Saturday, November 20, 2010

Last Days

As you may recall, last fall Muriel had some health problems last fall after she contracted an infection in one of her eyes. Needless to say, it was a pretty difficult time for me, and back then I didn’t know if she would make it. Once I saw her condition, I knew I would have to get it taken out, but because of the pain she stopped eating almost completely, and I ended up having to take her to the veterinary hospital to get them to make her eat again. My most vivid memory of this was from the drive to the hospital. I drove with one hand on the wheel and the other petting Muriel in her box, and again and again I did my best to reassure her. I’ve always been the sort of person to talk to animals as if they could understand, and before we entered the hospital, I looked down at her and said, “I’m going to make sure you’re not in pain anymore. No matter what, I don’t want you to hurt.”

While I waited for the doctors to finish working on Muriel, I reconciled myself to the idea that she might not survive her illness. I even said “goodbye” to her before they took her back to the examination area, just in case. So when she started to eat again, putting back on enough weight that she could have the infected eye removed, I was naturally grateful. As you already know, she survived that surgery as well. After she recovered from the illness and became her ornery self again, we started joking around the house that she was indestructible.

Of course, this wasn’t true. Guinea pigs are small and fairly fragile creatures, and their life span averages roughly four years. When she fell ill again last weekend, it had been a little over four years since I first brought her home, and she had lived to a fairly good age for her species. And because guinea pigs are so delicate, I didn’t want to run the risk of putting her under the knife again. After all, we had fought off death together once already, and I didn’t want to risk tempting fate again. So instead, I decided to spend one last night with my Muriel, cradling her to my chest as I gave her water from her bottle. If I was really going to have to say goodbye, I wanted to do it at home, surrounded by the family (human and canine alike) who had grown to love her these past four years. And when she passed away in her sleep that night, I thought that was just about the best she could have gone, much better than I feared would happen when she was sick last year.

Goodbye, Muriel. Thank you for being part of my life.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Sad news

Sad news for you Muriel lovers- our little girl, who graciously lent her name to everyone's favorite online movie awards, passed away during the night at the age of 4. I'll try to post some thoughts about her soon, but until then here's a link to an appreciation I wrote about her prior to the 2009 Muriels:

Click here to read my post about Muriel from 6 February 2010

Muriel has been there for me through a lot of changes in my life, and she will be greatly missed.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Tradition of Quality

So as some of you regular readers may have noticed, I don’t have a great record of sticking to projects I set up for myself. To wit- almost four months after the final of this year’s World Cup, I still have yet to pen a review of my promised World Cup of Cinema-winning title, Carlos Saura’s Blood Wedding. Now, this isn’t entirely my fault- despite repeated attempts at writing something substantial about it, it’s just not a film that lends itself to being reviewed. After all, it’s basically rehearsal and performance footage of a flamenco ballet, which would most likely result in something that does little more than combined plot synopsis with historical context, much as a Wikipedia might. Not exactly scintillating criticism, you might agree.

Yet this isn’t exactly unprecedented in this history of the blog. After Screengrab cast me to the winds last year, I decided to keep myself regular by launching a project called Criterion Watching, which since June 2009 has had exactly two (2) installments. And the less said about my much-ballyhooed “Nobel Project,” in which I set myself the goal of reading something by every Nobel Literature laureate and reviewing it, the better.

Of course, if I was a cynical prick I’d say to hell with it and that I don’t owe my readers anything. But that’s not true. After all, a blog isn’t meant as a soapbox, nor is it a kind of one-sided communication a la Glenn Gould’s 1:0 performer-to-audience relationship. No, it’s an open line of communication between the host blogger (that’s me) and his readership, both the regulars and the folks who stumble upon the blog almost by accident. And because I value you folks, the last thing I would want to do is alienate you.

So I won’t go about setting myself any more long-term projects in the foreseeable future. After all, I’m a busy guy, and I’d prefer not to renege on any promises. Instead, I’ll make a promise that I’m fully prepared to keep. As a wholly amateur writer, I reserve the right to write about whatever I want, and nothing I don’t, and in return, I’ll do my level best to make every post worth your time. If I don’t think something I write is worthy, I won’t post it. Sure, this will no doubt mean that the content turnover will stay fairly low, but I can deal with that if it means I can keep it at a high level of quality. And in the long run, I think we’ll all be better off for it.

Thank you, as always, for reading.

~~ PBC