Tuesday, June 29, 2010

4 Cats, 3 Dogs, 2 Owners, 1 Vet Visit...

Talk about a three ring circus.

Yesterday was an epic vet visit. And the first time we've taken the entire horde into the vet at the same time.

Hubby had kitty crate stuffing duty (which he managed unscathed in spite of Nemo's admirable attempts to the alternative), while I headed home early from work. I ended up stopping to try to help with the mega brush fires that started on Stony Point road yesterday when I hit the area (it was NOT my car that started them thank you very much). I left the area when I saw the first firefighter actually pull a hose off the truck to start stopping this thing, which still ended up burning through 75 acres of hay and pasture to 101. And yeah I LOVED (not) that calling 911 from my cell got a busy signal for 3 minutes till I called work and asked a friend to look up the number for dispatch for Petaluma Fire.

I got home and hubby had all 7 animals in the car (OMG the cats were pissed and very vocal about it). I followed him to the vet since I had another appt right after. Dogs in first. Car parked in shade with AC going full blast while we had the dogs inside.

Doggies up to bat with Scrat the Brat leading the pack. He's lost another pound, but the vet says that is okay as he looks good. One shot and he's done.

Oscar the Dog up next. He's holding steady at 23+ pounds. His heart murmurs (both sides) are getting louder (4 on a scale of 1 to 6), so we need to keep an eye on him. One shot and he's done.

Cliff the Mutt is up next. He gets a full exam because we haven't had to bring him in for anything yet this year (thank you!). He has a heart murmur now on both sides, 2 on the left and 1 on the right on the 1 to 6 loudness scale. He and Oscar are both 12 this year and therefore 5 years into being senior mutts. So we got information on canine heart disease. Things to look out for (coughing bad, very bad, means possible pushed back blood in lungs). And he's holding steady at 13 pounds.

Dogs out to the Air conditioned car and vocal kitty chorus gets brought it.

The kitty queue is lead by Mr. I'm Pissed and the ENTIRE World Needs to Know this NOW, aka Nemo. 3 shots, 1 weighing (9 pounds the tubbo) and heart and teeth check later he's done and STILL pissed and stuffed back in his carry bag.

Now it's time for Rasta, 'Become the Pancake - She cannot see me if I flatten myself into the table' cat. 13 pounds (OMG he is SO going on a diet), three shots, two potty accidents and heart check later he's HAPPY to be back in his bag. Impersonating a pancake is tough work for 13 pounds of cat.

Those two get taken back out while the next two are fielded.

Kaji Cutie (more like Kaji, I will shred you, kitty) is up. She needs dental work done. She's up to 9 pounds from 7 (so diet there too). Three shots later and she's ready to go.

Smokey was left for last for a reason. He's our current medical problem child and he went downhill Sunday so I was grateful for today's appt.

He's down to 5 pounds, from an already too light 7. Severely dehydrated in spite of multiple water locations around the property for him. The heat and his bad kidneys are working against him. They took blood and urine and gave him fluids. He needs to get fluids subcutaneously, so we have a saline kit for him.

Bottom line, Smokey Cat needs to become an indoor cat. The heat is too much for him. He has an infection and his kidneys are failing which mean continuous fluids and antibiotics in perpetuity. He should get wet food now in order to help him get more fluids. Now we need to make that happen without major cat fights or spraying or litter box problems. This means that Smokey is probably getting his own room and the dogs are getting moved to a different room or the main house proper.

We will make it work. He's come a long way with us and we will see him to the end and take the best care we can of him.

Welcome to the indoor life Smokey Cat.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Cosmology Corner: Feel the Power of the Dark Side

Imagine you are lying on your back at the end of a dock at 2 am in the Tahitian islands in the South Pacific. Your feet are dangling in the warm water. There is no light pollution and not a cloud in the sky.

There is so much to see. You pick out the Centaur, the Southern Cross, and the Coal Sack. The Milky Way is a bright band of light across the sky.

Even if you are not an astronomy buff, you cannot help but be astounded by the wonders of the night sky above you.

The universe as we know it contains hundreds of billions of galaxies, innumerable nebulae, and a number of stars and other objects beyond our ability to count in one lifetime, let alone a thousand lifetimes.

What if I told you that everything that we can see up there is only 4% of everything in the universe? As incredible as that statement may be, I would not be wrong in stating this.

So what is the rest of it? Think about it. That is a whole lot of nothing compared to a little bit of something

It is currently thought that Dark Matter makes up about 22% and Dark Energy is the remaining 74%. Given what the night sky looks like under ideal viewing conditions, that is a whole lot of darkness that is the rest of that great expanse.

Considering that 96% of the universe is not visible at any wavelength, how do we know anything about it?

Dark Matter was first inferred by Fritz Zwicky in 1933. By studying the rotational curves of galaxies considered to be like our own Milky Way, he deduced that if there were not some form of invisible matter, all the stars towards the outer edges of the galaxies should be shooting off into space given their observed rotational speed. Something had to be holding all of those visible objects to their galactic plane.

Over the past 77 years more and more evidence towards the existence of dark matter has been found.

For instance, from the imaging of the Hubble Space Telescope we have another strong indicator for the presence of dark matter: Gravitational Lensing. This was observed when the HST imaged the galactic cluster Abell 2029. The mass of this galactic cluster and its associated dark matter, make it possible to ‘see’ a galaxy that is directly behind the cluster. This is because the mass of the cluster bends the light of the hidden galaxy around it. When imaged, the HST picked up the lensing arcs, and it was determined that the cluster had to contain approximately 10^14 Suns worth of dark matter to make the light from the galaxy lens in that manner.

The gentleman for whom the HST was named, Edwin Hubble, came up with what is known as Hubble’s Law, which can be used to determine how fast an object (usually a galaxy) is moving away from us. Hubble’s Law, and observations made by his namesake, shows us that the universe is expanding. This is one of the single greatest points of evidence to support the Big Bang Theory.

However, recent observations and other experiments have given us an anomaly. Evidence has arisen that shows that the expansion of the universe is accelerating.

Dark Energy is the label given by scientists to the energy that has to exist to explain this acceleration. There is some form of energy that scientists have not yet fully quantified that is making the universe expand faster with each passing moment.

Given the rate of accelerating expansion and other observations, that energy has to make up approximately 74% of the universe. Exactly what is it and how it behaves is the subject of much speculation.

Even with everything known to date about the state of the universe and its contents, we still have a lot to learn about its composition and its future.

But we do know that darkness will lead the way.


If I'm lucky this will show up in the next issue of Focus, the Valley of the Moon Observatory Association's newsletter.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Learning to Stand

It's blog tour book review time in Tiny Tyrant land.


Alex the Fey is back again in Claudia Hall Christian's follow up to 'The Fey.'

'Learning to Stand' finds our Alex doing just that - trying to get back on her feet after the devastation and destruction of the events of the last novel turn our heroine into a shell of her former self.

Alex is set to lead a new team to take the place of the team she lost. At the same time, she is struggling to keep herself alive since there is still a contract out on her.

It appears as though the confidence and strength that made up our heroine in 'The Fey' has deserted her, while she struggles to
  • come to terms with her new physical limitations
  • the lose of the her original team and the memories surrounding that
  • her 'seeming' lack of ability to get her new team to work as one cohesive unit
  • personal loss for her and her husband John
The main plot of this installment is the search for a missing friend of the president. Since Alex's team was the best at extractions, they are setting up the new team ASAP at the behest of their Commander in Chief. In the course of looking for this person, they start to unearth just how far people are willing to go to make sure that Alex does not get back on her feet.

With the help of Jesse, Raz, White Boy, The Jakker, John, Max and more family and friends, Alex begins to see that while the past events that lead to this stage of her life have knock her down and beat the hell out of her, she is not down for the count.

She sees that our past shapes our future and she is strong enough to do what needs to be done to make sure she stays on her feet this time around.


Claudia is a dear friend. I love her books. This was an excellent follow up to 'The Fey'. You get to see that Alex is human like the rest of, even if she is still a rather exceptional human being.

I highly recommend it as well as the rest of Claudia's work. If you would like to read more fiction by Claudia, check her out at Denver Cereal.

If you would like to purchase some of her work, use the discount code "BLOGTOUR" on checkout at any of the following links:

The Fey

Learning to Stand

The Denver Cereal

Celia’s Puppies

This discount is only available at the above sites.

If you have any questions for CHC, leave them in the comments.