26 November 2007

FN(early): BSJ

I figured FN comes just before FO. The BSJ still needs to be seamed and needs buttons, but it's off the needles.


You can see the transition from original brown to my dye job near the bottom. If it were in the middle of a typical pullover, this would not work at all, but since the BSJ is supposed to look a bit scrappy and modular, it works great. I should be able to get the rest done during my off week and get this headed to Afghanistan.

Assticle Answers

Ted - Yes, indeed, there are canine and feline blood banks where we can purchase blood in the event a transfusion is necessary. We try to have some on hand at all times because we do see bleeding tumors (thought generally not Assticles) and other disorders quite frequently. In this case, however, the expense of a transfusion would have likely been a life or death matter for the dog, as even proceeding with the surgery required some discussion.

JJ - My suspicion is that the mass is a liposarcoma, and I'm by no means convinced my excision was complete (though I did get out all the necrotic crap). I had the owners take it to their regular veterinarian to have it sent out, though, because of the aforementioned cost concerns. The other lipoma, which is almost certainly benign, actually does cause some mobility issues for the dog, but as I said, it wasn't bleeding, and the dog still wags her tail and is perfectly happy to hobble along. I still think she'd be happier if she didn't have it, but sometimes we have to settle for good enough.

I don't use Fluorofil very often, usually preferring PDS, though they handle somewhat similarly. I let the techs vote on this one, though I think the PDS would have shown up better. I don't do very much oral work, but I did have to repair a lower lip avulsion in a silky terrier last weekend. Used 4-0 PDS, after extracting all the nasty lower incisors - they needed to come out anyway, and removing them made my job much easier.

25 November 2007

Attack of the Assticle

Okay, this post contains work-related ick, so if you're one of the weak-stomached types, you may want to stop right here.

So now that they're gone, I'll tell you a little story about last night at work (There's a photo, too, but only an "after" one. I do have some sense of decorum.). One of the uncanny things about emergency work is that cases often tend to come in clusters. Everything can be nice and sedate and then...

...*bam*, six cases walk through the door in as many minutes.

Such was the situation last night, and in the midst of everything came Cassidy, a very obese and very sweet old golden retriever. Cassidy's regular vet had her scheduled on Monday for surgery on what they thought was a hernia protruding out next to her anus. This type of hernia is fairly serious, as it is fairly easy for bowel that slips into the hernia ring to get pinched off and lose blood supply, which can be life-threatening.

Only this turned out not to be a hernia, but a large mass that had ruptured and was bleeding all over the place, very heavily. This is also not a good thing, so we rushed her to the treatment area and hastily fashioned a diaper of sorts to put some pressure on the mass and stop the bleeding. The way forward from there, of course, was obvious. The mass would have to be removed.

So Cassidy was admitted, we ascertained that all her important parts were functioning properly and that we didn't have a scary amount of blood loss and proceeded (once the rest of the evening's onslaught had been dealt with) to anesthetize her and prep her for surgery. As we were prepping, we noted that the largely hairless mass resembled nothing so much as a large, ugly scrotum holding a single testicle.

So I started calling it The Assticle.

Removing The Assticle was a little bit of a challenge, as all it wanted to do was break apart and bleed. Profusely. All over my scrubs*. But I quickly hacked and slashed and packed and got the bleeding stopped and the wound closed. I think I did a rather good job, under the circumstances.


Cassidy's rather happy to be rid of it, too. Of course, there's still the matter of the football-sized fatty tumor inside her left hind leg, but that one's not bleeding and is not going to be my problem.

* I keep extra scrubs on hand for just such an occasion, so I did not have to walk around covered in Assticle blood all night. Just in case you were wondering.

A Little Rant

The other day I got two sizeable packages in the mail. One from the Humane Society of the United States and one from the International Fund for Animal Welfare. These were in very similar large white plastic "envelopes", and within these envelopes were clear plastic bags that were vacuum-sealed and contained thin polyester fleece blankets made in China with cutesy designs that are supposed to make me want to contribute to these organizations "to help the animals".

Two plastic bags each to go to the landfill and petrochemical blankets mass-produced by factories in China, where their commitment to eco-friendliness, human rights, and animal welfare is so well known around the world.

To help the animals.

Guess who won't be getting any money from me. I did, however, add the blankets to our clinic collection of cage bedding. To help the animals.

23 November 2007

Dyeing to Finish

The BSJ continues apace, but I am very nearly finished with the yarn I started with.You can see the shape of it really well now, though.


Of course, as I mentioned earlier, running out of yarn necessitated dyeing more to be able to finish this project up. So I skeined up one of the balls of undyed, light lopi type yarn I got from Debbie at Nordic Fiber Arts when she was doing a bit of destashing last winter. I had thought it would be particularly useful for charitable projects just like this one. No ballband on this or another just like it, as they'd been wound off into cakes sometime well in the past, but it's definitely wool and was definitely greasy. Washing it in Synthrapol got out quite a lot of dirt and grease.


And then I made up a dyebath with equal parts "Evergreen", "Chocolate Brown", and just a tiny bit of "Bright Red". I was kind of hoping for a dark olive-y color, but it was a total experiment and I really wasn't sure what to expect. What I did get was this:


Not exactly expected, but still quite nice. It's a touch lighter than the original brown with a bit more tonal variation, but I think it's a hue that won't look like ass against the original, which was my absolute biggest worry.

If only I'd remembered to bring it to work with me.

21 November 2007


I am now at the point in the BSJ where the body length is extended downward - ten ridges of straight garter stitch before the "hem" and button plackets - and it is clear that I will not have enough yarn to finish. This will not do.

Fortunately, I have determined that I have a yarn in stash which is a very close approximation to this one. The only problem is that it's undyed, which means that I will have to dye it. I have dyes, and David has dyepots, but my dyeing expertise is rather lacking. Still, I suppose, it behooves one to learn such things, and at least this is not a project that will require an exact match. I'm thinking a dark olive green.

Tofurky Day

I shall be working the holiday, so before I head home this morning, I'll be swinging by Whole Foods to find a suitable faux turkey product, perhaps some herbed bread crumbs for dressing, and a few other fixin's so that David (who returned home from Peru on Monday - Yay!) and I can have our little holiday dinner for two tonight.

For the rest of you out there, whether you celebrate this holiday or not, I hope you have a wonderful Thursday and a wonderful weekend. Spend them with people you love.

17 November 2007

An Economics Lesson

Coming home from work this morning, my stupid snotty nose was itching and I was starting to sneeze, so I thought it would be a good idea to stop off at the local pharmacy to get some decongestant and antihistamine of a 24 hour variety. This would a) mean I wouldn't have to down Theraflu every 4 hours, and b) mean I can indulge myself with a little bourbon and honey this evening (which is not safe to do concurrently with Theraflu, which contains acetaminophen). I figure if I'm going to be sick, I may as well be able to indulge in the rare drink of bourbon without worrying about my liver melting.

So I made for the pharmacy counter, since Big Brother has decided that we're not to be trusted with the pseudoephedrine anymore. This mega-chain now has their store version of Claritin-D 24-hour in a 15 count box. Okay, I figure, I'll get that. What I don't need for the cold, David can use, since he needs it for his allergies. The problem: I now can't buy the 10 count box of plain old 24 hour pseudoephedrine I would use later for my chronic non-allergic sinus issues, because it puts me over the 2400mg per purchase limit that Big Brother has decided will keep me from running out and setting up my very own meth lab.

Score one for the War on Drugs, right? What's a little hassle when it means saving people from meth addiction, right? Well, maybe not so much.

The reason that these restrictions came about was that some addicts got it into their heads to go buy up large quantities of over-the-counter pseudoephedrine products and set up their own homegrown labs. This allowed them to churn out small to moderate quantities of low-grade drug, but the main source for high-grade meth was and continues to be high-tech superlabs operating with relative impunity in Mexico.

Of course, the latest data available from the government reports that there was a 40% reduction in first-time use from 2003 to 2004 - well over a year before the federal restrictions were enacted and subsequently signed into law by the Current Occupant. There isn't later data, but I suspect this drop was akin to a market correction after a bubble market - the cool kids had lost all their teeth and it kind of killed the glamour.

So what did the restrictions accomplish? There is absolutely no government data available since they went into effect in early 2006, but the likely scenario is pretty clear. With the restrictions in place, the backyard meth labs were pretty much cut off from their source of raw materials, and it's likely that most of them were shut down. Their supply became too scarce and raised their costs of production too high. Which leaves the Mexican superlabs.

With the capital to fund production, a relatively much more available supply of raw materials, and now with much of their competition eliminated, these labs have now essentially been handed a corner on the market. I'm sure that there are rival cartels involved and that bloodletting occurs between them (which helps keep up the street price by increasing production costs), but that doesn't change the fact that the restrictions ultimately only serve as an economic subsidy to Mexican druglords. Well, that and as a royal pain in my arse.

You'd think that our elected officials would have taken at least a high school economics course.

16 November 2007

Revenge of The Crud, or Snot Pwns Me

There are few things that feel worse than waking up because you're choking on your own snot. Especially when you have a serious suffocation/drowning phobia. The Crud decided I was getting a bit too blithe about it's presence, and decided to smack the living shit out of me on Tuesday (causing me to give Chicks with Sticks a miss). This was, of course, the day after David left for a week-long trip to Peru to meet with suppliers and deal with some production issues (Yes, I realize that could sound bad out of context, but we all know better). He now thinks I get sick every time he leaves town.

Of course, the downside to being essential personnel at work is that I can't really stay home while I get over this. So I've been spending my off days sleeping, knitting, watching videos and eating comfort food, and then I come to work and get by with help from Theraflu and Airborne. It is starting to get better, but this whole choking-on-snot thing definitely cut into my sleep last night. I at least got some minor compensation in the form of this sky on my way to work this evening:


I don't think the camera quite caught the subtle play of light off of these clouds, but it was pretty striking against the overcast backdrop.

As promised, I did also get a progress shot on the BSJ. I've finished the decreases that make the sleeve and have started the increases to make the body/front. I folded it up to show how it will look when finished, and I think the colors rendered pretty true in this shot (yes, it's on a pink tabletop).


On Telecom Amnesty

This is the letter I just sent to both of my (Republican) senators:

I am writing you regarding the proposed changes to the FISA act, specifically with respect to the proposals to grant immunity to the telecom corporations that have allegedly participated in the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping program. I wish to register my strong opposition to any plan that would grant immunity to these companies.

If, as the President says, we are a “nation of laws”, then it is absolutely unconscionable that such a measure would even be considered. To do so would not serve in the least the good of the American people and would only erode further our fundamental liberties, which have been consistently and continuously undermined over the past 6 years, often with the support of your office.

I find the Administration’s dissembling in this matter most disingenuous. If, as they claim, “ordinary Americans” have not been monitored and no wrong has been done, then I do not believe they have a legitimate national security interest in denying the American people proof of that assertion. The proposed telecom amnesty is no more than an effort to indemnify proactively corporate parties that have knowingly participated in the Administration’s dubious activities, thereby precluding any legitimate inquiry into the matter, which will almost certainly have to be handled through the court system.

If you do vote in favor of granting amnesty to these corporate entities, it will do nothing so much as send a clear message that you do not care about the fundamental rights of the American people, nor believe in the fundamental concept of government requiring the consent of the governed. I am already doubtful of your commitment to just government, as your office chose not even to acknowledge my views regarding the defense spending bill last spring, having already decided, apparently, to toe the party line and continue to grant the President carte blanche to prosecute his deadly and ideologically-driven war. I would hope, however, that this time you will take the opportunity to prove me wrong.

At some point there will be updates on the BSJ, but between work (very busy), The Crud (raging back with a vengeance and now, thankfully, waning again), and temporary bachelor life (David's on a business trip to Peru), there's not been much of a chance to get a good progress photo.

11 November 2007

Wayback Machine, BSJ, & Kitty Smackdown

Since I'm very near the deadline for KitKat's contest, this is going to be heavier on photos than words.

One year ago, I was working on socks in Mountain Colors Bearfoot for my nephew:



The BSJ I referred to, for the person or persons who didn't know, is Elizabeth Zimmermann's Baby Surprise Jacket. This is in stash yarn (wool/mo blend, as I recall) from Rhinebeck two years ago:


The colors are a bit lighter than the photo - chocolatey brown with purple undertones and a complementary skein of hand-painted multi.

Kitty Smackdown

This has been the scene in our house for the past couple weeks:


It's actually a bit more than Tolo wants, though he instigates a lot of it. At this particular moment, he wasn't in the mood, but Cougar wasn't gonna take no for an answer. More photos on Flickr.

10 November 2007

Cheez Sammedge Sez...




Yet to come (because I forgot to take a photo): Startitis, or Why I Just Had To Cast On That BSJ

06 November 2007

Koolhaas Finished


Pardon the crap work camera photo (yet again). I finished earlier tonight shortly after I got to work. This was quite a satisfying knit - relatively simple with an easy to memorize stitch pattern, but with the cabling to keep me on my toes and thinking about what I was doing. I will very often modify something if I'm working with an existing pattern, but the only thing I changed on this was doing the ssk decreases as k2togtbl. It's a minor change and probably not noticeable, but I wanted to maintain the twisted stitch appearance.

The Highlander was also really nice to work with. For all the time I fondled this yarn and played with the prototypes while it was in development - not to mention coming up with names for most of the colorways - this is the first project I've actually knat with it. Wonderfully soft and very warm, and I'm thinking about working some matching wristers worked in this stitch pattern to go with the hat.

The other neat thing about this hat? It looks totally nice on the reverse side, too, so I made sure to weave in the ends so they're not noticeable.


Not the same sense of movement the right side has, but some days you just need a change. Or, you know, have to dress yourself in the dark.

02 November 2007

Morning Haiku

Black roasted goodness
Slowly dripping in carafe
Awake for drive home

Actually, a nap at the halfway point may still be necessary to make it home, but the coffee will certainly help. I've been particularly sleepy the past few days because I've been battling The Crud that's been going around the office. It appears that I may actually be getting the better of it, but I'm a bit concerned it may just be waiting for me to drop my guard. The Crud is tricky that way.

Between all the sleeping and a fairly busy midweek at work, there hasn't been a lot of knitting going on. I did manage to make some progress on Koolhaas between sleeps the other night, though, and I finally managed to take a (very crap) photo with the clinic camera.


Turns out this is looking quite nice in the Highlander, so I'm very excited to finish this so I can move on to doing it in the Shokay, which arrived on my doorstep Wednesday. There shall be a photo of that at some point, but there's no more time this morning. I need to finish up here and hit the road for home. But maybe just a bit more coffee....