Sunday, June 29, 2008

Extra! Extra! Read All About It! Big Bunny Breakthrough!

For the past week or two we've not attempted to get the bunnies together, relying on less direct contact between the two of them. Their cages are only about a foot apart, so they have plenty of opportunity to see and smell the other rabbit, and they both use the same room as a play area, so the territoriality was limited pretty severely. At first the two of them would leave each other little "this is mine" poops around the living room (keep in mind that rabbit feces are small dry pellets, and that becomes a much less disgusting image), but in the past week that's largely stopped. We got into a routine where we would alternate who came out to play first, and after half of the allotted play time had passed, we would surround the first bunny in the pen, and let the second bunny out to romp. They could get close enough to sniff noses, but we supervised to make sure that this never ended in nose biting, which was a danger at first. We even encouraged them to spend time near the other rabbit by placing tasty treats on both sides of the pen, as you see above. Bunny bribery is quite effective.

We, and they, had become so comfortable with this routine that when Jupiter hopped up on top of Juno's house it didn't surprise or worry anyone, Juno included. While Juno was out last night she was as relaxed as we've ever seen her, sprawled out on the floor next to Dave's home base on the couch. I've been reluctant to get the two of them together because everything had been going so smoothly, but we decided that as long as she was so chill, perhaps it would be a good time to try it out. They largely ignored one another at first, with the exception of one three foot chase scene where Jupiter was startled and ran after Juno very briefly before growing disinterested. We were entirely pleased by that reaction, since ignoring each other is a very peaceful reaction from critters that are very territorial by nature. We fed them each a carrot while sitting right near the other, and thought it was a pretty good evening. We were still sitting on the ground with them, petting and talking soothingly, when Juno slipped over to Jupiter and started trying to groom his hind legs for him. (He needs some help in that area, I must admit.) The first time she tried it, he immediately hopped up and moved a few feet away, but Juno has definitely decided that Jupiter should be her bunny, and determinedly tried again. The next time, Jupiter put up with her attentions for a while, only moving when she moved up his back with her licks. We were delighted.

We figured that the night was over when Juno headed back to her house, but before we could grab him, Jupiter had hopped right up in there with her. We were all set to grab him and pull him out, as we had no intentions of stretching their tolerance that far, but Juno was completely unaffected. We cautiously let things continue, and Jupiter hopped up on Juno's ledge with her. She still didn't care. She already seems quite fond of him!

Things backtracked slightly this morning while I was making breakfast. Dave let both of them out, and they were fine together, but Juno decided to go visit Jupiter in his house, which he did not especially appreciate it. Dave hustled her out of the cage (Jupiter was right behind Dave with his own ejection plan) and we shut his front door but left his top open. Jupiter is a much springier rabbit than Juno, and has no problem exiting via the roof, but Juno can't get up there to get in. At the moment they are both sleeping in their own houses, but the doors are both open so that they can go visiting if they like. Eventually I would like them to both live in Juno's expandable house, so it's very encouraging that she has so little objection to his presence.

Saturday, June 28, 2008


So good luck with your elections, I hope you win. - Eddie Izzard

I'm usually not a big fangirl type, but I do really enjoy Eddie Izzard, and I was quite jealous of my friend Eliza, who had birthday tickets to see him here in New York. I hadn't even considered going myself - money's tight enough without paying for event tickets to, well, anything. Especially anything at Radio City Music Hall.

Did I say I was jealous of Eliza? Because this is nothing compared to my jealousy of my friend Ben, who is on the tour bus with the Izzard tour. He somehow tripped over the gig as Lighting Director, and it couldn't have happened to a better guy, as Ben is both a very talented and skillful person, and a great friend. Still, I am quite jealous. Evidently Eddie is a very nice guy, down to earth, and whenever he gets special treatment, he expects that everyone with him gets it as well.
Big Time Promoter Dude: Gee, Mr. Izzard, we'd love to take you out for this swanky swanky five star dinner.
Eddie: Excellent, there will be seven of us.
About a week ago I got a text from Ben asking if I was coming to the shows this weekend, and I replied that no, it was a bit rich for my blood, and also a bit sold out. His reply? "Comps, Bitches!"

Not just any comps, it turns out, third row comps. And passes to the reception afterwards. Open bar, Eddie Izzard, surprisingly small group of attendees. Very cool. Eliza and her friends were trying to get a picture with Eddie, and once they accomplished that, I took a moment to thank him for waving the Obama flag throughout the south. (He encouraged the New York show to vote for Obama, but that's not anything impressive. Ben tells me he'd been doing it everywhere though, and I thought that was great.) Somehow my brief mention turned into a very cool conversation about politics and history and the oddness of growing up liberal in a largely conservative environment. Dave said that he really liked how Eddie kept looking to include him in the conversation, even though Dave himself had nothing to say.

It's always nice to hear that your favorite artists, athletes or entertainers really are the nice people you want them to be, but it's far better to find it out first hand.

Um... Squeee?

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Paint the bunnies. No? Egg the paint? Um...

We've taken a step back in our rabbit matchmaking, and it seems to be successful. When the visiting dog departed last week, we moved them back into the living room and rearranged enough that they can live side-by-side in their respective houses. We haven't gotten them out together since then, but we're letting one rabbit out to romp, then after a reasonable amount of free-range romping, herding that rabbit into the pen and then letting the second rabbit out. This way they get a chance to interact in their common space but don't really have the opportunity to do any hard core chasing. They've responded really well. Now they like to stick their noses through at the other bunny and they both sniff in a very friendly manner. At first we had to watch them very closely, as noses are very tempting tooth targets, but now we trust them to behave well, and they like to lie on the floor together in their seperate areas.

It's tempting to bring them closer, but I think we'll stick with this for a while longer.

I started the paint-the-apartment project today, and I'd forgotten how tedious painting can be. Today all I accomplished was to sand and put a layer of Killz on the bedroom walls. I was reminded yet again of how poorly all the repairs and maintenance here are performed. The last time the apartment was painted was when Dave moved in, five years ago, so it's pretty grimy, especially in that room, which has been a revolving door for the past five years, starting with Dave, then Laura (and subsequently the addition of her boyfriend), then the Soap and Candle Guy, then Comic Book Guy, then Tom and most recently Jon. Each tenant has moved furniture in and out, placed beds in different spots (and therefore put their feet on different parts of the wall) and punched their own holes in the walls. It's justifiably gross. None of that really bothered me. The unfortunate bits were the parts under the old paint. The spackle that wasn't sanded before painting, the nails that weren't removed, the poorly patched holes in the wall, the cracks. I really hadn't gotten that close to the walls before, and now that I have, I'm glad it's not my foundation that those cracks are pointing out!

We haven't yet picked the color that will go on top of the Killz I applied, but at least now when we do pick it, it won't have the dirty bleed through from who knows how long!

In other news, I ate the most amazing scrambled eggs this morning. I realized on Thursday while at the farmer's market to order apple twigs for the spoiled bunnies, that the purportedly free-range eggs I buy at the store aren't any cheaper than the local eggs at the farmer's market, so I've changed my egg buying. It's so worth it. The local eggs have a much brighter shade of yolk and the most wonderfully rich almost buttery taste to them. I can never go back! Now I just need to find some real butter...

Monday, June 16, 2008

Congratulations Are In Order

As some of you may remember, I spent a good portion of last summer on a walking truss at 37 Arts, running followspot for an up and coming Off-Broadway show. The patrons were always either amazed or terrified by our assent (in full fall arrest harness) to the truss on a "rope" ladder made of aircraft cable, but once we were up there, it was surprisingly comfortable to sit on the edge of the truss rail and lean against another pipe until the show started. It was a fun show to run, challenging to learn at first, and I never quite tired of it.

The show closed in mid July so that it could revamp and head to Broadway, where it opened earlier this year, and last night it won the Tony Award for Best Musical! The team also picked up Tonys for Choreography (Andy Blankenbuehler), Best Original Score (Lin-Manuel Miranda) and Best Orchestration (Alex Lacamoire and Bill Sherman). While I don't know Andy or Bill, Lin and Alex are two of the nicest guys ever, and totally deserving of the honors.

Though the show touches on some legitimate issues - what the gentrification is doing to the character of New York neighborhoods for example - it is largely big, fun musical theatre in the best way possible, couched in a love song to a single upper Manhattan neighborhood. The music and dance are heavily influenced by latin and hip-hop styles, and it makes for a very engaging show and eminently hummable score.

While I had nothing to do with the Tony success, this is the first time that a show on which I've previously worked has been nominated for major awards (13 Tony nominations) and I'm very happy for all of the people who are still with the show. They deserved every bit, and I'm proud to have been even such a small part of a show.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

A Bump in the Road to Bunny Bliss

We made the mistake of letting the bunnies have too much space to play in for their last date, as they had been getting along reasonably well in the confines of the pen, and it ended in flying fur. Just a little, and no injuries, but it's back to the pen for our furry friends. Interestingly, the dynamic appears to have changed significantly when we let them have the whole room. Now instead of Juno trying to be the dominant rabbit, Jupiter is chasing her around the room! He tugged out a small hank of her fur, but since she's shedding quite a bit, he didn't actually do any damage, just grabbed some loose fur. She's pretty mellow towards him, just doesn't want him thinking he's the top bun. Once we put them back in the smaller, more restrictive pen, they were reasonably content to sit near (but not too near) each other and ignore.

They won't be having a date today, as they are having a rough enough weekend as it is. Dave's brother and sister-in-law are in town this weekend, with their dog, Sadie. She's a big scary predator, though she wouldn't hurt a fly, and the rabbits have been moved to the spare bedroom to distance them from the terror. Since they've been moved however, their houses are now close enough that they can see and smell each other but cannot touch, the hope being that they grow increasingly comfortable.

We found the perfect rabbit carrots today at the Union Square Greenmarket. One of the farm vendors from whom I was buying a bunch of kale and lettuce for the greedy little lagomorphs had these young carrots, very long and thin, with the entirity of their extravagant tops still intact. Unlike the fully mature carrots that are marketed at the supermarkets, these are just the right size for a bunny portion, and were a big hit. I'm an advocate for eating locally and supporting local farmers, so I'm glad that I can feed my bunnies accordingly!

Friday, June 13, 2008

A Very Happy Birthday to One Of My Favorite Bloggers

If you don't currently read we move to canada, you really should. Laura is a native New Yorker happily transplanted to the greater Toronto area. Her posts are thoughtful and informative on a number of progressive topics and well written and entertaining regardless of the subject. Also she has two very charming dogs, and she sometimes posts pictures of them. I'm just sayin', is all...
It's her birthday too, so if you head over there, please wish her many happy returns of the day!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Happy Loving Day

Today is the anniversary of the landmark supreme court decision in Loving v. Virginia(1967) which ended race based bars to marriage by declaring Virginia's anti-miscegenation statutes to be unconstitutional. In this case, a interracial couple, Mildred & Richard Loving, were married in D.C. and then returned to the commonwealth to live. At the time, there were laws on the books in Virginia stating:
"If any white person intermarry with a colored person, or any colored person intermarry with a white person, he shall be guilty of a felony and shall be punished by confinement in the penitentiary for not less than one nor more than five years."(Virginia Code § 20-59)
"If any white person and colored person shall go out of this State, for the purpose of being married, and with the intention of returning, and be married out of it, and afterwards return to and reside in it, cohabiting as man and wife, they shall be punished as provided in 20-59, and the marriage shall be governed by the same law as if it had been solemnized in this State. The fact of their cohabitation here as man and wife shall be evidence of their marriage." (Virginia Code § 20-58)
When they returned to Virginia, they were charged with violating these statutes and pleaded guilty, being sentenced to one year in prison, which was suspended conditionally as long as they left the commonwealth.

So they left. They moved to D.C. and made friends with the ACLU, who drove the legal train to the Supreme Court.

The court reversed the convictions, with Chief Justice Warren stating in the majority decision that:
"The freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men.
Marriage is one of the "basic civil rights of man," fundamental to our very existence and survival. Skinner v. Oklahoma, 316 U.S. 535, 541 (1942). See also Maynard v. Hill, 125 U.S. 190 (1888)."
I'm sorry to have to say that it was a suit brought against my own beloved Commonwealth that occasioned this change, but I do find it encouraging that now, forty years on, this particular form of discrimination seems so antiquated. It gives me hope that soon we will find our current marriage related bigotry quaint and old-fashioned. Perhaps the next iteration of Loving v. Virginia will be a gay couple suing the Commonwealth for not recognizing their Californian marriage.

This is another reason why we need to elect Barack Obama. Can you imagine the current court, or even worse, the court after four more years of Bush (as played by John McCain), making a decision based on "the broader, organic purpose of a constitutional amendment" rather than the "passage of specific statutes"? I can't.

And yes, in the interest of full disclosure, I am a card-carrying member of the

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

In Which Some Introductions Are In Order

This latest development will amuse anyone who knew me as a bunny mad child - my best friend and I wrote a newspaper based on the exploits of our stuffed animals called "The Bunny Press", for crying out loud. (Yes, I was a nerd, thank you very much.)

Dave and I have adopted two bunnies from the Manhattan Shelter of NYC's Animal Care & Control. We went intending to adopt only one rabbit, if that, but we both fell in love with separate bunnies, so we decided to take both of them. On the left here is Jupiter, Dave's selection (and now my favorite, if I can be said to have a favorite - they're both pretty great) and below on the right is my selection, Juno. (The Roman goddess, not the movie, just so's you know.) Juno is now Dave's favorite, being the more mild mannered of the two. I was actually starting to worry that Juno was too forceful a name for such a sweet and friendly rabbit, until the two of them met on their first bunny "date". Turns out that our sweet girl is quite the dominatrix!

I say "date", but the process of bonding two rabbit strangers promises to be quite the challenge. You can read more about bonding rabbits, or house rabbits in general, at the House Rabbit Society. The first time they met, Juno tried to exert her dominance, which, despite her size advantage, I didn't expect, and Jupiter resented it. Yesterday was their second date and they seemed to get along better, he mostly ignoring her and her attempting occasionally to groom him. Tonight we decided to skip the date, as there was a storm and both bunnies were a bit edgy.

So there they are, our new rabbit friends, Juno & Jupiter. Expect to see a good deal more of them as they learn to be friends with each other as well as with us.