R.I.P. Ruth Bader Ginsburg

The Notorious RBG

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a true giant on the Supreme Court of the United States has sadly passed away at the age of 87 due to complications of metastatic pancreas cancer. RBG was a fierce advocate for women’s rights and equality for all serving on the Supreme Court for 27 years, as an appointee of Bill Clinton.

I sit here feeling numb, and fearful for the future of the US. Every time I saw #ruthbaderginsburg trending on social media, I feared she had passed, and sadly today is the day when that fear became a reality. I would love to write something about Justice Ginsburg, without political bullshit, but it had already begun with Mitch McConnell already pushing a vote on the Senate floor as soon as a nomination is made.

The scary thing is that the next Trump SCOTUS nominee only needs a simple majority, just 51 votes in the Senate, and Republicans have a majority of 53 seats, even if every Democrat and Independent voted no to confirm, they would need four Republicans to join them to block any nominee.

Wind the clock back four years, Mitch McConnel refused to allow a Senate vote on President Obama’s pick, Merrick Garland and there was almost a year left on President Obama’s term. So Senate Majority Leader McConnell, does the same rule apply now in 2020? That question was, of course, rhetorical, your a fucking hypocritical Republican, you’ll push through a pick as soon as humanly possible.

The only question; is there enough Republicans in the Senate with any principles to vote NO on any SCOTUS pick until after the inauguration of the next president. We need just four Republicans to ruin McConnell’s plans, I’ll have everything crossed that we can persuade four GOP’ers to cross party lines.

Justice Ginsburg is reported to have said just days before her passing that her “most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed“, obviously influenced by the #McConnellRule. Of course, we know he will not stand by his words, America needs to learn the Republicans are the spawn of evil and will screw you over in a heartbeat, exposing their hypocrisy does nothing, they have no shame.

That said, Senate Democrats. Are you going to give President Trump and Mitch McConnell an easy ride to a third confirmed Supreme Court justice in four years? Or are you going to pull out all the stops, using McConnell’s and other Republican’s own words against them, screaming and shouting about the Republican hypocrisy all over the media? If there was a time to step up to the plate, it would be now!

Political considerations aside, The Notorious RBG was a woman of immense conviction, fighting for what is right against massive odds, defending the rights of minorities, women, and the LGBT community, fighting for equality for all. R.I.P. Ruth Bader Ginsburg, you are an inspiration to everyone.

I Have GAS!

I have gas, I don't want to adult anymore

I hate having to adult, gone are the days where I get money and I buy the shizzle I want, now I have responsibilities and have to pay bills, it sucks! So, the GAS I have is; a photography term, for someone who always wants better, newer equipment than they have, i.e. Gear Acquisition Syndrome.

As some of you might already know, I work in rental home marketing, and part of my job is to photograph the properties that I am marketing. I have used a number of cameras and lenses, starting with a Canon T3 with an 18-55mm f/3.5-f/5.6 lens, through to a Canon 80D with an EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-f/4.5 lens, to my current setup, a Canon 6D MkII with an EF 16-35mm f/4, and the itch to upgrade is strong.

On occasion, I find the 16mm lens is not quite wide enough, meaning I have to cut off the edge of windows or door frames, irritating me greatly as I cannot get the framing I want, even at 16mm. I would love to have the Canon EF 11-24mm f/4L USM Lens, but at $2,700, it’s a little out of my price range.

I already have two Sigma lenses, 24-105mm f/4 Art lens, and 100-400mm f/5-f/6.3 Contemporary lens, both of which I have been happy with, so the 12-24mm f/4 Art lens is very appealing, but is still on the pricey side at $1,600, but, it would complete the Sigma trinity from 12mm through to 400mm.

There is an older cheaper 12mm Sigma lens, the 12-24mm f/4.5-f/5.6 AF II DG HSM, which sells for about $700, but it is close to a decade old, and the reviews are not favorable by 2020 standards. I don’t want to sacrifice image quality, which the Canon 16-35mm f/4 provides, to get 4mm wider.

I have the option to sell the Canon 16-35mm for around $500, but I don’t want to sell until I have a replacement lens and I am happy with it. I don’t want something worse than what I have, even if I go with the $1,600 12-24mm Art lens. I need to test a new lens before I can sell the old one.

This is a pie in the sky dream at this time, I have access to credit cards to buy any lens I want, but I don’t want to increase my current credit card balances. My heart says “go for it”, however my brain overrules my heart, saying “don’t screw yourself by increasing your minimum payments”. If the purchase of the Sigma 12-24mm f/4 would increase my income, I could justify it, but my employer is happy with the photos I produce with my current kit, it’s simply a case of “I want”, not “I need”. ADULTING *boo*

Photography Theft!

Photography Theft

Last week I was tasked with transferring assets for six properties on behalf of my employer; which I did successfully. Upon checking that the domain names had successfully transferred and the new website is working, I find that my photography was being used, without permission. In the case of the first property, there was a miscommunication between parties, and suitable compensation was agreed upon.

The second batch of five properties was another story; after transferring all domain names and assets, I again checked that everything had been transferred successfully; and guess what, this company, which will remain nameless for the time being, had literally stolen my photos, downloading them from the previous websites that the company I represent hosted on behalf of these five properties.

Given that the photos were downloaded from our websites, prior to the closing of the sale of the properties, before we took down these websites, then reuploaded to their websites, after removing the watermark at the bottom right of the photo, this was an egregious, intentional breach of my copyright. I suspect that Photoshop’s content-aware fill tool was used to remove the watermark, which works well on simple backgrounds, but often does not work well on more complex backgrounds, see the images below.

Starting with the original photograph that I took;

Stolen Photos - Original Image

And the stolen photograph, I have circled the distortion in red after watermark removal.

Stolen Photos - Altered Image

I have written an Email to the company, who are infringing on my copyright, basically giving then two options, remove the photos, or pay me $300 for a license to use my photography. I’ll give them a week to make it right, and as I don’t have spare cash to get a lawyer, I will name and shame them publicly. I’m sick and tired of people stealing my work and using it for profit, while I get nothing for my hard work.

Update [Sep, 04 2020, 11:10]: This issue has potentially been resolved. A representative from the company infringing on my copyright reached out to me at 5:26pm yesterday, with an offer to pay my $300 asking price for the photos. To cut a long story short, I submitted an invoice, and the representative for the company said, I should get payment in 5 – 7 days. Now, I wait to see if the check arrives, then I will share all 706 photos with a license to use them. I’m not greedy, all I want is to be paid for my work.

Update [Sep, 08 2020, 10:17]: I thought this was dealt with, but, I get an Email from a different person who said, to get paid I have to fill out a contractor contract, and a W9 for them to send me out a check. The first person to contact me is supposedly new and did not know their company procedures when agreeing to have a check sent out. The bottom line, I am not signing anything legally binding with this company, they have already proven the type of company they are when they stole my photography. After some research, I discovered that I can create an invoice in Pay Pal, which I have done, and I have asked to be paid by credit card, which they can apparently do without having to fill out any contracts.

Final Update [Sep, 09 2020, 14:12]: I have received payment, minus Paypal’s fee and I have sent a link to the photos and release. I’m happy this has been dealt with, I just wish I did not have to chase after this company, why they didn’t just contact my employer, and ask about the photos I don’t know; that would have been the right thing to do. Anyway, it’s done, I have been compensated for my work.

I Recovered A Facebook Page Without An Admin!

Facebook Copyright Report Form

About 13 months ago, a secondary Facebook account that I used to manage multiple business pages for my employer was deleted, and with it access to dozens of pages, not to mention the deletion of our main business page and that of two properties. Read about my experiences with Facebook here,  and here.

On Friday, I learn that a new manager had started working at one of our properties, and she wanted to know if that property had a Facebook page. I explained to her that I did not have access to the page and that her predecessor was a page editor, with no ability to add or edit page roles, leaving it orphaned.

As there seems to be no web form to send a request for a change of page admin, my logic was to try to get the old page removed through a copyright takedown, so when a new business page for the property is created, and people search for the property name, only one listing appears, to avoid confusion.

So I filled out the copyright report form, and a few hours later, this response came back;

Thanks for contacting us. Based on the information provided, it is unclear whether you’re making an intellectual property claim or requesting an admin change for a Page or group.

Please note that intellectual property claims can result in the permanent removal of the content you’re reporting from Facebook. We can’t change the admins of a Page or group based on an intellectual property claim.

If you’re requesting an admin change for a Page or group, a different team at Facebook might be able to help you with that issue. If you’d like us to forward your request to that team, please reply to this message with the following information:

* A link to the Facebook profile of the person requesting an admin change for a Page or group. If you’re submitting this request on behalf of someone else, please provide a link to their profile, and the team will follow up with them directly.

* A link to the Facebook Page or group you’re requesting an admin change for

If instead you’d like to continue with your intellectual property claim, understanding that the reported content may be removed from Facebook, please respond to this message confirming this and we will look into the matter further.

I responded saying, yes I am trying to regain admin control, supplying the requested information. The next day I get this response from Facebook’s “I Have an Issue Accessing My Page” department;

Thanks for contacting us. We’ve received your request to gain access to the Page Brookfield Residences at /196608030524100/. We’d be happy to look into this, but please keep in mind that we are not in a position to resolve disputes between third parties.

If you’d like us to help, please provide all of the following:

1. A copy of a valid government-issued photo ID, such as a current driver’s license or a passport, of the individual signing the statement. You can find the different kinds of IDs we accept in the Help Center:

2. A signed statement from a person with sufficient knowledge and authority over this matter that includes all of the following:

a) A description of your relationship to the Page (including your authority to request a change in the person(s) who manage the Page, as applicable);

b) The name of the current person(s) who manage the Page, as applicable;

c) The relationship of the above person(s) to the Page;

d) An explanation of your request, and whether there has been a termination of the employment and/or business relationship with the named person(s), as applicable;

e) All documentation supporting your request;

f) The Facebook account or email address associated with the Facebook account that you wish to have added as the new admin of the Page; and

g) A declaration that the information you have provided is true and accurate (e.g. “I certify that the information provided is true and accurate”) – your statement must include similar language.

Please understand that if we do not receive a signed statement with all of the requested information, we won’t follow up. If the statement is not signed or doesn’t contain a declaration attesting to its truth and accuracy, we won’t be able to help.

Once you have provided all of this information, we may follow up with additional requests for information or documentation. Please keep in mind that providing us with this information doesn’t guarantee that we’ll be able to fulfill your request. If we are able to process your request, only one admin will be added to the Page, and it will be the admin’s responsibility to manage the Page roles.

To cut a weekend-long story short, I uploaded my photo ID, in my case, a driver’s license, a signed declaration with all the information requested in the above Email, and a recent copy of the property’s electricity bill. A few hours after I submitted these documents I received an Email saying;

Thanks for providing the requested information. We reviewed your request, and based on the information you provided, we added Jason Lewis
as an admin for the Page < redacted > at < redacted >.

If you have any questions about the different Page roles and what each can do, you can learn more in the Help Center:

So, the bottom line here is to get to someone that can help you with recovering a business page, you need to lie about copyright infringement. There is no form whatsoever, that I can find, to get help with regaining control of your business page. CRAZY, RIGHT? If anyone knows a more direct way to access the “I Have an Issue Accessing My Page” department, please comment below…

I hope this helps alleviate some stress for business owners and managers who have been tearing their hair out trying to find a solution, the Facebook help pages are literally no help with this kind of scenario.

Depression, Mental Health, And How We Deal With It!

A microphone, front and center for Chester Bennington

Last night, I was trawling Youtube for some live concerts to watch, to get my fix, missing live music. I found a concert that was a tribute to Chester Bennington of Linkin Park, who committed suicide in July 2017; and having watched the entire 3-hour show put on by Chester’s bandmates and friends, I don’t mind admitting that I shed a tear seeing the lone microphone at the front of the stage, where Chester would have been stood, front and center, hearing everyone at the Hollywood Bowl singing ‘numb’ for Chester.

It’s crazy to think that the passing of someone I had never met would invoke such strong emotions. I guess it’s a lot to do with Chester being born in the same year as me, being just seven months older than me, and fully understanding the struggles of depression, having had the same thoughts of suicide in my darkest days. I still struggle every day with depression, but my family has given me a reason to live, sadly, Chester’s depression and mental health issues were worse than mine, taking his own life, aged just 41.

It’s very frustrating to me that mental health is still somewhat stigmatized and our so-called leaders like to blame mental health for all manner of bad things, such as mass shootings while doing absolutely nothing to help those suffering from mental health issues. In fact, the current administration has slashed budgets to help people struggling with mental health. In my opinion, mental health is as important as physical health, ignoring mental health can cause physical health problems, trust me I know first hand.

Depression is not just feeling a little sad, we cannot simply cheer up. Clinical depression is a constant struggle, even on the good days, those dark thoughts are still present in the back of our minds. Unfortunately, there are people out there who are dicks, with no empathy or sympathy for people who suffer from mental illness, which leads many who suffer from mental illness, to hide their depression and mental health issues, eventually, in some cases, leading to suicide, feeling that’s the only way out.

Mental health should be taken much more seriously than it currently is; depression and mental health can take many forms, and left unchecked can lead to suicide. Especially right now with COVID-19 quarantines, job loses, mounting debt, and pending evictions causing mental health issues to flare up.

Please, don’t suffer in silence, there are many helplines that you can call and talk with someone and get help; such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (USA), or Samaritans (UK), and here is a list of suicide prevention hotlines around the globe. Don’t feel ashamed of your mental health issues, get help!

F1TV Access: Like F1 Itself, F1TV Access Is A Disappointment!

F!TV Access: Subscribe To Watch

After last weekend’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix at Silverstone, my F1TV Pro subscription expired, as I canceled the renewal due to Formula One being too boring, with Mercedes dominating the sport. Ironically, due to the higher temperatures, Mercedes suffered from excessive tire wear at Silverstone, weekend 2, allowing Max Verstappen to claim his first win of 2020, due to his Red Bull being kinder on the Pirelli tires, which, in my opinion, counts as a technical issue for Mercedes, if the tires lasted as long on the Mercedes as they did on the Red Bull, Verstappen would have been a very distant third place.

As I mentioned in a previous blog about F1TV Pro, I intended to subscribe to F1TV Access, after my F1TV Pro subscription expired, at a reduced cost of $2.99/month, as I never watch live. Which I did today, and the first annoyance is I see the above message, telling me to subscribe to watch the full Spanish Grand Prix qualifying replay, with only the 10-minute highlights being available to watch without paying 3 times more for the F1TV Pro service, the same goes for the practice sessions and the support races replays.

To be clear, I am not claiming that Formula 1 has misrepresented its service. I just expected more, given that the on-demand blurb (see below) is the same for both F1TV Pro and F1TV Access. I got full replays of all sessions and all series on F1TV Pro, so I made the assumption that F1TV Access would have the same replay capability as F1TV Pro, just without the live streaming capability. However, I do feel that Liberty/Formula One could have done a better job of differentiating between the packages, making it clear that only full F1 race replays were available, while all other sessions and series were highlights only.

F1TV Packagers

You’d think that Liberty Media would be doing more to bring in fresh viewers with F1’s viewership dwindling, year on year, because of the snorefest of Mercedes dominance, and more and more countries coverage going to pay-TV services, no longer being broadcast on free-to-air channels.

Update [Aug, 16 2020, 16:25]: It is now Sunday, Spanish GP race day, and the full replay is not available. After some Googling, I find out that I cannot watch the full replay until Tuesday, two days later. So to cut a long story short, I’m done with F1, they got $2.99 out of me, and that’s all they are getting, F1TV Pro is simply not worth $80/year to me. It’s my own fault, I failed to see the “global coverage plan” link just under the packages, that would have told me that replays are not available for 48 hours.

If I have to wait 2 days to watch the damn race, which will be pointless as I am highly likely to have seen the race result in my general internet usage in the two days since the race took place, I might as well download a torrent of the race, or just get up early to watch it live on one of the many illegal live streams.

Update [Aug, 16 2020, 16:53]: Un-fucking-believable! As I cannot watch the full race replay, I tried to watch the “race in 30” highlights, and it plays for 2 minutes and 22 seconds and then stops playing. I have reloaded the page three times and it stops at the same point, 2 minutes and 22 seconds each time. This is not a buffering issue, either the site or stream is broken, or F1TV are taking the piss.

It seems like it was not a race worth watching anyway, Hamilton won by 24 seconds, Verstappen second after Bottas messed up his start to drop back to fourth, before recovering to third place. Also, Lewis, Max, and Valtteri lapped the entire damn field, this is the equivalent of a motorsport massacre. I think 2020 will be the last year I watch F1, after 31 years of watching, the sport has run its course in my mind.

Trump Authoritarianism: How Far Will Democrats Allow Him To Go?

Trump Executive Order, August 8, 2020

With 2020 being the year of the Coronavirus; national vote-by-mail in November has become a very hot topic, and President Donald J. Trump has consistently, and falsely been claiming that vote-by-mail will lead to massive voter fraud, with zero evidence. This comes from the man who said in an interview with Fox News that if we had vote-by-mail, “you’d never have a Republican elected in this country again“, which is likely true, as voter suppression is the only reason Republicans have held onto power for so long.

Over the weekend, Trump signed four executive orders, covering, a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures, a deferral on student loan payments, and an extension to the federal unemployment benefits, albeit at half the previous rate, just $300 a week, and a deferral of payroll taxes from September 1, 2020, until December 31, 2020, including potential tax forgiveness for that time period.

On the face of it that sounds good, except that anything budgetary has to be passed by Congress, more than likely, these executive orders are illegal and unenforceable. The big one is the payroll tax deferment; which means, being deferred, it has to be paid back at some point, more than likely robbing people of part or all of their tax refunds. Yes, the memo linked above mentions tax forgiveness, but it only states the Secretary of the Treasury shall explore avenues, on tax forgiveness, not a guarantee of forgiveness.

But, the most concerning thing is that Trump openly said “If I’m victorious on November 3rd, I plan to forgive these taxes and make permanent cuts to the payroll tax”. This will be disastrous for the 20% of US citizens who rely on social security in one form or another, just to survive, which will affect more Republican voters than Democrats, as red states are often the poorest, least affluent states.

Moving on to the US Postal Service, which is now overseen by a Trump donor, Louis DeJoy, who promptly made big changes to the USPS, which will no doubt slow ballots and services in general, before firing or reassigning 23 USPS executives. It gets worse, Trump straight up said that he plans to withhold funding for the USPS in an effort to stop, or at least hinder the USPS ability to send out and return mail-in ballots.

Trump said; “They want $25 billion for the post office. Now, they need that money in order to have the post office work so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots. Now, in the meantime, they aren’t getting there. But if they don’t get those two items, that means you can’t have universal mail-in voting because they’re not equipped to have it.”, continuing, “If we don’t make a deal, that means they don’t get the money. That means they can’t have universal mail-in voting. They just can’t have it.”

Republicans are known for their voter disenfranchisement, gerrymandering, and voter suppression, but Trump’s actions are a complete subversion of the voting system, manipulating the postal service to stop people from exercising their constitutional right. And, what will the Democrats do? lip service, ultimately doing nothing, just like they did for the past 3 1/2 years. The impeachment was a joke, the articles of impeachment were weak, Democrats had 10 times more damning charges they could have brought.

At this point, I have zero faith that our Congress, no matter whether red or blue, are willing to represent the people and do what is best for the United States of America and it’s citizens. There is even concern that if Trump loses, he will refuse to leave office; and the military won’t forcibly remove him from the White House. I really hope that our military will do the right thing and uphold their constitutional oath.

Formula 1 British Grand Prix 2020

F1, Apologies, Something Went Wrong

Sky F1 commentator Martin Brundle said “It was a bit of a slow-burner, but what an extraordinary end”, I disagree, it was not a slow burner, it was a real snoozer, so much so that I was drifting in and out of consciousness for much of the race, only waking up for the final three laps, when the drama started.

As I pointed out previously, the only time we don’t have a Mercedes 1-2 is when the Silver Arrows have a mechanical or technical issue or one of the drivers makes a mistake. Mercedes are so far ahead in terms of pace and reliability that no other team can even get close, and Valtteri Bottas, albeit a good driver, is no match for Lewis Hamilton, so the inter-team battle is even dull, at least Rosberg challenged Hamilton.

Maybe if we had Max Verstappen in a Mercedes alongside Hamilton, F1 would be better, but I doubt that as long as Hamilton is at Mercedes, the German team will never pair him with an equal. Yes, I do believe Verstappen is Hamilton’s equal and would take the battle to the British driver, and would trade race wins with Hamilton. Bottas has his moments but is not consistent, Hamilton is 3 – 1 up in terms of 2020 wins.

The British Grand Prix in the year 2020 will never be remembered for anything other than both Mercedes suffering tire failures in the final three laps of the race. Which will raise the issue of tire reliability, bringing back memories of 2013, when Pirelli suffered multiple tire failures at the 2013 British GP.

The other talking point; is should Red Bull Racing have pitted Verstappen for new soft tires to go for the fastest lap, which the Dutchman did claim, or stay out and see if Hamilton suffered the same tire failure as Bottas did a couple of laps earlier. It’s easy to say in hindsight, but at the time, it was probably the correct decision, as Verstappen was experiencing similar tire wear to the Mercedes drivers.

Talking about F1 in general, given that we’ve had 10 years of just two teams dominating, Red Bull, 2010 – 2013, then Mercedes 2014 – present. I’m starting to think maybe F1 should become a spec series, and let the driver skill be the determining factor, rather than having the best car, which has been the issue for the past 10 years. I know most people will not agree, but F1 has gotten so boring, something has to happen.

Finally, I have the F1TV “apologies, something went wrong” as my featured image as I thought it was ironic with the current lack of competition. Literally, this is what I saw when I visited at about 11:30am, US central time, trying to watch the British GP on demand. I did manage to get past this by clicking “2020 Season”, but the irony, F1 is still broken despite Liberty Media buying F1 four years ago.

3 Races Into The F1 Season And ZZZzzz

Formula 1! 3 Races In, And ZZZzzz

Just over a month ago, I canceled my $80/yr subscription to F1TV, due to a general lack of interest on my part, after years of one team dominating the sport, and the fact that I have not at all missed Formula 1, even with the significantly delayed start to the season, with the first race happening July 3rd through 5th.

Now, three races into the season with the fourth, Silverstone, coming this weekend, I feel no different, having watched full delayed coverage of the Austrian, Styrian, and Hungarian Grand Prix’, which resulted in three Mercedes victories, one for Bottas and two for Hamilton. It could have easily been three 1-2’s, but for Hamilton’s time penalty for causing a collision with Alex Albon at the Austrian GP, and Bottas’ terrible start, almost jumping the lights at the Hungarian GP, dropping to 7th, but recovered to 3rd.

I used to write race reports on this here blog for the majority of races, but this season, I have not at all felt the urge to do so, not even remotely. I have not bothered watching any race live, watching the race as much as two days after broadcast, when I found a couple of hours to spare. The midfield battle has kept me interested enough to decide to subscribe to F1TV Access, for $2.99 per month, which is replays only, no live coverage, which is absolutely fine by me as I have rarely watched live in the past two years.

The following is not related to my personal interest in F1, but Lewis Hamilton needs to STFU about Black Lives Matter. Not that I don’t support BLM, but Hamilton has been bleating about drivers not kneeling before the race, at every race, criticizing his colleagues and the sports management. F1 has its own #weraceasone anti-racism program, but it seems that Hamilton wants everyone to follow his lead,  wearing a different shirt to everyone else, which kinda flies in the face of the ‘We Race As One’ slogan.

It’s great that Hamilton is using his significant social and media platform to highlight the injustice that black and colored people are facing around the world. But I feel that he should not be trying to shame others into following his lead, it’s not F1 driver’s job to fight racism or any sports job to fight racism. Honestly, the only way F1 could fight racism is to take the sport away from countries like the United States, where racism is such a problem at an institutionalized level, but that will never happen.

Back to F1TV, during the first live broadcast at the Red Bull Ring, the Austrian GP, F1TV still had streaming issues, despite being in year 3 of the service. This did not affect me as I never watched the race live, but Liberty Media/Formula 1 gave me an extra two weeks of F1TV Pro, so I can now watch both Silverstone races, the British GP and the 70th Anniversary GP, instead of one, before my Pro subscription expires.

Final thought; maybe F1 could just hand Mercedes the constructors title, and Lewis Hamilton, the drivers’ title, as it’s not like Bottas has the skill to beat his six-time world champion teammate on the race track. Then have a B championship, with Mercedes sitting out the remainder of the season, so we actually don’t know which team will win the race. The thought of another four months of easy Mercedes wins is galling.

Kaiko, the bunny has passed!

Kaiko, the rabbit as young bunny

Yesterday afternoon, our pet rabbit Kaiko passed away after a short illness. We bought Kaiko as a dwarf bunny nine years ago, being told she wouldn’t grow any bigger than she was when we took her home from the store. This turned out to not be true, she grew to be huge, roughly 4 times larger than we were told by the pet shop assistant, which sadly affected her lifespan as larger bunnies live shorter lives.

Ultimately, this didn’t matter as Kaiko quickly became a loved member of our family. Kaiko had an amazing temperament, she loved to be handled, and was great with our kids. Although she was a fussy eater, not eating the majority of the food mix we bought and had the quirk of not liking fresh vegetables, she would refuse to eat lettuce or carrots, unlike all previous rabbits I have had over the years.

About two weeks ago, we noticed while handling her, she had lost a significant amount of weight, but she still seemed to be eating. At this point, we figured that she was coming to the end of her life, as she was almost nine years old. Kaiko took a turn for the worse last Tuesday when I noticed her laying oddly, Kaiko seems to have had a stroke as she could not move the left side of her body, leaving her immobile.

From this point, we were giving her water via a plastic kids’ syringe for medicine, to try to keep her hydrated and as comfortable as possible. Kaiko kept fighting, but stopped taking water on Saturday, and she had passed by early Sunday afternoon. I shed more tears for Kaiko than I did my father when he passed, but I also had a better relationship with my rabbit than I did my father, I miss Kaiko terribly, seeing the empty space where her cage lived ever since we moved into this house, seven years ago.

Kitty, Seven of Nine

A couple of weeks before Kaiko’s passing, we had a new arrival in the Lewis household, introducing Seven of Nine, Tertiary Adjunct of Unimatrix 01, or Seven for short, yes, we do name all our pets after Star Trek characters. Getting a second cat was unplanned, my wife went to work to make a phone call and came back with a kitten, initially I did not want another cat, but my wife and daughter ganged up on me, and right now, Seven is under my desk sleeping next to my computer, having wormed her way into my heart.