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Friday, December 1, 2017

micro.blog

Manton Reece has finally 😃 opened up micro.blog to more of the general public, and so I have an account.

Micro.blog is like a federated twitter, where everybody owns their own content instead of storing it all on a central service like Twitter.

I'll almost certainly keep the paid service they offer, but more interesting to me is finding ways to integrate with the service.

It looks good, Manton! Nice work!

Friday, August 25, 2017

Happy Birthday, Torg!

[Sluggy Freelance 20 Years]I can't believe it's been 20 years.

I believe I first started reading |Sluggy| 17 years ago, and talked Eric and my dad into reading it a year later. Eric still reads.

🎶 Twenty years of nifty darn comics… 🎵 And Riff should go check his notes! ♬

Happy birthday, Torg!


Monday, May 15, 2017

AJ Died

Corinne came into my office Saturday evening and said, “Your bird is acting weird.”

“He’s always acting weird,” I said, but I came out anyway because obviously she meant weirder than normal.

He (AJ) was at the bottom of his play stand having a hard time keeping his balance.

I picked him up and brought him to his cage so I could evaluate him a little. Gave him some treats (nuts and sunflower seeds). He tried to open a pistachio but couldn’t keep his balance on one foot: that's not good, balancing on one foot is what they do.

He said, “Hi baby,” which is his normal thing to say, but it sounded very off: slightly deeper and a little drawn out. Something was definitely wrong. In fact, the way he said it is what made me realize we were probably going to lose him.

He was panting. I laid down on the couch and put him on my chest; this is his idea of paradise. He loved nothing more than sitting on my chest and making sure I was paying him maximum attention. I rested one hand on his back to help keep him steady, and waited to see if he was going to improve. After a few minutes, Corinne brought me a hand towel to drape over him and help keep him warm (parrots seem to love being covered up anyway).

I was listening to him, reading a little, and talking to him. Soon I realized I was hearing his heart beating. Very arrhythmic, and loud. “thump thump thump pause (a few seconds) thump long-pause thump thump pause” etc. I shouldn’t be able to hear his heart beating at all (and when healthy, the rate is 340-600 beats per minute), and honestly I’m still not 100% sure that’s what it was, but it wasn’t in time with his panting so it wasn’t some kind of lung rattle. I think he had some sort of a heart attack and it was, uh... sputtering?

He was getting worse, and I accepted he was going to die. I started telling him (mostly for my own benefit, I guess... he can talk but he’s not a person) that he should let go, it’s almost over. He grabbed onto my thumb a few times with his beak, but didn’t hurt me. Just held on.

After laying there on my chest for a little less than an hour, getting weaker and weaker, he stretched his neck way out and then tightened all his muscles up for a second, Then he just stopped breathing, and the heartbeat stopped.

I didn't sleep much that night but had to exhort Sunday morning. Ugh.

Sunday afternoon I buried him in a deep hole in the back yard. I miss him.


The closest emergency vet is about a 50 minute drive. (This was a Saturday night.) I hope nobody thinks badly of me for not rushing him over there. I believe it would have been a traumatic and expensive last hour of his life instead of me providing what comfort I could as he died.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

AJ: Two Cockatoos in One

AJ is our 20 year old Cockatoo. He was with friends for about five years but he's been back now for about six months.

There seem to be two different AJs. They look the same. The sound the same. We're going to pretend that they (he) calls me "Daddy." In reality he calls me <screeching sound> but we're just pretending, ok? You with me?

Day One

I come downstairs early in the morning, dressed in a navy blue shirt and denim shorts.

AJ's cage cover is no longer covering the cage. This heavy, denim cover (which outweighs the bird by at least 500%) has been pulled off the back and in through the bars of the cage. Not all of it, but about six inches at a time has been pulled through six or ten successive gaps between bars. It looks like pleating, as it's quite even.

AJ is sitting quietly, pulling more in and chewing on the cover. As I walk toward the cage he releases the cover (it doesn't move) and sits motionless.

I extract the cage cover from the cage bars, while telling AJ how impressed I am with his work. He continues to sit utterly motionless. Obviously I can't see him if he doesn't move.

I reach over to open his cage door and AJ — like a mighty predator — leaps for the front of the cage. He repeatedly bangs his face into the bars trying to bite me, and sticks one claw out as far as he can to grab a finger or, if he's really lucky, my throat.

The door released, I step away. I've barely escaped with my life.

As I round the corner and step out of sight, AJ calls out "Hi Baby! Hi! Heeeey! Hi!!" Over and over.

After I've hunted down a morning coffee at Dave's, he seems more sociable.

“That's my Daddy! I love him. He scratches my neck and under my wings and I will protect him from bad creatures like that woman who also lives here. He shares his food with me but doesn't like it when I try to share mine with him.”

End of day one.

Day Two

I come down wearing a red shirt and denim shorts.

AJ's cage is in exactly the same condition as on Day One.

AJ is doing the same thing as on Day One.

In fact, everything is the same right up until I return from the morning hunt.

He's not more sociable this time. He's neither subtle nor sneaky, either. He starts flapping his wings and screaming at me as soon as he sees me, and doesn't shut up until I close my office door.

I try to calm him down with some neck scratching, but his moment of quiet is just to throw me off my guard: as soon as my hands are in the right position he explodes into action, striking at my fingers with his beak, batting at my face with his wings. In short, he makes a best effort at patricide.

“I don't know who that is. I hate him. He tries to fool me with his soft words and treats but I know better. I will kill him, kill him, kill him until he brings back my daddy or just goes away. You've been warned, little man.

(Me:) I outweigh you about 125 to 1.

Ooh listen to the little man, he can talk! Come over here and say that to my face, small fry!

With a heavy sigh I go back upstairs and change into a dark blue (or green, gray or black) shirt. Then I walk through again on the way to my office.

“Yay! That's my Daddy! I love him! He scratches…”

(Me:) “Oh shut up.”

“Hiii!!! Heeey!! Hi Baby! Hi birdie…”

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

High Speed Chase!

The weather was beautiful today with the sudden drop in humidity, so I went out for a hill ride right after work.

I was headed south on Route 2 in North Stonington, about 3/4 mile north of the intersection with Route 95, when I started hearing sirens. Lots of sirens, and screaming engines. Coming straight at me, from the direction I was headed.

Wanting to return home fully intact, I got off the road and watched. A few seconds later, an ugly, old, beat up racer (like a suped-up datsun, maybe?) cam FLYING over the hill. Literally, all four wheels left the ground for a second. There was then a bang as he bottomed out, and some screaming wheels as he swerved around around the car in front of him (into the oncoming traffic lane which was currently empty).

Right on his tail was a long line of police cars. At least nine of them, I think it was ten but I stopped counting after five. All of them with different sirens screaming their warnings, all of them getting a little air as they crested the hill, all of them coming down with a bang. Even the SUV.

Dramatic!

Dramatic, and stupidly dangerous. There are pedestrians and other cyclists on that road, and the traffic averages about 40mph in that section. Believe me when I say you have to be going a lot more than 40 to actually leave the ground on that little rise.

A little further up, I pulled over and sent Corinne a message, letting her know what I'd just seen. (She tends to worry if I'm on the bike and she hears sirens! I was still miles from home, but wanted to let her know I was ok.)

While I was writing the message, two of the police cars pulled onto the same road and parked next to each other, facing opposite directions as they often do. I saw one of the cops looking at me so I yelled to her, "That was crazy!" She agreed. I asked what it was all about, but she didn't know what to say. (Maybe she honestly didn't know why they were chasing him!?) I said, "You all had to be going at least 90" (mph). She pointed up… repeatedly. As in, "a lot more than 90." :-(

Last thing she told me before I rode off was that they'd been chasing him from Westerly. That's two towns and one state over (Westerly, RI -> Pawcatuck, CT -> North Stonington, CT) from where they flew past me.

Home safe and sound, though.

I wonder if they caught him!?


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