Great Hay Field in the Sky

barely a week ago, Nugget scared me. i ended the post saying that sooner rather than later, her time would be here. that time was tonight.

after returning from festivities downtown, i prepared the veggie platter for the pigs. opening the bottom cage, i immediately noticed nugget laying on her side by the hay box. she was laying in a way that was not like her. Biscuit looked on, as if she was worried. Nugget spasmed a few times in a manner that was clearly not dreaming. i quickly got a towel and moved her to the couch, leaving the veggies for the other piggies.

a dying pig is distressing to the rest of the herd, so it is best if you separate them. i put nugget on the towel and pet her a few times. she was not responsive at all, to my contact or any movement around her. over the next 45 minutes, she stayed on my lap before passing on. while part of me felt bad for her, i realized there was nothing that could be done. by the time i found a 24/7 vet that would see a guinea pig (very few will) and agree to euthanasia, i knew Nugget would move on. the infrequent spasms and occasional gasps were sad, but i reminded myself that gpigs move on in their own environments in exactly the same way.

i prepared a small box for her, with fresh hay in it since that was probably her favorite thing in life. she was the first pig of mine to grow old and die of natural causes. she was the first pig i was expecting to move on. only one other had passed in the cage and it was unexpected. for Nugget, and for the first time, i didn’t cry for the little pig. i am happy for her because she was rescued from a shelter and spent a few days shy of three years with me. every single day of her life here, she enjoyed lettuce twice a day and a platter of veggies every night. she had comfortable fleece cozies or fleece pillows to sleep on and an endless supply of fresh Timothy hay. her life was great, and her passing should be a happy reminder that some animals find a glorious second chance.

Pictures of the Nugget

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Listening in on a Wire

I’ve been a fan of the TV show ‘The Wire’ since i first saw it. Originally, it was just good police drama. a well done show that did not rely on gimmicks, wild chases or thousand bullet shoot outs. The show happens in Baltimore, not one of the staples TV rely on (LA and NY).

Re-watching the second season, i’m better understanding more of the appeal:

– It’s a smart show. If you don’t know what a DNR is in the first season, let alone the second, the show may not be for you (and make sure to know the difference between a DNR and wire). The show doesn’t have two or three main characters, it has a dozen or more. If you lose track of who’s who, the show will confuse you. It isn’t like most public tv shows, you don’t get every little event spelled out minutes later. For example, while i like CSI, it annoys me because of just that: [Nick collects evidence] [three minutes of commercials] [Sarah walks up “is that the evidence you collected from Jane Doe at the scene near that car lot on Broadway Blvd?”]. The show doesn’t treat you like a moron, and that is refreshing.

– It isn’t a procedural. Don’t get me wrong, procedurals have their place and many are good. However, there are too many and shows like Lost demonstrate that quality TV will keep viewers without the same formula every week.

– Every character, without exception, is deeply flawed. Not just some trite flaw that will be overcome by the end of a season. These characters are deeply flawed, and you know they will never get past their demons, never resolve their issues and continue to wade through a murky life as best they can. Despite this, you are guaranteed to find a character (or two) that you can easily related to. And that character may not be a police.

Dammit Nugget…

Got home from riding and proceeded to get a bag of lettuce from the fridge. The rustling of a plastic bag sets the gpiggies into a minor frenzy. Zesty, Biscuit, Waffle and Tater were all on the upper floor, eager for lettuce. I looked on the lower floor and saw nugget sleeping under the ramp. In her old age, she doesn’t always respond to the plastic bag. Sometimes it takes me putting lettuce under her nose to get her awake and eating.

I reached in and she didn’t move. Wedged under the ramp, I couldn’t see her breathing, her eyelids didn’t move. I touched her forehead and ran my finger up to her ears, nothing. Bleh. Being a senior piggy, somewhere between 6 and 7 years old, with worrying weight loss the past six months, I figured it was her time. I went to the other room to get a small box, returned to the cage and put the ramp up segregating the four pigs up top.

The ramp moving startled Nugget awake. Dammit Nugget..

Her time is coming, sooner rather than later. thinking she passed today, I wasn’t hit like i was on previous pigs. For the first time, I have a gpig that is going to pass naturally in old age. Every pig before her had health complications that cut their life short to some degree. When she goes, as long as it is quietly and peaceful, she will have lived a great life.

All Along the Trail…

After more than six months of riding lessons, I went out on my first real trail ride today. In Sunday, a few days ago, instead of my weekly lesson Chelsea asked if I wanted to ride around the barn she works at. The horse I ride, Julie, had gotten shots and her neck was swollen so she needed to take it easy. The one hour ride around the huge property was like a trail ride, just no trail.

Today, we went to the Hidden Mesa Open Space in Douglas County, on the outskirt of Castle Rock. Over 2.5 hours, we did 5.8 miles: Farm Lane (0.5 x2), Cherry Creek Trail (0.3 x2), Hidden Mesa Trail (1.4 x2), Mesa Rim Loop (1.4).

The trail started nice and flat, tons of prairie dogs giving warning calls, watching out and running around. The best part, every single one of them a complete fat ass. That area must have slow predators and plenty of food. The trail wasn’t steep at any point, so it would make a great trail for easy hiking. After the short climb to the top of the mesa, the trail turned rocky with some stretches that were nothing but flat rock. Two and a half hours in the saddle and no problems. My legs were a tad sore immediately after the ride, but keeping them in the same position that long does it no matter what i am doing.

Overall, a really nice ride and enjoyable afternoon.

Six Presets and an Itchy Trigger Finger

Hey radio broadcasters, here is a concise list of things that will make me immediately and instinctively change to another preset radio station:

  • A commercial with an 800 number. Because i know they will repeat it at least three times, and that fast repetition is annoying.
  • Dead air for more than 3 or 4 seconds. It’s taboo in your business, for a reason…
  • Repeating a band name 9 times in 30 seconds. Bad ad dialogue or payola, it doesn’t matter to me one bit. Bonus points (faster change) when its a gimmick name and mediocre music (e.g., “Five Finger Death Punch”)
  • A bad commercial. If it is annoying, even for 3 seconds, why listen? Yes radio station, they pay you, but they can get your listeners to move on that fast. I’m not sure what happened, but years ago it seems as if the people who write commercials completely lost sight of who they are marketing their product to.
  • A caller that can’t be heard. Turning volume up to hear them promptly makes the announcer deafening. It’s 2010, are audio and telco equipment really that far behind, that equalized sound can’t be found?
  • An ad with a legal disclaimer, spoken very fast, yet still longer than the pitch. If your product is that dangerous, disappointing, or comes with so many caveats, I don’t want to hear it. It makes me turn away from the radio station as much as the product.