BrieBrie had Horner’s Syndrome

This past Friday evening, I noticed that BrieBrie was holding her left eye closed a little. I didn’t worry about it because I figured she had gotten into something. If it still didn’t look right in the morning, I would call the vet.

Her eyes were noticeably different on Saturday morning. Her pupils were dilated unevenly: the right one was almost fully dilated open while the left was a slit with the still-droopy upper eyelid. Her behavior, demeanor, playfulness, and appetite were normal. She had no trouble seeing: she chased the heck out of the laser pointer light.

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I called my vet at Piedmont Animal Hospital in Hillsborough and was told to come in immediately. BrieBrie was so good for the vet. No fussy, no struggling, just curled up quietly and let the vet look at her eyes.

BrieBrie’s eyes looked perfectly normal structurally. No apparent damage any where, whether externally or internally. The vet said that usually the symptoms will resolved in a few days and that there wasn’t a chance of going blind. (I was worried about stroke or a neurological issue because of my experience with other animals.) I’ve attached a picture from Saturday morning and a picture from Sunday afternoon. Her eyes started looking more normal on Sunday and today they look back to normal.

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The vet said that BrieBrie has Horner’s Syndrome, a issue that can come up for no evident reason and go away on its own.

I have been so proud of her and Phaedra. When they go to the vet, they are so good. No fussing, no hissing, just quiet and patient. They are both gentle kitties.

Upgrading Mac Pro video card

I upgraded the Mac Pro’s stock video card to a Gigabyte nVidia GeForce GTX 600 with 2 GB of video ram. The card requires a special power cable: PCIe Power Cable for Mac. No local stores had this part in stock, so I ordered it from Amazon. It finally arrived so the card was installed last night.

I followed the video instructions below and had the card installed in a few minutes. It was a little disconcerting because when the system booted the screen remained black until the login screen appeared.

I’ve been running a few days with the card installed. The only problem I’ve had is that the system doesn’t always seem to come back from sleep. When that happens, I end up having to reboot the machine. Not crazy about this but I’m not sure what’s causing the problem.

More investigation, which means another post!

New-to-me Mac Pro

Periodically at work they offer old systems to employees as part of a employee-only sale. For the first time that I can remember, Mac Pros were available. There were a few early 2009 and 2008 models. My friend and I were lucky enough to get the only two early 2009 models left.

I currently have an iMac that I bought in early 2010 (listed as late 2009 model). It has a Core 2 Duo Intel processor. I’ve upgraded it to 8 GB of RAM, which helps. It has a lethargic 256MB video card that barely keeps up with the games I’d like to play. The hard drive was replaced under warranty. The screen is lovely with no bad pixels.

I bought the iMac when my old Hackintosh quit working. What I had really wanted instead of the Hackintosh was a Mac Pro because of the upgrade capabilities and power. Unfortunately, the cost of a Mac Pro was way out of my price range.

Until now. The Mac Pro might be old, but it still has a better processor, graphics card, and upgrade possibilities (four PCIe slots and four hard drive bays!). The system I got had 8 GB of RAM, a 640 GB hard drive, and the standard 512 MB nVidia graphics card. No operating system was installed.

Upgrades for a Mac Pro are different than upgrading a regular PC. Mac-compatible graphics cards are expensive, even old ones. If you know about building hackintoshes, then you know that there is an avid community that has written drivers for dozens of additional pieces of hardware. Why not use the kernel extensions (kexts, the equivalent of drivers) the community has written to enable hardware on a real Mac Pro?

I chose to add a new wifi card, upgrade the video card, upgrade the RAM, and add a new primary hard drive (since the 640 GB was probably original). RAM and hard drive were very easy to do: system now has 32 GB of RAM and a 2 TB hard drive, with the 640 GB available as extra storage space.

Quite a few of the hackintosh sites recommended a TP Link PCI express wifi card. The specific model (4800) wasn’t available locally, but the Wifi-N 300Mbs card (model TL-WN881ND) was in stock at a local shop. I installed the card and found a kext on a hackintosh site that let me get the card up and running immediately. Perfect.

I also got a MSI GTX 660 nVidia card, which should be natively supported from what I read. Unfortunately, I have to order a special power cable to be able to attach the card to the motherboard ($8 on Amazon). Hopefully by the end of the week I will have the system completely configured.

I’m using Migration Assistant tonight to move the data from the iMac to the Mac Pro. The cool thing is that I should be able to get enough from the iMac to cover the cost of the Mac Pro and the upgrades I’ve done.

Reactions to declawing

After Kiesha died, I adopted BrieBrie and Phaedra fron Cat Angels rescue.  The two kitties have had their challenges, but for the most part they are very sweet. When I adopted them, I signed a contract stating I would never let them be out door cats or have them declawed.

Last night, I started watching a video about one vet’s fight against declawing cats. I couldn’t even get through the credits. I had to shut the show off.

Why would anyone mutilate a cat’s paws like that? If you have cats, then you adapt or teach them not to do things by providing alternatives that are more appealing.

It was very depressing. I went upstairs and played with the cats as therapy.

Pain in the butt continues

I’ve been going to the spine orthopedic specialist regularly since my tailbone started hurting in April. He did a series of injections on either side of my tailbone. Initially, the injections seemed to help a lot, but the past several ones didn’t seem to make a noticeable difference. (My chiropractor making sure the tailbone was in alignment often helped more than the injections did.)

During the visit today, the doctor used acupuncture. First time I’ve ever had this done. I don’t like needles at all and yet, to try and resolve the tailbone issue, I’ve have regular injections and now acupuncture. The needles were on either side of my tailbone and then on several locations down the back of my legs. The needles were electrically stimulated for 20 minutes.

I was very surprised. The acupuncture really seems to have helped. Enough that I’m considering riding again, even lightly.

Talk Nerdy To Me

This nerdy parody of Jason Derulo’s “Talk Dirty To Me” is so much better than the original. Between this song and the music videos from Jonathan Coulton and The Guild, it’s a pretty good playlist.

Lyrics

Get nerdy wit me…
Tell me what game that you get on, is it COD or EVE?
What kind of class do you play girl, in an RPG?
Cuz I know what them elf girls need, from WOW to M.E. (Middle Earth)
Im goin 30 hours online straight now…
You make it hard to leave

HOOK
Been to Middle Earth, do you speak my language?
Your elf ears don’t need explainin
All I really need for you to do is…just … please
Talk nerdy to me

Get nerdy wit me
You name all twelve of the Docs, I can’t resist that
And what’s the core in your wand? I think that ours match
Cuz I know, with me, you’d get sort, Durmstrang to Hogwarts
Im pretty sure, on me, you’ve cast a curse girl, the imperius one?

HOOK
Been to comic-con, hope you speak my language
Your Harley Quinn don’t need explainin
All I really need for you to do is…just … please
Talk nerdy to me

Bridge:
Uno, met a girl at E3
Dos, she wanted all my XP
Tres, My 64 makes her want me
Cuatro, Oooohhhhhh (vocal run)

(back ground shout: “One Ring!”)

Rap Verse:
Up, up, down, down, forward, back, A, B
You don’t need a cheat code, girl to get with me
Just add my clan tag, bring your high K/D,
Cuz the headshots we’ll be makin will be toppin the team
Or Magic the gatherin, Deck on Deck,
You like Twilight? Ya, I aint touchin your neck
I got nerd friends, but they’re friends with respect
I can call up Iron Man without breakin a sweat!

And I wanna hear your issues, ya, Im talking about your comics,
Cuz the fact of the matter, aint no girl badder than a girl that talks on electronics,
And for us to get along just tell me Lucas got it wrong,
Cuz clearly in Star Wars the first shot was made by Han. (Snap!)

HOOK
Love the Enterprise, now I speak the language
Your warp drive don’t need explainin
All I really need for you to do is…just … please
Talk nerdy to me

Vocals: Keith Evans
Rap: Keith Allen
Lyrics by: Keith Allen

Phaedra takes over the world

Or as close to it as she gets. She’s now coming out to meet me or at least watch me whenever I enter the bathroom. She isn’t hiding behind the toilet any more. She purrs and plays regularly. She even comes up to me now and follows me around when I bring in her food. Her confidence has improved a lot over the past few weeks.

All with this very high pitched kittenish squeak of a meow. So very cute.

BrieBrie meanwhile has thoroughly settled in. She curls up next to me on the bed and (usually) lets me sleep all night. The nights when she plays too hard I end up sleeping down stairs. She rips around the room, jumps up on the bed, jumps over me (usually, some times she launches herself off of my legs), and then rips around the bed again to repeat the process. She is just so cute it’s impossible to be angry with her at all.

I haven’t introduced the two of them yet. I am taking things very slow and easy. I want Phaedra to build up more confidence so instead of running from BrieBrie she’ll be able to sniff noses. Hopefully, at least. BrieBrie is twice Phaedra’s size and a little territorial.

Still no riding

Pain in my rump is still there. It’s gradually getting better but I am not able to sit long without the donut pillow. I can sit for about 20 minutes without one now, up from 10 minutes. I suppose that’s an improvement. It’s a long way from being able to ride, though.

I’m still seeing the orthopedist. Next appointment coming up for round three.

Update on the new kitties

BrieBrie has been coming around and is so friendly now. She hears my voice and comes out from under the bed and plays and talks. She’s adorable. She has discovered that the red laser fairy is her friend and she lurves it.

Phaedra is a lot more reserved. She doesn’t come out for me and she usually hisses at me a few times when I first come into sight. I’ve been working with the people from Cat Angels to try things that might help Phaedra. I’ve had her in the second bedroom upstairs. Currently BrieBrie in my bedroom and Phaedra in the second, separated by the bathroom. My “case worker” from Cat Angels suggested giving Phaedra a smaller space like the bathroom. Okay, so then how do I move her?

Phaedra solved that question herself because I found where she had been using one of her bed areas instead of the litter box. I cleaned up the area (arg, very frustrating) and scheduled an appointment to make sure she didn’t have a urinary tract infection. She was not happy with me taking her to the vet, but she turned out to be very good for them. The vet said that Phaedra’s urine was very concentrated and to try to encourage her to drink more.

When I brought her home, I moved her to the bathroom. She has a bowl of tap water, a fountain with filtered water, and a bowl with filtered water. I changed her litter from the pine pellets stuff to Cat Attract kitty litter (which has a guarantee that your cat will use the litter). She seems to be feeling better and has been a little more relaxed.

Imagine my surprise, when she started coming out and purring more for me.

Pain in my rump

I bruised my tailbone after riding back in the beginning of April and I’m still not back in the saddle. It’s driving me a little crazy not being able to ride. We have had some beautiful weather that is perfect for riding.

But I’m stuck. The orthopedist was finally able to see me. He said that my back looks good overall. I’m in good shape. So we decided on injections near the tailbone to alleviate any swelling and help things return to normal.

I go back in two weeks for another check up. We’ll see how this goes.

New refrigerator

The lovely new refrigerator is here! It makes such a huge difference in how the kitchen looks. The house is so much quieter too, without the rattle of the other machine’s motor. It will be interesting to see what happens to the electric bill now.

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The old Whirlpool beige refrigerator.
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The lovely new GE refrigerator
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Interior of the new refrigerator. So pretty!

A hearse ran me off the road

I have this lovely new car and it seems like fewer people see the Veloster than the Tiburon. The strangest part was today’s activities: two cars, one on the way in to work and one on the way home, almost ran me off of the road. Well one actually did run me into the shoulder.

Here’s where it gets strange.

A brand new hearse ran me off of the road on the way to work this morning. I was at the Airport exit on 40 in the far left lane. Hearse merged from the right lane over into mine right next to me and ran me into the shoulder. I almost lost control of the car, regained it. And kept going. The driver was going about 85 or 90. He didn’t stop coming into my lane even when I honked repeatedly.

So yeah. That happened.

And then, on the way home tonight, a painting company van dashed out into my lane in front of me. If I didn’t hit my brakes, I would be in the hospital now.

Tales of a Mischievious Horse