RIP Taki

Apr. 7th, 2009 01:06 am
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Drexel's President Constantine Papadakis (Taki for short) died on Sunday from complications from lung cancer. He had taken a leave of absence on Friday, but apparently it was too late. He had been President of Drexel for 13 years and had presided over the acquisition of the medical school where I work. He did a lot to put Drexel on the map. An Acting President has been appointed by the Board and we'll see what happens after that. Rest in peace, Taki.

Fanboy

Mar. 6th, 2009 03:35 am
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I just got home from seeing the midnight premiere of Watchman. I was totally blown away by the movie and very satisfied with the adaptation. It was freaking awesome!!!

N'awlins

Feb. 19th, 2009 12:14 pm
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I'm having a bout of synchronicity regarding New Orleans:

1) Top Chef just had part one of the finale in Nw Orleans and showed lots of footage of places that I recognized, plus Emeril was the guest judge.

2) I'm currently reading Dragon's Wild by Robert Asprin, and the characters just went to live in the French Quarter.

3) The cafeteria just offered their version of a Chicken Po'Boy for lunch today, which I just ate (it was only reminiscent of an actual po'boy but I was definitely in the mood for it).

I've really enjoyed my visits there and I haven't been back since the disaster. My annual Neuroscience conference hasn't been there for awhile, but is scheduled to return in 2012. Hmm, can I wait that long...?
logisticslad: (Default)
I'm deep in the midst of several reality shows that I am mostly enjoying. Here's the rundown:

Top Chef: New York - This season has been pretty good, with a number of interesting challenges and impressive celebrity judges. I'm not warming up to the nasty British replacement judge for Gail. We're down to the final four contestants: Stefan, who has dominated in the challenges, Fabio, who has a winning personality and won the last challenge despite having broken his finger, Carla, who is endearingly wacky and has finally found her creative voice, and Hosea, who has been off his game since he let things go too far with another contestant. I predict that he will be the one out next. While I like Fabio and Carla better, I suspect that Stefan will win. We'll see!

True Beauty - This is a new show that can probably be done only once. The contestants think they are in a beauty competition, but they are actually being judged on inner beauty. Unfortunately, what the judges define to be inner beauty is a bit farfetched, but it makes for an amusing show. I'm rooting for Billy, the thirty one year old blond man, who is a Chippendales dancer from Idaho. However, everyone left seems pretty fake.

Ru Paul's Drag Race - This is also a new show and it's quite a scream! Santino from Project Runway is one of the judges and he and the other judges hold nothing back. The contestants are totally over the top and the challenges are hilarious. In the end the bottom two must Lip Synch for Their Life, after which Ru decides who shantees and stays and who sashays...away.

Survivor: Tocantins - Not much to say about it, yet. There are a lot of strong personalities, but no one has come through as particularly likeable after the first episode.

I'm also looking forward to the new seasons of Make Me a Supermodel and Dancing with the Stars coming soon...
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Enjoyed watching the Men's Figure Skating event on [personal profile] defenestrator's new HD TV. Results were quite a surprise as was the selection choices of the US World team.


Read more... )
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I accomplished my second stab at cooking tonight! I decided to make Apple Chicken from my new cookbook and I invited my friend Jan over to give me feedback as to whether it was any good.

Ingredients:

3 apples (Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, Macintosh or combination)
1/2 Lemon
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 Tbsp sugar
2 whole boneless skinless chicken breasts (1.5-2.0 lbs total)
1 small onion, finely chopped (1/2 cup)
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup chicken stock
1/2 tsp salt

I had gone to Trader Joes a few days ago to obtain ingredients and they did not have any of the apple varieties suggested so I bought Fuji apples. They also didn't have single lemons. I was able to get a lemon elsewhere and when I was over at Jan's the day before, he had given me some Granny Smith apples that he had left over, hence the inspiration to have him taste the final product. We agreed that if it wasn't any good, that we would throw it out and order pizza. Fortunately, we didn't need to resort to that.

1. Core the apples, peel them, and cut them into 1/4 inch thick slices. Rub them with lemon to prevent discoloration.

This was actually the hardest part of the recipe, as I lacked the correct tools and skills. I do know how to core an apple, but peeling it was a challenge! I started by trying to use a paring knife and realized that my skill with it was so poor that it was only a matter of time before I cut myself. So I looked for my potato peeler, but couldn't find it. Then I noticed that my cheese grater had a long knife slot opening and I was able to use that. It took me about half and hour to core and peel these three apples, but the lemon really did work to keep the slices from turning brown! I realized that I could probably have used lemon juice instead of a lemon, but it did smell nice and fresh. I put them in a bowl for the next step.

2. Melt 1 Tbsp butter in a skillet and saute the apples over medium-low heat, 5-7 min. Sprinkle them with sugar, and cook over high heat until lightly browned. Set apples aside.

I found this pretty easy to do, and the apples began to smell good as they cooked, which was encouraging.

3. Rinse the chicken and pat it dry. Cut each chicken breast in half. Flatten each breast with a meat pounder until thin.

No problem, although I actually forgot to tenderize and flatten the chicken breast, but it worked out ok.

4. Melt the remaining 1 Tbsp butter in a large skillet. Raise the heat, add the chicken, and cook until lightly colored, 2 min on each side. Remove chicken and set aside.

Ok, done. It's not fully cooked yet, but I suspect that there is a plan here...

5. Add the onion to the skillet, cover, and cook until tender and slightly carmelized, 8-10 min. Uncover, raise heat to high, and add vinegar. Cook the mixture down to a syrup, 1 min. Then whisk in cream, stock, and salt.

Ok, I'm very glad that they reminded me to cover the onions, because I would not have known to do that. Oops, I added the vinegar and the stock together. I'm pouring it out and just adding the vinegar to the onions. Ok, now to add the cream, stock, and salt. Hmmm, the onions sucked up most of the liquid so there isn't enough to whisk. Let's see what happens next.

6. Return chicken to the skillet and simmer gently in the sauce, basting often, until the sauce has thickened and the chicken is cooked, 3-5 min. Do not overcook.

Done. Actually, this took a bit longer because I had forgotten to flatten the chicken. But cooking chicken in a skillet is one of the things that I know I can do, so I was able to roll with this one. There wasn't a whole lot of sauce for basting, but there was some.

7. Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon and place on a serving platter. Add the apple slices to the skillet, cook over high heat until the sauce has reduced and the apples are thoroughly heated, 1 min.

Done.

8. Spoon the apples around the chicken, pour the sauce over, and serve immediately. Makes 4 portions.

Done and done. Actually, I think I used too much onion, which must be why there wasn't a lot of sauce, so I left a lot of the onion in the skillet. Jan and I enjoyed the apple chicken dish. I made some polenta (from a Trader Joes mix) to go with it and that also worked well. Jan noted that the chicken was perfectly cooked (whew!) and that the onions and apples went surprisingly well together. I liked it, but didn't love it. Then as I was describing what I had done to make the sauce, Jan asked if he could try something. He went to the kitchen and added more cream and stock to the onions and suddenly the sauce, which had indeed been sucked into the onion came out! We added it back to the chicken and this greatly enhanced the flavor of the dish! I knew that onions could suck up a lot of liquid, but I had no idea that one could make them give it back. Very cool. The mix of the tart apple, the sweetness of the apple saute, the vinegary onions, and the creamy stock sauce created several layers of flavor which really complimented the chicken. I'm very glad that Jan gave me the Granny Smiths, because I don't think the Fujis would have worked nearly as well.

I made another new dish and actually served it to someone. I accepted some helpful feedback on what I had done and learned something. And I cooked something yummy! I'm so proud of myself! Yay!!!
logisticslad: (Default)
One of my New Year’s Resolutions is to become more comfortable with cooking and to create occasions for me to cook for others. I had recently gotten a new set of KitchenAid cookware and a new set of dishes when I thought that I might be hosting Thanksgiving for my family. Since I didn’t actually do so, I realized that I haven’t even used them, yet. So to support me in this, [profile] puzzld1 gave me one of her favorite cookbooks, The New Basics Cookbook by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins. This one has lots of recipes with explanations of how to execute various techniques and judge when things are done – just what I need! So I stopped at Trader Joes and bought the ingredients for my first attempt at cooking for the New Year. I decided to make Macaroni and Cheese, and here’s how it went.

Ingredients:
1 pound penne
4 cups milk
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
6 Tbsp unbleached flour
1 tsp paprika
salt and pepper to taste
12 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated (4 cups)

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the penne and cook at a roiling boil until just tender. Drain, rinse under cold water, drain again and set aside in a large bowl.

Ok – water is set to boil in my new pot. I decided to use filtered water since Philly water is choc full of minerals that can affect the taste of things. Ooh, my pot has insulated handles that should allow me to move it without hotpads! We’ll see…

2. Preheat the oven to 350 oF

Done. Even I can turn on an oven ☺

3. Bring the milk just to a boil in a heavy saucepan and set aside.

Okay, I’ve added the milk to my new large saucepan and turned on the flame (I’m using a gas stove, which is what I’m used to, BTW). Check the conversion table: 4 cups = 1 quart, which is what I bought. Good. I used nonfat Lactaid milk – will that matter? I guess we’ll see.

4. Meanwhile, melt the butter in another heavy saucepan. Add the flour, and whisk over low heat for 5 minutes. Do not brown. Remove from heat.

Ok, that’s 3 things on the stove at the same time – I’m getting a bit nervous. Oops, the butter is frozen. Well, it will melt… Yes! It did. Now to add the flour and whisk. Yes, I actually do own a whisk, thank you. Ok… my wrists are hurting. Who the hell can whisk for 5 minutes? This is supposed to make it fluffy, right? Ow, it’s been 2 minutes and I’m tired. It looks mixed – I’m declaring it good enough. Oh look, the penne looks done – I’ll fish one out to taste it. Ok, that was harder than I thought – note to self, hot penne does not always stay on the fork. Done! Try the insulated handles – hey they work! Drain and rinse. Place in large bowl. Wait – check the milk. Ok, it’s just started boiling. Whew!

5. Add the hot milk to the flour mixture, and whisk well. Add paprika, salt, pepper and return pan to heat. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens. 5 minutes. Add to the penne, and toss well to coat completely.

Hold on – I used the large saucepan to the milk and the small one for the butter, so I’m going to add the butter to the milk instead. Whisk again! Crap! Ok, here goes… Whew, that’s a lot of whisking. Aren’t there machines to do this? Now to add it to the penne. Yum, that actually looks pretty good.

6. Butter a 13 x 9 x 2 inch flameproof baking dish, and fill it evenly with penne and sauce.

It’s a good thing that they reminded me to use a flameproof dish, no really. But the one I have is square, not rectangular. Well, it looks like it’s about 12 or 13 inches long and wide, so that should be big enough. Cool, it all just fits!

7. Distribute the grated cheese over the top and add pepper and paprika.

Ok, now to grate the cheese. Crap, I only bought a wedge of it. It says it weighs 0.44 pounds – how much is that in ounces? Check the handy conversion tables – convert pounds to grams, then grams to ounces. Ok, I have about 7 ounces of cheese. Will that be enough? The recipe calls for 12 ounces. Wait, I’ve got some mozzarella in the fridge… oh good, it says that one can use that, too, and even mix it with the gruyere. Well, let’s see if I’ll need it…

Ok, found my cheese grater and it’s a bit rusted. Stop laughing! I’m scouring the rust off of one side. There, now to grate the cheese. Can one eat the rind of gruyere? Yes, I think so. Wow, grating is almost as tiring as whisking. Really, stop laughing!! There we go. There’s absolutely no more room to add extra cheese in this baking dish, so I’ll hold off on the mozzarella and hope for the best.

8. Place the dish on a baking sheet, and bake until hot, 20 to 25 minutes.

Why do I need a baking sheet? Is that in case it boils over? Well, it's right up to the top of the dish, so I’d better do it. It doesn’t say to cover it, so I won’t. In it goes. Now to feed the cats, who have been wondering why I’ve been spending all this time in the kitchen without giving them their food. Done. Now I had better clean up all the used posts and utensils. I know myself well enough to know that if I don’t do it now, then they’ll be sitting there all week. Done.

9. Place the dish under the broiler, 4 inches from the heat, until the top is slightly golden and bubbling, 3 to 4 minutes.

Broiler? Do I have a broiler? Ok, it must be this shelf at the bottom of the stove. Hmm, it’s not hot down here. Wait, there’s a broiler button on the controls. I can set it for Low or High. I’ll try Low.

10. Serve immediately. Makes 8 portions.

Wonder of wonders, it actually worked!!! It even looks like mac and cheese. And it tastes pretty good, too. I think next time, I will buy some fresh spices, since the ones that I had were pretty old. I may also try a different cheese or a blend. The gruyere works pretty well, but it doesn’t have that familiar comfort food flavor that I expect from mac and cheese. Although, I’ve got a lot of leftovers, so I may come to like it after I get more used to it. But I did it! I actually made something for dinner that I had never made before! I’m ridiculously proud of myself! Go me!
logisticslad: (Default)
On Saturday, [personal profile] defenestrator and I saw a matinee of the remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still at the IMAX theater. I thought that it certainly wasn't as good as the original, but it had some good parts on its own.

Read more... )
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The Big Read reckons that the average adult has only read 6 of the top 100 books they've printed. Well, let's see:

1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2) Italicize those you intend to read.
3) Underline the books you LOVE.

Read more... )

That's 41 that I've actually read over the years. I guess it doesn't count if I've only seen the movie :-)
logisticslad: (Default)
My brother and sister-in-law are in the midst of having an addition put onto their house and the contractors were breaking through into the kitchen this week. So we had decided to hold Thanksgiving at my place. Now, as many of you know, I CAN cook, but I really don't enjoy it in its own right. So my suggestion was to arrange to buy the various T-day goodies from my local co-op and serve that for dinner. My parents and brother were completely ok with this idea, however, my sister-in-law exclaimed that it would not feel like Thanksgiving to her if someone did not provide home cooking. Several of my friends offered to teach me how to make various parts of the meal and [profile] puzzld1 even offered to help me cook it, but I decided that the stakes were too high to try to raise my cooking karma for such a food important day. So my sister-in-law contrived to make the cooked dishes at her place, my parents agreed to bring salad and appetizers, and I was in charge of beverages. Meanwhile, I had spent the week cleaning my place. I bought new dishes (to go with my new cookware that I had recently bought). I had a friend come over and figure out how to change the fluorescent light in the kitchen fixture that had baffled me for the last 2.5 yrs. I had borrowed a carpet cleaner and solution to clean the kitchen floor, when my brother called to say that two of the three kids were recovering from strep throat and that they didn't want to risk traveling under those circumstances. Also, the kitchen breakthrough was far less disruptive than had been feared, so cooking there was not a problem. So they felt it would be easier for all concerned if we had Thanksgiving at their place after all. Since the point of switching was to make things easier in the first place, I quickly agreed.

So I halted my frantic cleaning and drove the hour to Hightstown on T-day. Except that I had the misfortune of getting stuck in traffic and having to reroute at the earliest exit, so it took me over two hours to make it there. When I got there, I realized that I had forgotten to bring the wine with me, so I went to a local wine shop that was still open and bought a nice German Riesling to go with dinner (not that my family noticed the difference in quality, but I did). The kids were delighted to see me and my folks, but were also extremely rambunctious, which lead to a number of time outs throughout the day. My 6 yr old nephew is now into Pokemon cards, so I brought some cards with me and he explained to me how to play. He also arranged some trades so that he could have three powerful cards that I couldn't use yet, while he gave me three weaker cards which would allow me to use other powerful cards that I had. As the indulgent uncle, I was completely ok with this somewhat lopsided trade, and impressed with his logic in arranging it. He then used his newly acquired cards to soundly stomp me in a game, which made him very happy. I'm thrilled to death to be encouraging a young gamer in the family!

Dinner itself was delicious, however, the kids fought during it and were punished with time outs, which lead to the middle one melting down, which set the baby off crying, too. This made the dinner experience much less pleasant, but my family coped well and my brother archly expressed his thanks for the wine to help get him through :-) When it got to my turn to express what I was thankful for, I got a laugh by saying that I was thankful that we weren't at my house after all :-) This lightened the mood and we did our best to polish off the food. After dinner we all watched the classic Charlie Brown Thanksgiving special and the new one about the Pilgrims and then it was off to bed. The kids could not believe that my brother and I had watched the same show when we were their age. All in all, it was a good holiday, and maybe we really will have it at my house someday.
logisticslad: (super)
I arrived at the new Philcon hotel in Cherry Hill around 7pm and found the Green Room where they had my registration info. There was a moment of confusion when I was calling myself a Guest and they thought that meant that I was related to an invited pro. I was informed that in their terminology, I am a Program Participant. I wandered around to find where everything was and did a quick tour through the Dealer's Room. It was rather small and filled predominantly with booksellers this year. I bumped into [personal profile] hughcasey who asked if I would be willing to sub for the moderator of an 8pm panel titled, "Tracing the Superman Theme: From Neitzche to Iron Man." Sure, why not? After all, I've been reading comics since 1975. It turned out that the moderator was driving in from Boston and could not quite make it to the panel. There were two other panelists, one who was another scientist/comics geek and the other who had actually read Neitzche. We had a lively discussion about how various heroes from comics, books, and film met the characteristics of the Ubermensch. It turned out much better than I could have hoped.

Then I went to my friend John Ashmead's talk on "How to Build a Time Machine" along with several other members of my SF book club. He covered the time machine in both fact and fiction, including describing several physics papers that have been published on the subject. Very interesting (and he kept his quota of puns to a minimum). Next I wandered through the Art Show (also very small) and the Meet the Pros party, which was held between the art and the gaming tables. I saw the Program Chair, who apologized to me for having been put on 10am panels on both Sat and Sun, when I had requested no panels before noon, and that was unexpectedly nice of him. I saw most of the usual suspects who go to Philcon. I stopped by the Con Suite, where there were only 2 people and at that point decided to head home.

So several of my panels have been moved, but alas not the 10am one. They did tell me that they have found someone to sub for me for the Sat morn panel, so I'm not going to stress about making it (although several of my friends have told me that they were looking forward to seeing me on it). Here's where I'll be as of the last schedule change:

Sat 10am Redrawing the Tree of Life: the New Taxonomy
Sat 3pm Super-Mega-Crossovers and the Fans Who Hate Them
Sat 5pm What Does a Scientist Do, Exactly?

Sun 10am Xtreme Neurology

The Sat 5pm panel is supposed to be part of the Children's programming track, and they asked me to make it interactive, so I've brought a model of a brain (instead of an actual brain). It does seem a bit odd that they scheduled something for children at 5pm, which is well known to be the hour of melt downs, but we'll see how it goes.

Got gas for $1.75 Full Service - the real bonus to having the con in New Jersey!
logisticslad: (Default)
Sat 10:00 AM in Crystal Ballroom Two (1 hour)
REDRAWING THE TREE OF LIFE, THE NEW TAXONOMY (175)

[Panelists: JJ Brannon (mod), Jed Shumsky, Jay Wile, L Hunter
Cassells]

Study of plants and animals from a genetic, rather than
morphological perspective is resulting in major revisions to
previous ideas about the relationships between species, and their
classifications. Some biologists have suggested a complete overhaul
of the whole Linnaean system, based on the DNA evidence


Sat 3:00 PM in Plaza II (Two) (1 hour)
SUPER-MEGA-CROSSOVERS, AND THE FANS WHO HATE THEM. (132)

[Panelists: Andrew C. Murphy (mod), J. Andrew World, Phil Kahn, Jed
Shumsky, Jay Smith]

Civil War. Identity Crisis. Secret Invasion. Final Crisis. World
War Hulk. Crisis on Infinite Earths. What's up with the giant,
multi-issue crossovers that get foisted on us each year, and why do
they seem to generate such BAD reactions among the fans? And why
does DC Comics have to make everything a CRISIS!


Sat 5:00 PM in Plaza VI (Six) (1 hour)
GAB: WHAT DOES A SCIENTIST DO, EXACTLY? (162)

[Panelists: Patricia Boyd (mod), L Hunter Cassells, Jed Shumsky]

Scientists, technicians and doctors explain the ins-and-outs of
their jobs through informal presentation and Q&A


Sun 10:00 AM in Crystal Ballroom Two (1 hour)
XTREME NEUROLOGY (172)

[Panelists: Jed Shumsky (mod), Alexis Gilliland, Jay Wile, JJ
Brannon]

SF posits almost as many marvels of the mind as of physics --
jacking in to cyberspace, artificial telepathy, electronic brain
enhancements, drugs that increase intelligence or change
personality, just to name a few. Some of these concepts are
beginning to come true today. Others remain fiction for now. What
is plausible and what isn't? Will we someday be transmitting video
directly to our optic nerves, uploading other's memories to our
brains, acquiring new personalities or learning languages overnight

SFN

Nov. 17th, 2008 09:31 pm
logisticslad: (Default)
It's been being a tiring but productive Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in DC. There are over 31,000 attendees this year. My first student and my two collaborators had very successful posters and presentations. In fact, my collaborator who gave a presentation gave one of the best talks that I have ever heard her give. She was very nervous, because as an engineer, she doesn't really feel comfortable speaking to a group of biological scientists, but she did great. She also handled questions very well and even solicited my input on one of them. Several folks thought she was my student because of that, but I set them straight and it was all ok :-)

I had dinner and drinks with my old college friend Murray and some of his friends and that was fun. I had lunch with my old college roommate Will, who is a journalist and was covering the meeting. Several people who used to work with me stopped by to say hi (including Kyle who worked for me to six summers and Mark who worked for me before him) and it was great to catch up. There was a Drexel alumni social (to celebrate that it's been 10 years since the bankruptcy and that things really have recovered) and a Spinal Cord social, so I had to miss the LGBT Neuroscientist social which was scheduled against one of them this year. It's been nice being recognized by a number of spinal cord researchers whom I've been seeing at meetings for the last several years. I'm now high enough on the food chain that they seek out me and my work because they're interested in what I'm doing (just like I do for some of the bigwigs in the field).

My new shoes have been holding up well and my feet are not even too sore from breaking them in. I'm liking my new Ecco's!

I haven't really eaten at any place that has been exceptional on this trip. The food options have been ok, but not particularly memorable. Of course, having to eat dinner at 8:30 or later has been rough, but this year it's been more about the networking than the food.

Tomorrow is going to be very intense. Three of my students are presenting posters in the morning session, along with a number of my colleagues. There is also a busy afternoon session, including a talk by Brenda Milner, one of the people who worked with the famous amnesiac H.M. Actually, the large talks have been pretty good this year - I particularly enjoyed the one on Birdsong, by the woman whose 50 page review I use to teach that topic in one of my graduate course. However after tomorrow, I'm pretty much done so I've decided to take the train back tomorrow evening and miss the last day of events.
logisticslad: (Default)
So in the midst of the convention, I realized that there was something wrong with one of my shoes. It turned out that the glue holding the heel together had dissolved in the rain and the heel had essentially collapsed. Fortunately, I was still able to walk on it for the rest of the day, but it was becoming increasingly uncomfortable. When I got back to the hotel, the concierge suggested several places to go to find a new pair of dress shoes on a Saturday night. First, I tried a nearby Filene's Basement, but didn't find anything I liked in my size (despite the sale prices). Then I tried Comfort One Shoes in Dupont Circle. They also didn't have anything in my size, but suggested that I try the Ecco shoe store across the street. Ecco is a Danish shoe brand, that I had at least heard of. There I found several comfy shoes that I liked, and one was even in my size! It turns out I wear a 41C in the European size scale, which apparently is one of the smallest sizes they make. At this point, I was grateful to find something that fit, so I bought them to wear for the rest of the conference.
logisticslad: (Default)
Wow! What an amazing outcome. I thought that Obama gave a very inspirational acceptance speech and that McCain gave a very classy concession speech. I'm very proud of PA voters for going Blue tonight. It is time for a change!

I voted

Nov. 4th, 2008 01:23 pm
logisticslad: (Default)
I was #209 at my polling place this morning. I went after the morning crowd and missed the lines. I've been having a hard time at work today, which I realized is due to how anxious I am about the outcome of this election.

Sad news

Oct. 22nd, 2008 10:07 am
logisticslad: (Default)
Jan's cat Loki continued to have difficulty breathing and was not helped by the various treatments. He developed some neurological signs and stopped giving the impression that he was all there. So Jan made the hardest decision a pet owner has to make this morning. Loki was a beautiful but weird little cat with boundless energy. He was a force of destruction and definitely lived up to his name. Loki had been lovingly selected by Jan and his partner, before his partner passed away. I'm afraid that Jan is going to take this extra hard because of that connection. Jan is exhausted and taking today off from work. I will be happy to send him your hugs.

Birthday!

Oct. 21st, 2008 04:05 pm
logisticslad: (totoro)
Meanwhile, my students arranged a small birthday party for me, with a delicious chocolate cake, cookies, and marshmallow ants (Peep-type, but tastier). All of this was served on High School Musical plates :-) Fortunately, no one was inspired to perform any songs from the show.

My mother sent me a birthday card from my cats that included coupons for cat food and litter :-)

Thanks to everyone for their good wishes! I deeply appreciate them.
logisticslad: (Default)
I just spoke with Jan and he says that Loki's systems are finally stabilizing and that Loki seems to recognize Jan and is behaving somewhat like his old self. This greatly reduces the worry of possible neurological damage from all the edema. Sonogram ruled out him having swallowed something he shouldn't, and there were no detectable perforations in his intestines, reducing the possibility of sepsis. So the current diagnosis is congestive heart failure, and if he remains stable, then recovery enough to return home is possible, with the potential for reasonable health for the next 6-12 months. He's not out of the woods, yet, but hope is alive. Jan has returned home to collapse and I plan to check in on him later. Thanks to everyone for their kind thoughts. I've passed them on to Jan and he deeply appreciates the positive energy and good wishes
logisticslad: (Default)
I spent much of the evening at the Gwynned Veterinary Hospital with my good friend Jan and his cat Loki. Loki is a three year old Bengal male and had been feeling poorly over the weekend. He was having trouble peeing and had greatly reduced energy. His vet treated him for a UTI and he did not improve. He stopped eating last night and became listless. Jan took him back in today, and they noticed additional problems and referred him to the Vet Hospital for 24 hr monitoring and care. They think that he either has congestive heart failure, major GI blockage, or sepsis. They don't know yet and until his heart and lungs stabilize they can't do too many tests. He's in an oxygen tent and resting while he receives various meds through IV drips. Prognosis is not good, but they decided to wait and see how he's doing in the morning before making any major (and potentially expensive decisions. Jan's a wreck. He's had a lot of loss over the last two years (his partner, his longtime cat, and his other cat is in failing health). Loki is young and had not shown any signs of having such serious problems before this. Jan left his shirt for Loki to rest on and brought him his favorite toy, Mr Bunny. I'm hoping to hear more encouraging news in the morning.

Meanwhile, I've come home and showered my cats with love.

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