Crows

I’ve been doing quite a bit of research into Crows lately, mainly the ones in my neighborhood, the American Crow Corvus brachyrhynchos. I have long been fascinated with their cousins, the Common Raven Corvus corax that I frequently encountered while working and recreating in the Mojave Desert around Las Vegas.

In accordance with what I’ve read and heard, they really like peanuts, unroasted and unsalted… Two days ago I threw some unshelled peanuts near a noisy group of about 10 birds that frequent the area between our building and the street. They dispersed and after about five minutes they flew back while I observed from about 25 yards away. After a couple of iterations of dispense, retreat, and return, they flew away after about 20 minutes. I went back inside after leaving perhaps a dozen unshelled peanuts where I was sitting.

Today (Saturday) about 10 am there was a loud chorus of Crow vocalizations that I recognized as ‘social calls’ from one of the videos I watched on Crow behavior research on the interwebs. I opened the door and there was a dozen or so Crows hopping around where I was sitting yesterday. “Hey, Peanut Human! We need more peanuts!” Not wanting them to think I was so easily trained, I waited about a half hour before going outside with more peanuts.

They won’t let me get closer than about 25 yards but they are very interested in peanuts. We’ll see where this goes.

Transient Ischemic Attack (mini-stroke)

Hi everybody, just want to try to get you up-to-date with what’s going on with me. On Tuesday, July 21, I apparently had a Transient Ischemic Attack (mini-stroke), although some of the Doctors and Specialists also posited that it was some sort of a migraine. They weren’t sure as all the CT and MRI scans as well as the other tests showed no brain or vascular damage.
My symptoms were mental confusion, slurred speech, completely lost some words (Aphasia), I was having a hard time walking, had a blinding headache behind my eyes, and couldn’t express that I didn’t know what was going on. Scary stuff.
I had a guitar lesson at 1 pm and began getting ready about 11:45. I noticed that what I was seeing in my right eye was brighter that in my left, like my left used a 150w light and my right used a 200w light. My left eye is dominant and I don’t have binocular vision, plus my right eye doesn’t work that well so I just wondered what it was up to now… I drove the 30-ish minutes to where my lesson was held. My headache began during the drive, having a headache was not particularly unusual but the intensity was.
My guitar lesson continued without incident though my headache intensity increased during the drive home. My head hurt so much I was having trouble driving and by the time I got home about 3:30 (bad Interstate traffic) I was just exhausted. I went straight to bed and I just felt horrible in general. While I was laying down I realized I was having trouble thinking and remembering things, for instance, I couldn’t remember who ‘that guy was’ that started Apple. For that matter I couldn’t remember who that ‘other guy’ was. It was Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. I got up about 4:30 and went to talk to Audrey, but all that came out was slurred gibberish. She said, “We’re going to the ER.”
There is a Urgent Care facility very close to the house so we went there immediately. They got me straight in and quickly established that I had what looked like a stroke in progress — I had 5 of the 8 warning signs. I couldn’t remember the town I lived in, I was fuzzy on a lot of other things but some things I knew like my address. It was very strange. They gave me a CT scan right away and I guess called an ambulance.
Soon I was at the local hospital and being admitted in the ER. Audrey and Ian were being very brave but obviously very concerned. There were a lot more questions, some I could now answer, others I still couldn’t, and a lot of squeezing of fingers, lifting of limbs, and doing bilateral sorts of things to check if my brain was affected. Frankly a lot of it was and is a blur. I was admitted into the Neurological Ward of the hospital.
I was hooked up to a lot of machines that go ping, much blood was drawn and vital signs were taken. I got a CT scan of finer granularity than at Urgent Care and I got an MRI for the first time. It’s really weird how noisy an MRI scanner is… There are more questions, more finger squeezing, and more machines hooked up. It was about 11 pm and I went to sleep.
Wednesday I had ultrasounds of my neck and heart examining the vessels and valves in the morning. The most notable things the medical professionals told me near the end were that I had an irregular liver profile, high blood pressure, and was overweight [duh]. All tests showed no brain damage or affected vessels! The lack of damage is what made some doctors opt that it may have been a severe migraine instead of a mini-stroke. I was released from the hospital on Wednesday afternoon.
So, I’ve been home a couple of days now and would estimate I’m 99% back. Occasionally a little spacey but I’m not sure that’s not ‘situation normal.’ smile emoticon I got scared s**tless and I’m going to make some lifestyle changes, who wouldn’t after a wake up call like that? I’m glad to be back relatively unscathed.

A Beautiful Day

It is so lovely here on the Front Range today, sunny and 63ºF at 10 am. Too much Spring too early? Things are starting to bud, this can not be good with so much snow and cold left to come in February. Heard that rains in the Mojave (Mojave! Oh, my Mojave!!) should result in a bloom similar to the one in 2005, which was the most spectacular in a generation. Will try to make it to Maroon Bells this year. Hopefully it will be good.

It Was 15 Years Ago

On this day in 1999 I tried out Dave Winer’s EditThisPage software, designed for (mostly) non-techies to enter the infant blogging movement and named my blog ‘blivet.’. I’ve met a number of people I consider friends over the years and have been fortunate to meet several of them in person. I performed the marriage of two of them which is one of my favorite moments.

Fifteen years later blivet continues on another platform (WordPress) and I host it myself. We’ve watched the ‘war bloggers’ come and go as well as the various streams of vandals, goths, and carpetbaggers attempting to monetize whatever this ‘space’ is. I’m sure there will be more trends as blogging gets rediscovered yet again.

Happy Birthday, blivet tool & die, and happy birthday to all of us from that time! And whether you’ve been along for the entire ride or this is your first time here, WELCOME! Here’s to the next 15!