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Sunday, January 29, 2017

When Gerbils Outsmart You

When you win against a gerbil, it's like scoring a jackpot in the lottery. It's not necessarily that gerbils are smarter, it's just that they're extremely persistent. They constantly find ways to outmaneuver whatever setup you have, especially if its in resistance to something unhealthy or annoying that they do.

Example 1: My gerbil, Odin, has an annoying habit of "digging" against the side of his tank obsessively. He's not trying to get out, it's just in his nature to dig. I just don't understand why he's digging sideways and always in the same place. If you happen to notice that opaqueness on the bottom of his cage, congratulations - that was my attempt at stopping his weird habit. This is double-sided sticky tape. Now, if you also notice, it doesn't go all the way to the edge of the tank. This is because gerbils are persistent bastards. Eventually the tape would become unsticky, and once it did, he dug it right off the glass.

Example 2: This one was actually an unhealthy habit that I needed to stop. Odin had an obsession with chewing on those black metal bars. Eventually, the coating would come off (which I'm sure is toxic), and/or he would either break one of his teeth or get mouth sores, I was sure of it. Plus, it was extremely annoying. He loved to chew on the roof bars which I found very strange. Searching internet forums was not helping. As you can see, Odin already has plenty of things to chew and occupy his time, but he was choosing the bars instead. This time, I couldn't half-ass my approach. I'd already tried tape which only stopped him for a day. Plus, I didn't want to cover his whole upper area with tape.
Forum people, you need to listen to me right now. This works, this fucking works, and I'm going to share my secret with you. It's this: hardware cloth (they call it cloth but it's more like chicken wire). As I watched Odin chew the bars to death, I thought; look at how far his nose protrudes past the bars in order for his teeth to get on them. Gerbils have extreme overbites. If he can't get his nose over it, he can't chew it. And that was my revelation. Cover the bars with metal where the holes are too small for him to fit his nose through.

For the roof, I did the outside. I bought some Gorilla epoxy and used zipties to keep the two metals in contact because, while the wire mesh is bendable, it's too stiff to stay. It was a horrible experience that I choose not to repeat. I got the epoxy everywhere. It made drips down the bars and dried in droplets on the underside. However, that might be a partial reason why he's now leaving the roof alone. Oh, he tried, and lasted about 3 seconds. He tried again, lasted another 3 seconds. I was winning the battle. But, I knew it wasn't over. He also sometimes chewed on the sidebars, so I began to cover those as well.

[Side note: this project took about 3 days, so while I was doing this, I had the cage topper on my table and Odin only has his tank. I had to tape the water bottle to the side of the tank because I had no other way to attach it. When I went to bed on day 1 of the project, I got up the next morning and to my extreme rage, Odin had chewed through the tape, and then chewed a hole through his only water supply. I literally screamed at him. Picked him out out of his cage and cussed up a storm. This is why I don't have children.]

For the side pieces, I wanted to make it easier on myself and decided to cut them to fit the inside of the cage and just use zipties to attach them. I figured he might not be able to get his teeth on them if they were "skintight" against the bars. So far so good. He might just be biding his time though, who knows. Ever since I attached the sides, he has not tried to chew on the bars at all, even though he still has access to them from the front and back of the cage.

It may be too early to tell but, I think... I think I've won. I'm not quite sure what to do with myself. Every single battle that I've fought, I lost miserably (take the food dish for example. When it was in the tank, he'd cover it in his bedding. So, I put the food dish on top of his hut. As you can see, it is clear of bedding. I woke up the next morning with bedding in his dish. Gerbils are the most bizarre creatures.) but I really hope this sticks. I highly recommend anyone with this problem to try this out. You might finally outsmart your gerbil.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Womxn's March in Seattle

I'm not usually one to get political. I have my opinions, sure, but unlike some idiots on the internet, I keep my thoughts to myself and move on 99% of the time. 

Yes, I went to the Womxn's March in Seattle. No, I did not chant or display a creative sign. In fact, all I did was walk (and participate in the occasional sound wave that rolled by). Let me dispel one comment I kept reading over and over about the marches all around the country that happened on 1/21: Did I vote? Why yes, I did. Did I vote for Hilary? *gasp* I did not. I also did not vote for Trump (which was probably obvious). Unlike so many others who didn't want to vote for either candidate so they didn't vote, I wanted to exercise my right to.

So why did I march? Yet another snide comment on posts was the fact that women already have equal rights so we're just wasting our time. They also think we're whining liberals and just complaining that Trump won. Neither one of these assumptions are true (at least for me).

I can't say much about the wage gap as I work in a merit and experienced based-pay company. I don't know if it's true or not and would probably be nearly impossible to prove due to everyone having different educational and life experiences for the jobs they are applying for. BUT.

The number one hot bed ticket item is reproductive rights and our right to choose. And this has little to do with Trump (yet), because it started after those videos went viral about Planned Parenthood selling off aborted baby parts. Republicans decided to defund Planned Parenthood, despite the allegations that they were profiting off the practice being false. However, abortions were never funded by the Government in the first place, so what they're actually defunding is pap smears and breast exams and STD screenings etc. 
And the reason I care so much is because I currently work at a Catholic institution. It's large enough to offer their own insurance, but they choose to force their beliefs onto their employees, so if you are covered by their insurance, they will not help pay for abortions or any kind of birth control, period. (Thanks to the ACA, I was able to get an IUD placed for free, which would have cost me $700-$1,200 out of pocket since my ins won't cover it). So where does that leave me in this case? Planned Parenthood. Right now our ability to choose is up in the air. They could take it away at any moment. They don't have to make abortions illegal in order to make it happen. There are several undercut ways to take those rights away, like defunding the very places that offer the service. 

Can you see it? The line of people stretches all the way to to the end.

The comment that disturbed me the most was "3 miles of crybabies". Yes, at one point there were enough people in this march to stretch all the way from Judkins Park (where it started) to Westlake Center (where it ended). Estimates say there were about 175,000 participants. 

But we weren't the only city that marched.

Not only in cities around the state. Not only in cities around the country, but cities around the world marched in solidarity with us. Between 1 million and 5 million people - and not all of them women - marched. I am proud to be a part of history, even if it changes nothing. I am proud that we kept the mood light and jovial, and that no one damaged property or got arrested. We smiled, we laughed, we had fun, believe it or not. And I got a good workout ta boot. 

I was marching to remind the current administration that we matter. I was not necessarily going in order to oppose Donald Trump. I'm not whining about it. I know it's happened and we can't make it un-happen. I'm not an idiot. I'm kind of an independent when it comes to my political views; there are things on each side of the fence that I like and dislike. There are some things about Trump that I agree with. I am not a whining liberal. I just want to make sure that we keep the power in our court - and this can stand for any race or sex. We are in charge, not them. 

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Raising Awareness of PVCs

No, I don't mean PVC pipes. I think most people are aware of PVC pipes. If they aren't, then they have bigger issues.

I mean Premature Ventricular Contractions. It sounds scary and dangerous, but they're not. However, when I kept getting them and didn't know what they were, I was freaking out pretty good. So, I want to let people know what they are and kind of what they feel like, so they can see if this is what they've been experiencing for themselves. 

WARNING: I am not a doctor despite watching House, MD a second time though and working in a doctor's office and have done classes in Anatomy/Physiology and Medical Terminology. I still got checked out by a doctor just to make sure what I had wasn't more serious and if you're really concerned then I suggest you do the same. Okay, moving on...

This is your heart. The ventricles are the two lower chambers, and end up being responsible for pumping the blood to your lungs for oxygenation and to the rest of your body. There are nodes (not pictured) that control your heartbeat via electrical impulses. The main one is the sinoatrial node, but the purkinje fibers control the contraction of your ventricles. When they are out of sync, a PVC occurs.

i just had a PVC the other day when I was laying down for bed, and I noticed something interesting. I put my fingers on my neck in order to feel my heartbeat, and every time the ventricles pumped too early (as in, they didn't allow the cavities to be filled with blood before going off), I did not get a heartbeat on my neck. It feels a lot like a skipped beat or an extra beat. You are hyper aware of your pounding heart, and it almost seems like it's bouncing around in your chest. For me, a PVC lasts maybe 30 seconds, but it seems like a very long time. I suppose they could become dangerous if they continued due to the simple fact that the heart isn't pumping blood very efficiently; eventually that would cause serious issues. 

However, I read that there is a way to stop them from continuing: 


That's right. Even if it's a fake yawn. I read that the act of yawning uses the same vegus nerves as the heart, or something like that (I can't seem to find the article now. I don't think doctors know officially how it works) and it kind of resets the heart rhythm. i don't know why it works, I just know that it does!

I've done so many of these "Raising Awareness" posts that I think I'm going to re-link them in case anyone is interested in reading all the other lame things wrong with me!