Monday, August 12, 2013

...And saying goodbye to Snowdon.

It's been less than a month since Augustus died, and sadly little Snowdon had to leave us yesterday as well. He'd developed a tumour on his neck over the past few months; surgery would have been risky, healing would have been difficult and the whole thing would have been shockingly expensive so we agreed to let him live the happiest life possible until the tumour began causing him problems.

We weren't sure how he would recover from Augustus' death but he surprised us. He really came into his own. He was happy, binky, active and outgoing. King of all he surveyed.

Yesterday morning, though, he caught the tumour with his claw with a vigorous scratch and managed to tear a gash along it. Within an hour it was obvious that this would not heal well. He was in distress. We had one more dose of Tramadol in the fridge which made things easier for him, but at 3:30pm we had an appointment with the vet.

I have to say the vet we use is always fantastic. She sedated him partially in order to look for a vein but - as often happens with little bunnies - she was unable to find one with the needle. She gave us the option of being with him as they put him under with gas and then injected the euthanol into his heart, but I would have found that too hard to watch. He would have been asleep anyway and would not have know we were there. We had a few final minutes with him, and then said our goodbyes. He was three years old.

Rough day, and the house is now terribly empty.

So it goes.

The first photo here is him getting an unlimited breakfast buffet of snacks yesterday morning.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Saying goodbye to Augustus

Sadly last week we had to say goodbye to our little Augustus. He was three years old.

By June he'd gone through GI stasis three times in 12 weeks, and each time we spent days with him, force-feeding him critical care mix and meds every 2~4 hours. It was hard on him, and it was hard on us. There was no apparent reason for this happening, but our vet (a very good rabbit vet) suggested feeding him metaclopramide and trimebutine prophylactically to see if it would keep his guts working.

Every three days or so we'd dose him up (he loved the banana flavour we added and would lick it off the tip of the syringe) in the hopes that it would stave off the GI stasis longer.

I don't think it worked.

Only five weeks after the last time he stopped eating, it happened again last Sunday. Fourth time in four months. On Saturday evening he was gobbling his snacks as he sat (reluctantly, as always) on my lap and got stuck straight into his bedtime nuggets, but in the morning the nuggets were almost entirely still there. Wouldn't touch his banana, wouldn't take any other food. He looked listless and in pain.

We had already talked it over at length and decided that if it happened again we would have to say goodbye. Knowing the pain he was in each time, for days at a time (the tramadol would help but who knows how uncomfortable he was each time the meds wore off), and how awful it must be to have a giant syringe full of 'baby-gack' stuck down your throat every couple of hours, we just couldn't justify putting him through it again and again and again. For all we know, it might have continued every month interminably, and that's not fair to put an animal through.

So Nadine and I took him to the vet's one last time.

I had to go to work but Nadine took his body home for 24 hours for Snowdon's sake. Apparently bonded animals recover from grief better if they've been allowed to see the body of their friend after death, rather than just not understanding why their friend vanished into thin air one morning. I'm happy to say that Snowdon seems to be doing well. He was quite uncertain what to make of Augustus' body, but tried grooming him a little and went over to sniff him a number of times.

On an unrelated note, we're beginning to wonder if Snowdon might be deaf! He's always been slow to respond to a number of things (calls for snacks, crows and other noises outside etc) and we're trying to work out how to tell for certain whether he is in fact hard of hearing or not.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Augustus video - first harness experience

Ok, looks like I might have worked out how to upload it. Let's see if this has done the trick...

Augustus on his first harness foray

The weather is lovely, the birds are out and all the flowers are coming up. Here's a little video of Augustus on his first-ever harness excursion in our back garden. They used to have a large run in the garden but it didn't survive last winter so we got one of these instead to try out.

Hmmm... can't seem to get the video to upload. Here are some photos instead.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Holiday of sorts

We're off to Moose Jaw in the morning to help my mother prep her house for sale.  In our absence my sister in law will be bunny sitting.  This means pen life for both until we get back.  As you can see Augustus is less than thrilled at the prospect.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

New photos from Jason Verschoor

Quick update here - thought I'd show off the new promo photos I had taken recently by photographer Jason Verschoor. Some wonderful images here! The Japanese fellow in some of the shots is magician Atsushi Ono, my occasional performing partner.


Saturday, April 27, 2013

Matryoshka dolls

I had an idea a while ago for a magic routine for my Cabinet of Curiosities show involving matryoshka dolls. It turns out you can buy blank unpainted doll sets so I ordered a few and set about designing and painting them. I went through a bunch of different options - composers, artists, a melting sequence of cyborg dolls - before settling on silent movie comedians. Yes, it was tempting to go for the pop-culture Star Wars theme but I restrained myself. Barely.

Buster Keaton was always my favourite when I was younger so he got to be the biggest. Now that I remember it, for my stag party we rented a 16mm film projector and got some old celluloid film reels for the night that included Buster Keaton ("Cops") and the Wombles. Ah, good times.

After Keaton, then Chaplin, Marx, Laurel and Hardy, and finally Fatty Arbuckle and Harold Lloyd. Yes, Lloyd did that iconic hanging-from-the-clock-tower scene but he was never my favourite. Too many sports-related bits, perhaps. Not sure.

So here are a few photos of the finished set.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Gozinta Boxes

In two months' time I'll be doing a pair of shows at the Glenbow Museum in Calgary (why, 1pm, I believe! Certainly, you'd be most welcome to come along). Family-friendly event on 22 and 23 June 2013 and - now here's the cool part - the reason I've been asked to do this is because the museum is having an MC Escher display for a couple of months and they want entertainment to dovetail with the theme of mathematical magic, optical illusions and perception.


I met with Ty Larner of the museum recently and that triggered a few ideas for the show. One was something I saw performed about 20 years ago called the Gozinta Boxes (or In and Outer Boxes). I'd forgotten all about them and hadn't actually seen anyone do them since then so I looked them up on Youtube (bless Youtube), figured out how they were meant to work, drew up a plan on a scrap of paper and spent yesterday afternoon building a set.

Here's the result! Not yet sure exactly what the routine's going to be like for the show, but I've got the prop so I'm on my way to getting it performable.

And for no other reason than that I haven't posted rabbit photos in a while, here's a little video clip from this afternoon. Augustus is just getting over a bout of GI stasis but he's pulling through and is finally wanting snacks again. We think his guts got completely blocked up with hair from grooming Snowdon. Rabbits usually don't get hairballs...but we got a model that does, it seems.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Cabinet of Curiosities

The Cabinet of Curiosities is finally done! After four months of thinking (over...and over...and over again...) about how to make it, seven solid days' work and it's ready for use. Well, nearly - still a couple of touch-ups.

Oh, and I need to finish writing the show. I suppose that's quite important too. Not many people want to sit for an hour and watch me polish the thing on stage. They want a show.

So I've got most of the show written already but I'm still working on it. I'm pleased so far, though.

The cabinet itself is a mix of Baltic birch, walnut, oak, hemlock and maple. And about a pound of brass fittings.

Here are some more photos.

Oh, right - and a photo of Nadine holding Augustus in the nail-clipping pose. He hates this. Not fond of human contact at the best of times and really not fond of being held upside down to have his feet played with.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Chronicles of Professor Elemental

So Professor Elemental, hybrid beast-creature offspring of Marie Curie and Charles Dickens, the Apollo of the comedy chap-hop (...hmmm...think Steampunk Victorian/Edwardian comedy rapping) scene, has been releasing chunks of a mini-film called The Chronicles of Professor Elemental.

Here's part one...

Don't just sit there, people! Click on the little TV-shaped box with the arrow in it - that's the only way you can enjoy this as much as I did.

I discovered the Professor almost by accident. Well, not accidentally at all. A friend posted a link on Facebook to the deliciously irreverrent and cleverly-lyricalised (is that even a word? I've used it, so it is now) song 'Fighting Trousers', a song which is still to my mind the zenith of chap-hop smartiness. See last month's blog posts - I think the link is still there.

He's got a brilliant bunch of folks working with him on this, it would seem - director, camera people, actors, gorillas (I assume he has at least two to comply with local labour laws. Professor?) - and the result is half an hour of pure comedy indulgence, a pastiche of Sherlock Holmes, Jules Verne and the entire Steampunk movement. Well-worth watching over a cup of sugary tea in a proper china cup.

And saucer.

Don't forget the saucer.

Monday, January 7, 2013

WOWFest - Calgary's first magic festival

Click this link below...

So Calgary is set to have its first ever magic festival, thanks to the efforts of a man who calls himself Ryan Pilling, probably because it's his name. Yes, folks, only six weeks to go. It happens on February 22 and 23 and is designed to allow the public to see a variety of types of magic in a short time - close-up, stage and parlour magic. The performers will be top-notch and it's well-worth getting tickets to. Have a look at the website above.

The format is meant to mimick that of Hollywood's famous Magic Castle and although the planned venue may not have a secret entrance and password, he'll likely hire someone large to stand in the doorway until you say please.

So if you're in Calgary or anywhere near, please come and join in! Not only will you have the time of your life but you will later be able to tell your grandchildren that you were there at the inaugural night. Or tell your neighbours. Or anyone who'll listen. Strangers love to hear that kind of thing while waiting for a bus.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Yellowknife, NWT!

What a fantastic way to start a new year! Faintly reminiscent of my 'Beer-commercial Weekend' with my friend Corey way back in the early 1990s, in that wow-that-was-amazing sort of way.

I was booked to perform at the New Year's event held in Bechoko, a First Nations town about 100km outside Yellowknife, NWT. Not quite the Arctic Circle, but not far off. I'd been looking forward to it for a year (they tried to book me twice last year but each time our schedules conflicted); I'd never been that far north before. Not even Shetland was quite that far up - Muckle Flugga sits at 60.85 degrees North but Bechoko is a full 2 degrees higher.

There were a few hiccups to the evening that didn't bode well but when I finally got up to perform for the 200-ish people, they blew me away. What an absolutely fantastic welcome and response! They were attentive, generous with applause, supportive of the volunteers that got up to help, lively and overall one of the best audiences I've had in a long time. I could happily have packed them up in a bus and brought them with me to every gig I have for the next year. This was one of the first times since we left Orkney over five years ago that I've felt that sort of community spirit.

And that was just the start. After the stand-up show I was doing close-up magic around the tables but kept getting interrupted. Dragged onto the dance floor to exercise my dismal two-stepping skills, taken outside to watch the fireworks after midnight, and eventually waved over to join in the celebratory circle dance - nearly a dozen drummers pounding away and singing, with almost every single person in the hall swept up in a cheerful circling mass of humanity. Not the kind of thing I (as an outsider) would normally inject myself into, but when they start beckoning you to join in, well, you do! And I was glad I did.

From the bottom of my heart I have to thank the folks of Bechoko for an outstanding welcome, for their kindness and hospitality, to Janita for arranging the evening and for being persistent in trying to bring me up, to Madeline for the dances, to Reuben for driving me through the snow back and forth from Yellowknife and for keeping me entertained with stories. I had the best start to a new year that I could have hoped for, and I'd love to make it back up there again.