“Life is as ephemeral as dew.” I think that’s from Rashomon.

The black kitten we found two weeks ago, aka Midnight, died this morning. We thought we were nursing him back to health, but the vet said he probably never had a chance. She said his mother might have abandoned him as the runt of the litter; he was malnourished when we found him and evidently never recovered.

MidnightHe seemed okay last night, but Marsha found him this morning so still she thought he had died. Then we saw he was laboring for breath, and called a local vet, who referred us to a pet emergency clinic, the AMPM Animal Hospital. The vet was sensitive and helpful; said aggressive measures would be costly and unlikely to succeed… and the kitten died as we were holding him and saying our goodbyes.

We rescued the kitten from real misery and gave him a good couple of weeks. We did all that we could for him – food, shelter, love.

I’m thinking our life is just a series of reciprocal rescues like this. We help each other along, give comfort as we can. Some need more than others, some can give more than others. In the end we all meet the same fate, but if we’re lucky someone rescued us, fed us, kept us warm and reasonably content until the end.

(Originally posted on Facebook.)

Cory Doctorow in Austin

Cory Doctorow was in Austin yesterday on a book tour for his new young adult novel, For the Win. Cory says he likes writing young adult fiction because it’s for people who use it, not just for entertainment, but to figure out the world. Cory introduced me to another science fiction writer, Steven Brust, now living in Austin. I love the information-dense, visionary, ironic and funny conversations science fiction geeks have, just casually over dinner or drinks. Cory’s not just a science fiction geek, though – he’s also an Internet maven and activist, especially focused on issues like copyfight and freedom to connect. Cory is former EFF online activist and board member of EFF-Austin, which threw an after party, called “Whuffiefest,” following his book signing. Produced by Plutopia Productions, the event had a large and enthusiastic turnout.