Saturday, February 26, 2011

Under the Influence: Degloved Edition

As planned, here's the first "Under the Influence" post, detailing all the tidbits of new-to-me knowledge that manipulated, molded, and influenced my thoughts and actions this week, including the fiction and nonfiction my highly susceptible subconscious processed.

The most prominent, seared-into-my-brain new piece of knowledge is this:
  • Veterinarians call the removal of the tip of a cat's tail skin down to the bone and tendons "degloved." As in, my cat degloved her tail this week and had to have the last few vertebrae of her spine amputated.
Traumatic, for all involved, least of all me (aside from a little pocketbook shock). My adorable cat has suffered through a tail shaving, a leg shaving (for the catheter during surgery), and self-inflicted degloving, an amputation, and a week of wearing a cone and having antibiotics stuffed down her throat every twelve hours along with pain medication. It's been a long week. Everything else I've learned this week pales in importance.

However, my knowledge of degloving had confirmed another fact for me:
  • I do not have what it takes to be part of a crime scene clean-up crew. While I've formed a new appreciation for Simple Green and glossy paint (as opposed to matte paint), I hope to never need to clean up so many blood splatters again in my life!
And, as a biproduct of antibiotics, a cone, and an upset cat, this new knowlege also mildly relates to degloving:
  • I'm not a fan of Jackson Pollock–style art. I knew this before this week, but I learned that viewing it in the medium of cat barf on carpet, splattered via panicked head jerks when I'm trying to remove a protective cone has in no way improved my opinion. (Thank you to Cody for sparing me from cleaning up these artistic offerings!)
In trying to make life as comfortable as possible for my cat, we purchased a long, low Tupperware designed for storing rolls of wrapping paper under the bed. We use it as the litter box. With its low sides and three foot by two foot sprawl, it is easy for a cat with a cone to navigate. Which brought about an unexpected new discovery:
  • I have been seriously stifling my other cat Mac Fu's artistic sculpting skills. While he'd sufficed with simple volcanic litter piles in the smaller boxes, he now happily builds replicas of the Matterhorn and the Appalachian Mountains in the new litter box. Oh joy.
Fortunately, there was more to this week than my cat's blood and bowel movements (ah, the glamorous life of an aspiring author!).
  • There is, apparently, an ancient art of tapping. By tapping on your body at key meridian points, you can help cure various mental and psychological illnesses, including reducing stress and helping with weight loss. Who knew? Apparently most of the rest of the world, if this technique is as well known as the experts in the field say.
  • Almond meal + mashed banana + pancake mix = heavenly pancakes!
I have dubbed this new recipe "Baby GO Pancakes" in honor of our good friends (with the last name initials of "GO"), who were in the middle of the delivery of their child while we were eating these pancakes. There will be more Baby GO Pancakes in our future.
  • I read in a fiction novel of a recipe for dessert wine–soaked strawberries, filled with white mousse, drizzled in chocolate. My taste buds demanded I make this for them, minus the mousse (because of a lactose intolerance) and probably minus the drizzled chocolate (because contrary to popular opinion, strawberries are far better without the addition of chocolate)—just the wine-soaked strawberries sounds heavenly.
I got as far as purchasing the strawberries, but then was too distracted to take the next step (see previous bullet on degloving). I hope to finish this "recipe" this week and see for myself if the strawberries are as enjoyable to me as they were to the characters.
  • I have been spending way too much time (and money) on Number One Novels. It was actually a revelation that came in tandem with my revelation of where my novel had gone off the rails. Both projects had taken a turn that, while at the time I thought had been the right course, was the opposite direction of where I needed to go.
It would be absolutely wonderful if Number One Novels grew as popular as Cute Overload or Go Fug Yourself or a thousand other widely followed blogs. I would love to have a database to email followers about each week's contest like Free Book Friday does. I would love to give away more books in each contest and feature more authors on the site. And Cody and I have been hard at work to make all this happen.

Only, NON is not my primary focus. NON is a motivational tool for me, and has developed into a fun place to find new authors. But it's not where I want to be devoting hours of each week to nor, since I make no money from it, do I want to be spending money to send large batch emails (the only practical solution were companies that assist in this) and start up a site and buy books for contests. My weekends were becoming NON development days. So were Cody's. I already spend about two hours a week on regular NON-related posts and maintenance—more was a time suck I didn't need or want.

This week, I finally realized that my grand dreams and desires for the site are counterproductive to my main goals (becoming a published author and spending as much other time with Cody, friends, and family). While my grand plans for NON won't work now, I hope there might be a point in the future where I can make NON the site of my dreams. Until then, I'll be putting the focus back on my writing (and my website, which was another project backburnered by this NON project).

The other facts I learned this week are unrelated to everything, but interesting nonetheless.
  • During WWII, there were people known as Jewish catchers: Jewish citizens who were known to turn in their fellow Jews in favor of differential treatment and safety for themselves and their family. 
It's hard for me to get my thoughts into the mental position to understand the motivations that would make a person do this and how they would cope with their choices. Naturally, part of me is fascinated by how complex a character a Jewish catcher would make.
  • Computers control about 70% of the stock market's transaction.
This fact scares me more than stock market crashes and the effects of the recession on my portfolio. Perhaps now's a good time to look into a money-stashed-in-the-mattress savings plan.
  • Social engineering. I think I could benefit from this, or at least use parts of the genius of people who social engineer backgrounds for people in the marketing of my novels and myself once I'm published. Strictly legally, of course.
While most of my attention was diverted from everything else to the needs of my cat, I have no doubt that the books and magazines I read and the TV and movies I attempted to distract myself with still had an influence on me (if in my dreams if nowhere else). This week's nonfiction and fiction influences:

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