Monday, November 17, 2014

My UTI Cat Diary

POST #1 11/18/2014

On September 3, 2014, I returned from a 2-day vacation and my cat started licking his penis over and over. I took him to the vet and they said, "He's just bored."

Later, I realized that he was having trouble in the litter box. He was taking longer than usual, but the amount was pretty normal, so I stopped worrying. Before this, I noticed that both cats were drinking less water, but didn't think much about it since I was combining wet food and dry food and adding water to it.

I should mention that I adopted the cats off of the street when they were six months old.They had no noticeable health problems at the time outside of being flea and worm-bitten to lethargy.

On September 14, the veterinarian gave Miao Miao some antibiotics. No tests were done ... I don't know if he ever had an infection. At the same time, the other cat had similar problems, but his lymphnodes were swollen and got better after three days of antibiotics.

After two weeks, Miao Miao never got better, and ended up with a blockage. He had surgery the next day, but they were only able to insert the catheter half way. They said that his PH was at 7.0 and too high for cats. He had crystals (probably struvite), and a slight infection. The following morning, he woke up in a pool of his own urine and was peeing again drop by drop.

After the surgery, he received urinary acidifiers for two weeks and got better. Never completely better though ... But after being off of the medicine for three weeks, the symptoms came back. Straining, frequent trips to the litter box, and extended periods with smaller than normal amounts. However, there's no blood or pus this time.

I use PH cat litter to test his urine and it rarely shows up green or blue. It just slightly turned green twice a few times when he urinated after eating. That was during the first few days after surgery.

In the meantime, he has been getting 100mg of cranberry, .20mg of vitamin C, 10mg of lecithin, and 30mg of methionine. I increased the vitamin C to 50mg today. The doctor has him on anti inflammatories and antibiotics. His urination is less frequent and he seems more comfortable today, but sometimes he's in the litter box for up to three minutes at a time.

Right now he is quietly sleeping. Well ... he's trying to anyway.


I also tried apple cider vinegar a few times. I noticed that he peed more often and spent less time in the litter box, but he voided smaller amounts. He did seem more comfortable, but I don't really think it helped him that much. Maybe I should have given him more. I gave him 1/2 teaspoon for two days in a row, but I don't think he really got better.

I'm going to do my best to capture a urine sample tomorrow and take him in. If he plugs up again, he's going to have to have surgery and I'm really worried about that because the risk of bacterial infections will increase in the future.

He's currently on a no dry food diet. I've caved twice over the past three weeks because he's a dry food junkie and constantly paws at the bottle of dry food. However, I've probably given him the equivalent of two dozen small pieces or so. He currently eats raw when it's parasite free, or cooked if I'm at all on the fence.

I'm not exactly sure of the dates because the last three months have been a sleepless blur. I'm really hoping Miao Miao will grow out of this.

I really believe that the stress of me going on vacation caused him to break at his weakest link. He's a nervous cat and gets excited somewhat easily. There's a cat in heat across the street, so both male cats are trying to jump off the balcony and keep trying to find a way outside. They're neutered, so I don't know what they think they're going to do.

But also, there have been a lot of street parades which terrifies both cats. I'm thinking about putting him on the prescription diet tomorrow if the veterinarian suggests so.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Nowhere Safe 3 Credits

Hey guys!

I finished development for Nowhere Safe III! Still testing and tweaking the audio, but I wanted to provide credit to the creators like I usually do.

Please note that I am an affiliate for dlsite.com, so if you click on the dlsite links below and buy something there, I do get points that I can use to get other materials.

Theme song Yukisora by Kannnaduki.com (English)
Gym Background Art by T.O.P
Other Background Art by Murakumo
Character Art by Blue Forest


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

I Saw The Maze Runner

This post contains Amazon affiliate links. If you click on a link and buy something, I get nominal affiliate credit.

The Maze Runner is a movie based on the book written by James Dashner. It is part of a trilogy. The other books include The Scorch Trials and The Death Cure. I have not read the books.

So far, the film's reviews have been mixed, but this didn't stop me from seeing it because other movies that I really liked also received poor ratings (Good Neighbors, Young Adult, Lady in the Water, etc.)

 

The Plot


I will admit that the plot is not great and the monologue regarding the world's dystopia at the end of the movie is a thin stretch. Although The Maze Runner is science-fiction, we have reached an era in which pushing fiction too far is no longer acceptable for serious films (Sharknado is of course fine). The maze and the society are interesting, but the basic plot elements yield nothing that's terribly original. For example, if you include a key and a locked door in your story, I'll become immediately annoyed with your unoriginal plot mechanism. (I will elaborate in the comments with spoilers if anyone asks).

 

The Visuals


The visuals and cinematography are really good. As someone with a background in 3D modeling and animation, I was impressed with some effects and can't even imagine how many people it took to build all of the environments. The vastness of the maze is real, though they do seem to cross the space rather quickly in the film.

 

Acting


I didn't think the acting was very good overall. The everyday happy nature of the trapped boys living in the middle of monsters didn't work for me. The maze and its sense of wonder and horror come through, but other than that, I didn't find the interactions very believable. These kids should be CRAZY and primal. Why aren't they?

 

Should You See The Maze Runner?


If you go to the movies for state-of-the-art-visuals, I don't think that The Maze Runner will disappoint and it is probably a better theater movie than rental. However, if good acting and originality are important, you may consider reading the book, or skipping the title altogether. For $9.00, I didn't regret seeing the movie.

What did you think of the Maze Runner?


Did you like The Maze Runner? Please leave a comment below and let me know if you're looking forward to the sequel which is currently in production.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite and the Way to a Meaningful Life by William Deresiewicz Book Review

This post contains amazon affiliate links. If you purchase Excellent Sheep by clicking on these links, I receive nominal affiliate credit.

Six extracurricular activities just aren't enough anymore if you want to go to one of the Ivies. William Deresiewicz, a prior instructor at Yale, refers to the ***top Ivies as HYPSters (Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and Stanford) in his recent book Excellent Sheep. I picked up the book because it was a recommended read by Fareed Zakaria via twitter and mentioned on GPS.

I'm sure that Peter Salovey, the current President of Yale University, is far from pleased about the release of Deresiewicz' book. Excellent Sheep is a scathing review of the university education system in America and those who control it. Deresiewicz slams privileged kids and their elite parents. He even calls out Tiger Mom for being blind to the meaning of her own story.

He blasts the collegiate educational system as rigged. The top 1% avoid paying tax dollars into public education to pass privilege to their private-school children and push public-school kids out of the line. The idea is similar to the distaste for public health care and was the first time I thought about it as such. Rich people with health care are against socialized medicine because if everyone gets in line, the line becomes longer, and the resources for the elite are reduced by being spread to the poor. In other words, if we want public services like health care and education, rich people have to pay more and they don't like that.

Admissions to the Ivies is more competitive than ever since the pool has gone from national to global. Deresiewicz claims that schools are adopting an attract-to-reject strategy to lower their acceptance rates and bloat the psychological numbers behind how prestigious each school is.

The behind-the-scenes look at the admissions process is perhaps the most interesting. Although children of large donors have been rumored to get access to the Ivies regardless of how bad they are, Deresiewicz confirms that such applicants exist. They are labeled as DevA at Yale and are assured entrance in nearly all cases. Even more interesting were the labels used to describe candidates. Well-rounded and *pointy candidates were preferred over ones that were **too extreme. Students with parents who didn't have college degrees were considered hardship cases.

Deresiewicz also describes why the entrance process to the Ivies is classist and bad for students. Privileged kids skirt requirements more easily because they rarely take service jobs and therefor have more time for more extracurricular activities. Privileged families can afford to pay for tutors to improve SAT scores and beat the test. Students spend so much time trying to do everything that they end up with bloated applications and are good at nothing.

Aside from a few points, I didn't find the majority of the content to be anything new. We know that the higher education system is broken in our country and in nearly every possible way. America's struggles with low social mobility and high levels of income inequality are constant thorns in the elites' sides and have become political talking points for democrats.

Schools catering to students, grade inflation, refusing to flunk kids, the replacement of tenured staff with adjuncts, and the emphasis on research over teaching are all mentioned. Deresiewicz complains that students have become pampered customers and stated, "Instead of humanities, kids are getting amenities."

One of the shortfalls of the book is the criticism of massive open online courses. Deresiewicz belittles them to multiple-choice quizzes graded by machines, but this is a gross misrepresentation of online learning. My previous instructors told me that they often received higher-quality work from online students and that the work for online classes is the same as traditional ones. Deresiewicz claims that distance learning makes instructors more remote, but I rarely engaged with in-class instructors and online instructors are arguably more available and approachable. They can be contacted online at any time and what needs to be communicated can be thought out in advance. Not all online classes are whittled down to multiple-choice tests. Live chat, online work spaces, and telecommuting to school can be just as, if not more effective, than in-person communication, especially for sharing presentations and providing multimedia aids.

I finished Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite and the Way to a Meaningful Life in a few evenings. I rated it 3 out of 5, but it may be more interesting for those unfamiliar with the subject. Ultimately, it will do little to tarnish the reputations of the notorious Ivies. The first two and last chapters were good, but the middle wasn't as interesting. If you're not sure if the book is for you, you can continue reading the other user reviews at Amazon.

* Pointy refers to a candidate being exceptional in one area.
** Too extreme indicates that a candidate is zealously excellent.
*** Deresiewicz claims that MIT, Columbia, and Dartmouth are considered second rate by some.

Friday, July 11, 2014

How to Edit, Crop, Resize, and Remove Black Bars to Create Your Custom Vine Video

Miao Miao and the Sneaker (via Vine)

   

Don't you just love Vine?

Recently I discovered that you no longer have to hack Vine in order to upload a custom video. You just need to get VineClient which is an extension to the Google Chrome Web Browser. After downloading both of these, create a 480x480 pixel video and upload it from your computer. Couldn't be easier.

Cropping and Resizing Your Video

After shooting your original video, it's unlikely to be in square format. I have found the best way to fix this is by using Handbrake to crop the video. All of the tools that I have linked to are currently free.

Tip 2: Using Handbrake to Format Your Vine Video

Step 1: Click "Source" at the top and browse for your file.
Step 2: Look for "Destination" and click in the text box next to file. Browse for your intended directory and input a file name.
Step 3: Under "Size" type in 480 for the width and height.
Step 4: Under "Cropping" select "custom". You can allow Handbrake to automatically crop for you at your own risk.
Step 5: For the cropping, you'll need to do some math. Take the max width of your video and subtract 480. The remainder needs to be entered in the "left" and "right" crop text boxes (the sum of these values needs to equal the difference between 480 and your original width). The dimensions to your video will display after selecting the source.
Step 6: Repeat Step 5 for the height of the video.
Step 7: Click the green "Start" button at the top of the menu next to source.

If you have black bars, cropping is also an excellent way to remove them.

Upload Your Video to Vine with VineClient

VineClient currently supports 3GP, 3GP2, AVI, FLV, M1V, M2V, M4V, MKV, MOV, MP4, MPEG, OGG and WMV. If you have trouble uploading your video, alter the settings in Handbrake under video to MPEG-2. MPEG-4 is technically the preferred format for VineClient, but I have had the least technical issues with MPEG-2. If you notice that your video is cycling once or twice and then stopping on Vine, changing from MP4 to MPEG-2 has solved my issues in the past.

Questions?

If you have any questions, please leave them below! Also, the video above was originally a GIF, but I used Online-Convert to change it to MPEG-2 and it worked great, but it didn't work as well as an MP4. If you have any questions, please leave them below!

Vine Video Creation and Editing Service.

If you don't want to mess with creating your custom video for VINE or have something more advanced, I will format and optimize your VINE video for you for $5. Simply place an order through my page at GigBucks or click the ad below:

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Itazura Cat Coin Bank Review - A Toy for Cats in Disguise

Please not that I am an affiliate for Jlist and this post contains affiliate links for the Itazura Cat Coin Bank.

The Itazura Cat Coin Bank isn't really a cat toy, but that's why I bought it. With so little need for carrying around change, depending on the country in which you live, I can't imagine it being useful in any other way.

Teddy and Miao Miao Playing with the Itazura Cat Coin Bank

The full video of Teddy and Miao Miao meeting the Itazura Cat Coin Bank for the first time is on youtube.


I actually purchased the box secondhand, and I think that it's probably a knockoff, but there's no way to be sure. I read online that some fakes are going around. Despite that, it still works really well and says, "Thank you!" in Chinese after you press the white fish piece on the top. Apparently, some of the piggy banks offer English and Japanese and the language that you get is somewhat of a crap shoot.

You do need two AA batteries in order for the kitten inside to operate.This thing has kept my cats busy for hours and when I take it away they HOWL! Since it's not an actual cat toy, you shouldn't let them play with it unsupervised. I doubt they think it's a real animal, and Miao Miao (the Bengal) seems to be more skittish around it than anything else. If you have a curious cat that likes to explore and play with toys like a Bengal, Siamese, or Abyssinian, etc, this would be the perfect tool to alleviate boredom. Teddy pushes, bites, jumps on, paws, and tries to flip over the box to get out whatever he thinks is inside. Sometimes I will put it out in the middle of the floor and it keeps them busy for up to a half an hour when they are taking turns.

Please note that I am an affiliate for amazon.com. If you don't like cats, there are also Itazura Panda Coin Bank and Itazura Chihuahua / Choco Coin Bank. The boxes usually retail for around $25.00. And if your cat doesn't like it, don't worry. These piggy banks will give you an excuse to save for this year or the next. The boxes range in size, but are generally around 10 x 12 x 12 cm.