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Saturday, December 18, 2004
2:51 PM      

Bye, sweet Fri.

Friday was all-black, which made people associate his name with “Black Friday” whenever they met him; but he got his name because he was born on a Friday in July. Yesterday, on another Friday, he passed away.

He'd spent a night in intensive care at the veterinary hospital. One night earlier, he'd curled up and stayed the whole night between Denise and me. That was unusual for him; it was as if he knew something, and he was saying farewell. These pictures were taken December 4. He looks pretty good here. In just two weeks, things would be very different.

His kidneys had been weakening for at least a couple of years, but some time in October or November, he developed a kidney infection. It must have ravaged his already-weak kidneys. For several years, he'd had a variety of seemingly-mild medical conditions, but advanced kidney disease ultimately brought about the end of his life.

To combat the kidney infection, Denise and I had to administer antibiotics to him orally for more than a month. Each day, we'd wrap him in a towel so that he wouldn't claw us — a prospect that didn't always work out too well — and then try to get him to open his mouth long enough to shoot in a couple of ml's of creamy white tuna-flavored glop. We missed a few times — medicine coating a wall, some of Friday's fur, Denise's arm, or her clothes, instead of going into Friday's belly. We all got better at it though. Friday would try to hide, and complain a little as we scooped him up for the morning ritual. He got better at squirming, but we got better at gently restraining him. I learned his timing, so that I could quickly position the syringe and squirt the medicine into his mouth before he snapped his jaws shut or flipped his head. He never got completely used to the process, and would scurry away to sulk for a few minutes after each administration. The process undoubtedly bought us a little more time with him.

We were relieved to finish the medication, thinking that the infection had been stopped, but rarely thining about additional damage that the infection may have caused to Friday's kidneys. We already had an appointment with the doctor for the end of the month to re-check his condition. Soon, though, we couldn't help but notice that something was wrong as his appetite waned. Though he seemed to be drinking more water, we would soon find out that it wasn't nearly enough. He grew awkward and more lethargic. Denise picked up the phone and called for an immediate appointment with the next available doctor. When the doctor saw him, he said the prognosis wasn't good, and that Friday was very dehydrated. He'd also lost 2 pounds in the month or so since the previous visit to the vet. They kept him overnight, administering fluids and vitamins to stabilize him. He ate a little on his own, but threw up, and couldn't eat any more. We visited him at the hospital the next day, and though he seemed slightly better, he wasn't right.

By 4:30 that afternoon, he was gone. Denise and I both cried. When I got home that night with our dinner, I dropped the plastic bag from the groceries on the floor — a habit I'd developed because Friday loved to play with plastic bags. He would sit on them, crawl into them, and occasionally chew on them. Seconds after I'd dropped a bag on the floor, Friday would step into the room to investigate. Often, he wouldn't even wait for the bag to be empty, before he was sniffing and pawing at it. It was strange to climb into bed last night, and not hear him bounding down the hall or feel him landing on the bed.

He was a wonderful pet. He'd always liked to be close, but he was never a lap cat, and didn't even like being held very much. Toward the end of his life, he seemed to give in to our affections. He even rested his head in each of our laps a few times.



Organic! played The Living Room Thursday night. Slammin. They're a “funk organ trio.”

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Thursday, December 16, 2004
2:10 PM      

I overheard a tiny bite of someone's conversation as I passed by a Manhattan sample sale last night, and it still makes me smile. Two guys were talking near a boom box. I suspect the song playing was by Nirvana, but I didn't recognize it. The guy sitting behind the desk was saying emphatically “David Crosby is the godfather of grunge music.” Hmmm...


Chocolate delicacies :-)
I had some delicious dessert at Mocca Caffe in Manhattan last weekend. The coffee was excellent too. The Israeli menu designers had unwittingly placed a bit of entertainment on the menu: several of the desserts listed “chocolate mouse” [sic] as an ingredient. I suppose it's a lot easier to domesticate a chocolate mouse, than a chocolate moose! Both manage easily to slip by your average spell checker. I give them credit — the spelling was consistent.


Web Standards? Yeah, well...
OK, I tried out some of the ideas presented in the Zeldman and Meyer books, and got mixed results. I'm able to use CSS for more than text styling, which I like a lot. Without too much anguish, I was able to open a HTML layout in Safari, and have it display almost exactly like the prototype design I did in Fireworks. Then, I opened it in Mac IE, and... oops. A bit more fooling around, and the two looked almost identical. I fired up Virtual PC/Win 98/IE 6, and crap... looks about as bad as what I saw in the Dreamweaver Layout editor.

Conclusion? Float is a disaster. Even if you can get it to work on one browser, chances are, it won't look right on another. I tried to use absolute or relative positioning to resolve some of the problems I was having as I built the Safari/Mac IE versions, and never got it to work. So, I'm back pedaling to using tables to hold the structure together. But, things are a little different. I don't foresee a need for nested tables, for example.

The resulting code will be a lot cleaner than my old-school designs, even with the addition of a couple of new tables, and a couple of cell splits. I'm using a lot more IDs, and a lot fewer CLASSes. I don't think it will come up in this project, but I'm looking forward to being able to assign two classes to a single element- something I didn't realize you could do, until I read those books. I was able to get very precise control of the relative positioning of elements by adjusting the padding attribute of ID'd DIVs and TDs. The resultant HTML is very spare. While the resultant CSS is longer than anything I'd written before, it's not crazy.

One nice thing about designing this way, is that it makes the prospect of handing off the page to someone else, who's supposed to update the content, a lot less scary. They can still screw things up by deleting structure tags, but there's a lot less to confuse people here. I wonder how all of this would play against Contribute, but that's not something for me to think too much about today.

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