Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween !

I am Pancho de Mexico. Danny is the gangster convict, complete with teardrop tatoo, thin mustache, and my name tattooed on his neck (with an eye pencil, of course).

I tried to get Danny to dress up as a blonde white girl, but he didn't want to unfortunately.

Next year, I'll be a corrections officer, complete with billy club and whip. (evil laugh)

By the way, drinking beer through a straw sucks. But one must make sacrifices for a kickass costume at an awesome Halloween party.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Shake, Rattle and Roll

Today's 5.6-magnitude earthquake was centered only a few miles from our home. It was the largest since the 1989 Loma Prieta quake that killed over 60 people. While this most recent one was significant, it was not nearly as destructive as that horrific incident almost two decades ago.

Aside from some rattling around, and two terrified cats, all is well with us.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Grace and Poise

I am a messy eater.

More often than I care to admit, the subject of my consuming attention ends up down the front of my shirt or in my lap. As I was instructed as a child not to slouch, any wayward crumbs often end up on me instead of on my plate. It is the sole reason why I never, ever wear white shirts.

As luck would have it, Danny is blessed with a similar affliction, varying only in his willingness to slouch over his plate. We both joke that we have holes in our bottom lips. It is not far from the truth.

At the movies, waiting outside the theater for the doors to be opened, Danny, my friend Derek (hi Derek !) and I were enjoying the bag of popcorn we had just purchased. To our amusement, every reach from the bag to Danny's mouth resulted in a piece of popcorn tumbling to the floor. We made fun of him mercilessly, while I was able to control myself and spill only one or two pieces in total.

Until the conversation turned to something I wished for Danny to tell a story about.

I said, "Hey Danny, tell Derek about the story of your coworker slipping and falling on the floor." With a flourish, my hand raised in the air.... and knocked 1/4 of the bag of popcorn on the floor.

So much for grace and poise.

Friday, October 26, 2007


As it is now the softball off-season, I have decided to fill the empty weeknight with a sport I always have enjoyed: volleyball.

I don't profess to be very good at it. I can overhand serve, bump, set and spike, however I am not tall enough to block. Playing with other, more experienced people, I am often the one that they ask to switch to the backline. So, I primarily play just for fun.

The community center near my old apartment has a very good drop-in program. Participants pay 5 dollars, and pick-up games are arranged with whoever decides to show up. I had done this previous to my hamstring injury, but had not returned since. This past Friday, I decided to make an appearance.

When I was playing previously, the court closest to the door was the one for beginners. The one farthest from the door was advanced players, and the one in the middle was for doubles. Knowing my own limitations, I habitually remained on the beginner court. I was not, and am still not, ready to promote to the advanced court.

On Friday, I was warming up with a fellow software engineer on the court closest to the door. As we were doing so, one of the advanced players I recognized from my stint a year and a half ago approached me. He said,

"The far court is for beginners. I don't mean to hurt your feelings, but I don't want you to get hurt."

Gee. Thanks.

I suppose there was no real nice way to say to me that I suck. He may not have meant to hurt my feelings, but he did nonetheless.

I used to have a goal of finally being able to play on the advanced court. But after that one interaction, I no longer have the desire. I'd much rather play with those just out to have fun, than be judged.

Friday, October 19, 2007

So True

funny cat pictures & lolcats - Noooo they be stealinĂ¢?? mah brain!!!!

I am at work, and this is precisely how I am feeling right now.

Near-impossible deadlines, code that barely works, and constant pressure for busywork to please the bean-counters has rendered my mind a useless pile of mush.

The weekend cannot come quickly enough.

[Link: I Can Has Cheezburger?]

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Don't Worry About the Mess

The tones went off on my radio yesterday, indicating a medical emergency at the building across the street. The callout was for a diabetic who had fainted. I grabbed my vest and bag, and headed to the building to assist.

The area where the patient was located was in one of those new-fangled "open office" showcases. Employees work at small desks that are completely open to passing traffic. There are no cubicle walls to be seen. There is a cafe area directly adjacent, as well as several small meeting rooms with glass front walls. No blinds. Privacy in this area is completely impossible, both during the workday, and during an emergency.

Our patient was located in one of these meeting rooms, dilligently cleaning up the contents of his lunch that he had regurigitated moments ago. I felt terrible for the guy. Here he was, the entire office staring at him through the glass window - with vomit on his shirt, ERT personnel tending to him, and the receptionist hitting on the firefighters in plain view. Security tried to provide a shield, but there just were not enough bodies to do so effectively. The patient was preoccupied with cleaning himself up, presumably so the staring would stop.

"Sir, don't worry about the mess. We'll clean it up. Let's focus on you right now."

I had to convince this poor man to concentrate on his health, and not on the myriad of rubberneckers interested in his predicament.

I really, really hate the open office concept. This is just another reason why.

Friday, October 12, 2007

A Letter

Dear Terri,

I wanted to express my deep appreication to you for being there for me when I was going through one of the toughest times of my life. Those late nights, when I was staying with you and your daughter and agonizing about the ardurous road ahead, you talked to me, gave me advice, and showed me a compassion and understanding that I so desperately needed. You were there for me, and I thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

My parents really enjoyed that time that you and your daughter joined us for dinner. I knew you and my dad would get along great. You two had similar stories about the "old country" and your wacky families. I will always remember and cherish that evening, with some of the most important people in my life.

Your daughter is like a sister to me, one of my best friends on Earth. And you, you were like second mother to me in the short time I knew you. Thank you, for everything. I send you much love.

Ti amo,



What else can be said to someone who has just been given one month to live ?

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The Happy Pill... For a Cat

Ever since our move to the new house, everyone involved has had to make adjustments, including the cats. A move alone is traumatic enough for most cats, however in this case, they had to adjust to having more people in the house, more noise, and a completely different routine. Unfortunately Mocha has been having some trouble.

The move was nothing short of devastating for both animals. Not only were they suddenly whisked into a new environment, they were subjected to constant hammering, sawing and upgrade work for a good two weeks afterwards. Keeping them at the apartment during this time was not an option, so they stayed sequestered in the laundry room, enduring day upon day of crashing and banging and strange people trampling through the house. It is no secret that this would be tough on any animal, especially cats.

Peaches has finally adjusted quite well. She often comes upstairs, socializes and sits with us when we are home. Although she still becomes spooked easily, she has well acclimated to the new house, and guards her territory with vigor. Mocha, on the other hand, has not been so lucky.

She is scared shitless of Danny. Two unfortunate accidents - one involving a feather toy, and the other involving a piece of a cabinet he was building - have paralyzed her with fear every time he is around. It's impossible to explain to a cat that you didn't mean to hurt her and that it was an unfortunate accident. She is petrified, and runs quickly away anytime he is near.

Unfortunately, because of the move, her fear has reached epic proportions, resulting in her peeing (and sometimes pooping) on the floor in fear. All Danny had to do was to walk towards wherever he was going, and she would pee in terror and run away. It was a heartbreaking situation for all, especially for whoever had to clean up the mess. I called my wonderful, awesome vet and asked for advice.

She discussed some behavioral tips, such as Danny giving them their treats at night, and medication to help with the anxiety. Her prescription ?


That's right, they make Prozac for cats. And my little Mocha is a perfect candidate.

I've always said that Mocha is crazy. You can see the evidence here, here, here and here. But now, with this diagnosis and prescription, that fact has been undeniably confirmed.

My cat is taking the happy pill.

And it's working.
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