Monday, February 11, 2013

The 'O' Key

Tiny Green Parrot is a Pacific Parrotlet. She likes to help me text.

She also enjoys hanging out on my keyboard when I am working. Sometimes she likes to guard the 'o' key.

Saturday, February 9, 2013


This afternoon I was walking through a parking lot when I saw an interesting person.

At first I wasn't sure if it was a man or a woman, and then I realized it didn't matter at all. Knowing wouldn't change the way I treated them, and it's even possible they don't identify as a specific gender, and that's ok too.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Merry Christmas versus Happy Holidays

I might be a month or so late, but I during the holiday season I was a bit too busy with holiday stuff to accurately sum up my thoughts on saying "Merry Christmas." I personally think the whole "war on Christmas" concept is bullshit. My parents are very, very Christian and attend a fairly progressive church, but even their pastor buys into this crap. I stopped going to church when I moved out of their house, but I tend to end up there on holidays when I play saxophone with their band.

This year I got to hear their pastor talk about standing up for beliefs and defending Christian values by saying "Merry Christmas" to people when they wish him "Happy Holidays." He told a story about his visit to Starbucks that morning.

Congratulations, Pastor L, on making a complete stranger uncomfortable! I'm sure Jesus would be so proud! Actually, I'm pretty sure Jesus would be ashamed, and so am I. When I wish someone well during the last two months of the year, I am not wishing myself well and whatever I am celebrating doesn't matter. I wish my Jewish friends a Happy Hanukkah.

If I wished them a Merry Christmas, they would probably feel a bit left out, insulted, or unappreciated.

When I wish them a Happy Hanukkah while not celebrating it myself, I am also telling them that I love and accept them for who they are. Loving people without reservation? Sounds a little like Jesus, right? Now, when I go out into the world and interact with total strangers, I don't know what holidays they celebrate. I would also like to avoid making these strangers feel left out, insulted, or unappreciated. Instead, I would like to extend the same unconditional acceptance I have for my friends. Didn't Jesus love everyone without reservation?

Saying "Merry Christmas" to everyone without knowing what they celebrate is like snubbing your nose at everyone while saying "My holiday is the only important holiday and everything else doesn't matter!" It's a selfish and small-minded attitude that ignores not only other religious holidays, but also Thanksgiving and New Years. There are a whole lot of reasons for people to celebrate during the holiday season, and the most Christ-like way to wish people well is to acknowledge anything and everything by saying "Happy Holidays". You can still say "Merry Christmas" at church and at Christmas parties, to your family and to anyone you know who celebrates it. Saying it to strangers is just obtuse and potentially unkind.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013


I don't trim Evilcat's claws because I like my skin, but I do keep the Hellions from getting too pointy. Tabby Hellion likes having his claws clipped. Tortie Hellion hates it, fortunately she is very slow. I keep the claw clippers in between the couch cushions so I can catch her by surprise when she climbs in my lap.

Then I can start clipping while she tries to process the situation.

I can usually get 3 or 4 feet done before she finally figures out what is happening and what she should do about it.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Night Terror Marathon.

Z has the flu. When Z has a fever, he has far more night terrors than usual.

It's a really good thing that I am not at all creeped out by any of this, and also that I can go back to sleep immediately after being screamed awake.

I would love to know what was hanging out on our ceiling and chasing Z around that night, but when he was finally coherent he didn't remember anything.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Some People are Afraid of Dogs.

It's true, and there are a lot of different reasons for it. Some people have an irrational phobia, they're afraid of dogs like tons of people are afraid of spiders. You know, you're way bigger than it, you're a safe distance from it, but it still gives you the creeps or maybe makes you want to flee screaming. Dogs make some people feel that way, and there's no good reason for it, but they don't want dogs touching them the same way you don't want a tarantula or an orb weaver touching you.

You can understand how this person feels by picturing the dog as a giant spider. This is one reason why it is polite to not let your dog approach strangers uninvited.

Some people have movement disorders like cerebral palsy and Huntington's disease. The way these people move often creeps dogs out, even really friendly dogs that never act aggressive. Many people with movement disorders are afraid of dogs because they have been by normally nice dogs.

Some dogs are fine with everybody, and some have been specifically and deliberately trained that people that move in unusual ways aren't scary, but most dogs don't have a whole lot of experience in this area and find it kind of horrifying. The problem is that scared dogs do scary things like bite, lunge, and bark. Sometimes you can tell that someone has a movement disorder because they are equipped with a cane, crutches, a walker, or a wheelchair. Sometimes you can't tell until they take a step and your dog suddenly freaks out because it's seeing this:

It's polite to keep your dog on a leash because just seeing an unleashed dog can ruin this person's whole day without you ever knowing it.

For someone with a movement disorder, a leash means the difference between a safe dog and a dangerous dog.

Likewise, plenty of people are afraid of dogs simply because they've been attacked before.

There's a good chance the dog that bit them was supposedly friendly, and that dog's owner probably said it had never done anything like that before.

People who are afraid of dogs are everywhere. We dog owners can avoid scaring them by keeping our dogs on leashes and not letting them get into anyone's personal space in public. It's a good idea, because people who are afraid of dogs might be landlords, politicians, city council members, and other people who can actively make life easier or more difficult for dog owners. Think of it like scooping poop: when a few people don't do it, it makes all of us look bad and it makes non-dog owners want to make rules and ordinances banning dogs from places. Likewise, seeing a dog owner break a leash law can make a person who is afraid of dogs feel that way. Let's stick together and make dog owners as a group look good by keeping all of them on leashes, even small, friendly, harmless, elderly, and young ones. I can promise that the people who are afraid of dogs don't visit off-leash areas.