Sunday, July 31, 2005

confused canines

in keeping with the theme of suicidal animals (one, two, three), i bring you lonesome fox and kamikaze coyote.

lonesome fox i met outside the liquor store about a week ago. he was a juvenile and healthy-looking but had apparently wandered off the bike trail up and into the parking lot. the lot was quite dark, unfortunately, and so the pictures weren't great even though he was only 10-12 feet away. this is probably the best of them. i left it somewhat dark so he didn't end up too distorted. after a little chat and photo shoot, i did my best to herd him away from the busy road and back toward safety. no signs of fox parts on the road the next day, so i think he figured it out.

Originally uploaded by jacquichris.

yesterday was much more entertaining. on my way to Estes Park to play with Dave and Nancy, i was attacked by a coyote. unfortunately, i was too busy swerving the car out of range to grab the camera so i haven't a picture of him. he charged out of the undergrowth, barreling directly for my driver side window. after shooting the car almost into the drainage ditch to evade him, i pulled to a crawl and watched out the back window. apparently disappointed to find himself still alive, the little devil stood in the road staring after me for quite some time. luckily, that section of road is under construction and poorly traveled, saving us both another potential crash. eventually he turned back the way he'd come and skulked into the scrub.

Friday, July 29, 2005

aliens ate my buick...

so. it has recently come to my attention that my cats are aliens. its, like, super scary.

here i present the very reliable scientific data. as you can see, the one is attempting some form of mind control...

while the other communicates with the mothership and adjusts the weather...

Sunday, July 24, 2005

another ad campaign?

so maybe i am a little bit testy. after all, the circus is in town. but i am fed up with the debate about choice becoming a debate of death. so perhaps it is my literary brilliance surfacing again...

[voice over- in god tones, almost trancebeat] "Choose life."

a 15 year-old girl walking down the street in her hoodie, rucksack over one arm. she ducks into convenience store, picks up e.p.t. test. pays, eyes averted and obviously embarassed.

cut to girl in 7-11 bathroom. instructions and box scattered on floor. test on borderline hygienic sink. lights flicker- just barely but definitely flickering. test slips, falls into sink, 'pregnant.'

[voice over- in god tones] "Choose life."

girl heads home. home=suburban monopoly house, +/-screaming parents well into a fifth of brandy before dusk. sits in room. stares at wall. [screams penetrate room-"i paid for this house. i damn well will take it apart if i need to. or not. could be Bible meet in next room. even odds.] girl looks at test. looks at door.

[voice over- in god tones] "Choose life."

girl at school, approaching boy, looking at boy. boy chatting up different girl. our girl turns away.

girl home, looks at parents, looks away. girl in front of Planned Parenthood (flyers for neonatal counseling, adoption and abortion in hand), heading forward but then [voice over- in god tones] "Choose life."

girl turns away, back toward bus. flashing MTV subway type splice.

girl in ER, almost dead of pregnancy toxemia. parents outside, shocked and confused. 'pregnant? you must be mistaken. she's always been pudgy.'

[alarms, people rushing, parents hoved aside] fetus dead? mother? both?

who knows? she chose 'life'- a shame she hadn't chosen choice.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

HR 810

i never would have thought these words would come from my fingers BUT: Go Arlen!!!

"Senator Arlen Specter, Republican of Pennsylvania and the chief backer of the Senate bill, said that if the bill did not come up for a vote, he would attach it to a measure appropriating money to the National Institutes of Health, a measure whose fate he controls because he is chairman of the subcommittee that governs the institutes' spending."

how incredibly infuriating it is to see something that has widespread bipartisan support and that could save so very many lives get bogged down in the Fire Swamp that is Bush's agenda. please take this opportunity to write your senators again and encourage them to remain united against this ridiculous attempt to undermine stem cell research.

and hey! any of you in Tennessee, make sure you do your part to flood Frist's office (SEE BELOW) with complaints. granted, it is unlikely to have any effect as this is the same 'doctor' that refuted all scientific analysis of Schiavo's true condition before recanting after her necropsy. if nothing else, you can be a small thorn in his shoe.

Washington, D.C.:
Office of Senator Bill Frist
509 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
202-228-1264 (fax)

Office of Senator Bill Frist
28 White Bridge Road
Suite 211
Nashville, TN 37205
615-352-9985 (fax)

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

John Roberts

Regarding this question:
" I just heard on CNN that NARAL Pro-Choice has already come out and stated that "Roberts is an unsuitable candidate." Once again, the debate seems to be centering around Roe v. Wade. Are there any other precedents that we should consider?"

I wrote:
maybe. choice is the biggest issue i worry about as there is so very very much to lose, but other issues on which i think an appointed justice could have an impact include civil liberties, separation of church and state, affirmative action and gay marriage. i haven't done anything the least bit exhaustive to research it yet but reread the articles i skimmed yesterday regarding choice. the opening sentence of the NYTimes article struck me as quite curious:

"President Bush nominated John G. Roberts, a federal appeals court judge with a distinguished résumé and a conservative but enigmatic record, as his first appointment to the Supreme Court on Tuesday night, ...

i posted on another thread last night actually, asking:
"Does anyone have a good feel on whether this is a good thing or a bad thing? Given that vehement uproar could be anticipated for any nominee and the conflicting statements provided in both this article as well as the following that i lifted off the Pro-Choice forum, i am having trouble telling..."

and, as this quote from todays NY Times would attest, i may not be the only one...

"Now the question is whether Judge Roberts, if confirmed, will, like those two justices, commit himself to recapturing a distant constitutional paradise in which the court was faithful to the original intent of the framers or whether, like the justice he would succeed, he finds himself comfortably in the middle rather than at the margin.

His résumé suggests the latter, as does his almost complete lack of a paper trail."

sure, NARAL and NOW are having fits. they would have fits over anyone Bush nominated. the real question is whether Roberts is better or worse than other options we were likely to get...


an excellent dissection of the debate can be found on Adam Felber's website where i also got the link to this very scary article. another article to send chills down the spines of liberals and women (and liberal women) everywhere...

anyone want to weigh in here?

Saturday, July 16, 2005

thank God for the left

when working at home, i commonly sit on an exercise ball instead of in a chair. actually, sit may be a constrictive verb- i perch, rock, cross my legs, hover, and bounce. initially, this switch was made to strengthen my back and decrease the pain i induce by carrying too much weight in my bike bag. as a strategy it has been quite successful, though carrying less weight would be a more direct solution.

those who know Elise, my cat, know she is demanding and tenacious as a snapping turtle. we have a little routine when i am working that i will call 'jump, obstruct, launch and repeat' or JOLR. the gist is that Elise jumps up onto the desk, stares implacably at me, crosses to obstruct my view of the monitor, walks across my keyboard and sticks her whiskers in my nose or ear. i heft her up and launch her across the room so that i can work. she lands, waits a second and starts over again. this may go on indefinitely and dramatically decreases my productivity. i have tried a number of approaches to dissuade her, without effect, and have resigned myself to the ritual.

yesterday, as i sat catching up on work, we ran through about 7 cycles of JOLR before hitting a snag. Elise is an ungainly cat and bits of her commonly ooze around my hands when i lift her. i was precariously perched cross-legged on top of the ball when Elise decided to install herself on my shoulder. i lifted her up in my hands as usual but her weight shifted unevenly and i was concerned she would not land squarely when i tossed her. i tried to adjust my grip as she tried to regain a perch on the keyboard.

suddenly we were both so very much shorter.

but how could this be? the ball had not shot away from us and i had not tipped over. if Elise had punctured the ball, a slow or even fast leak could be expected. but we were flat on the floor in far less than the blink of the eye. hmm. i angled my butt up to confirm the flaccid remains of my ball was beneath me. Elise blinked, offended, and wandered off to the bedroom. perhaps it was just luck. but the ball had split circumferentially along a seam. instant deflation. instant terminal velocity-as Einstein had postulated.

as i had been lifting her up on my right, most of the impact was borne by the left side of my bum. tomorrow i suspect i will have a match for my biking bruise.

after all, 9.8 m/s is awfully fast for descent onto hardwood.


Originally uploaded by jacquichris.
i just returned from a delightful night watching Jeremy Lister play at a local coffeehouse. here i think life is groovin' along quite spectacularly; having a wonderful show 3 blocks from my house is just almost too much to bear. in addition, i got the wonderful pleasure of hanging out with a friend with whom i never get to spend enough time. after, we ambled over to a local wine bar for excellent beer and story-swapping. now i am home and headed to bed.

the photo is a shot from the venue. the juxtaposition of light and dark on the two windows seemed particularly striking and appropriate given the joy of the show and all that my dear friend Kitty-Cat and i have been individually through lately. it was a good reminder that there is always something to balance the darkness should one look hard enough. and also that, sometimes, the beauty of the darkness is greater than that of the light should one have the discipline and the eye to see it...

helpful to remember even though i am currently settled in the middle of a blaze of light, joy and promise.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Yup, The Star got it right...

advanced news service that it is, The Star breaks again with the leading story about my transition to full Diplomate status.

yep, you read right. yesterday i got word that I PASSED MY BOARDS!!! yet another small proof that miracles do, in fact, happen. today i was able to fax in a copy of my residency certificate which means that, as of tonight, i am and can be referred to as a Board-certified specialist in Small Animal Internal Medicine.

not knowing whether i would have to retake the boards has been an incredible strain. it isn't just the profound financial cost or the psychological toll of all that reading in a compressed period of time. the possibility of letting people down by not passing has been a huge weight on my shoulders. sure, it would be understandable if i did not pass but that doesn't mean that people wouldn't be disappointed if i failed.

the toll of waiting has been large but sneaky. it was only once i confirmed i passed and found myself crying tears of joy in the hallway that i realized exactly how heavily this has been weighing on my mind. now i truly feel free to get caught up on the literature and get caught up on my research without the additional baggage of 'old business'.

although everyone i would traditionally have celebrated with was far away, it seemed important to mark the night anyway. so last night i went out to the Rio for a deadly margarita as that is how we celebrate every milestone here. i went alone but was happy and had fun and made new friends and felt the better for having gone. it is this that has delayed my post to you all but it really was the right choice.

well, already have meetings to prepare for so i'd best sign off. there are a number of things cooking for tomorrow and i look forward to celebrating further with Jeremy Lister's band tomorrow night. i will try and take some pictures to share with you.

love to you all-


Thursday, July 14, 2005

That's gonna leave a...

Originally uploaded by jacquichris.

so about 3 times a year, i randomly fall over for no apparent reason while on my bike. this pretty much only occurs at a speed of 0 mph and always involves falling in front of unknown persons. yesterday i fell on my way to work, turning uphill after stopping to make sure i wouldn't get hit by an errant SUV. tipped right over into gravel. the obligate witness was of course distressed and rushed downhill to make sure i was okay. me, i lay there in the gravel trying to disentangle my clips, laughing and bleeding everywhere. of course i had to manhandle the bike to realign things and ended up late to work and was all coated in dust and gravel and blood. if you think the knee is bad, be grateful i didn't upload pictures of my thigh and arm! blech.

but still funny.

i suspect this is one of the ways that the world reminds me not to take myself too seriously... as you will see in my next blog, keeping a good attitude has many rewards. besides, you can't be a real biker chick if you don't occasionally find yourself prying gravel from your skin in public.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005


All sky
Originally uploaded by jacquichris.
when i first moved to California from the Midwest, i found it difficult to drive. the skies were so variable, so mercurial, that my eye was endlessly drawn upward. over time, i learned to control my eyes and bend them toward the earth.

here, in Colorado, the opposite has been true. it is only after living here a few years that i have been able to truly see and appreciate the mountains. to fully savor the wonder of wide open skies and plains.

my eyes, like my spirit, are loosing themselves from fetters to romp about with abandon. i am almost frightened by the passion and joy that i suspect will be unleashed at the end of the week when i officially retire from my clinical residency responsibilities to focus on completion of my PhD. no more will i be shackled to pager, cell phone and email. no more will i be awakened nightly to address the needs of my patients. my weekends will be free for planning and play. the possibilities, like the skies, are endless.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

That's academic...

Posted: Jul 7, 2005 12:14 AM
--- Wrote:
What do you think about that, and how important do you think space exploration is? Especially, how much do you think our government should spend on space programs as opposed to social programs, public works, defense, etc.?


hopefully you won't mind but... i was actually wondering about a similar but different issue. there seems to be a shift in American culture, and perhaps in other cultures, toward the glorification of mediocrity and stupidity (eg. Forrest Gump, sound bite politics versus indepth political dissection etc). this was particularly striking to me in the last two elections where it seemed that Bush's campaign centered, to a large degree, on being 'just one of the guys'.

also, i have noticed an increased trend toward the use of the adjective 'academic' as perjorative. (eg. that's academic, where the subtext is 'that's irrelevant'.) somehow, being educated and thoughtful, choosing to reach beyond the now and the known, has become a negative thing.

this, to me, is the larger question in which questions regarding space exploration are nested. what impact, if any, have you noted in your own fields or the media assessment of those fields from such a shift? do you think this represents a fundamental ideological shift? what, if anything, can or should be done to reverse the above (assuming you agree with my tenet)?

this may seem too 'liberal arts' at first glance for this group. but my concern is that, with the relative absence of 'patrons' in modern society and with the focused 'marketing' necessary to get funding from industry, we are headed toward a collapse in investigation of scientific frontiers. without exploration it is impossible to anticipate which avenues may yield the next great discoveries, even leaving aside concerns regarding collapse of intellectual exploration itself...


this post is from a science discussion group. it is a huge concern of mine especially in the light of current politics, the return of fundamentalism, etc.

what do you think?

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Epistemology (e·pis·te·mol·o·gy)

n. The branch of philosophy that studies the nature of knowledge, its presuppositions and foundations, and its extent and validity.


okay. so the first version of this post got eaten by my computer. then i was crabby. but now i am better.

the long and the short of it was that i have another question for you all. it is another example of the remarkable way one's growth and self-challenge are directly sparked by the questions and vantage points of those who are 'other'. i found it an excellent question and it took me several days before i felt i had even a tinge of an answer. when you review the source's source site and scroll down to the bottom, you will find you can click through to different contributors input. i have barely scraped the surface. but enough chitter already.

today's question is:

"Great minds can sometimes guess the truth before they have either the evidence or arguments for it (Diderot called it having the "esprit de divination"). What do you believe is true even though you cannot prove it?"

i believe:
-most things sound better in French.
-there are concepts and people worth dying for.
-the world is full of miracles but, like shooting stars, most of the real ones go by when no one is watching.

i believe that most things and people have something to teach as long as one is patient and thoughtful enough to set aside their own constructs and truly listen. that, in the end, is why i joined this discussion group.

finally, i support the instinctive recognition of 'quality.' (thanks -- for an intriguing exposition.)
i was reminded by the 'quality' posts of an interview with Watson and Crick re the discovery of the structure of DNA. when they originally 'acquired' some of Rosalind Franklin's data, they reversed a ratio (i believe regarding hydrogen atoms) from 1:4 to 4:1. in the interview, they stated that they 'knew' it was wrong. when asked why, the answer was that it was not elegant enough. similar phrases or statements are commonly evinced by mathematicians proving theorums or doctors investigating natural processes (healing, growth, apoptosis). 'rightness' is repeatedly identified first by its elegance and beauty and only later proven by experimentation.

Monday, July 04, 2005


What a string of things have conspired together this week. Where to start?

First, well, I don't really want to talk about first right now. So. Second, actually I don't ever want to talk about second.

Okay, perhaps I had best just list the relevant parts. After a long weekend answering pages and calls regarding cases and a long day on clinics, Tuesday I was woken at 5am to hear that one of my cases was doing very poorly. We had already done everything, everything possible to try and help the poor little dude. And so in I had to go to euthanize the little darling at 6am.

Heartbreaking. Positively heartbreaking. The day dragged on clouded by melancholy and exhaustion.

Wednesday woke tedious and full of work; that afternoon I had to euthanize another patient I had been nursing for weeks. It was another horrible blow to flagging morale. That day I got off work to an excruciatingly horrible letter, an inconvenient distressing email and an unwelcome voice mail. The first two aren't worth sharing.

The voice mail was from my landlady's property management company. 'No worries. The house isn't for sale. But someone wants to buy it so when would be a good time for a showing?' So now even my nest was not safe. Now even that could be taken from me.

My morale tanked, my heart lay in bits about me, and now my enforced optimism suffered a coronary. It had been a very rough night. So off to bed I went, curled up with my cat Elise and immediately found a lump on her neck.

Thursday was a mess of receiving and post-mortem emergencies. Yes, yes indeed, they do exist. The afternoon harrowing as I waited for a coworker to whack the nodule off my baby. Friday, more post-mortem emergencies and no word on my kitty's biopsy. Friday the house was also shown to potential buyers. [bastards. how dare they further complicate my stressed existence!]

Saturday the storm finally broke when Dave and Nancy came bearing picnic and gaiety. Elise's biopsy results followed. That night I went to a sail-in, the show was canceled due to wind, and so I played on a tire swing in the dark instead. [Pictures to follow.]

I have continued to recharge over the weekend and am finally feeling a bit better. With two weeks of clinics to go, perhaps I will soon have time to finish working through some things. Being me, hard to say though.

Did I mention I have developed a tic? It zips around my body, sometimes curling in my left hamstring, occasionally tickling my cheek, often seizing hold of my right rib muscle or left pectoral. I'm hoping it'll move on once I've sorted through my feelings. Till then I'm just another character from Oz.

Wings are nearly free

"Fancy poultry parts sold here.
Breasts and thighs and hearts.
Backs are cheap and wings are nearly free."

-Suzanne Vega, Ironbound Fancy Poultry


Sunday, July 03, 2005

Stem cell research

my partial post about the week's happenings has been postponed for another more interesting matter. what, i know you are thinking, could possibly be more interesting than the travails of my dear friend jacqui? well...

for a number of reasons, i find the retirement of Justice O'Connor a disaster in an already bad presidency term. let's leave aside for the moment my concerns about the inexorable deterioration of civil liberties, a woman's right to choose, separation of church and state, and promotion of corporate agenda over the health and well-being of other countries, their economies and cultures- all but the last of which will be influenced by a Supreme justice appointment.

today's matter at hand is the topic of stem cell research. from a thread online i present the following (brilliant PR idea mine):

"I know what it is like to have a family member dying and it hurts when you know that stem cell research could cure them.
The research is not being federally funded, and this needs to change.

This is another example of Pro Life = Death."

one of the problems is that anti-stem cell advocates get to show squishy pink babies and say stuff like, 'this baby brought to you by one courageous couple's decision to donate surplus frozen embryos."

leaving aside my opinions on the appropriateness of using resources to try and buck all possible biological odds, it strikes me there is a perfect ad campaign in here.

picture this. a fuzzy couple holding a squishy pink baby.

[voice over]

"this is Bob and Sue and their new miracle baby Sarah. but this couple felt that creating one life was not enough."

camera spans back to bring into focus a veritable sea of people- wrinkly old people, winningly cute kids with no front teeth, gen x types. and in the foreground remain Bob and Sue and colickly but adorable Sarah.

[voice over]

"so Bob and Sue did the truly courageous thing- they donated their leftover embryos to stem cell research. research that is expected to cure [insert disease of your choice- let's go with ALS for Kiwi] in time to save many of the people you see here."

camera comes in for tight shot on random cute kid and voice over continues with statistics of treatment and outcome of [ALS], ending with currently anticipated outcome for little Joe here.

"so please, all of you who believe that a life in progress is a sacred thing, call your Senators. encourage them to stand courageous and firm with Bob and Sue. demand they select a Supreme Court nominee that will not confuse rhetoric with reality. stand up and stand firm for stem cell research."

click here for contact information on your Senator. then write, call or email to express your concerns regarding choice, stem cell research, freedom of sexual orientation, civil liberties, separation of church and state or anything else you think is relevant.

NOTE: disagreeing with my personal views does not relieve you of the responsibility-as a member of a democracy-to stand up for your own beliefs! :)

no trying = no right to bitch!

My cat is FINE!!!

well kids, it has been a terribly hard week-more on that later.

but i just got word that Elise does not have cancer.

whew. time for bed. more later.


SPECIES: FEL Sample Received: 06/30/2005
BREED: DSH Diagnostician: BEP

Specimen: ELISE -skin mass

epidermal cyst, benign, completely removed.