It’s a World of (S)Laughter: Jurassic World in Review

Jurassic World: It’s a world of (s)laughter

When I was little, I was all about dinosaurs. I had a subscription to DINOSAURS! magazine (from which I still have the glow-in-the-dark T-Rex skeleton I had to put together using a few bones that came with each issue). I went to the Royal Tyrrell Museum and was supremely glad to have experts to talk to about the minutia I was worrying about, such as whether Parasaurolophus had a skin sail which connected its head crest to its neck and/or back. It was vitally important for my drawings to be up to date with the scientific understanding of my favourite animals ever.

That was the first time I realized that science was an ongoing process, that we were constantly expanding and refining our understanding of how everything worked, especially the further back in time you go, and that they couldn’t yet tell me with certainty if the parasaurolophus had a skin sail connecting its magnificent head crest to its neck and/or back. I was perplexed; they were the experts, how could they not know. But then- if the experts didn’t know yet, holy smokes there must be so much to learn.

So I grew up and retained my love of all things dinosaur. I created and mod the Dinosaurs subreddit. It’s been great fun to see the community grow as we share our mutual love of all things dinosauria. Heck when that drunken reddit post about Lam(e)beosaurus hit the front page at the beginning of last year it was basically the best thing since sliced pizza.

Last night I went to Jurassic World. I fully intended to be disappointed but prepared to see things that would make me happy. My expectations were low. Things I wanted to see included: 1) dinosaurs, 2) Chris Pratt riding a motorcycle hunting in a pack with velociraptors, 3) the Indominus Rex, and 4) parasaurolophus because they are the best hadrosaur and obviously way better than lam(e)beosaur.

I got to see all of these things and more. Here are some of my likes and dislikes from the film.

How I turned against the familiar theme music
Right off the get go my excitement turned to annoyance at their cavalier use of the much beloved Jurassic Park theme music. They brought it in way too early and it served literally no emotional purpose other than to tug at the viewers’ heartstrings. To me, they were saying “hey remember how magical it was when you first heard this theme? Well here we go again. Oh you’re expecting to see something magical this time around again? Best we can do is an arial flyover of a crowd of people milling around this theme park. Oh maybe how about these characters going into their hotel room.” What a tragically wasted opportunity. To throw away such beloved music on nothing-scenes actually made me angry.

The viewer being inserted into the film as a character
They had a great character that represented the viewer and I wasn’t even annoyed at how obvious they were about it being us. He was the guy in the control room wearing the Jurassic Park t-shirt. Kind of cringy, right? But no, I liked him immediately, and his lines were all spot on. He was us, and they did a great job writing him so that he felt real and added a bit of humour here and there.

The sound design is stellar
When Indominus Rex escapes its paddock and is slowly searching for Chris Pratt, we hear the noise it makes for the first time and it sent a shiver down my spine. There was something strangely human about it, but then there were all sorts of terrifying nuances in the way its breathy growl seeped out through those teeth (so many teeth) that made it seem alien.

They also did a good job of holding off on showing us the entirety of Indominus for quite a while. We got some spikes here, a foot there, which really left me wanted to just see the damn thing already, but in a good way.

Raptors, raptors, raptors
They did a great job of treading a fine line between making the raptors terrifying but also relatable, able to follow commands but also clearly wild animals with hunting instinct. The raptor “Blue” had a nice splash of colour which hopefully we’ll see more of in the future when dinosaurs are portrayed on the big screen. Watching Chris Pratt work with them was pretty killer, and was basically the thing in the trailer that got me on board with this sequel. It delivered.

Reconning the (outdated) look of the dinosaurs
The had a little attempt at retconning the inaccuracies with the appearance of the dinosaurs. As you may know, we know understand that many dinosaurs, including plant eating dinosaurs had feathers. And they had colours! Heck dinosaur eggs just got a nice makeover when these ones were discovered to be blue and green! So why does Jurassic World have naked, boring brown dinosaurs? Wu says that if they had created dinosaurs as they had actually looked they would be very different “but that’s not what you wanted”… Sort of a nice nod to why they’re showing last centuries version of what dinosaurs look like, but also a little lazy. You’d think they’d be transitioning their theme park- you know, the theme park all about displaying animals meant to inspire awe with their appearance- to having more accurate looking animals that would be much more visually compelling. You know, with bright colours, camoflage, display patterns, and feathers? I’m a little disappointed they’re sticking with the outdated model of dinosaur appearance. When when WHEN will we get to see a big screen dino flick with right proper looking dinos? I hope it’s soon because it’d be nice if their images could get a massive update with the general public.

The skinny
All in all it was massively entertaining. There is a ton to knit-pick and many flaws, but over all I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was just good fun. Dinosaurs: check. Chris Pratt riding a motorcycle hunting in a pack with velociraptors: check. The Indominus Rex: check check check. And finally parasaurolophus: check. Granted they had minor appearances but you could tell they were the best dinosaurs in the park.

If you get a chance to check it out I hope you enjoy it! The discussion in my beautiful subreddit is here if you want to take part.

Thanks for reading.

Heidi out.

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How To: Stop Your Cat From Peeing on the Carpet

Pet post ahead.

I just went through the ordeal of getting a cat to cease urinating on my carpet. The question comes up often in the Pets subreddit, so I thought I’d share my method (which seems to be working, about a week after my solution!).

See also: How to get your cat to stop scratching all the things!

So when someone asks “How do I get my cat to stop peeing on my carpet?” this is what I will now tell them.

I *just* went through this. I know how frustrating it can be! Like, bring-you-to-tears frustrating.

It’s a lengthy guide, but hopefully it has everything you need to know in it. BTW be prepared to shell out some dough to solve this problem. Bonus: you only have to solve it once, and then you and your cat are sitting pretty.

If you are having this problem, stop and do this before you read onwards: Take your cat to the vet. Tell them what’s going on and make sure it’s not a medical issue. $30 exam can save you a world of trouble and bring peace of mind.

And as I said, the solution to this problem is not cheap. I’ve just spent about a hundred bucks on everything I needed to do this. But you know what? It’s part of having a cat. If only every major problem in my life could be solved with a hundred bucks. Man. So you’ve been warned.

Onwards!

FOR ME, it was a combination of two things happening:

1) the cat smells the pee in the carpet and instinctually wants to keep peeing there. You can’t fight instinct, but you can learn to work with it.

2) the cat had problems using the litter box.

For #1, here’s what I did (and it’s only been a week, but it seems to be working, ie no cat pee on the carpet since!). You have to get the cat pee out of the carpet. And not just like, “oh it’s much better” like you have to make it your muffin lovin’ mission in life to make sure that carpet it cleaner than when it came of the factory production line.

To do this:

Step one is make sure there are good litter box options FIRST before you do anything to the carpet. If you start messing with the carpet and there’s no where for the cat to go, guess what buddy you’re just going to have another patch of carpet with pee on it to deal with.

The Happy-Feline-Making Litter Box Equation: # of Cats + 1 = # of Litter Boxes Needed. For me, this means 3 litter boxes (2 cats). I live in a small apartment and having three litter boxes is a drag.  What makes it worth it?  That I have two happy kitties who PEE IN THEM and not on my floor haha.

Make sure the boxes are not near each other. Make sure to clean them every day. (My litter box life changed when I got a Litter Locker so I cannot recommend them highly enough!)

Take all the litter out of the boxes, WASH THEM, dry them, and put fresh, new litter in them. Just start from scratch basically.  If your litter box is old, you may need to replace it.

My three litter boxes are different designs, so the kitties have some options.

So now that there are several clean litter boxes to choose from, let’s get down to the business of that patch of carpet. It’s going to take some time, so hunker down and know that you are an amazing pet owner for even attempting to solve this extremely difficult problem. Bask in the knowledge that your hard work will pay off and your cat might even understand how dedicated you are to trying to make a good environment for it to thrive in.

I know, a cat- appreciating you? Seems farfetched, but it’s happening to me right now so I know it can happen toooo yooooouuuu!!!

Let’s get to it.

There’s no way around this: you’re going to get your hands dirty and it’s going to smell bad. Get over it son, because you are awesome and your life is about to get better.

You have a carpet cleaner, right? Get one. Best $50 you can spend when you have pets that make messes (the same cat has stomach issues and pukes randomly).

Get the pet stain and oder remover solution that goes with said carpet cleaner.

1) Saturate the carpet with the as-directed diluted solution, and use the carpet cleaner to suck it up. Do this several, several times. Like fill that tank up with that gross looking water (and flush it down the toilet!) as many times as you can stand. Around the whole area. Go big or go home. Put on a podcast and just sit there cleaning.

2) Wait for it to dry. Put a fan blowing over the area to help deter the cat from going there. Put a towel over it, or some tin foil. You do not want any cats going on the area until you have become Master of Carpet Cleaning.

3) Once it’s dry, put some carpet cleaning powder on there. Use a bristly brush to work it in there. I used the whole damn bottle of the powder, one half, then the other.

As per instructions, wait for it to do it’s thing, then vacuum it up. (I did this twice. HG don’t mess around.)

Now for the important part, the part which will make or break this whole shebang.

4) Get an enzymatic cleaner. They have simple instructions on the bottle, but let me tell you, none of them worked until I did all that other junk I just told you. Use it as per directions, which for me meant emptying half the bottle onto the carpet. Let it sit and do its work. (This takes a whole morning. Bask in the knowledge of how awesome you are for trying to fix this. Bask in it while you wait.) Then use the carpet cleaner to suck it up. Then I emptied the other half the bottle on the carpet and let it *dry* as per directions. This took a few days (again with the towels/tin foil and a fan on it!).

Vacuum the whole area.

There’s still a residue of that powder cleaner/deodorizer on mine, and I think I’d recommend putting a little sprinkling of something like that on the whole area.

You should now have 1) a patch of carpet that is much cleaner than any other in your house and 2) zero urine smell there.

Now: watch your cat.

If your cat is “looking for a place to pee” clean the litter box in front of your cat. Show them that it’s clean.

*Do not put your cat in the litter box!* This causes stress, and associates the litter box with being stressed.

When your cat goes near the litter box, give them treats. Make the litter box such a happy area- like entice them there and pet them and give them treats, so it is a safe place. You want them to associate the litter boxes with truly good things so they love being around it.

If your cat shows interest in the pee carpet area: don’t freak out. Just watch them. They’re used to going there right? They’re going to want to smell it a bunch. They need to scope it out.

This is when it will all be decided: can your cat smell any urine there still?

Hopefully not. Hopefully it’s as clean as the day it was made, and now it doesn’t force the cat’s little cat brain to think of it as the place they pee.

Praise your cat when they leave the pee carpet area. Give them treats. If they head to the litter box: leave them alone! Give them some space. When they use the litter box and jump out baby you’re in the clear! Give them so many treats and love and play with them.

You did it.

Keep on associating the litter boxes with good stuff for a while.

Generally play with your cat more.

Build them some cat shelves if you can (you have WALLS, right? Then you have room for cat shelves!). Your cat needs options to feel safe, and high up perches can help accomplish this.

(I had to put my ‘problem’ cat up on the shelves for the first three times, but now she lives on them and loves them and is generally happier).

I also recommend getting Feliway: my problem cat has been much, MUCH better since I got the diffuser.

A bit about how that works: you know how cats rub their faces on your legs, on your furniture, on everything? They’re rubbing the ‘territory’ pheromone on stuff, to mark their home as a safe place.

Feliway is that very pheromone (it’s not specific to an individual cat apparently) and it saturates the air with it. So now your whole house should smell like a safe and wonderful place. It really did wonders for my previously skittish and pretty terrible cat. She’s happy and friendly now.

OK so that covered the bases I think.

To recap:

1) Good, clean litter box options.

2) Clean the heck out of that carpet so no urine remains.

3) Reward the behaviour you want to see.

4) Feliway.

5) Cat shelves.

6) Bask in the knowledge of your awesomeness.

Got it? Good luck. I understand how frustrated you are right now if you are reading this, but know that it is a solvable problem. Good on you for trying. I hope you and you cat are better off after you undertake this task!

*Edit on March 29th 2015*

Full disclosure: my cat relapsed.  Even after all that work, she started peeing on that spot again.  I had to clean the heck out of it and try something in addition to all that.  It seems to be working.  I cleaned with this enzyme cleaner and then used some carpet freshener powder. THEN I got this “SHOO!” deterrent so she wouldn’t want to smell the area at all. I spray that stuff on there every day. Hopefully this will do the trick to keep her from wanting to smell it! I will update if any further problems occur. As I have learned, it may take more than one shot to fix this problem. Good luck!

*Edit on July 16th 2015*

I’ve been in the clear since my last edit. I do occasionally sprinkle a pet odor eliminator powder on the area just to be sure that it’s not something she wants to smell and start the cycle all over again.

Heidi out.

I Have An Agent

I am extremely pleased to announce that I have signed on with Beth Campbell over at BookEnds.  She will be representing my novel Sleep Over.

It has finally happened.  I have an agent.

I have been waiting to say those words for a long, long time.

Beth has just switched over to helming the representation of scifi and fantasy over at BookEnds.  She wants an author who isn’t just a flash in the pan.  She loves my manuscript, and my head is still swilling from all the gorgeous things she is saying about my writing.

And the writer’s head grew three sizes that day hahaha.

I won’t be able to share too much about the process of finding a publisher as it’s happening (super secret stuff), but you can bet your butt you’ll hear it loud and clear when I have signed with a publisher for Sleep Over.  My only hope is that it takes a bit of time, as that’s a good sign that more than one really, really wants it.

Meanwhile, I will keep on posting for you, my dear, dear readers.  I am so glad you could be here with me when I was finally able to give this good news!  Your support has meant so much to me over the years as I continue on this wonderful journey to authordom.

I will continue to share a great many and varied things with you. Including, if you’re interested in the details, How I Got a Literary Agent.

In addition to my fantastic announcement, here are some more things just! for! yooou!!!

Episode 7 AND episode 8 of my Oddcast, Forgotten, are up! Episode 8 took the longest of all of them and had so many outtakes.  I’m really pushing the form to the limit, and “the voices” really had a tough time of getting this one to work.  It’s getting better as it goes along, and I’m really happy with where it’s heading!

We’ve also got more videos from my husband’s Wild Gears Creations channel.  Are you ready to see something wild? This one is crazy!

And are you ready for parallel lines?

 

Something else fun: the tale of my Message in a Bottle which was answered by The X-Files (4 images in album- clicky).

Also, here’s a little comic I made about how I make coffee.

That’s all for now, dear readers.

I think we’ve entered into a new and exciting phase of my career here. I am one step closer to having a major work published, and hopefully soon I can share that with you too.

Cheers.

Heidi out.

Forgotten Episode 6: Waiting, Cat Pics, WAITING

Well dear readers, I have ultra mega exciting news, but I am waiting until it’s “official” before I broadcast it.  So for now I will try and hold my tongue (but seriously though I am having a tough time doing it).

In the mean time, here are some things for you!

Episode 6 of Forgotten is up!  “Waiting” presented even more of a challenge as far as asynchonicity goes; there are a few passages which diverge for quite some length before meeting up again.  This one took a few takes to get right.  😉  Hope you enjoy!

Aaaand, some more kitty pictures!

The cat shelves I built continue to be a huge success.  Lemon took to them right away, but Echo was a little hesitant; after only three instances of me ‘helping’ her up there though, she’s really taken a liking to them.

And I canned peaches yesterday! But there was something a little strange about one of them at the top of the box… I began gathering clues as to what could have possibly happened to it. A mystery was afoot!


Hmmm…

Haha I think it was the most adorable way to have a bruised peach.

Oh an check out this one last thing; all these egg yolks went into making ice cream for Aaron’s birthday (way back in July- just getting around to uploading tons of photos now haha).  They were from two different cartons of eggs, if you’re wondering about the difference in colour (free run -vs- not).


Made for some delicious vanilla ice cream!

So that’s all for now folks.  I’m expecting my copies of Zombies Galore in the mail, and am looking forward to reading some good ol’ fashioned zombie short stories!  (That’s the one where you can look inside and read my piece “Monday Matinee Madness”!)

Next post is best post.

Thanks for reading.

Heidi out.

Basically a Giraffe-Cat: the Banded Linsang

Pretty cute, eh?  Ooooh gurl and dat neck!

The rarest of the civets, it’s sometimes known as the tiger-civet.  It eats squirrels, rats, birds, lizards- if it can catch it, it will eat it.

Here’s where it lives (Borneo, Sumatra, Java…):

There’s not a ton in the wikipedia article, but here you go!  More extensive is the entry on Civets.

Thought you might like to know that this crazy awesome looking animal exists.  That’s all for now folks!

Thanks for stopping by.

Heidi out.