Avatar academy award?

Okay, how the heck did Avatar get on the Best Picture nominee list?

This was a fun movie, with awesome special effects that, I’m sure, advanced that technology similar to the way LOTR did. But Best Picture means, it should be all around better than other movies, not just the cool special effects.

But I could identify at least Dune, Pocohantas, and Dances with Wolves easily within the simple storyline. In fact, when I saw it a month ago, I’m sure my list of plots from other movies was longer, I just can’t remember them now. Still these three were the loudest of the bunch.

Besides Avatar could easily been split into two movies which would have allowed more depth to the flimsy characters. You could practically see through them, they were so thin. Despite the fact that I, of course, wanted the Na’vi to win I didn’t feel many tugs on my heart strings because I barely got to know any of the characters. None of them seemed to have any history or intensity.

“Oh, don’t hurt Home Tree. We couldn’t possibly live anywhere else.” “No! Home Tree is destroyed.” “Wait, let’s go to the other tree (I can’t remember that one’s name.) We’ll be safe there if we dance in front of it. The bad guys will never find us!”

I don’t know, it just seemed like the Na’vi should have been smarter than they really were.

But still, really AWESOME special effects. And Cameron should probably get an Oscar for that. (Makes me wonder if it might be possible for a Dragonriders of Pern movie!!!!)

Just not for screen play or Best Picture… come on. Where are the standards?

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Casey, Kasey, or KC

To mom she was Caser; to Nathan (a family friend) she was “KC, in the Moor-ning!”; to dad she was KC.

I guess it doesn’t really matter how you spell her name. I think each of us spelled it differently, at different times while she was alive. I spelled it with a “C”, but she wasn’t really my dog.

Oh, my dad will say “until the sun goes down” that Casey was my dog. After all, I brought her home. But she wasn’t. She was dad’s dog, his boon companion and walking partner.

It’s a bit of a story, how we got Casey. Just after Christmas Break, my last year in college, the 18-year-old family dog, Pepper, died of kidney failure. Pepper had been around for 90% of my life at that point, but she was frail and it wasn’t a surprise when mom called me up. It was a Wednesday, January 20th, 1999, around 4:30 pm. I still remember…

At one point my mom hinted that she’d like a lab-mix, and a friend from college told me about a pup at her grandma’s farm. It turns out that M (my friend) had “rescued” an unwanted dog from friends on the east coast while she was visiting. The golden retriever-beagle mix was apparently rather stupid and unliked. I never saw her so I can’t judge. By the time M got her to the midwest, she was pregnant by a black lab – she had 5 black lab pups in late September 1998.

M brought the dog to her grandmother’s farm and since “grandma” was an old-school farm lady, and she didn’t want the dogs she “did away” with the mother and three puppies. There were two left and grandma really only wanted one. So I trucked out there to see her.

This pup wanted nothing to do with me. She was almost 6 months old, had lived entirely on the farm, and was practically unsocialized. But M promised she was sweet, just shy. I couldn’t leave her to be drowned, or whatever. So I gave in… yeah, sucker!

A few weeks later, I packed up the car for spring break and went back to the farm. After 2 hours I finally caught this half-wild dog and I set her on the front seat, where she didn’t move for the whole 2 hour drive. When I got her home she didn’t move, but had to be picked up to be moved around, she was that scared.

Dad took one look at her and told me to take her back.

But in a few weeks, after learning what a leash was, a trampoline, and that no one was going to hurt her Casey was finally named and became part of the family. She was fist Spot (because she was all black), Apple and BC (Black Cherry) led us to Casey…

I was home that summer, freshly graduated and no idea what to do. Casey and I took some obedience and agility training, which was a lot of fun – when she wasn’t running off to sniff, completely ignoring me. Actually, it was all a lot of fun – she loved hiding in the tunnels…

But soon I had to move for a job and Casey couldn’t come with me; not that she wanted to. She didn’t enjoy change. For years dad told me that “my dog” was waiting for me. And I’d always meant to take Casey with me – but by the time I was in a position to do so, she had totally fallen for dad.

And when dad was recovering from bipass surgery, he took up walking all over town – really long distances – and Casey was his partner. People around town knew exactly who they were and would ask after Casey on those rare days when she wasn’t with him, pulling over to the side of the road just to ask.

Casey was a quiet dog, she didn’t bark much; but snorted and snored like nothing I’ve ever heard. She had the perfect black lab head, that cocked just to the perfect angle. She looked like a black lab with her legs cut short like a beagle’s. And her tail was a WMD, knocking into everything, and leaving bruises when she wagged it.

Her fur was soft, like a plush stuffed animal. And she shed it like crazy, leaving drifts of hair around the house and in the beds; on the sofa; on her favorite chairs; on the back porch when we brushed her…

Casey was so sweet that most people loved her at first meeting. She’d sit patiently waiting to be pet and then put a paw up just to remind you that she was there. She could “shake” hands with either paw, switching when you were done with one and offering the other, repeating until she got a treat. And she could hold a Milkbone on her nose until you released her – which she rather hated, but put up with patient dignity.

And she was a sulker – when someone was leaving, and the suitcases were out, Casey could pull out her misery and wrap it around her like a cloak. She would turn her back on the proceedings and face the wall. It was so bad that my brother would put her out the back door just so he didn’t have to face her when he was loading a vehicle to leave.

It’s hard thinking that I can’t pet her silky ears again, or hear her nails scrabble on the wood floor as she preps to jump on the sofa or bed.

It’s interesting how attached we get to critters. They are there all the time, so much so that we forget to appreciate them – often like family. But they add so very much. To a house they add presence. To a homecoming they add joy. To a quiet evening they add company. And no matter that time spent must come to an end, just as with any relationship, there can be only passing sorrow for it. Remember good times, and happy days make all the difference.

Cherish your pets. Like many relationships, and more than most, they are so very special.

all is not lost, for Aggie’s torn ACL

Aggie’s knee has not been well lately. In fact, it’s been down right awful. I hate watching her limp around, trying to do all she used to on three legs instead of four, feeling like there’s nothing I can do. My vet gave not a lot of hope, unless I paid for the surgery – which I cannot afford. In fact, she told me I might as well save up for the other knee, if I could not fix this one.

I met a woman in the park this past weekend – actually, I’ve seen her before, with her three dogs. It’d be hard to miss her because one of the dogs is an ancient golden retriever, that has to stop and take breaks. But Saturday, we were going the same direction, at the same time, so I slowed down to walk with her. This was before Aggie’s knee went really bad again, but going slowly is better for her knee these days anyway.

So we talked alot, about our dogs (of course!); good things and bad. When I mentioned Aggie’s issues, she gave me the cell number of a vet that specializes in accupuncture and sports medicine for dogs.

The next day was Sunday, and by Sunday night Aggie’s knee really swelled up. I called the vet – Sherri – on Monday and made an appointment for Wednesday (today!). She does clincs once a week in my city, because her home-based clinic is 30 minutes south. But there’s a “sports/training center” up here and lots of people can use her speciality there.

We went and I didn’t have much hope. I think that when I spoke to her on the phone she was expecting a different kind of dog – a typical, nerotic, over-weight American pet. Aggie is not that at all. She was highly impressed with Aggie’s physical condition and athleticsm. And Sherri said that it was going to make all the difference in her recovery.

Sherri is pretty sure that Aggie’s hips are just fine and that she hurt her knee stepping in a hole in the park, or twisting too fast. She says that Aggie’s kneecaps, are just a little short for her athleticsm and if she wasn’t the “mighty goddess of the hunt”, then it wouldn’t have been a problem. But because of Aggie’s habit of running down squirrels, it just not quite long enough to keep the knee aligned.

Yes, there are surgeries to correct the problem – specifically TPL surgery. There are lots of people online that say both “get the surgery” and “don’t get the surgery”. And they both seem to believe in absolutes. I think that there’s those that can afford to pay for anything there dog might need and then there are the rest of us. I also think that different dogs are in different situations.

Aggie’s in great condition and that’s really going to help her in the end. She’s at a great weight and strength, and she’s relatively young. There’s nothing to say it won’t happen again, but she can still have a good life.

So, I decided to go ahead and do our first accupuncture session. She’ll have another in a month. Mostly this is to ease discomfort in the other knee – which is getting alot of added pressure from all the limping – and her back, and it will help promote healing in her bad knee. It’s not designed to help the pain in the bad knee because she needs to beaware that its not healed yet, so that she doesn’t overdo it.

I think Aggie really liked the accupuncture. She’s sacked out sleeping instead of right by my side, and lately she’s been needy and clingy, instead of resting like she should be.

I have high hopes that I can at least make her comfortable and that she can still be healthy.

new best buy commercial

… with the singing employees, singing a awful version of “Jingle Bells” puts new speed to my “muting” abilities.

It’s not possible to listen to that more than 2 seconds.

vet visit

DSC00850Yesterday we tripped our way to the vet – again.

Jenner spent the night for a kidney/liver/urinary check. He’s good. Healthy and happy… thank GOD!

Aggie went with us. 6 months ago, for her yearly check, it was actually cheaper to get a “package” deal than to separate everything out. This included 2 vet checks. So we went – it was already paid for. Besides, she’d been limping for a good week; hobbling on three legs sometimes.

It turns out that she’s torn her ACL in her right leg. I’m thinking she actually did this 2 years ago when she slid on some ice, but recently torn it up again.

Surgeries to repair ACLs run between $800 to $1600 or so. Impossible for me right now. Not to mention that I live where stairs are unavoidable. Not good for knee surgery recipients.

She’s doing better this week. I’m making her slow down to walks in the park. But yesterday her hind end collapsed twice. Once on the stairs to the basement level and once leaping into the truck.

I’m looking at more supplements for joints and ligaments. But the vet tells me that her other ACL will probably go.

My poor girl. 

Rodrigo y Gabriela

… I’m listening to their self-titled album right now and waiting for their newest album 11:11, which I requested the library to purchase. I hope they do because I totally love this music.

I wish I could play the guitar.

CASTLE

One of my new favorite shows (which actually started last year) is CASTLE on ABC. It’s about a mystery writer that is “consulting” with the police. Actually he’s just using his pull with the mayor’s office to follow a detective to use her as a model for his new book character.

I really like this show; it’s so much fun and it brings back one of my favorite actors Nathan Fillion, who played Mal in FIREFLY. Another show that I really, really loved: Space cowboys! How could you go wrong?

Last night was the Halloween episode and was pretty fun. Castle even dressed in FIREFLY Mal’s costume; trying out the space-cowboy idea for Halloween. It was great to see that again.

The Halloweed episode centered on vampires, of course. What else is hot this year?

Castle is a murder mystery, so it is always sad, but this series is great with the light-hearted comedy.