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Saturday, March 31, 2007

HiltonHouse Site Revamped
I've been working on the HiltonHouse site.  It was theHiltonHouse first website I'd ever done, and I didn't realize I needed to make the pictures smaller.  It used to take forever to load.  Dial-up users will still have to wait a while, but it's nothing like it used to be.
Sat, March 31, 2007 | link

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Who is this woman?
It seems this lady is everywhere and she appears to have achieved maximum market saturation!  Just last night I saw the samErica Shaffere woman on three commercials in a row.  She's the lady on the Three Day Blinds commercial, some shoe outlet commercial, some commercial about financing, MiracleGro and , my favorite, the KY Warming Lubricant commercial.  So I did an internet search today and found out that she's Erica Shaffer.  She's apparently a hard working, accomplished actress who's been in films, television series, and does voiceovers and animation voice dubbing.  She's pretty and has a great voice, but come on, advertisers!  Spread out the commercials a little bit.  You're gonna burn her out before she ever becomes a household name.  Unless, of course you want her to be known as the "KY Girl"?  Here's her website: EricaShaffer.com
Tue, March 20, 2007 | link

Sunday, March 18, 2007

The Riches
Last week, I watched FX Network's The Riches with Eddie Izzard and Minnie Driver.  It was a good show, so I expect to have one more title on my DVR list.  See my sister's revamped site for more of a review/synopsis.  Specifically, see her Live Journal.
 
After the prologue, the episode opened with a song that I just loved, but they only played about 30 seconds of it.  So after an internet search, I discovered it was How We Operate by Gomez.  I admit I'd never heard of Gomez, but this song is quite well done.  It starts with either a synth or plucked violin that lays the groundwork.  Then a banjo (of all things) starts the melody in a minor key.  It evolves into a rock/pop song with vocals similar to that of Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder only a little cleaner.  In the middle of the song the melody previously done by the banjo is replaced by electric guitar.  There's also some violin thrown in to add an almost celtic stye.  Very well done.  Check out the media player at the bottom of my Music Links page for a sample.
 
In other news, Gus is doing fine.  He wants to do too much, though.  He so desperately wants to play ball.  I suspect recklessly chasing said ball is what caused his neck injury in the first place.  He occasionally gets stiff, but it's usually after a long nap.  We're still keeping him pretty well confined.
Sun, March 18, 2007 | link

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Gus is home.
We'll Gus is home now.  We have instructions to keep him on "strict crate confinement" for 2 weeks.  That's proving to be very challenging.  We were told that he's either to be in our laps, in the crate, or briefly walking around outside for restroom breaks only.
 
My wife said he wailed all the way home.  Not out of pain, mind you, but rather because he's a bit of a worrier.  He's never traveled well---whines the whole trip, but this time he was hopped up on Valium.  After enduring that trip home, I believe my wife and her mom were ready for a little Valium.  Since Gus was still "high", my wife expected he'd walk around briefly to have his first restroom break.  Unfortunately, as soon as she put him down, he darted out into the woods to play.  Nope, no pain there.  Long story short, she got him back in, and he settled down after a few hours.  We're having to take him out for restroom breaks on a leash.  He's certainly not accustomed to the leash thing.  He's used to being able to come and go and to wander all over the property as he pleases.  My wife calls this "pup-doggin' ".
 
As soon as we place him in the crate, the wailing ensues.  He wants to run and play, but we're doing fairly well at keeping him calm and in our laps.  He doesn't act like he feels bad at all.  He's usually a well behaved dog, but he currently has issues.  We're gonna blame it on the drugs for now. 
Tue, March 13, 2007 | link

Monday, March 12, 2007

Gus is coming home!
Animal Neurology & Neurosurgery of Texas just called and said we could bring Gus home today!  My wife and her mom are leaving to get him sometime this morning.
Mon, March 12, 2007 | link

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Gus update
Dr. Thomovsky just called and said that Gus is still doing fine.  She said they'd probably have to move him into a smaller kennel since he's being a bit too active (sounds like my Gus!).  She expects he'll be ready for dismissal early this week.  It's a good thing my wife will be off for Spring Break to quell his activity.
Sun, March 11, 2007 | link

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Gus Update
Dr. Stephanie Thomovsky called this morning and said Gus is continuing to improve.  She suspected he was being a "drama king" as he was crying and whining, but his gait and body position were not consistent with actual pain.  My wife confirmed for her that yes, Gus can be the nervous type and that much of his behavior now may just be separation anxiety.  So, they're going to just give him Valium and change his pain meds from IV to oral.  She's supposed to call us again tomorrow with another update.
Sat, March 10, 2007 | link

Friday, March 9, 2007

Gus' injury
For almost two weeks, now, Gus (the 8 year-old red dachshund pictured above) had been having severe neck pain.  One minute he seemed perfectly fine...able to lick his own butt (I suppose that being the epitome of dog well-being).  While the next minute he'd have rippling muscle cramps in his neck causing him to wail, and he was unable to move his neck even a little bit.  Nothing seemed to comfort him.  He's a very active, hard running, dog who basically has the run of the woods at his leisure, so we were in hopes that this was just a temporary malady, as he's no stranger to the occasional sprain or laceration.  Therefore, we treated him with Rimadyl, (kind of like ibuprofen for dogs), which only helped a little, if at all.  So after about 3 days of this sporadic behavior, we took him to our veterinarian.  She did an x-ray of his cervical spine that was essentially inconclusive.  The doctor said two of his discs were "kind of close together" but otherwise nothing overt.  A simple x-ray not being the optimum scan for occult injuries, the next step would be a referral to a neurosurgeon for more specialized testing (i.e. CT scan under sedation, etc.).  She therefore provided us with stronger pain relievers, muscle relaxers, and steroids, with hopes that rest and time would serve him well.  After about a week of almost no improvement, Gus had to see the neurosurgeon.  Yesterday, my wife took him to Animal Neurology & Neurosurgery of Texas.  After more testing, it was determined that Gus needed surgery.  The surgery was today, and Gus is reportedly doing fine.  The hospital is over 100 miles away from us, so the doctors are keeping us well-informed. 
 
I know, many people reading this are probably wondering how someone would spend this much time and expense on "just a dog".  The fact is, our pets are like our family.  I'm of the opinion that when you own an animal, you must take responsibility for that animal.  This includes their healthcare.  I'm also of the opinion they should always be allowed to remain true to their nature--being dogs.  For more information about not treating dog's like people, see Cesar Milan's website.  If the dog is not allowed to do what it was made to do, then that dog's life is not fulfilling.  My wife and I really had to consider the reason we were pursuing surgery as opposed to euthanasia.  If we opted for surgery just so we could be spared the grief of losing a close pet, that would be wrong.  Ultimately, we opted for surgery, because given the nature of Gus' injury, relative youth, and otherwise good health, the doctor is quite confident that Gus will make a complete recovery and thus be able to remain an active dog.  Should he become infirmed to the extent that his activity is considerably limited, we will certainly have him euthanized---for his sake.  But, as it stands now, Gus is apparently doing well, so we hope to be able to bring him home early next week.  I'll keep you updated here.
 
I'd like to take this time to acknowledge the truly amazing professionalism and sense of caring exhibited by Morton's Small Animal Clinic in Athens, TX.  The doctor and staff have called our home to follow-up on Gus frequently since this all started about two weeks ago.  They are ultimately responsible for getting us in to see the neurosurgeon so quickly.
 
The same can be said of the neurosurgeon & staff.  Not once have we had to call to check on Gus.  Dr. Ducoté and her associates have been absolutely wonderful about keeping us updated.  I highly recommend both of these facilities.
Fri, March 9, 2007 | link

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Rat's Nest Under the Hood
I popped the hood to my '98 Trans Am to check my oil today and this what I found.  Here's a close-up. You can see there were lots of leaves.  But the nest is mostly composed of little shreds of the composite lining taken from the hood.  There were also many chewed acorns, a bone, hair, fabric, and of course baked rat droppings.  I suspect this is the great rat my wife and I had been spotting in the early mornings as we were each going to work.  He would dart across the driveway as we were leaving.  I remember thinking, "man I hope he doesn't make a home under the house".  About 1 1/2 weeks ago, we found our yard dog, Mercy, eating said rat, so we were both relieved.  Little did we know he'd already made himself a "mobile" home, complete with central heating.  Sheesh...
Sun, March 4, 2007 | link

Thursday, March 1, 2007

The Saga Concludes
Well, I hope this whole thing is over.  To make a long story short...
The repair man determined the TV was irreparable.  It took a long time for Circuit City to come to the same conclusion.  But ultimately, after over 40 days without my TV, Circuit City replaced the TV with an upgrade!  It's a brand new 1080p DLP (upgrade from the 720p).  The picture quality is incredible. It has a smaller cabinet but screen size is the same.  This allowed me to lower the center channel speaker shelf so it has the appearance of floating above the TV.  Although I'm not happy with the amount of time it took to get this done, I am quite happy with the TV.
Thu, March 1, 2007 | link


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