Categories
Just Shelley

Just a cat

It was the shoe clawing that left me uncertain.

She was getting old, over 18 years old. Her arthritis was getting worse, but she could still make it upstairs: slowly and painfully, sometimes having to pull herself up with her front legs rather than push from behind.

She had good appetite, always wanting to have her tastes of whatever it was we were eating. She was particularly fond of the salmon steaks I made, and I must admit to having salmon more for her sake than ours.

Then, she stopped eating as much. It started with her midday treats, which began to go uneaten more often than not. Then it was her dry food, and her morning and evening wet food. By the time she lost interest in the salmon, we were desperately worried. She still chased her feather around, though slowly, and not for long. I sometimes think she chased the feather more for us than out of interest.

We knew that this would be her last year. It’s something that lurks in the back of your mind, but you don’t actively acknowledge in your thoughts. It manifested in little things, like whether I should buy a flat of her cat food, or just a few cans. I bought the flat.

Taking her into the vet was something we didn’t do lightly. As a young cat, she was abandoned, twice, at the Humane Society. I think she equated the carrier and the vet with loss, and fought against any trips with a desperation that left us shaken. The only good thing about taking her to the vet was returning home, when she would bound out of her box with a gladness that shown like a ray of silver hued sunshine— tail high, she would explore every nook and cranny of her home, and claw my shoes, to mark possession.

When she stopped eating, though, and could barely drink her water, we knew we had to take her in. During the exam, the vet tried to determine how far we wanted to take tests, because of her age, and the costs. But we had to give her a chance so ordered up the tests.

The results weren’t completely definitive. A beginning loss of kidney function was expected, but not the fluid around her lungs. Not good, and ultimately fatal, but neither of which would account for her loss of appetite. The doctor did think there was a good possibility of cancer, perhaps returning via her thyroid where she had a tumor once before. We had treated her for her thyroid tumor, but in rare cases the problems can return.

We took her home as we waited the blood tests, and to think about what we could do. At her age, surgery is a high risk, and anything else would require frequent visits to the vet, only to prolong her life a few months. She hated the vet though, and I hated the thought of her last months spent in an endless round of vet trips, needles, being force fed, and poked and prodded by strangers.

We tried hand feeding her using baby food. She’d take a lick or two, but that was it. Still, she purred when rubbed under her chin, snuggled in our arms, and clawed our shoes,

That last day was warm outside, and so I took her out on the front lawn. She was an indoor cat, so this was an extraordinary treat for her. She laid on the cement of the steps and felt the heat of the sun-warmed surface as it soaked into her stiff joints. She walked about on the grass, nibbling on the blades. People would stop when they walked past and comment on how beautiful she was. She was beautiful, silver stripes with white mittens, one eye green and one brown. They didn’t see what I saw though: the effort it took for her just to get to her feet, the weakness of her steps.

When not outside, she slept on my lap. After my roommate came home, she slept on his lap. That evening when we talked, asking each other if we were sure, she got up, came over to claw my shoe, and then laid down with her head on my foot.

At ten that night, roommate said good-bye to her and I put her in the carrier and took her to the vet one last time. In the room while we waited the vet, I held her in my arms and talked to her. I thanked her for the joy she brought us for 18 years. I told her how much we loved her.

The vet came in and picked her up to prepare her for the final injection. It would be given through a catheter, which is the quickest, painless approach. Little girl looked up at the vet, thinking she was roommate, and then hissing when she realized she was held by this strange person. My little girl still had fight. I felt pride, and even a faint hint of humor.

In a few minutes, the vet returned with her wrapped in a soft white towel. She was placed in my arms, and the vet asked if I needed more time. I held her close, and said, no, we had said good-byes. One shot, one last breath, a sigh really, and she was gone.

I left with the empty carrier. As I drove through dark streets I screamed—raw, primal cries of grief that stripped my throat. I drove until I couldn’t scream anymore and then went home.

I no longer see her shape out of the corner of my eye, and it’s no longer strange not to see her water and food bowls. I told myself I wouldn’t second guess the decision we made. I don’t most of the time, but every once in a while, when I put my shoes on, I remember that last time she clawed my shoe.

Categories
W3C

No, HTML5 is NOT at Last Call

It’s unfortunate that the WhatWG made a unilateral decision to go Last Call with HTML5 at WhatWG, as HTML5 is far from ready for Last Call at the W3C.

Supposedly the reason it went to Last Call at the WhatWG is no bugs in the WhatWG database. Considering that there are significant bugs and issues at the W3C, one can only assume that concern about quality is not as strong at the WhatWG as it is at the W3C.

There are also more people questioning decisions, issuing proposals for change, and submitting bugs at the W3C. If one were suspicious, one could imagine the HTML5 editor made this move to assert some form of control.

Categories
HTML5 Social Media

Google Wave, Twitter, and HTML WG

I rejoined the HTML WG. Again. The group has come up with a change procedure/process that I can support. There was confusion before about whether HTML WG members could issue formal objections, since supposedly we’re part of the group making the original decisions. The new procedure, though, reserves us the right to submit a Formal Objection if all other avenues are blocked. I’m more comfortable being part of the group, now. I even have a first change proposal assignment, due after the book deadline.

Good news from the group: the HTML+RDFa document is now a published draft. However, the work on distributed extensibility is slow going. It’s difficult to split off the technical concerns from the knee jerk reactions.

You may, or may not, have noticed that I don’t post links to my main feed, or this site, for my Just Shelley site. That site is very personal, and a lot of people who read my stuff are more interested in my more impersonal writings, such as tech. Of course, I haven’t been writing at any of my sites lately. Too busy with the book.

I did get a Wave invite–thanks to whoever sent me it. And yes, I’ve given out all of the Wave invitations I have.

What do I think of Google Wave? I think it’s too much for me, though I did have a fun exchange with Marius Coomans, as he was sailing the ideal waters around Australia. We exchange emails and twitter messages, but there’s something different about seeing a message being typed out by someone who is on a boat, and watching them make corrections, as they’re watching you correct your own mistakes. And you’re on opposite sides of the planet, and different hemispheres. It’s not earth shattering, but it is a bit uncanny.

So what else is there to say about Wave. The user interface sucks, but that’s not unusual for a Google application. The performance is sluggish, but it’s alpha. And it performs better than Twitter. Other than that, though, I’m just not sure about the usability of the service. I know that others like the tool, such as Laura Scott who had a nice write-up.

Frankly, though, I’m really getting burned out on the whole social media thing so I may not be a good judge.

There was another instance where I wrote one thing, and it was interpreted as the opposite. I supported what Kurt Cagle wrote on HTML5, but based on a intense Twitter exchange I had with another person, Kurt interpreted my reaction to be opposite of what it is.

Twitter is useless as a tool for doing more than pointing out a link or talking about what you had for breakfast.

Categories
RDF W3C Writing

It’s a beautiful fall and I’m stuck inside

he fall has been nice, but I haven’t been able to take advantage of the decent weather and pretty scenery. I have a book deadline next week for my new book for O’Reilly, The JavaScript Cookbook.

I can’t do much anyway, because my car is doing very odd things, and I no longer trust it for longer out of town trips. I know there’s a short somewhere, but every time I take it in, it costs me $500.00. But I’m getting a relay click in the dash, the battery light comes up, briefly, every time I start the car (and it’s a new battery), and the speedometer went crazy on one trip. All of this combined is wiring, and wiring seems to be beyond car repair people.

I save the longer trips for the weekend when I can drag my roommate, and my roommate’s car, about. His car isn’t possessed.

I rejoined the HTML WG. Again. The group has come up with a change procedure/process that I can support. There was confusion before about whether HTML WG members could issue formal objections, since supposedly we’re part of the group making the original decisions. The new procedure, though, reserves us the right to submit a Formal Objection if all other avenues are blocked. I’m more comfortable being part of the group, now. I even have a first change proposal assignment, due after the book deadline.

Good news from the group: the HTML+RDFa document is now a published draft. However, the work on distributed extensibility is slow going. It’s difficult to split off the technical concerns from the knee jerk reactions.

You may, or may not, have noticed that I don’t post links to my main feed, or this site, for my Just Shelley site. That site is very personal, and a lot of people who read my stuff are more interested in my more impersonal writings, such as tech. Of course, I haven’t been writing at any of my sites lately. Too busy with the book.

I did get a Wave invite–thanks to whoever sent me it. And yes, I’ve given out all of the Wave invitations I have.

What do I think of Google Wave? I think it’s too much for me, though I did have a fun exchange with Marius Coomans, as he was sailing the ideal waters around Australia. We exchange emails and twitter messages, but there’s something different about seeing a message being typed out by someone who is on a boat, and watching them make corrections, as they’re watching you correct your own mistakes. And you’re on opposite sides of the planet, and different hemispheres. It’s not earth shattering, but it is a bit uncanny.

So what else is there to say about Wave. The user interface sucks, but that’s not unusual for a Google application. The performance is sluggish, but it’s alpha. And it performs better than Twitter. Other than that, though, I’m just not sure about the usability of the service. I know that others like the tool, such as Laura Scott who had a nice write-up.

Frankly, though, I’m really getting burned out on the whole social media thing so I may not be a good judge.

There was another instance where I wrote one thing, and it was interpreted as the opposite. I supported what Kurt Cagle wrote on HTML5, but based on a intense Twitter exchange I had with another person, Kurt interpreted my reaction to be opposite of what it is.

Twitter is useless as a tool for doing more than pointing out a link or talking about what you had for breakfast.

Categories
SVG

Celebrating the first day of SVGOpen

Wordle Image of RealTech front page, captured using Skitch and saved as PNG.

PNG file opened in Inkscape, and Trace Bitmap applied. Bitmap options: Multiple Scans, Colors, 5 Scans, with options to stack the scans, and remove background.

SVG finished by running Scour, saving 52.1% of the SVG file size. SVG made cross-browser friendly, via SVGWeb.