought about this week's performances.
Erin's quickstep was good. Fast, precise and they didn't get too ridiculous with Maks taking his clothes off. Amusing but not ridiculous.
Tony's instructions were amusing while helping Chad with his waltz and I noticed a difference in his lines. He was stretching bigger. He needs to work on his rise and fall and he's not certain of himself enough to know what to do between moves, his transitions need help but it was nice. Cheryl's dress was a tad scandalous yeah?
Nicole's waltz was lovely. Derrek does a great job choreographing the dances. But she didn't look like she was enjoying it. She smiled twice but most of the time she was concentrating so hard her brow was furrowed and it looked like work.
Pamela's waltz was lovely too. Not as technically correct in her feet perhaps but soft and nice. Her hold wasn't great and she didn't point her toes. The lift will (should have) cost them though.
Niecy's quickstep was well orchestrated. It seemed smaller than other quicksteps but her feet were great and she has a good time when she dances. Her dress was great too. If she made any mistakes, no one could tell.
Evan''s Argentine tango had some great lifts - which are allowed - but it could have been sharper. Maybe he's used to gliding from one movement to another in skating and not cutting steps short. It wasn't my favorite dance of his but clearly the judges thought it was awesome. I loved that they danced to "Bust The Windows Out Your Car." That's a great song.
The team cha-cha routines were interesting. The Ga-Ga team did not have their unison quite down. Pamela looked like she was not quite caught up when they broke for solos, half a beat behind, which was disappointing. Maybe it was her hair in her face? I was surprised at Chad's strength and his hips. His solo was really good. Nicole was not as confident as normal but she can shake it when necessary.
Team Madonna was also good, different tone, more fun and bouncy than down and dirty but it was good. Evan is just very long and skinny and he needs to get down into his Latin dances without losing the frame. Niecy could have been faster and I think she missed a step near the end. Erin was good but they didn't spend a lot of time together so it was odd.
The results show was respectable.
The team cha-cha was an understandable encore routine. Not understandable is the fact that people remember only the last thing they see and that's why Erin was in the bottom two. Her cha-cha was not the greatest and the viewers voted on that rather than her quickstep.
Train did okay with their musical performances. Do they always sing reggae or was that just for tonight?
Cirque de Soleil's tribute to Elvis was pretty dang fast and awesome. A little less death defying than I usually expect from their stuff, but fun and well done.
It was sad, but not surprising that Pamela was the one sent home this week. Everyone is good now so it's all a shock. I'm having a tough time voting.


This is me and my next great post.

From Whence You Cometh