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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Rest in Peace, Hunter

Today, I found Hunter sleeping in smears of her own blood. Rushed her to the UPenn Emergency Clinic. Renal failure. Bloodwork results were grim. I had to make the decision to have her put down.

I sobbed like a crazy person. I'm still weepy. I've never cried like this for a pet before. Then again, I've never had to make the euthanasia decision before, and this is the first death I've had to deal with since my dad's in 2006 from prostate cancer.

Added to list of careers for which I am unsuitable: (1) Death panelist. (2) Quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles (especially if involves shooting animals on the side).

Hunter: a retrospective.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Are you in the Philly area? A good person? Can you keep a cat?

Our next-door neighbors moved house and abandoned their cat. Another neighbor got in touch with them about it, and their response was "We don't want her. We have dogs now."

Yeah, I know. Don't get me started.

So, instead of leaving this incredibly sweet and friendly cat to freeze to death over the winter, we've taken her in temporarily as of last night. I have no idea what her name is, so I'm calling her Ginger. We can't keep her permanently, though, because we already have two cats, and she doesn't get along with them (it's hard to get adult females to play nice with each other). Can anyone out there keep a cat?

She is so beautiful, and is very social around people. She loves being petted, even by complete strangers, and I'm sure she'd be wonderful with children too. She's well toilet trained (was quite happy going in one of my other cat's litter boxes) and not at all fussy about the food she eats. She's been living on the streets for a couple of weeks now, and is so grateful for shelter, sustenance and affection -- anyone who has taken in a stray cat will tell you that they're twice as loyal as cats that haven't seen the hard life.

Please give her a good home! We really don't want to take her to the SPCA because it's a kill shelter, and the only no-kill shelter in the area isn't taking surrenders because they are full.

I'd estimate she's a year or two old. Obviously, I don't have vet records for her, but she seems really healthy. I'm assuming she's neutered, but only because she goes outdoors all the time, and I've never seen her with kittens.

If you can take her in, please contact me. And if you can't take her, please spread the word!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

In cat news, Tripoli and Moonlight are now getting along very well, though Hunter still causes a fair few problems. In case you hadn't figured, that ginger-and-white cat who belonged to our negligent bastard neighbors grew on us (we found out her name is Hunter), so now we have three cats -- one for every year we've been married, which is a worrying trend.

Friday, June 29, 2007

As you can see, Hunter has taken to hanging around outside now that the weather is decent, so I took her to the vet to have her shots. Apparently, she is eight or nine years old! I had no idea. This explains why she seems to prefer climbing to jumping - her hip joints are middle aged. She sure has a lot of pep for an old lady, though, as demonstrated by her willingness to stalk a groundhog about twice her size (she didn't have the nerve to pounce, which is probably one reason she has lived so long).

Friday, July 20, 2007

I'm busy! In the next couple of days, I will try to blog about all the things I've been meaning to blog about. Meantime, here is a video of Hunter being a total spazz.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Hunter has lately had blood in her stools. I finally had enough of a break in my schedule to take her to the vet this morning, and discovered that she has lost a bunch of weight since the last time she was in the clinic, and the vet suspects hyperthyroidism. She is having some bloodwork done (poor thing, she has tough veins, and the vet had to stick her so many times to get a sample), and I should know for sure what's wrong in a couple of days.

I am sad.

Friday, March 28, 2008

In cat news, it turns out Hunter does not have hyperthyroidism or any kind of wacky disease that would show up in her blood work. I am relieved that she won't have to take pills for the rest of her life! But in the meantime, I have to keep shoving diarrhoea pills down her throat twice a day, so she hates me, and there's the prospect of paying more money for more diagnostics down the road if it doesn't clear up.

Flickr slideshow with some more recent pictures

Cyber-stalking San Antonio and my fellow finalists

I was complaining to Matt last night that we haven't traveled recently, and he looked at me strangely and rattled off:

  • April: SEAMUS conference St Paul/St Cloud, Minnesota
  • May: Simon Carrington Chamber Singers in Kansas City, Missouri
  • June: O'Neill Puppet Conference in Waterford, Connecticut

  • Oh yeah. Huh. Apparently, if I don't travel for six months, I get kind of antsy.

    So, even though we'll be there for less than two days, and I'd never thought of Texas as particularly high on my list of must-see states, I'm excited for San Antonio. The Alamo appears to be practically downtown, so I guess we'll be stopping in there. (I wonder if Alberto Gonzales recalls the Alamo.) We also might be at the symphony concert on Friday night - my pitch to Matt was that the first, second, and fourth movements of the New World Symphony all appear in Ren and Stimpy. Truth. Click the links if you don't believe me.

    The other two finalist compositions in the NOA Chamber Opera Composition Competition are Review by Jeremy Beck and Patricia Marx and Confession by Raphael Lucas and Margaret Vignola. I looked them up, and I'm honored to have been selected alongside. The results of my cyber-stalking:

  • Jeremy Beck's website: he has a DMA from Yale, a very impressive resume/bio (I would kill for that Gramophone quote!), and is an attorney in his spare time.
  • His librettist Patricia Marx is a former writer for Saturday Night Live, and Review is based on a short story she wrote for the New Yorker! Here's an interview regarding her work on the opera.
  • Review was premiered at an Opera America convention, and also performed at a CCO gala.

  • Raphael Lucas is French and a recent graduate of Purchase College.
  • Confession was developed at Purchase and premiered by the Purchase Opera in 2009.
  • You can see clips of that premiere on the opera's YouTube channel. Holy crap, look at that production!

  • I feel pretty outclassed. But honestly, it's not the competition that matters, it's the camaraderie and networking that this opportunity presents. I'm hoping I get to meet the other composers/librettists at the contest, and very much looking forward to seeing what the UTSA students have done with Gonzales.

    Monday, December 27, 2010

    National Opera Convention - hello, Texas!

    The Gonzales Cantata was recently selected as one of three finalists in the National Opera Association Chamber Opera competition. I think that's pretty neat, because it means that a 20-minute excerpt will be performed at the NOA's annual convention by UTSA students conducted by William McCrary in front of what I assume will be a captive audience of opera directors.

    Also, this year's convention is in San Antonio, Texas. Guess who was born in San Antonio. Destiny!!!

    I believe the public might be able to attend the competition finals, so if you're that way inclined and located, come see! I'm flying in from Philly just to soak up some of that balmy Texas weather. Yes, after being trapped in my house by a foot of snow today, this former Brisbanite now believes 15deg Celsius is balmy.

    So, full details:

    Gonzales Cantata excerpts performed!
    Where: Hilton Palacio del Rio, 200 South Alamo Street, San Antonio, TX 78205
    When: 8PM on January 6th, 2011
    Cost: I'm not sure, but I saw $25 somewhere. Keep in mind that you'll be previewing three operas for that price, not just the Cantata.

    Also, we may have a free day on the 7th, so if you're in the area and interested in hanging out, drop me a line.

    Thursday, December 23, 2010

    Ruining a Christmas carol for 40% of Americans.

    About a week ago, just in time for the holidays, Gallup released a poll which shows that a staggering 40% of Americans believe in young-earth creationism. 37% of college graduates. 22% of postgrads. And while many media outlets are trying to spin this positively by focusing on the slight increase in the number of people who accept evolution, the incredible fact remains that in the richest country in the world, education is so poor and stupidity so rife that four in ten people think that the world was formed over the course of a week sometime in the last 10,000 years, and the all-magical God is just trying to troll us with all those fossils and geological records.

    Every time I hear about the results of this poll, which Gallup conducts every one or two years, I lose a little faith in America.

    This year, though, I had a brainwave after staying up until 5:10AM to finish the last assignment of the semester (a set of miniature piano etudes framed as a pseudo-scientific experiment, if you must know).

    "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" is ALL about evolution.

    I have come to kill your God.

    That's right, creationists, if you insist upon sticking your fingers in your ears and shouting lalalalala every time someone tries to apply scientific logic to observations of life on this planet, you should stop singing this carol or watching the film and get rid of all your Rudolph merchandise immediately.
    Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer
    had a very shiny nose
    and if you ever saw it
    you would even say it glows.
    Essentially, Rudolph had a (we assume spontaneous) genetic mutation which gave him a different trait to the rest of the reindeer population.
    All of the other reindeer
    used to laugh and call him names
    they never let poor Rudolph
    join in any reindeer games.
    At first, his shiny nose appears to have been a harmful mutation. He was shunned socially (devastating to a herd animal such as a reindeer) and, we presume, sexually ("reindeer games").
    Then one foggy Christmas eve
    Santa came to say:
    "Rudolph with your nose so bright
    won't you guide my sleigh tonight?"
    OH SNAP. As sometimes happens, conditions changed, and suddenly Rudolph's scarlet incandescent mutation turned out to be beneficial after all. Rudolph had a clear advantage over the wild-type reindeer in dealing with the new environmental stresses.
    Then how the reindeer loved him
    as they shouted out with glee (yippee)
    "Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer
    you'll go down in history."
    The reindeer "loved" him. Yeah, I don't need to spell that out.

    Awwwwww, yeeeeeah.

    We can assume that as a result, the red-nose mutation was able to spread rapidly through the reindeer population, and if future Christmases were equally foggy, the offspring of Rudolph would continue to be naturally selected for their advantageous trait. It is possible that, at some point in the future, all of Santa's reindeer will have glowing red noses.

    "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" was practically written by Charles Darwin. We're in ur children's minds, killin your faith-based beliefs. Bitches.