Blog: November 2011

Most of these posts were originally posted somewhere else and link to the originals. While this blog is not set up for comments, the original locations generally are, and I welcome comments there. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Note to cat

Dear Baldur,

Standing in the middle of the hall or a nearby room crying loudly because you don't see me is Not Cute. Especially when you just left me and I haven't moved. I know you have object permanence; you never fail to find the food dish. So please remember, when you walk out of the office while I'm at the computer or especially when you jump off the bed at 3AM, that you know how to find me again without asking. Can you take care of that for me? Thanks.

He's been doing this for a year or so, so this is not just the effect of losing Erik and Embla. Google tells me that this behavior can mean:

  1. Hyperthyroid. Yes, but it's being treated and his last blood test was at the end of October. So that's not it.

  2. Going blind and/or deaf. I don't really know how to tell, given that I can't tell him to just read the eye chart for me. No visible clouding in his eyes and his pupils respond to light changes. He followed a laser pointer for me a couple days ago, but maybe light is different. He doesn't miss when jumping up on things or people and I haven't seen him stumbling or walking into walls. And he seems to notice activity in the kitchen. So I don't think it's this.

  3. Depression. Don't know how to tell or what to do about it, though.

  4. Dementia. Yes, apparently cats can get something like Alzheimer's. Whee. Rumor (ok, one web page) says there exists medicine for this; I've asked my vet for advice and she will get back to me.

Work: not what I expected

Time to code a work-around for a bug so a customer can give a better demo tomorrow and hopefully win a bid and give us money: one hour.

Time to deal with our own licensing system so we can just give them the one JAR file they need without making them re-install the product: three hours or so. (Or so I understand; I was not the one doing it.)

Something is not right here.

Never seen that in a job posting before...

From a job posting for an API Technical Writer (sic):

"Our ideal candidate [...] Comfortable authoring in HTML and XML using plain-text editors (no WYSIWYG)"

That's how I work all the time. I didn't know anybody else cared. :-)

(Because (1) after 30+ years the emacs muscle-memory is strong; (2) it means I actually know the spec (at least the important parts); (3) I don't have to clean up after tools' bad decisions about what I meant.)

RIP Embla: 1995? - November 5, 2011 :-(

Embla was diagnosed with kidney disease two years ago and it was holding more-or-less steady with treatment, until about a week ago. She went into the hospital Monday and came home Friday weak but apparently past the worst of it. She was aware and affectionate and she picked at food. Last night she didn't move around much but this morning I found her in a corner in the basement (crying a little), so she'd been up and about during the night. This morning she wouldn't eat but she otherwise seemed unchanged. When I returned from Shabbat services, though, she was much worse. Giving her fluids and medicines didn't help so I called the vet's office (couldn't reach my own vet but got the on-call one). I described her symptoms and the vet told me what I already suspected. Sigh. I really thought when I brought her home yesterday that we had more time. Story of my life, lately.

Embla came to me as a stray 14 years ago so we don't know how old she was (at least 16). She was always skittish (perhaps convinced that there were ghosts or gremlins or something in the house), but she mellowed out as she got older and particularly after we solved her hyperthyroid problem four years ago. She was never a lap cat but she was happy to snuggle next to me on the bed or couch. In recent months she even stopped fighting when I held her. She had a cute little chirp where a meow would normally be. She was a sweet kitty.

Embla, a tortoise-shell with bright green eyes, lying on bed facing camera