May 7th, 2008

20111112, Marilee

Back To The Vet

Lucila came today (had to say home with Jesus yesterday -- he had a cold) and Shiva spent the entire time under the duvet cover in the recliner with me. Spirit never came to sit with us and just stayed in the castle. When Lucila left, I had some time online, but then had to get Shiva into the carrier (and one of his hairs into my left eye) and the carrier into the rolling crate. We got to the clinic and found that they had the accessible entrance closed because they were doing work on it, so I went up the curbcut and then to the other entrance and leaned forward and banged on the door. One of the assistants came and took the carrier in and then gave me an arm.

We waited a bit and I kept talking to him. He seemed to calm down, but he did like seeing another cat in a carrier. I don't think the other cat saw him. This is not the vet I saw last time -- she only works on Fridays -- and this one gave me another week of the antibiotics* and recommended we see a veterinary dentist because of his tooth disease. Shiva has gained seven ounces, which is good, and the assistant helped us back down to the parking lot.

I did stop for the mail on the way home -- I know I should have brought him home first and gone back, but I'm going to be taking pain meds tonight for lifting him around and I figured one less in and out of the van would be better. I called the vet dentist in Vienna (closer than Leesburg and I know where it is), but they close at 4pm. I'll call tomorrow.

I've flushed the hair out of my swollen eye and will eat as soon as I do a review.

*She seemed to elevate her opinion of me when I mentioned that he doesn't like the amoxicillin as much as the first antibiotic because it has a slight banana ester, but he ate faster and lasted longer after the amoxicillin so I'd take it. She probably doesn't have too many customers who talk about esters.
20111112, Marilee

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow

The other pieces I've read by Cory have been full of good tech ideas but a little short on story and plot. This one has story and plot.

It's a YA about what happens to San Francisco after terrorists blow up the Bay Bridge. DHS descends and secretly incarcerates all the people they find on the street (and probably more) on Treasure Island*. Our 17-year-old protagonist, Marcus, tells the story in first person and when he manages to get out, he starts fighting back. An Xbox network, cloning RFIDs, giving counsel in a blog. His life becomes more and more dangerous and he draws a new girlfriend into it.

The story is pretty good, but my two big problems with it are the language (it's a lot like I write here and I know I don't write well anymore) and the constant infodumps on the technology. I'm 53, I know all this tech, shouldn't teens?

He says there are suicide fences on the Golden Gate Bridge and there aren't. A year ago tomorrow, the 17-year-old son of a friend jumped off. They're going back tomorrow for a brief memorial. In fact, many San Franciscans are against suicide prevention because it will make the bridge look less pretty and cost a lot. They also say that those people will kill themselves anyway, so why not the bridge? The last is definitely not true, this WashPost article includes references to the study. The book is set in the near future, and I suppose they could have them up by then, but it seems unlikely.

He also says that computers are good because they do exactly what you tell them to do. From a tester's standpoint, that is not always a good thing. I've seen a lot of programmers tell them to do things that weren't intended.

This is the best of Cory's work I've read, but it feels like an adult telling a teen story; it should feel more like a teen telling the story. Almost everybody else who's read it has loved it, so you should probably go by their enthusiasm.

*We were at Treasure Island for six weeks in 1961 because my smallpox vaccination wouldn't take. They tried over and over and finally sent us to Guam anyway. We had planned to be there six days and it was definitely an adventure in improvisation.