Avalanche of Culture

Luck arrived this week in the form of free tickets. Tam won two at work, and then our friend Michail provided two more free comp-tickets he had scored through his work (a transport company that among other things moves around sets for opera companies).

So Saturday afternoon we were off to the radio Tarana-sponsored Bollywood Dance competition, as part of the Diwali (festival of lights) celebrations. That afternoon was 3 hours of dancing from the intermediate and advanced groups. We were entertained b y quality dance routines to seriously adrenaline-pumping Bollywood music (left my ears ringing for an hour afterwards). The hall was large (TSB areana), and quite full. I think we had most of the south-asian community of Wellington in there with us. We disagreed with the judges over the first place and runner up in the advanced section. Having watched (and participated in) plenty of dance performances in the last 6 years, I have strong opinions on the matter now, and the runner-up’s were robbed. They had a high and consistent skill level, a kick-ass choreography, and most importanly- they could all perform.

I also had to respect the group from Upper Hutt college. That group was mainly kiwis, where most of the troups were exclusively south-asian in descent. And when asked about their preparations for the show, they admitted they only took one week for everything- choreography, costumes and practice. I hope they keep at it, as given a bit more time and experience they could be quite good.

After a quick dinner (Indian food, of course!), it was off to the Opera. Turandot, the last opera of Puccini. Executions, insane oriental potentates, a suicide, all you could ever want from the opera. The stage directiion was wacky, with only one person in period costume, but it worked for me. Ping, Pang, and Pong in their color-ccoded fur-trimmed “pimp jackets” were a hoot. The mug-shots of all the people executed (a list that gets added to during the performance) was also very nice.

So after all that culture on Saturday, what do we do Sunday? Clip alpaca toenails. But that was a worthy job, and entertaining in its own right. We also took more photos for the coming web page. Today is a beautiful fine and sunny day, the first in about a month. Hopefully that warm weather will get the grass growing, we have the moisture, now we need the sun.

Local news

In part for Holly, and you others overseas who’ve been here and have more context.

1) They had a respectable string of earthquakes in Fiordland last week, up to 6.7 magnitude. The road to Milford Sound has been shut all week while they clear the debris.

2) The earthquakes had no effect on the new lake created by a massive landslide back in August on the Young River, down in the Queenstown/Wanaka area. The lake topped out at around 100m deep, and about 2km long, before it spilled over the top of the slip damming the river. They reckon it’s going to be a permanent lake, but they’re warning hikers to keep out of the area, until they’re sure it’s settled (although, I reckon a 6.7 should have shaken loose anything else that was going to come down).

3) Closer to home, we’ve had a Southern Right Whale cavorting in Lyall Bay for the last couple days. It’s had traffic completely snarled around there, and a few people have bagged work entirely to kayak out and get photos.

Patrolin' up some Mojo

Jake is on the mend. He had his stitches out yesterday. The wound on his hind leg is still a bit raw, but it is also improving. The main problem now is getting his mojo back.

The first day or two after the surgery Jake was acting pretty normal, but then in a moment of exuberance he tried to climb on top of the ‘fridge, and took a nasty tumble. I think that really hit his self-confidence, and since he has been quite timid.

Today, with the stitches out, he could go outside again. The first trip out (about 45 minutes) he stayed close to me as I worked on a fence near the house. Later he went out again, and with a more confident stride disappeared into the trees. When he did not come out upon calling, I figured he was probably trying to walk his patrol route of the property. 90 minutes later he reappeared, coming down out of gallop- slightly moist but pleased with himself. The first step on the road to psychological recovery.

In other news the police officer callled back. He door-knocked in the valley last night, but didn’t turn up much (as expected). At least they tried.

Jake, the Tripod Cat

Jake is back home again. He ended up spending last night back at the vet. I took him in Wednesday to have the opiate-bandage removed. Seems he got the bandage soaked at some point- maybe he accidenatlly put his foot in the water bowl while stumbing around in his crate. The foot had swollen, but was trapped in the tight bandage. It was really painful, and when we got it off, the paw was really swollen, plus the bandage had rubbed his foot raw in one place. Now I nned to keep a close eye on his foot, to make sure there is no necrosis. Eve (the vet) put some Manuka honey on the wound, which should help it heal. Jake goes back Saturday for a quick checkup of that paw, then Monday the stitches come out.

Yesterday I also got a call from a very friendly and helpful police officer (our community constable). It seems they are taking the shooting seriously, and he will do some door-knocking in the region a bit later in the week. It is very nice to know that our complaint was not just tossed into the “circular file.”

We have also had four replies (of 12) from the letter drop. Three called to express their shock and horror, and give their condolences. One called to say he didn’t shoot out cat, but he does shoot any cat he sees on his place, even if it is wearing a collar.

I let the police officer know about this cat-shooter. It is NOT legal to shoot cats in that way in NZ. There are limits on what you are allowed to shoot. I  think the officer is going to have a chat with this gentleman, and that will be a good thing. We are also planning on letting the other people who own cats in our vicinity about this person’s “shoot first” policy, so that they too can express their opinions.

Jake's back

Just a quick note to let y’all know we picked up Jake from the vet about a half an hour ago. He’s already adapted pretty well to getting around on three legs, to the point where I think the recovery is actually going to be much faster with the leg off than it would have been with the leg splinted. After a cautious look around, he wombled over to the food bowls & had a couple bites of kibble before actually jumping into Stephen’s lap. He’s curled up there now, purring like an motor boat.

New blog site

Welcome to the new blog site! I’ve found a new host (WebBase), installed new, functional blog software (WordPress), and moved all of the old posts, photos and comments over from the old site. Go me ! I’m the man !

Eventually, I’ll find a functional theme (the graphics and layout and stuff) that I like, and maybe some time after that I’ll get into PHP and make my own theme, but until then we’re stuck with this sort of boring default. Hey, at least it *works*.

BONUS: if you’re one of the poor schmucks that got caught up in the spam filters at the old place, and haven’t been able to comment, you should be good to go here. It might give you a message “waiting for moderation” or some such the first time you comment, but once Stephen and I tick the box to let you through, you shouldn’t have any troubles with it.

Wheee !

Jake Update

Just talked to the vet. She examined the wound after the swelling went down. The joint where the paw meets the leg is pretty much blown, all the ligaments are torn away.

The options came down to:
–Transferring him to Massey (big vet school/hospital 2 hours north of here) to attempt to reconstruct the joint and set the bone, which might or might not save the leg, and might result in arthritis down the track in the affected joint.
–Amputation at the scapula.
He is now having his leg taken off. He will be in the hospital for the next few days. Hopefully he can come home around Monday or so.

The good news is that cats can do well on 3 legs, and he is young and fit and will hopefully recover well.

The vet will try to retreive the metal fragents from the amputated leg, so we can get a better idea of what hit him. Then it is time to canvas the neighbors, and maybe call the SPCA.

A mystery

So, we are in the middle of what might be a crime drama. We are waiting for the evidence tomorrow.

In brief, we came back in from checking the ‘paca Tuesday night to find Jake with a nasty laceration on his right front leg. He must have sustained the wound in a 30-minute period, and fairly close to the house (a few hundred meters). He was bleeding pretty freely, and didn’t want to put weight on the leg. We called the after-hours vet clinic, and based on the description of the wound they said he could wait for his normal vet in the morning.

In the morning the leg was badly swollen. I took him to the vet. Over the course of the day I had a number of phone conversations with our young but very helpful vet. An examination under anesthesia showed that one of the leg bones was broken. An x-ray showed that it was a nasty compound fracture, and that it was the bone-edge with probably ripped the skin. Ick. She also found a second puncture wound on the bottom of the leg. Theory at the moment- dog bite. After futher thinking and examination and the theory turned into “hit by car”.

Later that afternoon she consulted with a more senior vet who had arrived for his shift at the practice. Due to the nature of the break the prognosis was not good. Internal pinning of the bone would not work, so she was talking about either tricky-expensive external pins, or amputation.

We went in about 4 PM to have a consult and bring a drugged-up Jake home for the night. Theory update- the dog attack does not seem to make sense as Jake had no blood or fur on his razor-sharp claws (defensive wounds). The hit-by-car theory had a problem in that usually the claws are scuffed as they dig into the pavement at the moment of impact, but his were clean. But there were a number of radio-opaque objects in the x-ray, objects which might be bullet fragments.

The hopeful news is that a further analysis of the break means that a bandage-cast may work, it will just need frequent changing while the wound heals because he has both a break and a bad laceration which cannot be entombed in a cast. He goes back tomorrow, when he will put back under anesthesia and have the wound cleaned, and then wrap-set. I hope they can get some of the larger fragemts out, because if they are lead we know the cause.

If it is a bullet wound I will do a mailbox drop on the ~8 neighbors within 300 meters, the distance he could have come injured like that in that amount fo time. Hopefully they can provide some helpful info.

And needless to say, we all wish this had never happened. Jake is now living in the dog crate we got for Greyhound fostering, and is miserable. And we could really live without the vet bills right now. Sigh.