Saturday, October 31, 2009

Bunnies!

I have a relatively small number of bunny pictures these days, largely due to the fact that my back has made me pretty gimpy as of late and my camera always seems to be in the other room when the cuteness is happening. Pedro also seems fairly convinced that the camera is going to kill him (which is his general feeling about 93% of the things he encounters in the world...), while Rico enjoys sniffing the camera lens... It turns out that neither of these behaviors is particularly ideal for picture-taking... Anyway... Here's a leftover Bunnies Al Fresco picture of Rico that I like:and another shot of the Pedro-standing-on-Rico (as he does) thing:
Some more traditional lounging in the cage:
Here's Pedro nomming down once he was (finally) brave enough to come out of the cage (after I scared him half to death by boiling water an hour earlier...), while Rico sits in the background being handsome:
This was actually the catalyst for this post. Pedro is... not very good at eating sometimes. He tries. He tries with heart-breaking persistence, in fact... but his lack of front teeth just makes things difficult. Several times this week I've witnessed epic fails while he tried to eat a too-big piece of collard greens. He will sit there "chewing" while trying to tongue the greens back to his teeth for several minutes before finally giving up and leaving a slobbered-on piece of collard greens behind. Poor little guy. He gives up pretty quickly on the collard greens in the video below, then does just about the cutest thing ever while making sure he succeeds in eating the parsley. I had to stop filming immediately after that because I was cracking up...

I should note that Rico tends to eat the smaller (Pedro-appropriate) pieces of food first, leaving behind the bigger pieces that he knows Pedro can't eat. If he sees me breaking up a big piece of carrot or something that he's left behind so that Pedro can have some, he immediately runs over to eat it... So, yeah. I don't think his eating pattern is a coincidence. Such an adorable little jerk, that one.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Week 7 Bucs Post (vs. New England, L 7-35)

I realized this weekend that these Bucs are starting to ruin football for me. I think back to the 4-12 season they had when I first moved to Melbourne, and it was so much better than this... and that's not just the best case scenario for these Bucs includes 3 more losses than that. The Bucs were in those games, and when they ended up losing it ripped my heart out. That didn't feel good, but at least it was a feeling. With these Bucs, I feel completely numb at this point. That they will lose most games is a foregone conclusion. I'm not happy about it, but it's hard to feel any particularly strong emotions about those kinds of games. I'm now even having trouble enjoying other games because the Bucs are sucking all of the passion out of me.
The Tampa Tribune made a comment in Week 3 about the rest of the year essentially being an extended preseason for 2010, and I think that's about right. I watch the games to evaluate talent, to see what elements look promising for next year, and to figure out who I can attach my hope for the future to. Even this can be a bit frustrating, though. Tanard Jackson and Aqib Talib both picked off Brady's passes in this game, and Jackson delivered several good hits. They're young guys, so you would think you can look forward to their future with the Bucs... but Jackson was suspended for the first four games of this season over drug issues and Talib has now been charged with battery for the pre-season incident where he repeatedly punched a cab driver in the head while the guy was driving. The bright spot in that story is that they dropped the resisting arrest charge because it was determined that Talib was too hammered to understand what the cop was saying. Aweomse. Ladies and gentlemen: Your Tampa Bay Buccaneers...

Sunday, October 25, 2009

One Last Cyborg-Emmo Update

I suspect this will be the last time I post about this stuff, since I don't want this to become a blog about my ankles... (It's nominally a food blog, after all, so it should obviously be about bunnies and football instead...) Nonetheless, I just wanted to post an update on how things are going, now that I'm (somewhat) getting back to my routine. I say "somewhat" because my back is still recovering rather slowly. I own two of these patio chairs:
one of which is now in my den and is the chair I sit in whenever I'm home (and not in bed), and the other of which is now in my office at work to help me ease back into sitting in a normal chair all day. As is my nature, I've been tending to over-do it, but hopefully in a few weeks my back will be strong enough to at least sit at my desk all day like a normal person. Being back at work has given me a chance to better gauge how much my cyborg parts are going to be able to help me. I work in a building with many hallways, and the floors in all of these hallways are made out of evil.
The stimulator definitely helped in terms of dealing with the pain that comes from a typical work day, but on Friday night things started to come into focus, and it's become pretty clear that my cyborg parts really aren't going to let me do any more walking than the very limited amount I was able to do before. What they can do is let me live that almost entirely sedentary lifestyle without all of the accompanying pain. The thing is, the stimulator can mask my pain (when it's turned up high enough), but that's quite different from being able to get rid of my pain. Since my pain has always been a cumulative thing, this means that even if I don't feel any pain while, say, walking to get water at work, the damage is still being done. Then when the stimulator isn't turned up high enough (the signal varies with position, so I have to turn it down to lie down and sleep, then turn it back up to stand again), all of that pain I've been building up is still very much there. This sort of sucks, quite frankly, but the situation is still vastly better than what it was before surgery, so I'll take it. Luckily, nothing can ever seem too bad when you get to sit around watching Rico eat hay:

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Week 6 Bucs Post (vs. Carolina, L 21-28)

Sigh... This is no fun anymore...
I think Carolina is probably the only team on this season's schedule that these Bucs stand a chance of beating, and even they proved too tough (this time, at least). As if 0-6 (headed towards 1-15 or 0-16) isn't enough, there were rumors last night that the Bucs were shopping Barrett Ruud, trying to get a draft pick or two for him. Honestly, if this team gets rid of Ruud, I may have to consider walking away. The trade deadline passed without that trigger being pulled, but the fact that they were even thinking about it is pretty unsettling. Sigh...

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Cyborg-Emmo Update

So, it's been almost a week since I got my cyborg parts programmed. (This is going to be super-detailed for those who care to hear the details, but the short version is: "Things remain promising, but still uncertain...") Anyway, the day after my last post, I went on the walk outlined below with my mom:The total distance was about a mile round-trip, with a stop at the post office, a lunch destination of Kabab & Tandoor (a Hyderabadi Indian restaurant in my neighborhood at which I very much enjoy the lunch buffet), a stop on the way home at the library (for a great used book sale we stumbled upon), then home. My ankles held up quite well on the walk, with the only intense pain coming when we had to climb a flight of stairs and walk up a big ramp to enter the library. Even then, my cyborg parts seemed to help me recover much faster than usual from that pain. (Usually, once the pain starts, it's hours before it starts to subside, so this was good.) The trip was a really promising test, and left me quite optimistic. When dinner time rolled around, I needed to pick up a couple ingredients, so I decided to walk to the nearby grocery. (I'm not supposed to lift more than 5 pounds ever during the 6 weeks following surgery, but croissants, arugula, horseradish root, baked chips, and a lemon came in at 4.5 pounds, so I was safe...) This is a much shorter route:but the walk caused me all kinds of problems. My cyborg parts probably weren't turned up high enough (I had wisely turned them up before our lunchtime walk, but forgot this time). I was in quite a bit of pain already by the time I hit the parking lot, but again the stimulator seemed to at least help with recovery, even as I was walking around the store. This struck me more as a user error than a failure of my cyborg parts, so I wasn't too upset. In case you were wondering, here is the kick-ass sandwich we made for dinner (using my groceries with leftover mustard-rubbed pork tenderloin that I had roasted a couple nights before, as well as some caramelized onions from the freezer and a homemade fresh horseradish sauce):
Mmmm... I'm not going to lie to you: That was delicious. We didn't do much walking the next couple days, largely because my back didn't fare nearly as well as my ankles on that first long walk, but I got a lot of (seemingly random) pain again on Thursday morning, and the stimulator had trouble masking it. This was fairly disheartening, and made me start to wonder if maybe my cyborg parts can help make my usual almost-no-walking-ever lifestyle less painful, but maybe can't handle me walking all over tarnation. (Obviously that's less exciting, but I would still consider it a "win.") I suspect at this point that I'm in need of reprogramming. The guy who programs me said that this is to be expected as the wires move a bit while the swelling subsides and scar tissue forms. Thus, the jury is still out, but things continue to look promising. It will probably be several weeks before we find the best program after everything has settled into place and figure out what the real result of all this is going to be, and I'll have to try not to get frustrated with the roller coaster of relative effectiveness in the meantime. This is where therapeutic bunnies come in handy. I'll post more bunny pictures later, but here's Rico when I caught him leaping in the air mid-binky.
Who could ever be cranky living with such cuteness?

Week 5 Bucs Post (@ Philly, L 14-33)

Yeah. I'm not going to talk about this one. My back is really not up to the task of sitting up for the duration of a game (without the help of pain meds, which I had last week thanks to catching a ride with a friend), so this game was super-unpleasant on a couple levels, and I am in no mood to dissect it here just for the sake of being able to look back on it fondly in the future... I also lack the energy to narrow my list of negatives down to just two...
I'm at the point where I keep hoping the Rams will win a game just so they will cease to be our competition for the first pick in the draft...

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Emmo-the-Cyborg, Take Two

Apologies in advance for the rambling nature of this post... As many of you know, I went in to have new-and-improved cyborg parts installed on Thursday.
(Above is the totally-awesome card that one of my totally-awesome friends sent me for the occasion...) This was a fairly invasive surgery, so they ended up keeping me in the hospital until the next afternoon. I got to the recovery room at around 1:45pm and was fairly coherent by 3pm, but it was 9pm before they actually found me a room. Thus, I spent 7 hours sitting in the recovery room in lots of pain with absolutely nothing (aside from the occasional addition of something pleasant to my IV) to distract me from my discomfort. On the patient board we rolled past as we went to my room I saw myself listed, and next to my name: "Time Waiting: 437 minutes." Awesome. Those first 24 hours following surgery were pretty brutal, but I got through it with a little help from my friend, Percocet...
My back is doing infinitely better now. (I guess the good thing about a couple days of excruciating pain is that other pain doesn't seem so bad afterward...) I've been able to go out a couple times, including for football-watching on Sunday, but really can't handle being away from my comfy bed/chair and my pain meds for extended periods of time yet. I went in to get my ass reprogrammed on Monday morning, at which point I discovered that my new cyborg parts are vastly superior to my old ones. Because there are three connected wire leads instead of just one, the guy who programs me has a lot more control, and I even can control the balance between sides with my remote. I also learned how to recharge my ass last night, and took care of that. In case you haven't seen, this is what the thing looks like, essentially:
They re-used my two old incisions, and added a new one (which they kept saying was so very tiny, but which is totally 3 inches long, so whatever...) to get direct access to my spine to place the lead in the exact right spot. Apparently the surgery went about as well as one could possibly hope for, and everyone is very impressed with how lovely my incisions are... (Well, medical professionals think they're lovely... Lay people mostly think they're pretty gnarly...) The one point that you probably care most about and that I am most actively avoiding is whether or not this thing works... and the answer is that I'm not really sure yet. The failure of the last one was pretty soul-crushingly depressing, so I'm trying to stay very much on the "cautiously" side of "cautiously optimistic" this time... but, so far, things look promising. I went to Costco with my mom yesterday, and decided to forgo the cart that I usually need in order to get around (because the floors at Costco are made out of evil).
We were there for a good chunk of time, standing and walking on those evil floors, and I was... fine. That's pretty amazing if you know what Costco usually does to my ankles, but I still feel like it's too soon to get excited. We're going to take me out for a more strenuous test run today and see how my ankles hold up going for a walk... but I guess so far I feel comfortable saying that early indications are promising, and that I'll keep you posted.

More Bunnies al Fresco

So much bunny cuteness these days. Four quick indoor photos, then a new batch of Bunnies al Fresco pictures and a totally awesome video of Pedro practicing evasive maneuvers... Here are the cuties at brekky this morning:
and three pictures of Rico and his fat white belly looking very very handsome in the HPFC:
I'm a bit gimpy following surgery, but my mom is staying with me and helped me set up the fence for some good outdoor time with the bunnies. This is the third time in three weeks, and I think Rico and Pedro both are getting much more comfortable with the scenario. They were both much more calm this week as I "captured" them to put them in the pet carrier and take them outside, and Rico (who is much harder to catch than Pedro is) didn't even bother running away when it was time to go back inside (which is definitely unprecedented...). Rico was much more social this time. Here are several shots of the guys together:
Rico even lured Pedro under his new favorite bush to hang out stealthily for a while:
and came over to check out the tunnel (which is usually Pedro's domain):
Speaking of the tunnel, this is pretty much the cutest thing I've ever seen:
Pedro's floppy ears crack me up when he's running:
but here he is looking a bit more agile, with the wind blowing through his fur:
Pedro is also just about the sweetest little thing when he's sitting still:
Not to be out-done, here's Rico checking out a leaf:
and doing his favorite running pose:
Time for videos. First up is an incredibly boring 32-second video, which I include because of the adorable tongue action at the 0:30 mark.

Then there is Pedro, being a giant dork. He was giving us some serious binky action yesterday, but also doing some work practicing his evasive maneuvers. This one was quite impressive.

Week 4 Bucs Post (@ Washington, L 13-16)

To use the words of my Grandma Gena: "Oh, for pity's sake..."
I was impressed by Tampa's ability to snatch a defeat from the jaws of victory here. I think this was probably the best chance they had to notch a win this season (the second-best will probably be at the game in Seattle that I'll be attending... maybe also in one of the two Carolina games...), but no such luck.
I can't really talk about this one. Not a lot in the way of silver linings.
New kicker next week, as Nugent missed two field goals in a 3-point loss, though I feel this team may have found a way to lose this one anyway. Sigh... Bring on Philly next week.

Random Post Involving Eggs

Catching up on posting today, and figured I'd better put something here to avoid two consecutive Bucs posts... One thing from over a week ago that I didn't post was the totally fantastic breakfast I made for myself before that less-than-fun Giants-Bucs game. Behold:
(That would be poached eggs served over crab cakes with bacon and an arugula salad...) Throw in 12 shots of espresso, and you have a pretty good way to start a horrible day, no? I was playing with a new egg-poaching technique because I am inordinately intimidated by the poaching of eggs. If I have a wing-man in the kitchen I will delegate this task to them, and if I'm on my own I will most likely just not have poached eggs. Trying to keep the whites together and whatnot, draining them after they come out of the water without breaking them in the process... Ack! Too much stress first thing in the morning, if you ask me.. For these eggs, I brought a pot to a boil and cracked eggs into a small bowls lined with plastic wrap that had been lightly brushed with olive oil. Add a sprinkle of salt and pepper, pick up the edges of the plastic wrap to form a little bundle containing the egg, and close off the top with a bag clip. When the water is ready, simply drop the bundles in and cook until perfectly poached. The olive oil helps prevent the egg sticking to the plastic wrap, and you get a perfect egg with beautiful (unless you're Steph, in which case it would be gross) runny yolk:
In other random news, I am now the proud owner of the world's most totally awesome soap dispensers. They have motion sensors, so if you have raw chicken on your hands or if you've just been cleaning a bunny cage, you can get soap without having to touch anything. The dish soap dispenser is also great when you need more soap mid-washing-something but don't want to have to set down what you're washing in order to put more soap on your sponge. I am in love with them:
Alrighty... I think this is now a sufficient buffer between pictures of the Bucs...