Almost there...

Wednesday, July 31, 2002

Kevin and I leave for Pittsburgh in less than 3 days. And we have a plan. First day, we drive to Nevada. Somewhere in Nevada. Then we sleep. Second day, we head north to Yellowstone, passing the World's Largest Polar Bear (stuffed) in Elko, Nevada, the World's Largest (Styrofoam) Potato and Largest Potato Chip (a Pringle) in Blackfoot, Idaho, and the Birthpalce of TV in Rigby, Idaho. After spending most of the next day in Yellowstone, we head out through Montana towards Devil's Tower (famously featured in Close Encounters), Jewel Cave, and Mt. Rushmore. Then we head out past the Dinosaur Park and Mystery Spot in Rapid City, South Dakota, past the Wall Drug, to the Corn Palace. As we enter Minnesota, we pass the Giant Jolly Green Giant in Blue Earth, the Spam Museum in Austin, and the Mall of America in Minneapolis. We've got a big plan to ride the log ride inside the Mall of America. We may also go see the Museum of Questionable Medical Devices in Minneapolis, and if we have time, we may go about 40 miles out of our way to see the Largest Ball of Twine Rolled by One Man. Then we descend through Wisconsin past the Paul Bunyan statue in Eau Claire, the giant moose statue in Black River Falls, and a whole bunch of freaky stuff in the Wisconsin Dells, and the giant Pink Elephant in Madison. They've clearly got something weird about funky animal statues in Wisconsin. Maybe it's the cheese. Finally, we hit Chicago, and hopefully get a chance to catch Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind after years of Sherman raving about it. That, and pizza. We've been told we simply must eat at Gino's, Giardano's, or Eduardo's. I'm all for it. From there we make the final leg to Pittsburgh, passing through Gary, Indiana (Yes, there will be singing. Expect video coverage.), Toledo, and Cleveland. The last day or two, Kevin and I will be bumming around Pittsburgh, getting the car unloaded, and making a major visit to IKEA. It's a plan. It's a big plan. It's a plan that only could truly appreciate. Frankly, the only thing we're really bummed we have to miss is the Humongous Fungus (either in Oregon or Michigan). This is going to be great. And the journey will be blogged. Stay tuned.

Friday, July 26, 2002

Wow. Guess who said "The Bible is not my book and Christianity is not my religion. I could never give assent to the long complicated statements of Christian dogma." No, not me. In fact, it was Abraham Lincoln. If I do live long enough to become a Republican, I want to be his kind of Republican. Take that Dubya. How did we get so far from that kind of leadership in America. How did we become such total theocracy that our president can boldly state that we need ``commonsense judges who understand that our rights were derived from God''

Did I mention that my life has been saturated in religion lately? Yeah. Next stop - the American Midwest.

For the last week or so, my life has been deeply saturated in religion. I myself am not religious at all. I was not raised with religion, other than coming from a vaguely white anglo saxon protestant(ish) family background. My mom ran far from her religion of childhood (Southern Baptism) as soon as she could get away from the screaming preachers. My grandparents were on a break from their religion for most of my childhood (until their youngest son got sick and died). My aunt was always a rabid Southern Baptist, but even her husband didn't join her at church. My dad's side of the family are a bunch of white trash egg ranchers from Rio Linda. They had no interest in religion. So basically, I was raised essentially godless, which suits me just fine. But religion, and others faith in it has always fascinated me.

So I've studied various religions in various ways over the years. I took The Bible as Literature, Babylonian Religion, and Magic, Religion, and Witchcraft classes in college. I've read lots of other stuff on my own. I've participated in Jewish Seder for Passover. My group of friends began their own brand of neo-Hellenic paganism, and I ended up initiating with them, but found it fundamentally unsatisfying because there was still the demand for blind faith and submission - doing things you wouldn't ordinarily do because you have faith that the gods (and your friends) will guide you. This quarter I'm took an Intro to Islam class through continuing studies here at Stanford. It was a fascinating class on so many levels. First, finally sitting down and reading the Qur'an was an experience. The first line of the thing is "This book is not to be doubted." No asking questions. No deviation. Very sure of itself. This is the faith. Don't quibble. I almost put it down immediately. Any faith that offers so little room for self-reflection and coming to the path on your own just gets under my skin. But I kept reading and my initial revulsion subsided. It really is a fascinating religion. It basically argues that it is a continuation of Judaism and Christianity, but that over the years, those faiths have become corrupted, and that God talked with Mohammed and told him how it really is, and Mohammed had it written down. That's why it has to stay in its original Arabic - to avoid corruption. Anyway, it's an interesting religion, and one which I now have a much deeper respect for, but still could not subscribe to myself, if only for that first statement alone. Any religion that asks you not to doubt is ripe for abuse, and Islam certainly has been abused for the sake of politics and power.

Last Friday I was working from home. Curled up in bed reading documentation, I heard a knock on the door, and suspected it was my manager with some information from PG&E (long story). I was wrong. It was the Jehovah's Witnesses making a pass. I've never had much respect for religions that come to you rather than letting you come to them. They seem to prey on the weak minded and lost. And when they come to me, I have no moral problem with trying to shake their faith, because they've come knocking on my door, they've asked for my opinion. I spent about a half hour discussing things with a young woman, while another Hispanic mother and child stood behind her, clearly paired up with the young woman as talker and the mom and child as witness. They got more than the average earful with my recent study of Islam. After the preliminary questions and answers, they asked, “But don’t you believe that God could’ve preserved his word on Earth?” implying that the Bible is his word as it was handed down. I said, “No, of course not. It was oral tradition first, then written down by various different authors with various different world views over many years and in several different languages. Heck, look at the New Testament alone. It wasn’t even starting to be written down until about 40 years after Jesus died. And besides, the Islamic believe that the Qur’an was sent to Mohammed for that very reason – that god’s word had been corrupted over the years. But even Mohammed was illiterate, and had others writing down what he said, and heaven knows what got written down wrong there, or whether Mohammed was really even hearing the voice of God. And even if he was hearing the voice of god, what was written down was written in human language, and our language is a huge limiting factor on our world view. We don’t write down what we don’t really have a word (and a cultural reference) for.” After some more debate I finally said, “Look, I can never be a Christian. To subscribe to a faith with my eyes wide open is to take it wholly, faults and all. Too much war has been waged in the name of the Bible. Too much hate and violence has erupted based on how “Christians” interpret the Bible. I won’t be a part of that. I won’t let myself be counted with you.” It wasn’t long after that that the rest of their vanload had finished pestering my neighbors, so our conversation ended shortly. Clearly I was not to be converted today. After it was over, I went upstairs to check the web. Looking at Beliefnet, I was fascinated to see how much the Jehovah’s Witnesses and Islam have in common. Both perceive Jesus as a prophet, but as a man, not a god (or son of god). Both avoid having a clergy. Both believe in one god (no trinity). Both believe in separate realms for men and women.

But the experience of discussing it always refreshes for me why I am not a Christian, or a Muslim, or subscribing to any faith at all. I will either do so wholly, or not at all. I will not be a selective Catholic, who goes to church every Sunday and uses birth control every day while having premarital sex.

On Sunday, my class was invited to the mosque at Peace Terrace in Fremont. It’s a site shared with a Methodist church near 880 and Alverado-Niles Blvd. A man named Mohammed showed us around. He is a local dentist, an Arab, and a Muslim. He has been on Hajj twice, once with his wife and 10 year old son. We toured the mosque, including watching the midday prayer. We talked with him about lots of things, but one struck me when we talked about September 11th. He said that, “Of course, we all bear the shame of these terrorists who did this in the name of Islam, but that is not Islam. Killing civilians, killing themselves, is not Islam.” This was quite a refreshing statement after talking with the Jehovah’s Witnesses 48 hours earlier. They had distanced themselves from other Christians, saying that they didn’t fight in wars, nor serve in the military, because that is not being a Christian to them. They claimed no commonality with what has been done in the name of their faith. But Mohammed was quite willing to accept the shame, because it is one community, not a hundred fragmented faiths. True, Islam has it’s fragments as well (Sunni, Shia, and Sufi to start), but there seemed to be a better depth of understanding that they all stand together in the eyes of Americans at least.

Meanwhile, through all of this, I’m listening to Stranger in a Strange Land on tape in my car, which is basically Heinlein’s treatise on religion. He says, "The most ridiculous concept ever perpetrated by H. Sapiens is that the Lord God of Creation, Shaper and Ruler of the Universes, wants the saccharine adoration of his creations, that he can be persuaded by their prayers, and becomes petulant if he does not receive this flattery. Yet this ridiculous notion, without one real shred of evidence to bolster it, has gone on to found one of the oldest, largest and least productive industries in history." I’ve long thought of the Catholic church in particular as the single most successful corporation on Earth. They’re tax exempt, sell an intangible product which necessarily has no overhead cost, have a volunteer workforce, and people willing to die rather than switch to another brand. In the book, The Man From Mars has much the same reaction to religion that I do. How can any one religion be right? What happens to all the others who are wrong? How do you determine which one is perfection?
His answer is "Could it be that everyone of all religions are true?"
"Huh? How could that be? Mike, if one is true the others are wrong."
"So? Point to the shortest direction around the universe. It doesn't matter where you point, it's the shortest...and you're pointing back at yourself."
"Well, what does that prove? You taught me the true answer, Mike. Thou art God."
"And thou art God, my lovely. But that prime fact which doesn't rely on faith may mean that all faiths are true."
His final solution is to create his own Church of All Worlds based around the teaching Martian language and the concept of Water Brotherhood. He is then promptly villainized as an anti-Christ and his religion is demonized as a cult.

In the past, I’ve been questioned about how there could be morals without religion. In fact, the two are so totally dissociated. Religion is the morality of some (or one) codified so that others need not reflect on questions of right and wrong. But it doesn’t make that morality perfect. You still should reflect on what your told, measure it for yourself, and decide what is moral to you. Perhaps that’s why the Islamic tenet of “This book is not to be doubted” so thoroughly gets under my skin. Most religions have some variation on the Golden Rule. Why can’t we simply be taught such a rule, and then be expected to think for ourselves? I think human society would be so much healthier if we were all asked to think rather than asked to believe. Too often we look to the differences in our beliefs, rather than the similarities. In the meantime, Irish Protestants and Catholics will still kill one another, as will Jews and Muslims in the West Bank, as will the Shia and the Sunni in Kashmir, as will the Muslims and the Christians in Serbia. And righteous Americans will kill doctors who perform abortions. And the KKK will burn crosses in the yards of black families. And righteous young Christian men will beat young homosexual men to death. And “Islamic” terrorists will continue to attack Americans. And so on in a never-ending cycle of violence in the name of God. I do not trust a god who would let his name be abused so.

Wednesday, July 24, 2002

Remember back in September when I was participating in a psych research study? Well, the results are in, and I guess I was one of twelve female test subjects. I'm still curious about whether or not running the test on September 11th skewed the results, but I guess not considering that's not exactly what they were really looking at. And, yes, my memory is pretty good. I can still perfectly picture the burned body and the broken toe with exposed bone, and the blue door, and the gun, and the graveyard (which I didn't actually rate as negative at all), and the middle eastern scenes with dead bodies in the streets, and the man threatening the woman with a knife, and many others. Yucky study. Doing my part for science, I guess. Too bad they found out I have such a good memory for these things. I wish I didn't.

Tuesday, July 23, 2002

Bleh. Worst fears confirmed. Looks like Tiggs has Cushing's Disease. Damn. Just when she was starting to seem just a bit better. Well, at least we had a nice weekend. Dr. Derenzi is consulting with a Cushing's specialist. We may try her on some medication. But really, this is looking like the end of the line for her. Damn.

Phil Harvey seems to have figured it out. Just use the freakish puritanical nature of the American theocracy to make money. And then do what you can with that money to make the world a better place. That rocks.

There are so many businesses in this world who's business model I just can't respect. Their business model doesn't seek to make the world better for it's existence in any way, instead choosing only to focus on profits for the shareholders. And it seems like that the businesses I respect most are often businesses that the average 'merican would define as immoral. I guess it's all a question of what morality means to you.

Sunday, July 21, 2002

As if by some deranged miracle, just when I had completely given up on Tiggs getting better, just after I talked to my grandmother about burial arrangements for her, just when I'd gotten from depression to more of a state of acceptance, Tiggs has started showing some clear signs of improvement. She's got a strong desire to be social again. She wants to go outside. Her glucose levels are still high, but lower than they were. She's drinking less water and peeing less. Frankly, I'm confused, but I'm not complaining. This little kitty got more than her fair share of lives apparently. She's still weak and thin, but she's actually trying to jump up on things (sometimes with tragicomical results) and sticking close to us.

So maybe, just maybe, the grim reaper is giving her a little reprieve. Let's hope so.

Thursday, July 18, 2002

So yesterday I had jury duty. It's the first time in my life that I've actually had to show up down at the courthouse, so I was actually really curious about the process.

I arrived at the Hall of Justice at 8:15, waited through the check in line, then found a seat in the lounge. I pulled out my Roman Art textbook and started catching up on my reading. Around 9:10, they made an announcement with all the basic info over the speakers. It was actually a pretty thorough announcement and even acknowledged that much of the time we were there would be spent waiting, and said that many cases settle either during the jury selection process or during the case.

About 9:40, my group was called to Department 26, Judge Zecher. Judge Zecher was a jovial woman who started things off by telling us that for better or worse, this wasn’t T.V. and most of today was going to be excruciatingly boring. Then she announced the charges: assault and child sexual assault. I looked at the accused, a young Hispanic kid who couldn’t be more than 20. It was frightening to think of him as a sexual predator. He was just so young. They called up 12 jurors, and began by carefully asking juror #1 a set of questions that would be asked of everyone who came up as a potential juror. After the first time through, she asked the same questions in the shortest possible way. The basic list was:

Are you employed?
What kind of work do you do?
Are you married? What kind of work does your spouse do?
Do you have children? What are their ages? What are their occupations?
Does anyone else live in your home with you? What are their occupations?
How long have you lived in Santa Clara?
Where were you born?
What is your current city of residence?
What is your educational background?
Do you know any peace officers?
Would anything about your association with them make you unable to be impartial in this case?
Would you be embarrassed or uncomfortable to tell them the results of this case?
Do you know any attorneys?
Would anything about your association with them make you unable to be impartial in this case?
Would you be embarrassed or uncomfortable to tell them the results of this case?
Have you or anyone close to you been accused, convicted, or a victim of the sort of crime we’ll be trying in this case?
Have you ever been accused, convicted or a victim of any crime?
Including traffic tickets?
How did you dispense with your citation?
Do you believe everyone has a right to go to court to challenge traffic violations?
Have you ever sued or been sued?
Have you ever served on a jury before?
Is there any other reason why you could not be fair and impartial in this case?

After the judge handled this list of questions with each of the jurors, the individual attorneys had an opportunity to ask the jurors questions. The defense attorney asked if each juror could uphold the law even if the defendant decided not to testify on his own behalf. The prosecuting attorney asked the jurors how they felt about the testimony of a child as compared to that of an adult.

By 11, they’d gotten this far with folks, and then they started kicking people off for cause or just because they didn’t feel they were suitable. Then, one by one they replaced them from the remaining pool of contestants… er, I mean, jurors. At 3:00, they got the panel of 12. They took from then until 4:30 to pick the 3 alternate jurors. My name was never called. And so, this ended my first jury service.

I spent my entire day thinking over my answers to their questions. There was a part of me that really wanted to see the trial process through, but another part of me that was quite relieved not to have to try to fit this into my life between work, Tigger, and getting ready for the road trip. One of the more fascinating trends in the courtroom was of people who claimed they should be exempt because they didn’t understand English, but who seemed to understand every question put to them and to be able to answer it in English, albeit with an accent. It was interesting how it was being used as a crutch or an excuse by people who had necessarily applied for citizenship (since none of them were born here) and knew that jury service was part of the deal when you become an American. Also interesting was how everyone had at least one traffic ticket, and how easily 80% of the jurors called up had had their homes burgled at some point in their lives. This was the most frequent crime reported as having happened to them.

All in all, I didn’t mind it. It was boring and tedious, but it’s always interesting to hear what different people say when asked the same questions. I spent half the time reading and half the time just listening to everyone’s responses. Hopefully the next time I’m called I’ll be able to maintain my level of interest, because the judge was right. It was really terribly boring.

Tuesday, July 16, 2002

They tell me when I "grow up" I'll inevitably become a Republican. I hope to die before I ever grow up that much. Republicans make me sad.

Okay, this is one of the scariest things I've heard in a while. They're recruiting the cable guy and the maintenance man and the plumber in your neighborhood to spy on you. It all just smacks of Cold War Soviet Union or East Germany. Or of various dystopian novels, the granddaddy of them all being 1984. Big Brother is watching. He's sending spies into your home.

Another interesting note. For all that the right complains about the "liberal media", to find a report on this, I had to go through an alternative liberal media source to find a report on this. Nothing on Yahoo! News. Nothing on SFGate. Nothing on CNN. If the "liberal media" were half as liberal as they're accused of being, this would've been reported on by every major news organization. But it wasn't. They're in on the "War on Terrorism". They want to see it go forward. Why? They're not liberal or conservative, unless it attracts ratings and readership. They follow the almighty dollar and nothing more. That's why they're stories about John Walker Lindh and how citizenship applications have risen since 9/11. Hard news? Changes in law that will change our lives as citizens? Nah, no one wants to read that stuff. Look at the bad American who admitted he's guilty! Look at all those foreigners who want to join us! Oy. We're going down, and most of the country won't notice until it's too late. Frankly, I think Dubya is pointing us closer to the Revolt in 2100 than 1984, and frankly that scares me most of all. Sigh.

I guess all we can do is sign up to be informants and try to keep it honest from the inside.

So this weekend I was really depressed, mostly about Tigger. She's not showing any particular signs of improvement, and I've spent so much money on her in the last year (and the last week) and it just feels useless. Her nine lives seem to be up, and there's nothing going to stop that. And I'm going to miss her so much. She's been an everpresent companion for so long now. So, once I was depressed about that, everything else started looming large, from thinking about my 10 year high school reunion coming up and the eternal question of where is my life going and am I okay with that and so on and so on. Basically, I was feeling sad, the world seemed set against me, and nothing seemed to be good about my life. Well, nothing I could think of at that exact moment.

I felt much better on Sunday, and pretty much fine on Monday. And then I went to the Plough. The Plough is always so soul enriching for me, but last night was special. I started by finally completing the testing for the advanced class. Fred, Paul, and I had a special short test since we'd all been going nearly as long or longer as those who were teaching the class and setting the standards. Heck, if I lived any closer to Berkeley, I'd probably be teaching classes there by now. Heck, I dragged Forest to the Plough for the first time, and he's the one administering the test. Anyway, we passed. We all know this stuff even if we are lazy and sloppy 90% of the time. It's a relief to have that out of the way, because I'd only been allowed into the advanced classes on a guest/as needed basis for the past few months, which was very odd for a lot of reasons, not the least of which was that I'd been doing this longer than either of the instructors that were requiring testing from me, and since Terry O'Neal had dragged me kicking and screaming into the advanced class back in 1995.

But anyway, that done and out of the way, I sat out the rest of the class time to have time to socialize with Fred and grab a bite to eat. In the meantime, Frank and Janelle showed up and I got to catch up with them: also a rare treat. The night got rolling and things kept getting better. Josh climbed up on the stage, made some preliminary commentary about how important Monday nights at the Plough were, and how this is where he met Magenta, so he wanted to share this with all of us, and then he got down on one knee and proposed to Magenta. Wow. The band struck up and played "Haste to the Wedding". I called out, "If you're not getting married, clear the floor!" Everyone backed away, save for Josh and Magenta, Shawna and Sherman (who became engaged last month), and Bates and Dawn (who get married in 12 days). The three of them polka'd around with everyone else looking on. It was magical. Just a special reminder of how much the Plough enriches our lives and brings us in touch with really fantastic people.

As if this wasn't enough, there was a gaggle of gents lingering in the back of the room. At once they looked perfectly a home in an Irish pub, and yet somehow not completely blending in here in Berkeley. Turns out they're visiting California on a work visa for the summer, and Aidan is a champion Irish step dancer. Some rumors placed him as somehow associated with Riverdance. He demonstrated several step dances for us, and my god it was stunning. Sitting four feet from somone dancing that quickly and with that much precision is just breathtaking. Apparently Aidan had been at Becketts on Thursday, and heard about the Plough there. Hopefully he had as much fun meeting us as we had meeting him and he'll be back again before he heads home to Ireland.

Add to this the usual helping of love and affection from friends - Bates, Dawn, Alex, Paul, Fred, Rollie, and so on - and I gotta say, there's just nothing like the Plough to reboot my spirit. There's just nothing like it anywhere in the world.

I'm on jury call this week. I can't really say I'm on jury duty, because so far, I haven't had to go in, and I don't have to do anything except keep checking the website. But when group 189 has to do something, woosh, off I go! I've never actually done jury duty before, so there's a part of me that's looking forward to it. Still, it's that fear of having to drop everything and run to downtown San Jose at a moment's notice that's a bit unnerving. And unlike Kevin, it's not just three calls and you're free. It's wait all week. Keeb checking the website.

So, I might just disappear off the edge of the planet.

Monday, July 15, 2002

It's amazing watching Tigger. The basic problem at this point is that the long acting insulin doesn't seem to be long acting for her. What should last her for 12 hours, generally doesn't do her much good. However, the fast acting, regular insulin works great, for about 2 or 3 hours. I give her a unit of regular insulin, and suddenly she's up, she's perky, she's eating, she's cleaning herself... but then it wears off and she melts again. I can't be home to give her insulin every couple of hours for the rest of her life. So what do I do?

I have no idea.

Thursday, July 11, 2002

So Tigger is probably coming home today. She's still not doing well, but she's a bit better, not ketotic at the moment, and I'm really hoping we're getting close to a routine for her. And I'm really really hoping she doesn't have Cushings Disease. I'm afraid I'd have to make the call to put her to sleep if she did. I can't picture her surviving major surgery. Hopefully she'll bounce back fairly well. I keep hearing stories from different folks about how once they got their cat's diabetes regulated, they lived on for multiple years and were just perfectly normal. That's really what I'm hoping for with Tigger. If I can't have that, then I want her to pass quietly away. I just feel like the last six months have been torture for her.

Tuesday, July 09, 2002

Tigger has kind of taken over my life for the past few weeks. But in the meantime, other things have actually been going on. I just finished reading "The Eyre Affair". Reading - I should say listening to an unabridged version on tape in my car. It's a funny thing about books on tape. I think of it as reading (when it's done well), so much so that I've actually gotten into the car, fumbled around looking for my book, and then realized that it was in the tape player. It sure makes any car trip go much faster, sometimes too fast so that I arrive and sit in my car listening to the rest of a chapter. Anyway, "The Eyre Affair" was the best book-on-tape I've listened to in a while. The reader was perfect, and the story was brain candy for an old lit major like me. The review tells it well enough. All I can add is how much I loved the characters names: Thursday Next is the heroine, Jack Shit is the corporate slimeball, and so on. If you're an avid reader with a taste for the classics and a fancy for sci-fi/fantasy, this is a good one to pick up.

Also, I missed going to the Plough last night because I won tickets to see The Road to Perdition, the new Tom Hanks mob flick. As mob flicks go, this one wasn't bad. It's the story of the last six weeks of Mike Sullivan's life as told by his son. It's a story of what family means to these people, even when their lives are wrapped around guns and crime. I'm sure it's just me, but mob flicks leave me cold. It's hard for me to feel sympathy for someone whose life is falling apart because they've chosen to murder people for a living. When I get done with a film, I don't want to have to ask, "So why did you tell me this story? How did it enrich my life?" But that's how I felt. I'd much rather go see Amelie again or something. Just a matter of taste.

Had a bad glucose reading for Tigger again this morning. Rushed her back to the vet. Her blood test showed she was ketotic again. They're doing an ultrasound on her belly to see what's wrong. She shouldn't be getting ketotic over night. Today may be her last.

Monday, July 08, 2002

For those who are keeping track, no, Tigger is not doing well. She was on an absolutely stupid amount of insulin and showing no signs of improvement. I don't know why I didn't do it sooner, but I finally got fed up with my vet and started doing some research online. The vet hasn't really been doing what she's supposed to. The vet's plan for getting her regulated has been to assign a dosage, wait three weeks, and do a fructoseamine. Six months of slow death 3 weeks at a time and Tiggs is no closer to having her diabetes regulated and she's much closer to kicking the bucket. She's thin and frail - down to eight and a half pounds on Friday - and I've had it with the current vet.

So I asked around for recommendations. Turns out, of the five people I got recommendations from, all five pointed to the Adobe Animal Hospital in Los Altos as the place to go. So I got Tiggs an appointment for Friday, and in the meantime, I bought a home glucose monitor, and starting doing glucose testing on my cat. Her glucose levels were all over the place, but I was glad to be testing her. On the fourth of July, I came home from a party early to give her insulin, and found her at 115, therefore needing no insulin. In the past, I would've just given it to her, never being the wiser.

Sadly, in all of this, Tiggs has picked up some bad habits. The diabetes causes her to drink a ton of water every day (about 64 ounces, when something like 7 ounces would be normal). She's therefore also peeing a lot. She wore out her Littermaid. She also seems confused sometimes. I've watched her walk over near her litter box and start to squat to pee on the floor. I pick her up and shove her in her litter box and she uses it just fine. Unfortunately, when we're asleep or at work, we can't monitor her like that. So we're having to lock her in the bathroom during the day. I'm really starting to think that if things don't change soon, if she doesn't get regulated in the next month or so, it's going to be time to put her to sleep. She's not happy living life in a cramped bathroom, and I can't let her pee on the carpets.

So, things aren't good. If my friends are wondering why I'm not around much, this is why. Tiggs has been with me since high school. She's just about the only thing that got me through it all when I was teaching in L.A. She has been my constant companion. And now is her time of need, and I'll be right there with her til the end. That end may be sooner than I'd hoped though.

Monday, July 01, 2002

Okay, so I was having one of those days where I wondered why in the heck I was doing this job. This project has problems, and I don't see the people at the top being very realistic about the time it's going to take to fix it.

Then I was curious about the vacation policy. It turns out that I'm no longer accruing 3 weeks of vacation a year. I'm accruing four weeks of vacation a year. Exempt employees from their second through ninth years of service accrue four weeks a year!

Wow. I really really like working at Stanford. The vacation policy, plus the amount of cash going into my retirement account each month alone make it worth putting up with any filgercarb the project throws at me. And eventually, the project will either get better, work itself out, or I'll go find another job on campus. I can handle that. And in the meantime, I'm taking Friday off!

Oh, and I'm also planning to drive cross country with Kevin to Pittsburgh. This is going to be great.