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The Writer They Call Tay
04 June 2019 @ 10:42 pm
Dropping in for another life update. I'm still here! I'm even another year older, as of Saturday.

I'm still passing kidney stones on the regular, and according to my GP, they're new ones, not fragments from my surgery. I have an appointment with the urologist in July, but it's quite possible there's simply nothing to be done about them and I'm just a stone former. One last thing I'm trying is switching a medication I'm on for GERD, which can block calcium and magnesium absorption, both of which are needed to prevent kidney stones. I have to go slowly at it, so I won't know if it works for a bit, but we can always hope.

Pax has become a teenage dog and is a little brat. A sweet little brat, and a smart little brat, but a little brat anyway. He's not so bad except for his habit of biting feet when he gets the zoomies, which is very painful. We're working on manners, but it's a work in progress. Other than that, his brattiness is more endearing than anything else, though we've had some teenage defiance about being in his crate at night and, due to the utterly awful weather we've had since, like, January, potty training is still hit and miss. He's potty-trained to his puppy pad, but going outdoors is still a bit confusing for him. But he's quite a little character and keeps us laughing. He's the feistiest dog we've ever had. Yesterday, he knocked over a dustbin outside and barked at it for five minutes, then got up on the stairs in front of me to protect me from this scary object he knocked over. He's also barked at: the water bowl he knocked over, the baby gate he knocked over, a bag being rustled by a fan, the sound of a door slamming down the hall from the wind, a box sitting in the front hall, and a mop sitting motionless on the bench. He will not be intimidated by inanimate objects, damnit!

I think that's all I have to report. I'm mostly just resting and puppy rearing. Hope every else is doing well!
 
 
The Writer They Call Tay
03 May 2019 @ 10:17 am
When I joined the library a few months ago, I got access to Hoopla, which is a service that has e-books and e-comic books, audio books, music, movies, and television shows you can borrow virtually. It has a Roku version, so you can stream the movies and tv shows to your tv, and Mum and I have been watching a few things here and there. The selection isn't great, but there's been a few interesting things we've found. They have a lot of foreign film and television, and I discovered an Italian adaptation of Nero Wolfe. I've watched the first two episodes (Fer-de-Lance ['Snake Tracks'] and Champagne for One), and it's not bad.

The conceit is that Archie and Wolfe have moved to Italy after a 'problem with the police in New York' and the FBI suggesting it might be a good idea for them to leave the country. In my head, I could see it working after A Family Affair canonically, although, as the episodes are adapted from the books, they would be reliving the same cases in Rome that they solved in New York, so it's not a perfect headcanon. Archie and Wolfe are the only characters from the books, the rest are locals filling the roles of the other characters. They didn't bring Fritz, which is my biggest criticism. There's an Italian chef they hire who is so much like Fritz, they might as well have just used Fritz. He's Swiss, he could know Italian and it wouldn't even be a stretch! Archie and Wolfe wouldn't have left Fritz in New York. He's a member of the family.

The adaptations are otherwise very faithful, for the most part, changing names and tweaking plot points to fit into the new setting. It's a very different take than the A&E series, which was colourful and silly. This is a more serious adaptation, but not gritty or anything. Just less farcical than the A&E series. It's not narrated by Archie, so it's less extreme in the storytelling, and gives the opportunity to show a more realistic view of their lives than the pulpy version Archie might be portraying in his books.

Francesco Pannofino plays Wolfe and is really great. He's warmer than Maury Chaykin's take, but not cuddly or out of character, and his affection for his orchids, his love of food, and his great concern in seeing everyone fed is very cute in an appropriate way. They've kept a lot of details for him, like his yellow pajamas, his refusal to discuss work at the dinner table, and his dislike of cars and leaving the house (though he does leave it way more than in the books, which is OOC, but I can understand it from a plot POV). Because it doesn't have Archie narrating the series, I think it evens his quirks out to maybe a more realistic view than the (most likely exaggerated) version Archie tells us about.

Pietro Sermonti is Archie and, once again, his take is very different. Timothy Hutton played Archie with a cheerful sort of boistrous charm, Sermonti plays him as observant, suave, and saracastic, with a lot more of a heart. I love the way he watches Wolfe with little secret smiles at his antics and his exasperated reactions to the characters he's interacting with. He has a sweet way with the female clients and he and Wolfe have a super sweet, obvious affection for each other, the way we know they totally do but Archie doesn't bother to mention in his stories. I also like the nod to canon that Archie often has a glass of milk in hand in the background of scenes. It's hard for me to believe Archie would speak the word perfect Italian that he's doing here (he strikes as someone who could learn a language but would speak it with a very American accent), but I can suspend my disbelief due to the obvious reason that it's an Italian show.

The other characters are hybrids of the book characters. There's a PI that's a mixture of Saul Panzer and Fred Durkin in personality, and an Inspector and Sergeant that are basically Cramer and Stebbins. There's also a female reporter who is a a mixture of Lon Cohen's helpfulness and Lily Rowan's sass. She's an obvious love interest for Archie, but I don't mind because they have good chemistry and she's just the sort of girl Archie would find amusing but exasperating in the books. And the books are light on female characters, so I can see why they'd want to bring in at least one.

Overall, it's enjoyable so far. There were eight episodes made, but I can only have five rentals a month, so I'll have to wait to see all of them. If you enjoy Nero Wolfe, I would recommend checking it out if you can find it somewhere. It's not perfect, but it's enjoyable if you go in with an open mind.
 
 
 
The Writer They Call Tay
26 March 2019 @ 08:43 am
Hello, anyone who may be around here!

I've been on radio silence for a while, due to puppy raising and stone passing. The big 9mm stone they broke up in September has been coming out in about 4mm by 1mm slices for the past couple of months. Not nearly as painful as before, but making me sore and giving me a lot of tachycardia as the adrenaline kicks in. It's weird, even if I don't have pain, I often get the 'fight or flight' response as the stone moves down my ureter. I had thought they removed the big pieces by a basket catch during the surgery, but these are definitely sliced fragments I'm passing, so I guess they left them in there. When they went in to do the surgery, they weren't sure if they were going to remove the stone or just put a stent in because they didn't know if I had an infection or not. There's a risk of scraping or damaging the ureter using a basket catch, so I'm guessing they decided not to risk it when I was so swollen and borderline infected. They must have pushed the stone up into my kidney and broke it up there. In any case, it's been unpleasant, but manageable. But I'm very tired.

Pax is doing really well, though! We've made it through the worst of the teething (she says, as she has to pause typing to tell him to stop chewing on the wall...), and he's settling down into a calmer boy. He's six months old now and he's grown quite a bit since we got him. He's learned a bunch of stuff and he's such a sweetheart. He's just so happy. Like, he never stops smiling. We tried a bunch of different toys for him, but he is just really crazy about plastic bottles. He likes to chew on them and chase them around the kitchen and has no interest in any sophisticated doggy toy you might have brought him. He just likes bottles. We always supervise him and only give him ones that are food safe, but pro-tip: if you have a restless dog, tossing a handful of kibble in a bottle and then putting the bottle in a sock will keep them busy for a long time. He also likes chasing bubbles that I blow for him.

I've been keeping busy and entertained by watching musicals on youtube. A lot of amateur productions post their full performances and a lot of them are really good. A lot of them are not, though. You have to search a little. Here's a few of my favourites that I've found in my travels if you'd like some entertainment:

The Drowsy Chaperone (university production, with every performer spot on.)
Beauty & the Beast (community theatre production, wonderful acting, singing occasionally off, but overall awesome)
Return to the Forbidden Planet (university production, basically 'Doctor Who as written by Shakespeare featuring hits from the '50's and 60's', total camp fun)
Seussical the Musical (high school production, really well done)

Hope everyone else is doing well!
 
 
The Writer They Call Tay
18 February 2019 @ 11:03 pm
Someone on Reddit mentioned this the other day as something every Canadian would recognize and, indeed, I did. My mum started singing along when I was watching it, so obviously she does as well.



When I was a little girl this was shown on CBC between programmes as a filler, but in my memory of it, I had thought it was a Sesame Street segment. There were special 'Canadian' segments shown here as part of a law that said any programme shown on CBC had to have 30% of Canadian content and I think I just assumed, because I had seen it so many times, it must have been a part of those segments. But it was actually a short film shown a lot on TV and burned into my memory.

If you're curious, the Canadian Sesame Street characters were Dodi, a pilot, Basil, a bear, Louis, an otter, Chaos, a kitten, and Katie, a girl in a badass wheelchair. Also, all the segments teaching Spanish in the US version taught French in the Canadian version.

There's your dose of 1980's Canadian nostalgia for you.
 
 
 
The Writer They Call Tay
08 February 2019 @ 09:34 am
Reporting here from Pax-central, where things have improved on the biting front a little. He's definitely having teething trouble and some days are good and some days are bad, but he's doing really well. His poor mouth looks awful, though. His gums are all red and he has little half-in teeth sticking out of them.

We've been teaching him to walk on a leash and he's improving a lot there, though he still sits on his butt and refuses to move sometimes. He's a super fast learner, which is both awesome and sometimes troublesome, as he learns quickly how to get in trouble, too.

He's also quite feisty. He keeps getting into 'fights' with things. Not aggressive, always defensive, which is what you expect from a Scottie for their breed standard. Our stove has a somewhat reflective door on it and we've been joking about the 'puppy in the oven' since he arrived since he keeps noticing his reflection and looking at it. But, the other night, the puppy in the oven did something highly offensive and Pax had to tell it off for several minutes. We couldn't get him to understand it was him and finally had to put him to bed (it was time, anyway). He had a couple more fights with the puppy in the oven but he's seemed to have made peace with him, as there have been no more arguments.

The weather is playing having on my head with all the ups and downs. Lots of migraines. But otherwise, everyone is in good health. Lots of napping here, but I think that happens when you have a new baby, right?
 
 
 
The Writer They Call Tay
27 January 2019 @ 11:49 pm

Being a puppy mum is tiring! We're all napping, including the puppy. But it's a lot of fun, too, obviously. And a little frustrating. Today, Pax was all biting, all the time. I think he's teething, but every time came near him today, he decided to nibble on me. Just play biting, nothing aggressive, but his teeth still hurt! 

Otherwise, things are going well. I've taught him to sit, spin in a circle, jump over my leg, and ring a bell on the door on command (we're trying to try him to ring to go out). He will not lie down on command or even for a treat. I've tried every trick online to lure him into lying down, but he just stands up and walks away. We're trying the last ditch effort of praising him highly whenever we find him lying down on his own and hoping he'll get the message that it's a good thing to do.

He's had some adventures, including a few escapes from puppy jail in the kitchen when we didn't close the gate fast enough. He's also had brave battles with the dishwasher, a broom that was leaning against the wall, the sound of a puppy snoring on some music I was playing to keep him company (I quickly found a different track), and the sound of the wind blowing. He's a stalwart fellow. 


 
 
 
The Writer They Call Tay
21 January 2019 @ 11:21 pm

Here's a picture of the boy:

Pax with his rope toy

I don't think I mentioned he's a brindle, so his coat is gold and black. And the breeder sent his pedigree with him and he's actually Ascii's great-grandson, which is really cool. She was Puzzle's great-granddaughter, so we've had a whole line of Scotties here. 

 
 
The Writer They Call Tay
20 January 2019 @ 07:38 pm

We're on Day 3 of Owning Pax, and we're all very, very tired. But delighted. But tired. OMG, he has a lot of energy. And there's also the bending down to pick him up and sitting on the floor to play with him and all that. And getting up to check on him every so often to make sure he's not causing trouble. But, he's not. He's very well behaved. He's slept through the night both nights, and he's having accidents, but mostly going potty on his pads. We're in the midst of a snowstorm, so we have to wait until that calms down to get him outside for housetraining. He's confined to the kitchen for the moment, except for sleeping in his crate in my parents' room and being taken out for snuggles in the living room.  He's also learned how to sit on command. He's just a little mischievous and play biting, so we have to work on that, but's early days still.

I have a picture but my phone is being stupid, so I'll have to wait to post it. 


 
 
 
The Writer They Call Tay
18 January 2019 @ 09:17 pm

Pax is here! I would post pictures, but he doesn't sit still long enough for me to snap them. He's very busy being 12 weeks old and exploring his new surroundings. He's been really calm about the whole thing; he doesn't seem scared or out of sorts at all. He's super affectionate and licks everyone nonstop. He's also beyond adorable, of course. I'll try to get some pictures over the next few days if I can, but for now we're just letting him settle in. 

Yay, puppies!

 
 
The Writer They Call Tay
14 January 2019 @ 11:55 pm

We're getting a puppy this Friday. The breeder said that by the Spring he'll be too old to be moving to a new home, so we're taking him now, and we've all agreed that we're happy to do it, even if it's sooner than we'd planned. He's almost four months now, and his name is Pax Vobiscum, which means 'peace be with you', I think. The breeder always picks awesome names. He goes by Pax, and she sent a picture, and he's adorable.

Pax the Scottie Puppy

We have a bit of work to do to get the house ready, but we're seasoned dog owners, so we do have a lot of what we need. Mum and Dad raised our first Scottie, Fergus, from puppyhood, so they have experience, even if I'm used to older dogs.

It's very exciting!