18 January 2008

Necessity's sharp pinch

Following up:

So, Zoe has decided to accept the diabetic food. She's pretty thin, though and her coat is looking ratty. She's also developed a sore on her spine which I hope doesn't turn into one of those diabetic lesion things that won't heal. She's seeing the vet monday for the sore and for a blood curve to see if the food has stabilized her blood sugar. (Thank you, vet, for being open on Martin Luther King day. I know it's less nice for staff but I adore you for it. And I adore my own company for giving me the day off. Also happily I am seeing my prescribing psychiatrist on Monday - good to go and good not to have to juggle work stuff with driving an hour each way for the shrink.) Zoe's 13. She might just be starting to circle the drain. I do hope she doesn't die 2 days before the wedding but humans outlive most pet animals and I'm realistic. Right now she's a little droopy but her quality of life is pretty good, so we're still looking at treatment. I don't want her to go any sooner than she has to.

Re: Dave's craziness, he is actually taking steps now to deal with it. The mental health system in the United States (and what I saw of it in the UK, too) is FUCKED UP. If he had a life-threatening wound, the receptionist on the other end of the phone would treat it like the crisis it is, but if you call and say you're having mental health issues, they're all, "not taking new patients ... don't know anyone who is ... click." Best case scenario is, "well, I've got a new patient slot open in three months, do you want that?". No, fuckers, I want some assistance TODAY. And it's goddamned discrimination, frankly; there's a widespread perception that if you just pull yourself together, you can fix yourself. It aggravates the crap out of me.

Relatedly, I bought William Styron's Darkness Visible: a memoir of madness and read it before Las Vegas. It's basically a long essay, and I thought 15 bucks seems like a lot for not so many words but it's totally worth it. I've never read a better description of what it's like to be suicidally depressed. Styron, like me, was unipolar (he described it as "you go straight down", heh) and he does a brilliant job articulating how extremely painful depression is, and how it tricks you with the sine waves, so maybe you feel better in the mornings but by night time or two later later you're always in a terrible state again. Dave is reading it now. I can't recommend it enough.

Since I mentioned Las Vegas, I'll talk about it.

Poor Dave - the night I flew out, there was a blizzard. (My flight left before the blizzard arrived.) Also the much bitched about hot water pipe in the kitchen actually burst, which meant he came home on monday to a flooded kitchen. So pretty crappy for him on top of his other stuff, but the pipe is fixed now. Heh - Dave said to me, "did you notice the cold water tap is now turning the other way?" and then immediately corrected himself and said, "although since you can't tell your right from your left, I suppose you didn't notice." As a matter of fact, I felt like there was something a little confusing happening when I tried to get water but I couldn't pinpoint it. Now that he's pointed it out, though, I notice more.

And the company trip was pretty fun. Mostly I work with some smart, cool people and it was good to get to know them, since my particular job doesn't involve a lot of interaction with other people outside my team. We went on a terrific hike to Red Rocks - I can't recommend the guide enough, they took us on "rock scramble" so we went up a mountain using our hands and feet. Gorgeous views, really fun exercise.

That's one of my coworkers in the picture.

I'll download mine this weekend, hopefully (no really cool shots like that though) and post a link to flickr or a photoblog when they're ready.

The food was okay - portions were often crazily huge, which is not a great thing if the food is mediocre, and I thought everything was overpriced ($14 cocktails! $16 for a glass of champagne!), but we did have some good sushi at one of the Wynn restaurants one night.

And I did gamble! I put a dollar into a slot machine and pulled the handle and my dollar was gone, and then I found penny slots and put a dollar in and made 100 bets and lost every single one. So, I lost 101 bets in a row. I'm pretty happy that two bucks is all I donated to the city, but pretty much everyone in the company lost money.

I was just surprised, really, to have my dire expectations about the odds of winning in vegas come true. 101 bets in a row. Also, slot machines are BORING. And casinos are smoky. But! great people watching, if you like watching slot machine zombies and seeing people lose money very fast (I saw a man lose $2500 at craps in about 20 minutes.)

We also saw le Reve, which was very good. Kind of like I understand Cirque de Soliel, except with water. Amazing feats of acrobatics, gymnastics, dance and diving. but it's very hard to describe a show like that if you haven't seen one. At first I thought the show was really white and heteronormative except with a lot of homoerotic tension, but at the show progressed it was clear that the homoerotic tension was a deliberate element. My favorite part was the ringmaster (male) wearing a pair of fake breasts, which wasn't pointed out or made a big deal of, it was just kind of a nod to the dreamlike quality of the show and the fact they they're fucking with you a little. The whitebread criticism is true there was ONE black female dancer and ONE asian male dancer, and everyone else was white.

Also, very depressing, they have real lions in the MGM hotel (where we were staying). Supposedly they have a bunch of lions on a lion retirement farm somewhere and they swap them out, but this is what I noticed about the lions I saw:
1. the "habitat" was tiny and very loud with rushing water and lion-roaring sound effects and people yelling to get the lions' attention
2. the habitat also had a bunch of humans sitting around texting (employees of the MGM), so I'm thinking the lions were probably sedated
3. I have never seen lions with such clean fur and no fly bites or anything, it was like they had been to the groomers
4. the two lionesses were sitting well apart from each other. Prides in the wild sleep all over each other, so to see them isolating themselves seemed like another bad sign
5. the lioness I observed closely was panting and looked pretty stressed

I bet the life expectancy isn't very good. I had a pretty big lump in my throat watching the lions. I don't know what their life span is but I bet it ain't great. I know zoos do conservation work and some zoos are pretty great, but the MGM just isn't one of them. Nothing like watching a rhino stomp around a tiny muddy paddock or an insane panther lunge at plexiglas over and over and over again to make you wonder who, exactly, is regulating these zoos? (To clarify: the rhino and the panther weren't at the MGM, they were at a zoo in Scotland. The MGM just had the sad lionesses.)

Although some animals seem to do pretty well in captivity - giraffes roam a ton in the wild but seem pretty content on zoo lawns, and elephants and of course monkeys and apes are all pretty good candidates for zoos.

That's it from me, really. The wedding venue cancellation did turn out to be a mistake and it's all sorted now, so I'm happy about that. And I'm looking forward to relaxing a little this weekend, although as usual we're overscheduled with errands and chores and social stuff. At least there's a third day.

No comments: