Thursday, November 18, 2010

Cinematic Titanic, St. Louis, 2010-11-13

Dear Tracy,

So, yeah, I still have not written that blog entry about the St. Louis trip. Let me hit some of the high points.

This was the most incredibly wild and fun tweet-up to date! The wonderful luxury of having a new car with a great navi system helped me immensely toward being relaxed. I even drove Anastasia, Tony, and Dawn to dinner and the show--and I was not freaked out about driving in an unfamiliar city!

We had dinner at a place called Lewis and Clark's in St. Charles. The city of St. Charles is very rustic and trendy. Many of the roads are cobblestone. It reminded me of the French Quarter. We passed the entrance to the restaurant's parking lot the first time so we had to circle around. I couldn't turn at the first street because there were a bride and groom standing in the middle of the road having their picture taken. Driving on, half of the road was blocked by a van from which a band was unloading sound equipment.

The restaurant was three stories tall, and the poor waitresses had to carry huge trays of food up the stairs. I ordered a steamed vegetable platter. It was good, but not remarkable. The veggies were just barely heated and a little too tough. They were served on a bed of tasty Spanish rice and were topped with melted mozzarella. I had a bad case of social anxiety during that meal. I just felt kind of thrust into the middle of the action without adequate time to adjust.

We arrived at the Family Arena exactly at the moment that Josh Weinstein took the stage. Josh did an excellent impression of Elvis Costello playing and singing "Accidents Will Happen". Frank did a stand-up comedy routine. Trace read from his new book of children's poems. Joel did some magic tricks and prop humor (including "juggling water"). The movie was "Rattlers"--a sort of 1950's "monsters created by technology gone wrong" movie that took place in the 1970's. When a movie starts out with two pre-teen boys falling into a pit of rattlers and dying, you know you've latched onto a very cheesy flick.

Nit-picky complaint: the seats at the arena were interlocked and way too close to one another. Tony figured out how to detach them, so he and Anastasia had a few inches more room. I thought I'd be okay, but the guy to my left kept inching into my space until I thought I was going to die. Okay, end bitch mode.

After the show, we stood in line for autographs. I bought an 8x10 of the CT crew in silhouette with plenty of room for autographs. Just to the side of the celebrity table there was a hand sanitizer dispenser! Great idea! With all the hand-shaking those guys do, they don't need to be picking up germs from their adoring throng. And I never know what to say to them. I adore them for their creativity and humor. I adore them for giving my life a center of focus. But, you know... what do you say?

After the show, most of us met at the lobby bar at the Doubletree Hotel. I paid $6.50 for an average margarita. According to the plan, we all moved the party upstairs to my room. Several of us had brought rum, vodka, wine, Coke, glasses, straws, and peanuts. The party was majorly fun! It lasted until 5:00 AM. I got to spend a lot of time with some previously un-met tweeps. It was absolutely one of the high points of my life. It made me so glad I was a MSTie!

My two new bestest friends, Laura and Amy
 Thanks to my face-hugger (CPAP machine), I got a pretty decent night of sleep, even though it was only 4 or 5 hours. As per our plan, we went to Gingham's Homestyle Restaurant for a late breakfast. I got a Ranchero Omelette, hash browns, whole wheat toast, coffee, and orange juice. It was yummy! And they absolutely made sure that I had a pot of hot coffee beside me at all times so I could pour my own refills.

After breakfast, we said our sad, final goodbyes in the parking lot. Anastasia and I were staying on for a second night, so we drove back to the hotel. My energy level was going downhill rapidly, so I begged off to take a nap. I lay in bed for a while, but the "nap" thing didn't happen. After 6 cups of coffee--imagine that!

At about 4:00 PM, Anastasia and I met in the lobby to scope out the rest of the day. Since it was Sunday, many attractions were closing early. We decided to visit the Gateway Arch and ride to the top. Anastasia had visited the arch the previous day but had not gone up. I hadn't been to the arch at all, so I was very grateful she was willing to revisit this landmark for my benefit. When we arrived, Holy Cow! Another wedding party! The bride and groom were posing for pictures as an unrelated group of tourists shouted "Don't do it!".

After the trip to the top and much snapping of photos, we searched for a nearby restaurant. We did this the old fashioned way by thumbing through a magazine with restaurant listings. I've since realized that I have an application on my Droid X that uses GPS and its own database to pop up a list of nearby restaurants. (I love my Droid X.) At any rate, we decided to visit the Morgan Street Brewery. I had a very nice salmon sandwich with "coniques" (deep friend balls of mashed potatoes) and a large glass of house-made Irish stout.

Since I was still very low on energy, we called it an early night after dinner. I slept off and on and frequently grabbed my phone to check tweets. I awoke early and felt refreshed. Anastasia and I had breakfast in the hotel restaurant. I was on the road home before 10:00 AM. Again, my new Honda Fit was a luxury. I listened to Vetiver and Elvis Costello from my iPod through the car stereo. Sweet!

Needless to say, I can't wait until the next Cinematic Titanic tweet-up! CT is doing shows in the upper Midwest this winter (huh??) and I will probably choose to wait for warmer weather for my next trip. The good news is that I get 15 days of vacation in 2011!

Okay, I'm going to be a jerk and make this letter my blog entry about the CT show. Don't be hatin' on me.


Gypsy and Ginny Get "Fixed"

Yesterday morning, I took the kittens to the animal hospital to be spayed. I hate doing this to a young cat, but I know from prior experience that an intact female cat has a pretty miserable time when in heat. I've read that, if a kitten is spayed before going into heat for the first time, they're more likely to retain a kittenish outlook on life going forward.

In addition to the spaying, they were to have their ears cleaned, receive a second treatment for ear mites, be tested for ringworm, and Gypsy had an inflamed left eye. The ear cleaning went well and all of the ear mites had been killed by their first treatment and by the one treatment I gave them here at home. The animal shelter had had their kitten room quarantined for ringworm by my kittens were there. Just to be sure they were fungus-free, I had them tested. I may not know the results until sometime next week.

Gypsy's left eye was red, watering, and squinty when I returned home from the St. Louis Cinematic Titanic show. I was afraid that Lucy had scratched the eye. One of my first cats, TCAM, lost sight in one of her eyes as the result of an indoor cat scuffle. I'd hate to see that happen to Gypsy, especially at such a young age. As it turned out, she had a herpes-type virus infection. The vet told me that this may be a permanent condition--one that flares up occasionally all throughout her life. I'm giving her a medicinal paste, eye drops, and a liquid anti-biotic. The eye looks a little better, but it's by no means cleared up yet.

The vet also gave me some pain meds for the kittens to be given "as needed". When Ginny got home and out of the carrier, she was zipping around and playing as if nothing had happened. Gypsy was more subdued, but I didn't give her a pain pill yesterday. I did give her one this evening. That was probably a good move because a half hour later she was climbing my chest, purring, and asking for pets.

Overall, they came through very well. I was worried that they might just hide behind furniture and suffer in isolation. Next step will be removal of the stitches in about a week.

Thursday, November 4, 2010


I've written 3,904 words so far toward the goal of 50,000 words in November. Will I make it? Bloody doubtful. But as long as my quest remains intact, this poor little blog is going to suffer.

Don't write me off. I'll be more speakative come about December 1st.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


National Novel Writing Month. Write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. Check out my so-called progress at I would need to produce 1,667 words per day. I skipped November 1 and spent the time developing an interesting premise. I began writing this evening and only managed to churn out 559 words.

I think the key to writing a 50K-word novel in one month is to totally suppress the inner urge to edit as you write. I don't know if I'll be able to do this, sustained, for 30 days. I need to convince myself that this is just a writing exercise--I am not producing my breakout novel!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Gypsy and Ginny Visit The Vet

My new kittehs, Gypsy and Ginny, had their first visit with the vet this morning. Turns out it's very difficult to take a Manx cat's temperature. Usually, you can lift the cat by the tail and insert the thermometer. With a Manx cat, there's nothing to hold onto!

All was normal with the girls, but they did have a lot of gunk in their ears plus ear mites. The vet cleaned their ears as well as he could, but I'm going to have to do two more cleanings at home and apply anti-mite drops once. Then they'll be due back at the vet for a checkup. In all probability, this will coincide with their appointment to be spayed. I really hate putting the girls through this, but it has to be done.

Meanwhile, Lucy has walked from the living room to the bedroom on her own volition! Once in the bedroom, she snuck under a blanket and napped. Unfortunately, Ginny pounced on the covered-up Lucy (which, let's face it, is what cats do in those circumstances).

No answer on Gypsy's persistent cough. Since she's not exhibiting any other cold-like symptoms and since her appetite is quite good, the vet advised me to take no action for the next couple of weeks.

I love my girls--all three of them--very much.