January 31, 2007

Another Carla Drawing

Filed under: dogs, drawing — Brian @ 8:19 pm


This is from about the same time as the previous one, but this one was done from a photo. She doesn’t hold that still…

I got lost around her snout. I didn’t want to draw her whole body, and I wanted her whiskers to show. So that ring of darkness was my feeble attempt to do both at once.

Carla is Sick

Filed under: dogs, fatherhood — Brian @ 7:19 am

As Jennifer mentioned, Carla – our Golden Retriever – hasn’t been quite herself for a few days. She skipped breakfast two days in a row last week, which she *never* does. She normally eats the whole bowl in a very few, very fast gulps. Now, we have to coax her to eat at all.

Since then, we got here some canned food, which been helping a lot – she normally gets the dry stuff. And since she’s been eating that, much of her energy has returned. We had a good time playing with tennis balls in the house last night.

She’s still not herself – and still has a consistent 103 to 104-degree fever – but she’s more comfortable than she was.


Our wonderful vet took a look at her on monday, and found an enlarged spleen and a “severely depressed” white blood cell count. So, she’s on antibiotics (and canned dog food) for now, while we wait for further blood tests. If the blood test rules out hemolytic anemia, we’ll go back in for an abdominal ultrasound – probably can’t get in until next week, though.

Hemolytic anemia: when the body marks its own red blood cells for removal from the blood stream by the spleen. Her spleen could be large because it’s full of the blood cells it’s collecting. (I’m paraphrasing my vet’s explanation – I don’t know this stuff…)

The other significant possibile cause is cancer – not uncommon in goldens of her age and lineage.

The ultrasound will cover “from her bladder to her diaphragm” and our vet is very confident in the capabilities of the people who will do that.

We’re not sure what to expect, but we’re hoping for anemia.

If you’re the praying type, and if you would pray for a dog, we would be grateful.

January 28, 2007

Snap Previews Disabled

Filed under: tech, whatever — Brian @ 9:38 pm

You may have noticed little popup-ish preview windows on the links here recently.

It wasn’t me.

The kind folks at (and I mean that sincerely) enabled these things on their own. I wasn’t sure if I liked ’em or not at first, but now I’m sure. And I found where to disable them for my blog.

Turns out you can disable ’em for yourself entirely, if you’re not opposed to a cookie (and really, who doesn’t like cookies?)

(via Daring Fireball)

WVU On Moles

Filed under: homeowning, mole — Brian @ 11:56 am

From the insect people at West Virginia University (PDF link), a pronounced dearth of options. Under “Reductional Measures” (Reductional – what a fine new adjective):

Changing environment — Moles may be … controlled … by reducing their insect food supply. While this method may take time to become effective, its benefits will persist as long as the animal organisms on which moles feed are kept at a low level. Some insecticides are toxic to all forms of animal life, including man. This should be considered when planning to control soil insects.

Understatement is the key to scientific writing. I’m reminded of the writings of the scientists who developed the atomic bomb. Of the high density metal they used to enclose the core – whose purpose is to reflect newly-liberated protons and neutrons back into the core, where they can split more atoms in order to vaporize more things more completely – they said something along the lines of “the effect of the tensile strength of this material is negligible.”

That is my canonical example of understatement.

Here, I take it to say, “if you kill everything, the mole will be dead.” I have dogs. And kids. And neighbors. Not even the neighbors are on the “things to kill” list.

Trapping — Limited populations of moles may be satisfactorily handled by using specially designed traps.

All of which seem to be ineffective, or equally dangerous to dogs and children, which is ground we’ve covered.

Fumigants — …The extensiveness of the burrows and their surface locations, which often causes leakage, makes it difficult to fill all tunnels, runways, and nest cavities with lethal amounts of gas.

[childish bean joke omitted]

I might still try a smoke bomb here and there. I figure even normal smoke bombs can’t be healthy, so I can get a bag of whatever I can find at the prank store. (They still have prank stores, right?)

But the only thing that’s been effective so far has been wet latex paint. I haven’t given the Juicy Fruit a fair chance, either.

I think the next step is to carefully dig up a section of the tunnels near the molehills (which indicate where he’s dug deeply) and fill half of them with latex paint, and the other half with Juicy Fruit that’s been rolled into grub shapes and marinated in worm juice for a day or so.

That sounds perfect. Who’s with me?

January 24, 2007

I thought I’d found the answer at Caribou…

Filed under: beanquest — Brian @ 8:02 pm

discovering ideal bean

But it went on to ask about coffee.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Fargin’ Mole

Filed under: homeowning, mole — Brian @ 7:51 pm

It turns out we’re having winter this year after all. The mole doesn’t care.

It stuck the periscope up in the front yard today, for the first time.

fargin mole hole

January 18, 2007


Filed under: fatherhood, pedantry — Brian @ 4:41 pm

I’m on the CPSC’s e-mail list. They send out recall notices and such. It’s amazing to me how often children’s toys are recalled for things like being made of lead. Go here and search for “lead” to see what I mean. I thought we were beyond that, but clearly we’re not.

Anyhow, last spring, the Magnetix line of toys was recalled. The danger? The tiny little magnets (smaller than a pencil eraser) can come out of the plastic holders. If you swallow one at breakfast and another at dinner (once the first has left your stomach) they can attract each other in your intestines, pinching them, and eventually perforating them. This, I understand, kills you.

Since then, though, I’ve seen the same toys for sale in the same stores. I figured they’d made a change to make them safer.

I got another e-mail of recalls today, and it listed another brand of the same kind of toy.

The MagneBlocks(tm) magnetic building sets were sold from January 2004 through November 2006 for between $20 and $120, depending on the size of the set. Sets currently for sale have improved warning labels.

So, the recall isn’t to get the toys off the shelves or (better yet) made so they don’t fall apart. It’s to get a warning label printed.

Now, I’m not one to say the government should protect us from ourselves, but if you’re going to recall something for what amounts to a manufacturing defect that can kill children in completely non-obvious ways, shouldn’t the resolution be to fix the problem?

There are other brands of similar toys that are built well enough that they don’t fall apart, so it’s not an unsolved problem…

January 16, 2007

Best Search Terms of the Day

Filed under: whatever — Brian @ 10:04 pm

“why dogs dig eat clay or dirt”

I wonder that myself.

“how to make moles go away”

Yep. I wonder about that one, too. A buried can of latex paint seems to be the most effective so far. Though, I still hold out hope for the Juicy Fruit.

No Hot Dogs Allowed

Filed under: humor, photos — Brian @ 9:00 pm

If you plan to visit the National Air Force Museum, at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, do yourself a favor, and leave the weenies at home.

Assistance dog? Cool. Hot dog? Nope. (Though you can buy all the freeze-dried ice cream you want inside. It tastes like brownies.)

no hot dogs

January 12, 2007

Hello, Dave Seeker!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Brian @ 9:19 pm

Checking my visitor logs, I noticed a search for info on my friend Dave’s motorcycle accident, but I’m not sure who it is.

If it’s you, maybe you could leave a comment or send me an e-mail? I’m at beanquest at

If you don’t want to, that’s fine, too. I’m just curious who else is thinking about Dave today…

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