Posted on Tuesday, February 16th, 2016
I probably should have waited until the renovations on my new place were complete before adopting, but there are some things that can't wait.
Say hello to Jenny (orange) and Jake (grey)...
They just got out of surgery to be fixed, so they're a little groggy and ruffled (especially poor Jenny... getting spayed is no picnic)... but still totally adorable.
Posted on Thursday, February 18th, 2016
"Jenny, don't smack your brother in the head while he's trying to poop." — About the tenth thing I've said today that I never thought I'd be saying.
Posted on Friday, February 19th, 2016
Well, I just made a huge parenting mistake.
Jenny still had her surgery tag collar on and it was so tight that I worried she would get caught on something and hang herself...
Calm Before the Storm.
All attempts at sneaking up on her and cutting it off failed, so this morning I finally grabbed her so I could remove it. Now I'm covered in lacerations (she even bit my nose!) and now they are hiding under the couch terrified. Won't even come out to eat. Probably set back any progress I've made by a week.
But at least I can sleep at night knowing she won't get caught and choke to death.
Posted on Sunday, February 21st, 2016
Since my new kittehs were feral, they're not quite as social as you'd hope. They are a little accustomed to people and pet living, as they were in foster care until they were old enough to be spayed and neutered. But most of their day is spent hiding under the couch. Any attempt to get too close to them when they venture out results in a (literal) hissy fit. But they're getting better bit by bit, and I can play with them from time to time... so... eventually. I hope.
The one thing for which I'm very grateful is that they arrived potty-trained. They have no trouble at all using their litter boxes. I know this because I have to clean their toxic deposits two to three times a day. I have no idea how such little kittens produce so much poop, but there you have it.
And now for photos.
It's Jenny! Being all adorable and stuff. She is bouncing back from yesterday's "trauma" much faster than her brother... and she was the one it happened to. The vet sure took off a lot of fur when she was spayed. I wonder if it's itchy? Poor thing.
Jake isn't the climber that his sister is... she can get anywhere and climb anything to get there... but he gives it his best shot.
From talking to the foster parents, it seemed as though Jenny would be the meek, reserved kitten and Jake the more rambunctious, adventurous one. It's turning out to be the opposite. Jenny is the one who goes balls-out while Jake kind of lays and waits for her to make the first move. And when it comes to play-fighting, she just loves to pounce on her brother any chance she gets. He is rarely the one to go after her.
Always nice when they are on the couch instead of hiding under it, as usual.
And... enough kitties for today. But keep tuning in. Something tells me there might be more photos in the future!
Posted on Thursday, February 25th, 2016
Once I can access my blog security again, I may have to create a second blog dedicated to my cats' litter box. Jenny took a dump so mind-alteringly horrific that the smell should be declared biological warfare by the U.N. It's a cross between burning tires, raw sewage, and a rotting corpse at low tide. She spent five minutes trying to cover it up, which is the very definition of futility. That smell ain't going anywhere.
Until I shovel it out, then run to the garbage bin as fast as I can.
It's almost enough to make me regret having invited the little monster into my home.
Posted on Friday, February 26th, 2016
In all the articles I read about socializing feral cats, food is always given as the first way to win them over. Once you're associated with food in their tiny brains, they eventually warm up to you.
Unless you're Jenny and Jake, in which case food isn't associated with much of anything except eating.
So I resort to winning them over with the runner up... play.
They seem to forget all about hating humans when you play with them. They'll roll all over my lap and feet np problem... at least until they realize where they are and decide to run under the couch again...
Bit by bit...
Bit by bit...
Posted on Thursday, March 3rd, 2016
The thing about my feral kitten rescues is that they have spent most of their time in hiding. Everything is scary. Everything is dangerous. And getting accustomed to the fact that not everything is out to kill them seems to be a difficult concept for them to wrap their furry little heads around.
But, more and more, that's been changing. Just last Friday I posted about them crawling all over me to play, which was a huge step.
Yet there was still one lingering problem I had yet to resolve... any time I took out my "real" camera (as opposed to the iPhone shots I've been posting), the sound of the shutter would send them scurrying. I switched to a silent shutter, but that didn't help much. Just pointing the camera in their direction was enough to make them run for the hills.
But yesterday all that changed...
Apparently I've whipped out the camera often enough that they're no longer scared when they see it.
Sorry for the deluge of kitten photos that are sure to follow...
Posted on Sunday, March 6th, 2016
Double your Bullet Sunday, double your fun! Because a Very Special SHOPPING Make-Up Edition of Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Sam. Anybody saying that women don't have what it takes to bring it in a hard-hitting comedic "journalism" show aren't watching Samantha Bee in Full Frontal. I'd put her up against Trevor Noah, Larry Wilmore, or John Oliver any day. Hell, I'd put her up against Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert. Samantha Bee is made of awesome...
Mondays at 10:30pm on TBS.
• Free! Well, this is new...
A free house is quite a deal. Which is why I imagine it's the "U-HAUL" part that makes this some tricky business. After Googling the costs associated with relocating an actual house, the money involved seems absurdly high. Approaching the cost to buy a house! And I can't imagine that the house will ever be as structurally sound as it was originally, which means that the costs are just beginning. Still, it looks a decent house. I might have taken them up on it if somebody hadn't spray-painted "for sale" graffiti on the front of it.
• Vampyre! Turns out one of my new kittens is a vampire...
Here's hoping he stays satisfied with kitten blood and doesn't move on to humans.
• Five! And, speaking of cats... high-five, Chris Hardwick... HIGH FIVE!
My cats like to watch television and participate as needed.
• Con. And... my local comic convention, the Emerald City Comicon apparently didn't get the memo about trying to expand the audience for comic books in a positive way. I find this infuriating. A lot of the time I think people overreact to stuff like this. But in this case? I don't think people are reacting ENOUGH. Take your daughter to Comicon on "Kid's Day" and she gets to wear a badge featuring an illustration of a woman being molested by a monster? Really? And their fix for this bullshit? YOU have the option of trading in your badge to get a different one. Yes, the burden is on YOU. Insanity.
• Patriotism. Sometimes... not often, but sometimes... justice wins out.
Learning that freedom of speech doesn't mean freedom from consequences is a tough lesson. Though, I have to say... a part of me does feel badly for this kid. Is what he did wrong? Absolutely. Is this the kind of person we want representing the United States of America in our armed forces? No. Did he get what he deserves? Sure. But history has shown time and time again how mob mentality can sway even a good person to do reprehensible things. I know nothing about this guy or where his heart is when he's not being swept up in a wave of hatred. Apparently the forces of evil were so strong that he proudly posted a photo of him verbally assaulting someone on his Facebook page. Maybe that's who he really is, I don't know. But the heinous amount of hate that keeps building and building and building which makes sad events like this possible has been weighing on my mind a lot lately. We, as a society, are far weaker finding our strength from fear and hatred than courage and mutual respect. But that's the way it is. I'm truly happy that justice was served here. I can only hope that it will result in some deep soul-searching that leads to reevaluation and a newfound kindness. But it could just as easily lead to an escalation of the hate that's already taken hold. And we just can't afford any more of that.
And there's yer bullets, pardner!
Posted on Monday, March 21st, 2016
Welcome to the first installment of CAT WEEK here at Blogography.
My first cat was a beautiful black cat that I named Midnight. He was incredibly sweet, but didn't have much personality. Any time not spent sleeping or eating was spent trying to be alone. He didn't really want to play or even hang out. So when he passed away, I wasn't compelled to get a replacement.
Forty-some-odd years later, I hadn't changed my mind. I still wasn't interested in having a feline companion. But then I ran across a starving cat that was hanging out at the old apartment complex where I was living, and fell in love with the little guy. I wasn't allowed to have pets, but I did my best to take care of him and "bent the rules" when I could to make sure he was kept safe and warm. I named him Spanky the Cat, and he was awesome...
Spanky was a very social cat, and eventually moved on to a home where he could hang out with other cats. This was a heartbreaking turn of events after having cared for him for the past three years, but I was happy if he was happy.
When I decided to move out of my pet-restricted apartment to a new home, I knew that a new cat was in my future.
After getting settled once I'd moved a little over a month ago, I ended up with brother & sister kittens that I named Jake and Jenny...
I haven't said much about them since then, so I decided to devote a week here at Blogography to get everybody caught up. Starting tomorrow...
Posted on Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016
Neville and Ginny were two of three feral kittens brought into the Wenatchee Humane Society that I found on their website. They were in foster care until they were old enough to be spayed/neutered. When I went down to take a look at them they were on their way back surgery, but I was lucky enough to speak with the foster parents who were there waiting for them to see how things went. They were very kind to talk to me about the kittens and how terrific they were and how close they had become... and I knew that I would be adopting all three rather than breaking them up. But one of them was "on hold" so I ended up taking the brother and sister. The boy I knew I wanted to be named Jake. The girl I wanted to name Roger but, when I told my mother of my plan, she refused to let me name her thus, so I changed the "G-i" to a "J-e" so they have matchy brother-sister names. Jake and Jenny. Both had been through a lot and were very timid... not wanting to come out of the carrier. But when I put food out, Jake was an animal. Charging out to gobble down every bite in his bowl... and then he started in on his sister's food. I moved her bowl into the carrier where she thought about eating... but ultimately scampered to the back of the carrier to hide without taking a bite...
I honestly didn't care what the cats I was adopting looked like. I actually like homely/odd looking animals that nobody else would want. Missing eye? Three legs? Ratty fur? Bring it! But these kittehs are adorable and perfect in that heart-melting way that makes me want to photograph them for sappy greeting cards. The fact that Jake looks a little bit like Spanky is just the icing on the cake.
Their first week was spent hiding under the couch, only coming out to eat.
Eventually they started staying out a bit more, but then I had a setback in cutting off Jenny's hospital collar (I was afraid she'd get it caught and choke to death) which sent them back under the couch for days.
I spent the second week attempting to socialize them a bit. They were still sleeping under the couch, but most of their day was spent exploring their new home.
As we entered their third week, I was able to spend extended time playing with Jake and Jenny without them freaking out. This led to more trust, which led to them spending most all of their time running around instead of hiding.
And that was my last update, which was a month ago...
Now things are both very different and much the same.
Different in that they no longer run under the couch at the slightest provocation. It used to be when I so much as sneezed that they'd hide away for hours. Now I can be pounding nails into the walls and they'll come see what's happening. Even better, they've become brave enough to be crawling all over me...
But they're also the same in that they only want to be touched if it's on their terms. If you walk up and try to pet them, they're off like a shot.
Maybe. Possibly. Eventually... they'll come around and be a little more accepting, socially.
Posted on Wednesday, March 23rd, 2016
Jake is usually a very mellow cat. But if there's ONE THING that will set him off... it's Jenny trying to take his toys. Especially his lion or his monkey, both of which he refuses to share. If he sees her with one, he'll come tearing into the room and take it away. And if she tries to take it while he's playing with it? It's go time.
For quite a while, Jake was hiding his stuffed toys on top of the dining room table because Jenny couldn't figure out how to get up there...
That lasted for two days when Jenny managed to figure it out.
Recently Jenny was playing with Jake's monkey. As expected, he ran up and took it from her as soon as he saw her with it. She chased him around for a while, but eventually gave up and found a blue mouse to play with...
Jake charged up and teased her with the monkey... then ran away. I'm guessing he was wanting her to chase her, because he did it four or five times...
Jenny was having none of it, so Jake gave up and left her to her blue mouse.
There's also an orange mouse and a green mouse. Jenny loves all of them...
Jenny's favorite toy is a "cat dancer"... which is a fabric streamer attached to a plastic wand. She'll chase anything string-like, so this is right up her alley. Jake doesn't get the concept. He grabs ahold of the streamer and tries to take it away with him, not seeming to realize it's attached to a stick...
I tried getting them interested in cat games on an iPad, which was a lot of fun for them... but ultimately a bit frustrating, I think...
Of course, the toy that cats love best is the toy they can't have. Like my camera strap. If I take something like that away from Jenny, she'll just move on to something new. If I take it away from Jake though? He will scowl and glare at me for what seems like an eternity...
Posted on Thursday, March 24th, 2016
I did a lot of research on what foods are best for cats and was surprised to see how passionate people get. After weighing all the opinions out there, I decided to formulate my own plan. I am focusing primarily on birds... chicken, duck, turkey... as it seems like that's closer to what cats actually eat when left to their own devices. I've never seen a cat take down a cow or lamb, so I'm avoiding those. Fish worries me because of all the mercury that's in seafood, so I'm feeding them fish sparingly. I am, of course, going grain-free... at least while I can afford to. I am also trying to minimize vegetables, since I've never seen a cat dig up a carrot and eat it. But an argument could be made that the animals they eat in "the wild" have vegetables in their stomaches, so I'm not militant about it. Purchasing food with minimum ingredients and carrageenan-free is pricier than I thought... and can be more difficult than I thought... but will hopefully be worth it in the end.
The wet vs. dry debate is insanely intense with vets landing on both sides of the fence. Wet is apparently better in some respects while dry is better for others (like keeping their teeth clean). I wanted to focus mainly on wet food and offer dry as a dessert but, as you'll see, that's not working out as planned.
The next step is trying to introduce some raw food into their diet. I really like the idea of making my own, but it seems to require a lot of trial and error (and an expensive grinder) to work... so I'll probably wait until they're older. Apparently going raw helps keep them out of the doctor's office to fix expensive health problems, which is always a goal.
I have the kittens on a strict feeding schedule (7:00, 12:30, 6:00) and they both know it. As breakfast approaches, they've taken to coming in my room each morning to act all starving...
The first thing they get is a bowl of wet food. Which Jake attacks right away...
I was told to feed kittens as much food as they will eat because they need lots of food for their growing bodies and will regulate their food intake on their own. But Jake doesn't seem to be doing that, even though he's as active as Jenny is. He LOVES to eat. And any invitation to eat guarantees he'll stick his face in the bowl for a chow-down. Guess he's the exception. Jake is growing noticeably bigger than Jenny, and I'm guessing it's because of his voracious appetite.
Jenny hems and haws about the wet food, but eventually relents and eats some because she knows after she eats some of it, I'll break out a plate of the dry food she loves so much.
At least she used to eat it.
Lately I noticed how her bowl would still be full after devouring the wet food.
After watching her for a while, I realized that she's not devouring it after all. She's just licking it to make me think she's eaten it so I'll bring out the dry food for dessert. The trickster!
She loves dry kibble so much that she often purrs while eating it!
Fortunately, Jenny drinks plenty of water throughout the day to compensate for her diet of mostly dry food...
Though sometimes how she drinks it is a bit... odd...?
You have to be careful any time Jake's around, as he'll chow down on any food that he can get his paws on. The scavenger!
In an attempt to offer a healthy snacking alternative, I grew some cat grass!
They both like nibbling on it throughout the day... though I don't know how much they're actually eating. Most of the time it looks like they're just playing with it.
Next step? Going to continue researching raw food. Not only is it supposed to be the healthiest way for cats to eat... it's supposed to cut down on the heinous smell of their poops, which would be a nice bonus.
Posted on Friday, March 25th, 2016
Jake and Jenny have been inseparable since they came home with me. They eat together, sleep together, groom together, and play together. In the rare occasion that they get separated and one of them realizes it, they'll start walking around looking for their sibling... squeaking in despair. If it goes on too long, they'll get more frantic and vocal, which means I usually have to start looking for them too.
Jake is such a good brother. I think Jenny has bad dreams from time to time, as she'll wake with a start and seems troubled. When this happens, more often than not she'll hop up on Jake's perch and snuggle up next to him, then go back to sleep. No matter how irritating it is, Jake never kicks her out or leaves. He'll shift position if he has to... often several times... then try to go back to sleep... but he doesn't abandon her...
As entertaining as the kittens are to me... I'm even happier that they are so entertaining to each other.
Posted on Saturday, March 26th, 2016
Wrapping up Cat Week with some random kitty pictures on Caturday...
BASK IN THE ADORABLE!!
At first I tried keeping them off the dining room table... but it seems kind of cruel. Because they're so tiny, they can't see interesting stuff going on from floor level. One more thing to add to my morning disinfection routine.
For having started out so afraid and shy, they sure are brave and adventurous now! Anything new is cause for investigation... which means I never have to be alone when assembling IKEA again.
At first I was terrified that the kittens would somehow knock my beautiful new television off the wall, but after a few tries at interacting with the picture, they gave up. I guess that's what happens when Chris Hardwick doesn't high-five back.
You would think that this is an invitation to rub her belly. You would be wrong.
Just when you think that they couldn't possibly do something to be more adorable than they are...
...they prove you wrong.
Sleeping is their most favorite pastime. They nap after breakfast, after lunch, and after dinner... then sleep through the night. Thank heavens.
Compact kittens are the best kittens.
Jenny's favorite spot is the window sill. She can stare outside for a half-hour or more and not get bored.
Jake just wants outside. Guess it's time to build that catio...
And that's it for Cat Week. But don't despair, you'll probably be getting another one soon.
Posted on Sunday, March 27th, 2016
Ignore that Easter Bunny, because Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Gary. Gary Shandling passed away, and I'm more than a little sad about that. There's been some great tributes by his fellow comedians, my favorite being from Jimmy Fallon when he sang It's Gary Shandling's Show theme song on The Tonight Show... I was surprised that I still remembered all the words...
You will be missed, sir.
• FREE! I've used the Nik filters for years. They're amazingly useful and powerful tools that were eventually purchased by Google. And now they're FREE! If you are a Photoshop or Lightroom user, run... don't walk... and click right here to get 'em. The only sad thing is that this is probably the end of development for the set.
• Jailed. Sorry... but I'm siding with North Korea on this one. If you are so fucking stupid as to not familiarize yourself with the laws and customs of a country before stepping foot on their soil, then you get what you deserve. The asshole even tried to conceal his identity by wearing a hoodie... so don't tell me he didn't know what he was doing was wrong. This was no accident that landed him in jail. Pity he didn't seem to grasp the consequences for his actions but, again, not North Korea's fault that he's an idiot.
This reminds me of the stupidest fucking movie I've ever seen called Born American where some drunken frat boys cross over into The Soviet Union on a goof during The Cold War. As the consequences of their actions escalate and a small town is decimated while the Soviet army is after them... they, of course, end up captured. And the whole movie is them whining about their horrible treatment and how they don't deserve it because THEY'RE AMERICAN, DAMMIT! Never mind the damage, death, and destruction they caused... BECAUSE: AMERICAN!!!
Well fuck you. All the dumbasses like this do when being dumbasses is make it more difficult (and more risky) for other American travelers who DO follow the rules and customs and want to travel abroad. And here we are, once again reinforcing the "Ugly American" stereotype we so richly deserve. And now I'm supposed to feel sympathy for you because you're a moron? Oh do go on. Do I feel sorry for the friends and family who will miss and worry about this tool? Of course I do. I feel sorry they came to care about somebody who ended up being dumber than a box of rocks.
• Balls. Well. This is new. Woke up to the cats grabbing their spongey ball, taking it up the stairs, then pushing it off so they can chase it down the stairs... over and over and over and over and over and over again. They are still doing it an hour later...
• Easter. I thought I'd be all cute and give the cats an Easter Bunny for Easter Sunday. Set it next to Jenny while she was sleeping. She woke up and was so freaked out that she grabbed it, drug it upstairs, then ran back to her perch and fell back asleep...
• Thanks. To all the wonderful people who posted birthday wishes on the 24th, THANK YOU. I am truly blessed to have friends that would take the time to say such wonderful things as I inch ever-closer to death. It would be better to have friends that would take the time to send money, but I am grateful just the same. Love you guys. Love you guys and your cheap, cheap hearts.
Enjoy those eggs, everybody!
Posted on Wednesday, March 30th, 2016
The thing about cats is... they're cats.
Cats... and especially the two kittens I have... are curious by nature, and want to get into anything and everything they can. They're always looking for adventure, which can be problematic when it comes to keeping them safe.
If there's one room I don't want them adventuring in, it's the kitchen. Too many opportunities for them to get into trouble once they're able to jump high enough to get on the countertops. Also... that's where the front door is, and I don't want them running out into the street.
The first thing I tried was putting "Scat Mats" in front of both entrances. These are plastic sheets with conductive wires running through it. They're hooked up to a battery and deliver a small shock when your pet (or you!) make contact with two wires...
The mats seem to work as advertised. It just took a few attempts before Jake and Jenny stopped trying to go into the kitchen. When I make their breakfast in the morning, they stop short of entering and wait patiently.
At least they did.
Maybe my cats are geniuses or something, but they just started jumping over the mat on day three...
Not the best solution for keeping cats out of a room. Probably works great for keeping cats off of something though. If that's what you're after, then they might be worth picking up. The only thing that really bothered me with the product (other than them not working for my intended purpose) was that they tell you to store your mat rolled up... but it arrives folded. Which puts big-ass creases in it. They say you can use a hairdryer to smooth them out, but not even an industrial hairdryer would remove mine (as you can see in the above video). Kind of stupid they don't come rolled, as suggested in the instruction book!
After the failure of Scat Mat, I turned to another solution... Ssscat!
This is a can of compressed air with a motion sensor on top. When something triggers the motion detector, it releases a blast of air that scares any cats (or humans) who come within range...
It's a great idea.
Except mine doesn't work.
Even with two changes of fresh batteries, it doesn't activate when you get near it as it should. Sometimes it will go off with motion, but there's no rhyme or reason to it and it's worthless 99% of the time. I don't know if I got a bad one or what, but it's an even worse failure than the Scat Mat.
Hopefully a solution will come along that actually works.
Until then, there's always "NO!"
Posted on Thursday, March 31st, 2016
For decades I've been vowing that if I were to ever get my own place, I would never have carpeting again.
This was only confirmed when I pulled out the carpeting in my new home only to find that massive amounts of dirt were sitting beneath... belying the clean appearance of the carpet from above. It's pretty heinous... even if you're got a power vacuum like a Dyson.
The problem with hardwood is that it makes for some slippery stairs... especially if you have kittens that struggle to climb them and need something to grab onto. This means buying some stair treads, which is easier said than done, as there are a number of hurdles to overcome. First of all, decent stair treads are really expensive. I've seen them as high as $50... per stair! Second of all, I am picky in that I want something which blends in with my flooring as much as possible... but still stands out enough so people know they're there. Since I couldn't find them local, I had to best-guess while shopping online, which is always dangerous as the color you see on your display rarely matches reality.
Amazon here I come.
There were a few options that caught my eye, but the one that really stood out was the treads by casapura...
So I ordered them with my expectations kept in check.
Imagine my surprise when I opened the box and found that they were absolutely perfect. The quality. The color. The shape. The size. Everything. They look far more expensive than $89, and work perfectly for my kittens to navigate the stairs safely...
If I have one complaint, it's that quite a few treads didn't have the pattern perpendicular to the edge. It's not hugely noticeable, but for somebody ADD like me, it does drive you a little crazy. Other than that, I'm very happy with the casa pura stair treads... and even happier that I only had to pay $89 for them.
When it comes to installation, it's pretty straight-forward. There are adhesive strips on the back which keep the tread securely positioned. Some people in their Amazon reviews complained that it wasn't strong enough, but mine have been holding just great. I was sure to carefully clean and dry each step to get the best adhesion, so maybe that's all it takes. I did remove a tread to see if it comes off cleanly, and it did, but I don't know if that changes over time.
A helpful hint: After measuring my treads and stairs, I found that they centered with 4-1/2" gaps on each side. In order to make sure they all lined up perfectly, I found a small box that was 4-1/2" wide to set them against...
This made installation a snap.
You can find the casa pura treads over at Amazon... though, ironically enough, the "chocolate brown" color I purchased is no longer listed.
Posted on Saturday, April 9th, 2016
Now that I have awesome cats, I take a lot of awesome photos.
Rather than post them every day, I'll wait until "Caturday" rolls around and see if I have anything worth posting.
This week, I do. Lucky you!
Jake and Jenny spend a lot of time wanting to go outside...
It's not worth the worry and the risk to me, so I've decided not to let them out.
I'm drawing up plans for a "catio" enclosure so they can get a little taste of what it's like to be outdoors...
I just need to find the time to build it.
It's going to be a lot of time and money I don't have, but I think the kitties are worth it...
Yeah. Definitely worth it.
Posted on Monday, April 18th, 2016
I've never given much thought to being "a morning person." Since I am constantly battling insomnia and am already awake well before it's time to get up, there's nothing much to think about. Would I like to stay in bed all day watching TV and surfing the internet? Sure. Is it sometimes difficult to get motivated to face the day? Of course. But getting up at the ass-crack of dawn is no big deal to me. Which, I'm told, makes me a "morning person."
And I suppose that's even more true now that I have cats.
Kittens are supposed to be fed 3 or 4 times a day so that they have all the food and energy they need to grow up healthy and strong. I settled on 3 times a day out of necessity (I only get one lunch hour!) and that seems to be working just fine because Jake and Jenny are growing up alarmingly fast.
The trick to making a feeding schedule work is to stick to it like glue. Which means feeding the little monsters promptly at 7:00am, 12:30pm, and 6:00pm. Which, for me, is Before Work, Lunch Hour, and After Work.
That first feeding is a routine that the cats are very much accustomed to, and deviating from it is tantamount to The Apocalypse. It goes something like this:
Then I get ready for work and am out the door.
On those rare mornings where I am slow to get out of bed... usually because I'm in the middle of composing an email or something... the cats will come get me if it strays too far past 7:00am. Usually they'll make their food demands known in as passive-aggressive way possible... like flopping themselves on the floor and staring at me...
If that doesn't work, they'll climb up on the bed and start chewing on my toes or something.
Which is fine. I deserve that if I'm getting off schedule.
I'm a morning person after all.
Posted on Friday, April 22nd, 2016
Can you believe it? They make Dr. Suess cat toys!
As a huge, huge, massively huge Dr. Suess fan, this was big news. They had all kinds of toys, but I gravitated towards Mouse Thing 1 and Mouse Thing 2...
They're super-cool, and the cats seem to like 'em...
I'll definitely be buying the Cat in the Hat cat charmer and Mouse in the Cat in the Hat next trip to Petco. Great job to whomever came up with this genius bit of cross-marketing!
Posted on Saturday, April 30th, 2016
So there I was... reading through some work at 11:10pm... when I heard a commotion going on downstairs. Not knowing what the cats might have gotten into, I go running to see if anybody is hurt or in danger or whatever.
But when I get downstairs, both cats are lounging on the couch doing nothing at all.
It didn't sound like your typical chase around the house, so I was genuinely curious to know what in the heck was going on. Luckily, I have security cameras everywhere, so it was a piece of cake to go back in time and take a look...
Okay... there's Jake... looking out the window. Jenny is on the right but obscured by the coffee table...
WHEN ALL OF A SUDDEN...
GAH! It's that big black & white cat that wanders around! I'd shit my pants and run away too if he popped up in my window!
Note that Jenny didn't move. I'm pretty sure she could take him.
Posted on Monday, May 2nd, 2016
As it should come as no surprise to anybody, cats are weird.
My cats Jake and Jenny seem weirder than most, as they do inexplicably crazy crap a dozen times a day. And while it's impossible to know exactly what is going on in that fuzzy little head of theirs, TED has released a video which attempts to explain some of what's going on...
I dunno. That just makes cats even weirder to me.
And because I just can't get enough TED, here's another video that's worth a watch...
And now I'm feeling sick. THANKS, TED!
Posted on Friday, May 6th, 2016
Every since I got an infection after an accident in the Costa Rican rainforest, I've been plagued with problems with my eyes. My vision goes blurry. My eyelids develop cysts. I experience shooting pain. They get tired easily. It's just a parade of misery that won't go away. And this past week I developed more cysts that my body couldn't eliminate, so say hello to my fifth surgery on my eyelids.
The surgery itself is fairly simple. They shoot hideously painful drugs into your lid to numb things down. They put a metal clip in your eye. They flip your lid. They slice it open. They cut the offending material out. They stitch you up. They unclamp your eye. They put a patch on you. You drive home.
Not entirely horrible, so far as things go, but irritating. I was completely wiped out when I got home and went straight to bed. Jake, who was apparently glad to see me, gave me mad hugs...
He was a little freaked about the appearance of my eye, however...
And the reason I knew this is that I looked up once he changed position and saw him doing this with his eye...
And lest you think Jenny wasn't supportive... she took over when I moved to the couch. Like Jake, the freaky appearance of my eye was something she had to investigate...
It's nice to have cats to help(?) with the recovery process.
Posted on Saturday, May 7th, 2016
When last we left Jake and Jenny, little Jake was being cruised by a horny lady-cat in heat in the middle of the night. She runs into the windows. She rolls around on the patio. She meows and hollers. Jake finds it amusing but, having been neutered, wants nothing to do with it. So as to not encourage whores on my patio, I've been closing the blinds at night.
In addition to the nightly display of eroticism, there's been a rather big breakthrough with Jenny.
Since I first got her months ago, she has refused to be touched. At first she would hiss at you in total fear if you even attempted it. Later she would just dodge you and run away. It's been terribly frustrating, especially since Jake has warmed up to the idea of being petted. He loves belly rubs...
He especially likes my mom, and will throw himself in her path to get a belly rub from her...
But not Jenny.
The only time I've been able to even touch her is while she's distracted eating. Any other time has been exceedingly rare, even when she's snuggled up on me watching television.
Then one day I'm finishing up some emails so I can take my mom to dinner. I look over and nearly fall off the couch when I see she's sitting there petting Jenny... and had been for ten minutes!
And that was that.
Now Jenny is crawling all over me to get petted. And if my laptop is in the way, she'll roll around on the coffee table until you pay attention to her...
If you turn up the sound, you can hear her purring away like an engine. It's as if she's never had a problem being touched at all.
In other cat news, Jake has gotten too fat for the window sill. He still likes to sploot (lay down with his legs flopped out), which is impossible in such a narrow space. So I built him a ledge to lay on...
As you can tell, Jenny likes it too. Which means I should probably build another one for the other side. Especially since they use it to hunt flies that end up in the window...
Other than that, they're inseparable as ever...
See you next Caturday!
Posted on Wednesday, May 11th, 2016
When I was contemplating adopting Jake and Jenny (and their brother Nick), I was able to speak with their foster parents, who were at The Humane Society waiting for the kittens to come back from surgery. After hearing what great cats they were, I didn't even wait until I could see them in person... I filled out the papers and paid the fee while I was waiting for them to come back.
Today the kittens' foster parents dropped by to see them
Unfortunately, Jake and Jenny decided to hide under the couch most of the time... Jenny doesn't seem to like strangers, and Jake follows her lead most of the time... which was a bummer, but it was still a wonderful visit because they were kind enough to share some early photos and videos of the kittens when they were fostering them.
Here they are on Day One...
Seeing how inseparable they were, it makes me even more sad that I didn't know I could "reserve" the kittens so I could have kept them all together...
Hopefully little Nick is happy and healthy in his new home.
Apparently Jenny, who purrs like a diesel engine for any reason at all, but especially when you pet her... has always done that...
Jake may look quite a bit different now, but he acts exactly the same as he did when he was a kitten...
I swear I have videos of him now that are practically the same as this. He still loves to play with stuffed animals just like that!
Hopefully the kittens' foster parents will be able to come back again when the kids are feeling a bit more sociable. It's great that they are so wonderful and caring as to take in kittens before they can be adopted. That can't be easy work, and yet their hearts are big enough to make it happen.
Posted on Saturday, May 14th, 2016
And here's yet another random sampling of cat-related incidents to occupy your Saturday...
Both Jake and Jenny are getting more angular and "feline-looking" as they get older. It's especially apparent with Jake and the dark shading he has around his nose...
Jenny continues to have bad dreams from time to time, whic always results in snuggling with her brother. This time he actually put his arm around her...
Which she appreciates...
They usually sleep on their Kitty Condo Tree, but a couple times a week they sleep on my bed...
Jenny's biggest struggle each day is deciding whether or not to ambush her brother...
And... she did.
And, oh yeah, the kitty whores in heat are still dropping by...
Jake always seems to enjoy the show.
And that wraps up another Caturday!
Posted on Wednesday, May 18th, 2016
The cats want to be fed around 5:00-5:30... well before their 7:00am feeding time... and to show their displeasure with my insistence of starving them to death for an hour or two, they will hang out in my bedroom until I haul my ass out of bed and make them their breakfast.
I'm usually up around 4:00-4:30 working, so this doesn't bother me in the least. But, as Summer comes and more and more birds make their way to my neck of the woods, it's gotten more and more irritating. Because Jake and Jenny see the birds out the window, but the window sill is too narrow for them to jump onto from the bed. So instead they sit there and cry or chatter at the birds they can't see too well...
A couple days ago I decided to remedy this by getting a cat shelf at Petco. I would have made one (like I did for the living room window) but I just don't have the time. It seemed a bit pricey at $29, but it works. Jenny took to it right away, while Jake was a bit wary...
But he finally came around yesterday afternoon...
Good thing it's big enough for two... kinda. Jake's fuzzy butt usually hangs off a bit when they're both up there. Now they spend their mornings bird-watching instead of driving me crazy. Perhaps $29 wasn't too much to pay after all.
Posted on Saturday, May 21st, 2016
For the past month or so, I've noticed that Jake and Jenny occasionally gets so wrapped up in something out the window that their jaws start shaking. For the longest time I've been terrified that it's a prelude to epilepsy or something equally terrible, but have been ignoring it for my own sanity. Recently Jake did it again and it freaked me out so bad that I took to Google to see what might be wrong with him...
...and found out it's perfectly normal when some cats get excited about possible prey.
When I'm not available to give Jake a belly rub, Jenny steps in...
Now that I'm switching from thrice a day to twice a day feedings, I thought I'd move breakfast from 6:30 to 7:30. But it's impossible to resist the kitties when they come in at 6:45 and demand food. And by "demand" I mean "be so adorable that I just can't stand to deny them anything."
Now that Jenny has decided she likes to be petted, she's been running to greet me whenever I return home...
It's the best part of my day!
When I'm laying on the couch working, Jenny has been laying on the floor next to me. I put a kitty bed near me against the wall because I was worried I'd forget she was there and step on her. Worked like a charm three days running!
And... somebody is reminding me to take a break from blogging...
Until next Caturday...
Posted on Tuesday, May 24th, 2016
So... a really good day to be one of my cats.
Jenny is especially obsessed with the soft rainbow toy...
And, no surprise, Jake has laid claim to the Crunchy Monkey stuffed toy (he loves stuffed animals!)...
Thanks so much to Poppy and Dawg for making my cats' week!
Posted on Thursday, May 26th, 2016
Okay then... three days in a row... I guess it's become a routine. Every morning Jenny will present me with her morning kill (in the form of a toy), meow a couple times, proceed to crawl all over me for pets until she's sufficiently purry, then start waving her butt in my face when she's tired of my not getting up and unleashing the food bag...
And here I thought waking up with a dead hooker in your bed was the worst way to start your day... I think cat butt has it beat.
Posted on Saturday, May 28th, 2016
Jenny and Jake are still crazy about the big box of toys that Poppy and Dawg sent them.
A surprise hit has been Cat Crazies. They're kinda like the rings on a plastic milk jug... but with waves and ridges that the kitties can grab onto and cart around in their mouths...
Pretty much how I wake up every morning...
The two kitty whores in heat are still putting on performances for Jake most nights...
I wonder how long cats stay in heat? This is getting a little crazy.
Until next Caturday...
Posted on Thursday, June 2nd, 2016
For those who were asking... yes... Jenny still brings me a "kill" every morning in exchange for me making her breakfast. Every. Morning.
If I'm asleep, she drops it on my chest. If I'm awake, she drops it on the floor and announces it with some meowing. It's usually something different every day. This morning it was Tan Mouse...
She's so adorable when she's demanding food.
Posted on Sunday, July 3rd, 2016
Worried about missing out on a whole month of Dave's life? Well don't be, because an all new SPECIAL CATCH-UP EDITION of Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• MY HEALTH. The bill for my first eye surgery arrived. Thank heavens my deductible is so huge... I was worried I wouldn't find anything to do with these piles of cash I've got laying around. The good news is that my eye seems to be doing okay now. The only remaining damage is a bump from where the anesthesia was injected into my eyelid. Hopefully it will disappear in time.
• MY DIET. I've inexplicably become a milk drinker again. I haven't had a glass in years, but recently had one with a slice of chocolate cake and fell in love with the stuff. I no longer have to worry about my milk expiring... which is cool because even though non-fat lasts forever, I was regularly having to throw it out.
• MY DISCOVERY. Laughing Cow cheese has never been a favorite even though I love spreadable cheeses. But recently they came out with an Asiago-flavored version that's just fantastic. I eat the stuff piled on Ritz Crackers constantly...
Laughing Cow Spicy Pepper Jack is worth a taste as well.
• MY SHOPPING. For much of my life, I've not been an antique fan. Why by old stuff when you can get brand new stuff that's cooler? My view has softened since renovating my guest room, so now I actually stop by antique shops from time to time. Which lead to my paying $28 for this cookie jar...
...and let me tell you why. 1) The bear looks like Ted! 2) Whomever made this didn't fire it properly, so it's sagging on one side and it looks like he's falling over drunk . 3) The lid is also misshapened, so it doesn't really fit the jar. 4) They misspelled "cookie" as "cookey" which is frickin' adorable. 5) It looks awesome next to my gelato machine! How many more reasons did I need? I was forced to buy it! Antiques FTW!
• MY SCHEDULE. My cats have turned me into a morning person. I now do my grocery shopping at 7am?...
Oh well. The nice thing is that the store is a ghost town that time of day.
• MY CATS. They're still adorable. Still wonderful. And I still love having them around. Such amazing animals...
Don't know how I managed without them.
• MY DISAPPOINTMENT. I skipped seeing Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice in the theater but finally caught the "Ultimate Edition" on digital. My thoughts are below, but beware of SPOILERS for Captain America: Civil War (yes, you read that right)...
At the end of Captain America: Civil War where Bucky and Cap have beat down Iron Man and are walking away, Tony Stark says "That shield doesn't belong to you! My father made it!" and it's just crushing because of Robert Downey Jr.'s performance. You can feel that Tony is trying to stay proud in the face of defeat, but his heart is breaking on two levels, so there's a tremor in his voice. At that moment... when you are made to feel in the middle of a funny book film... you know that Marvel has completely figured it out. They put the humanity into their cinematic characters in a way that transcends the genre.
Which is why watching Batman v Superman was such a horrendous fucking ordeal. Zack Snyder thinks that taking everything dark and brooding is what adds character to the characters, but he's missing the target so badly as to be... comical. Heaping artificial drama on characters again and again and again just distracts from whatever humanity they might have. It buries it. He has zero sense of what makes a comic book movie reach past the funny books, and that's a huge problem for DC. Their movies are just dark, boring, artificial piles of shit that don't make you *feel* anything. It's the disaster-porn school of filmmaking and people are tired of it. They've seen it all before. Many, many times.
Between DC and Marvel, the one who has the most potential and the easiest road to completely slaying the genre is DC Comics. Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman are the most beloved and recognizable super-heroes in existence. Everything else pales by comparison. And yet by hiring a hack like Zack Snyder to helm their films... somebody who could give a fuck about the source material and changes things just because he can... somebody who doesn't want to bring Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman to the screen, but his "vision" of them... it doesn't matter. You go to a film called Superman v Batman expecting to see Superman and Batman... but they're not there. It's just Zack Snyder shit piled on something that vaguely resembles them.
I hated this movie even worse than Man of Steel, if that's even possible. Add another F- to my "Y2K Super-Hero Comic Book Renaissance" scorecard
• MY ENTERTAINMENT. Was thrilled beyond all reason that Mark Millar and Frank Quitely's Jupiter's Legacy: Volume 2 has finally, at long last, been started up...
This is my favorite comic book series in a long, long time. Apparently they are already working up a movie... here's hoping they get somebody better than Zack Snyder to helm it.
And... that's all the catch-up bullets we have today.
Posted on Wednesday, November 2nd, 2016
It's tough coming back from my self-imposed blog sabbatical and know what to talk about. Much of what took me away from blogging is a personal matter and won't be discussed here. Sure, there were other things going on, but it's all become a blur that I'm probably better off not revisiting. There are exceptions, however.
The biggest one being my cats, so let's get caught up on that in PART ONE of a THREE PART SERIES, shall we?
First of all, they're doing great. Jenny has become a pretty, petite young lady...
And Jake... well... Jake is still Jake, just a little more grown up...
He still spends a lot of time laying spread eagle for some reason...
The siblings still adore each other...
And do most everything together...
Even more important than that, they have become more and more comfortable hanging out with me. At one time I was afraid they'd never even let me touch them... now they've turned into cuddle buddies that can't get enough petting...
Rescuing two feral kittens has turned out to be one of the best things I've ever done. I love them more than I could love just about anything.
Now if I can just keep away from the Humane Society so I avoid adopting ten more of them.
Posted on Thursday, November 3rd, 2016
Hey! This is PART TWO of THREE PARTS updating everybody about my cats.
Way back in April, I mentioned that I was planning on building a "catio" (cat patio enclosure) so Jake and Jenny could go outside while still being safe. My original intent was to design and build it myself, but work got so busy that I ended up hiring a contractor to build the exterior part plans I made, then I could build the interior pieces myself as time permitted..
After a few days, it was time to unleash the kittehs!
The cat outside is named "Fake Jake." That's because when my brother was cat-sitting, he thought she was Jake and brought her inside. Hilarity ensued. Fake Jake is kind of crazy-aggressive, and likes to terrorize my cats from time to time...
The contractor ended up putting in four window panels instead of the three I had drawn up in my plans for some reason. This meant having to change my concept for the inside shelves, but it all worked out in the end. I made them to have removable panels so I could use heat-trapping rubber-backed mats in winter to keep them warm... and a mesh floor in summer to keep them cool...
Going from three panel windows to four meant that I didn't have room for a ramp to the top shelf. Instead I devised a narrow "catwalk" that would allow Jake and Jenny to navigate the upper-level and have a shelf to be able to see out of the narrow end...
The finished shelving...
Pretty nifty, huh? Needless to say... a ton of work. But a good project for a novice woodworker because I learned a lot. I also discovered the joys of owning a pneumatic brad nailer, which is about the handiest thing for light construction projects you can imagine.
But the best part of it all?
The cats love their catio.
They are out there all the time...
In the Spring I'll start PHASE 2 of construction, which includes adding a ramp next to the house... adding a log climber in the narrow end... adding a cat-ladder on the opposite narrow end... putting in a cat grass tray... and tiling the floor.
Something fun to look forward to!
When the Red Sox finally broke their "curse" in 2004, I was on a cruise ship. I was wearing my Boston jersey the whole time, and kept running into a couple who were also wearing Red Sox jerseys... we'd give a "GO BOSTON" wave whenever we passed. The final game of the series was a "sea day" and I remember sitting in a bar on the starboard side of the ship watching the game. When the Red Sox won, I let out a yell and heard another yell coming from the port side. I ran to the banister to look across, and the couple I kept running into did the same. We were yelling across the ship and waving our arms like crazy people. Heck, we WERE crazy people. It was kind of a special way to celebrate a win that some Red Sox fans had waited 86 years... a lifetime, really... to see. So, if it couldn't be Boston, I'm happy for the Cubbies winning the World Series after waiting 108 years! Congrats to the team and all their fans!
Posted on Friday, November 4th, 2016
Hey! This is PART THREE of THREE PARTS updating everybody about my cats.
While I love Jake and Jenny and wouldn't trade them for the world, there's one small problem that becomes a big problem when it comes to them allowing me to have them live with me. And that would be when I'm not at home. Travel is something I cannot avoid, which means there are stretches of time that food won't be put out and litter boxes won't be cleaned.
The easiest solution is to have a friend or neighbor drop by twice a day to take care of things. But it's kind of a burdensome thing to have to ask somebody. And so I went looking for automated solutions that would cover me for short trips away. Longer trips would still require a cat-sitter, but those are far and few between.
The first thing I looked at was an automated feeder.
There are "gravity feeders" that are basically a never-ending buffet of food that keeps replenishing itself until it runs out of kibble. This would be problematic for Jake, because he would eat and eat and eat all day long. They also have gravity feeders that are portion-controlled and timer-driven... but when I bought one for Spanky at my old place, it would clog up and a neighbor had to keep checking on it. I wanted something that wouldn't jam and also allow me to verify that the feeding took place.
Enter the Feed-and-Go automated, web-enabled pet feeder...
I bought two. They work flawlessly. There are six compartments that rotate through the feeding window. That means you have five days (in addition the day you leave) to be gone with once-a-day feedings. If I'm gone for three days or less, I put half-portions in the cavities and set it up for twice-a-day feedings so there's some variety. I had concerns as to what happens if the internet goes down... but each feeder stores a schedule locally, so it's all good. Pricey as hell... but good.
FEED-AND-GO SMART PET FEEDER: $199 from Amazon.
But what about the litter box?
I did a lot... and I mean a lot... of research. But every time I read the reviews on those litter trays that essentially drag a rake through the kitty litter to clean the box, there were always horror stories. Rakes getting jammed. Rakes getting clogged with poop. Rakes bending out of shape if two clumps of pee were fused together or if a clump fused to the bottom of the tray. They just didn't seem very reliable.
And then I came across the Litter Robot...
This thing is frickin' magic.
Because it uses gravity to do its dirty work, there's no rake to clog or break. The bottom floor of the unit is a flexible rubber sheet that pops out of place as the dome rotates, so even if a clump gets fused to the bottom, it's still getting cleaned out. I had some problems with the weight sensor at first... but after dumping the litter and re-calibrating, Litter Robot has been operating flawlessly ever since.
And my cats love the thing. They took to it immediately. All I had to do was put the Litter Robot in the same spot where the old litter tray was located, and boom goes the dynamite. Which was a pleasant surprise, because they are generally fearful of entering a space where they can't see a way out. I was more than a little worried that they would be too afraid to jump in. But, hooray, that was not the case. I have two other litter boxes in the house. I took one out, but left the the one upstairs so there's a box on each floor. They hardly ever use it, preferring to go downstairs so they can use the Litter Robot instead. I guess they like the privacy of the dome... and the fact that the box is always clean and ready to go.
The best part? Even with two cats, it only needs to be cleaned every five to six days. In other words, its schedule is the same as my Feed-and-Go pet feeder! Changing out the bag is easy, and I always dump in a Red Solo Cup of fresh kitty litter to replace the litter that was clumped and removed. So far, the litter inside looks like its staying clean. But, for sanitary reasons, I'll probably replace it anyway every two to three months.
The not so best part? Magic comes at a price.
I bought the larger "Open Air" model to accommodate my cats' claustrophobia. It's also the most expensive model (which I recommend it because I think it's how a cat would be most comfortable). So prepare to chop off an arm and a leg. But... damn... I could never... and I mean never go back to scooping out a litter box again. This product is just too perfect. I recommend buying direct from the manufacturer because you get free shipping and a 90-day money-back guarantee.
LITTER ROBOT OPEN AIR: $449 from Auto-Pets.
After I ended up being so thrilled with the Litter Robot, I ordered a few accessories. First was the Litter Robot Ramp, which will make it easier for the cats to reach the box when they're older ($50 from Auto-Pets)... next was the Litter Robot Fence, which helps keep the kitty litter in the box (and should come with the unit instead of being an add-on ($25 from Auto-Pets). And, of course, you'll need replacement drawer-liner bags ($50 per 100 bags from Auto-Pets). You can use any clumping litter in the Litter Robot, and I top off with Arm & Hammer brand litter because it's always on sale at Safeway. But I ended up buying the "official" Litter Robot litter too, as it comes pre-measured to perfectly fill the tray when starting out or when replacing old litter. Pricey, but very convenient ($46 for two, 10-lb. bags from Auto-Pets).
And there you have it. An automated solution that can cover my being gone for up to five days! It ran me around $1000 for both Feed-and-Go feeders, the Litter Robot, and Litter Robot accessories... but that's a small price to pay for the peace of mind I get when having to leave my Jake and Jenny at home alone. Luckily I already had security cameras installed so I can check in on them as well.
And did I mention that the Litter Robot is frickin' magic?
Posted on Saturday, November 12th, 2016
My cats are not adapting well to the end of Daylight Saving Time.
Jake and Jenny have an internal clock that is eerily accurate. Plus or minus ten minutes, they will let you know when it's feeding time. So when you change a clock that conflicts with their internal timing, they just don't give a shit. Which means now they are wanting food at 6am instead of 7am and 5pm instead of 6pm. This despite my best efforts to gradually shift them an hour later.
My refusal to give in to their demands (as logical as they may be) has resulted in acts of civil disobedience.
And outright theft.
This morning, after having the cats hop on my bed at 6:05 wondering why the hell I haven't fed them yet, I came downstairs to see this...
One of the cats (I KNOW IT WAS YOU, JAKE!!!) went into the kitchen where they know they're not supposed to be, opened the cupboard where they know the cat food is kept, then dragged out a bag of cat treats they know they're not supposed to have, and ultimately had to give up because they apparently don't know you need opposable thumbs to open the zipper lock.
Let's go to the security cameras, shall we?
I KNEW IT WAS YOU, JAKE!
I cut out the five minutes he spent rummaging around in the cupboard. Note how Jenny is being a good girl by staying out of the kitchen and observing from afar. She could have come up tattled on her brother, but I'm rather glad she didn't seeing as how the attempted theft took place at midnight.
Well, what can you do?
I tell you what... if President Obama wants to do something great before leaving office that would help unify the country... he could make the next Daylight Savings Time be permanent. No more dicking with the clocks while we have the Trump Administration dicking with our freedoms.
Just a thought.
If nothing else, he'd have the gratitude of pet owners from sea to shining sea.
Posted on Monday, November 21st, 2016
Your eyes are not deceiving you... because an all new Bullet Sunday on Monday starts... now...
• #TrumpsAmerica. Hey everybody! Are you tired of not being able to get through a single day without seeing yet another example of the horrendous level of racist bullshit that is inundating our Black youth? Do videos like this make your blood boil?
Might I suggest a donation to my long-time blogging friend Kelly Wickham's amazing organization: Being Black at School so she can help make a difference? She's doing the work to effect change and could use your help.
• Certified Pre-Owned. I love creativity in advertising. Especially when it's for such a great cause...
I'd adopt ten more if I could.
• Snowline. Welp, winter is coming. Confirmed as I was driving back home today...
Hopefully it can hold off going full-on winter until next week. I've got another trip over the mountains coming up.
• Soul. I was very saddened to learn that the amazing Sharon Jones died. Her performances with the Dap-Kings was a show I have long wanted to attend, and I'm more than a little upset I never got the chance...
Rest in peace, Miss Jones.
• Hamiltoon. The cast of Hamilton respectfully asked that Vice President Elect Mike Pence "...uphold our American values and to work on behalf of all of us..." at the close of their show and President Elect Trump loses his fucking mind, as usual. But that was only the beginning, because crazy-ass Jeanine Pirro of FOX "News" went full-on bat-shit insane... (I'm paraphrasing here)... "HOW DARE YOU CRITICIZE THE STATE AND OUR FUTURE SUPREME LEADER! YOU'VE RUINED MY ENJOYMENT OF HAVING WATCHED YOUR PLAY WITH ALL THE BLACKS AND ALL THE LATINOS AND ALL THE HIP-HOP! BOW BEFORE PRESIDENT TRUMP, YOU INSOLENT SWINE! AND MAY HIS GLORIOUS REIGN LAST A MILLION YEARS!" — I swear... it is only a matter of days before we start hearing "uppity negroes" come out of the mouths of these racist pieces of shit. It is so blatantly obvious EXACTLY what they are thinking... and the team of racist, misogynistic, homophobic, xenophobic, bigoted trash that will soon be running this country has emboldened them to become utterly transparent. They're not even hiding it anymore. I am disgusted to my very core. Oh... and PS... REVERSE RACISM IS NOT A THING YOU FUCKING MORON!
Me bullets be gone. See ye next week.
Posted on Thursday, November 24th, 2016
The plan was to get up at 7:00am, take care of the cats, get cleaned up, then drive over the mountains to spend Thanksgiving with family.
All of which was scrapped when I checked the weather report for Stevens Pass...
Winter Storm Warning for East Slopes Northern Cascades, WA. Several rounds of snow for the mountains through the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Heavy mountain snow will pummel the Cascades today into Friday morning. Snow accumulations will make travel very hazardous or impossible over mountain passes like Stevens Pass on Highway 2 and east towards Plain, Sherman pass on Highway 20, and Blewett pass on Highway 97. Winter Storm Warning remains in effect until 6 AM PST Friday.
If I had four-wheel drive? I probably would have risked it. But I don't. I don't even have snow tires on. Just some all-weather radials with an old set of chains in the trunk.
And so? Thanksgiving ruined.
Though I did try and be thankful for what I did have: A day home from work.
Thanksgiving breakfast was tacos, because that's all I had to eat. I wasn't supposed to be here, so I never went to the store. They were pretty awesome. Thanksgiving dinner was a plate of butter with some microwaved potatoes...
Jenny and Jake sure liked having me home. They followed me around everywhere all day long. Starting when I took a shower and went to brush my teeth...
Jenny kept running out to the catio, getting cold, running back inside to steal my body heat, then running right back out again...
That's something to be thankful for, I suppose. It's nice to be useful.
Hope your Thanksgiving was equally eventful.
Posted on Saturday, November 26th, 2016
My back door was glass, which meant I couldn't install a pet door so the cats could go out to the catio whenever they wanted. So I saved my pennies and bought a new fiberglass door, then had a cat door installed in it. After a day of training them, Jake and Jenny figured out how to go in and out as the pleased... without my having to leave the door open and lose heat.
I've decided to hold off until Spring to finish up the catio but, in the meanwhile, I think I'm going to try my hand at making my own cat tree. The cats love the carpeted thing I bought, but it's just so darn ugly. Surely there's a way to make something that's fun and functional, but looks more like furniture than a fuzzy monolith?
Something to think about.
In other cat news... I found some wicker baskets that had a fabric liner while I was cleaning out the garage. Jake just chews on them, but Jenny seems to think they are some kind of impenetrable fortress. Whenever she is being chased or wants to feel safe, in she goes...
Kinda funny how that works in her head.
But, then again, most things that cats do are funny in my head.
Posted on Sunday, December 4th, 2016
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!...
for behold! An all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Groot! There can be no greater news on the internet right now than the new teaser trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2...
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 doesn't open until May and I already want to see Guardians of the Galaxy
• Less. Having a mortgage wouldn't be so bad if nothing would ever break down and require expensive repairs. But it does. About every two months. And just when you think everything that has broken down has broken down and been fixed? Along comes something new. Which is why a letter for my lender was cause for excitement...
LETTER: "Congratulations! Your mortgage payment has gone down!"
ME: "No way!"
ME: "NO! WAY!"
LETTER: "YES WAY!"
ME: "Dude, sweet!"
LETTER: "We're deducting $4.15 from your payment starting next month."
ME: "Fuck you, Letter."
• Fixed? I love the HGTV series Fixer Upper. Chip and Joanna's design aesthetic and rapport makes for a great show... especially if you're into home renovation like I am. And while I am able to mentally divide my entertainment personality's personal life from their work... it's really tough to watch the show knowing that they attend a church which would happily push conversion therapy on their four kids should any of them be gay. How can you support that?
Even if the Gaines's don't advocate conversion therapy or aren't opposed to marriage equality... they (assumably) financially support a church that does. They are a part of the segment of society persecuting LGBT persons and, more specifically LGBT youth, just for being who they are. And it's this part of our society which is responsible for the toxicity behind the epidemic of suicides among our gay youth. They listen to the idiotic rhetoric of a church like this and think nobody... including God... will accept them as they are and see no way out. No amount of Texas charm or design sense can compensate for that.
• Our Dolphin. Here it is... the first book out of Thrice Fiction Magazine's Thrice Publishing. It is a wonderful, wonderful novella by Joel Allegretti that I'm incredibly proud to have had a small part in unleashing on the world...
Order a copy for your holiday reading list... or order a dozen for gifts that are sure to be appreciated! Click here to get Our Dolphin at Amazon.
• Crazy. I don't know what's more shocking. That Fake Jake pounded into the catio at a full-on sprint across the back yard... or that Real Jake just sat there at the point of impact and watched it happen without even blinking...
Jenny is still scared of Fake Jake's crazy antics... but Jake is all "meh" about it now.
• DST. Global humiliation, domestic devastation, and the threat of nuclear war would all be worth it if President Trump abolishes clock changes and makes Daylight Savings Time permanent this coming Spring. Just sayin'.
Well, I guess that's it for bullets. Probably. I dunno. Maybe in an hour I'll come back and add ten more.
Posted on Thursday, December 8th, 2016
When traveling for work in winter, I have to take precautions that I usually wouldn't when traveling in not-winter. Primary of which is arriving early and staying late.
You arrive early in case there are weather delays so you will still get to the job on time. You stay late in case work runs late and you don't miss your flight. It's a bummer because it means your travels are extended, but it beats the consequences when things go wrong. The consolation I have is that if the job finishes on-time (ha!) or early (ha! ha!) you can always catch an earlier flight.
Except when you can't.
Which is me today.
I'm done with work so I can fly home tomorrow. This is great news because I had been planning for it all along. The nice thing is that catching an earlier flight, which can be quite expensive for infrequent travelers, isn't such a big deal when you have status with the airline. But all of that means nothing if they can't find a flight to put you on. Since I've got three flights home this time, it just proved too difficult to get all of them lined up within a reasonable time. My best option had me leaving a day earlier, but arriving home only five hours earlier. Nineteen hours stuck in airports? No thank you.
And so now I'm majorly bummed that I can't go home. Usually I'd try to make the best of it, but I just don't feel like going out into the Christmas shopping crowds of Portland or driving anywhere in the snow. Maybe I'll change my mind tomorrow... but, in the meanwhile, it looks like I'm stuck.
< Insert Frowny Face Here >
The first thing I do when I get up each morning is check my security camera footage so I can see what the cats are up to. I have no idea how many other times during the day I check on my cats, but it's a lot. This is both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, I know that Jake and Jenny are still alive and haven't burned the house down. On the other hand, I miss them and am powerless to fix any problems that come up.
Like Jenny seemingly not being able to decide where to sleep last night. Usually, she sleeps with me. But since I'm not there, I have to watch her wander from spot to spot all around the house for hours. Eventually I thought she had settled on a donut bed I leave by the stereo...
But she gave up on that too. Eventually, after more wandering, she headed upstairs. She must have found somewhere to sleep there, because she didn't come back downstairs all night.
And now she doesn't want to come back downstairs at all... even when the pet feeder activates. Jake heard it this morning and came bombing down to eat. Jenny peeks around the stairwell corner at the top, but doesn't come down. I set a motion alert, which texts me 40 minutes later that she's finally coming down. Except she doesn't. She stops at the bottom...
Eventually she turns around and runs back upstairs.
Not knowing what's going on... I scrub back through all the security camera footage. Nothing. Then I check the exterior cameras to see if somebody is outside making noise. Indeed there is. The snow plows are running. And Jenny is apparently scared of the noise they make.
Tonight I checked at feeding time again, and it's the exact same story...
She made it down an extra step, but still runs right back up before she hits the floor. The snowplows weren't running then, so I can only guess she's still scared from this morning.
I'm assuming eventually she'll get so hungry she overcomes her fears and makes it to the feeder.
Until then I'll spend my time being sad that I can't fly home tomorrow.
Posted on Saturday, December 10th, 2016
I didn't have to be at the airport until 12:30, which meant I could wait to pack my suitcase this morning and relax a bit before taking my three flights home.
It also meant that I had time to stop by The Maine Mall for lunch. Which would usually be at Johnny Rockets... but they changed their buns to these small crusty things (even when you ask them to ditch the shitty "healthy wheat" bun that now comes on their veggie burger)... so this time I ate at Qdoba. Never thought that would happen.
Flights were uneventful. Even if I did have a layover at shitty Washington Reagan National Airport, which makes you exit security to change concourses. Landed back home at 12:10, got my suitcase by 12:30, cleaned off my car by 12:45, was at my house by 1:20am.
Where my cats were happy to see me. So happy that I had to distract them with treats so they'd leave me alone long enough to unload the car.
Needless to say I was exhausted and decided to go straight to bed.
Which is where I stepped on this...
It's... a rabbit foot?!
I rush back down to the guest room and, sure enough, this happened...
Okay then. The cats knocked one of my rabbits off the shelf. Sad... but nothing super-glue won't fix.
The question is... how?
I was careful to not have any tall furniture near the shelves that the cats could climb up. The headboard is under the shelves, so they can't be using that. Or can they? Hell if I know. Obviously I don't have security cameras in my guest room... but I'm tempted to put one in there temporarily so I can see what in the hell they're doing in there.
Besides scratching up my new chair.
Welcome home, me.
Posted on Monday, December 12th, 2016
Don't go shovel that driveway just yet, because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Does Whatever a Spider Can! I've always been more a Batman guy than a Spider-Man guy, but Marvel is looking to change that with their first Spidey film, Spider-Man: Homecoming...
I mean... seriously. Marvel seems incapable of fucking up a movie. They respect the source material and give fans exactly what they're dying to see. This is the complete opposite of what DC does, which is rewrite everything that makes the characters great and give fans what Zack Snyder wants to see... which is always a pile of shit. Couldn't be happier to be getting what looks like an amazing Spider-Man movie. The fact that Tony Stark is in there being Tony Stark just makes it too good to be true.
• The Artist Formerly Known As... If you're a Prince fan, GQ has a long, but highly entertaining look at his life from the perspective of people who knew him best. As if that wasn't enough... another genius, Nintendo's Shigeru Miyamoto, was interviewed over at Glixel. You're welcome!
• No Toys for Tots. After coming across this sorry story, I have concluded that it's probably the stupidest fucking thing I've read in a long time. A charity that collects toys for children won't accept toys raised by a tavern because they prayed on it and decided that toys coming from a bar is a bad thing? Who did this idiot pray to? I mean, she did read The Bible and know who Jesus hung out with, right? Yet another case of Faux Christians following in the footsteps of Jesus... just so long as those footsteps don't lead to conflict with their moral superiority and false virtue.
• Can I Be a Lesbian? This had me laughing out loud in the middle of the night at my hotel...
Fortunately, I must not have disturbed my neighbors because nobody beat the door down and strangled me.
• Kitty Homebody. Ever since I got back home in the early AM, the cats have been all over me. When I sat down tonight to work and watch Wedding Crashers, Jake came running in and attached himself to me then fell asleep...
After a bit he ran to get a snack and I thought I was free... but then Jenny came running in and took his place...
Then she ran to use the Litter-Robot and I figured that was the end of it... except Jake came running back to take her place...
Eventually they must have decided I wasn't going anywhere tonight, and went back to life as usual. Until next time. As if I didn't already feel bad enough about having to leave them...
• Paranoia and Smoke Alarms. Just before my trip to Maine, I started getting paranoid about a fire in my garage. That's where my electrical panel is. That's where my furnace is. That's where my whole-home humidifier is. Any of those things could burst into flames and I wouldn't know about it until it burned through the walls and into the house. To set my mind at ease, I ordered another Nest Protect (smart smoke detector) to put in the garage. Now I'm wondering why smoke detectors in garages isn't a thing. Shouldn't they be? Sure it's $100 down the drain, but that's pretty cheap if my electrical panel caught fire while I was in Maine and unaware. Now my house will send me a text if the garage is on fire. So... yay? I suppose now I need to find out how to call a fire into my local fire department so I can actually do something about an alarm when I'm across the country and 9-1-1 won't connect me to the right place.
• A New History for Humanity. I whole-heartedly approve of this calendar. A simple change that adds loads of perspective...
Too many people think that all of humanity didn't begin until Jesus came along. This fixes the problem without completely disrupting everything. Until scientists decide that
• Trump Diplomacy. This pretty much sums it up...
And anybody still calling me "alarmist" for posting end-of-days scenarios around President-Elect Trump's ignorance and stupidity can go read this and then go read this and fuck off now. You'll note that I linked to a FOX "News" story the second time since the people who love Trump and are not taking this shit seriously seem to think that FOX is the only "news" source that matters. Guess we don't have to give a shit about Trump cutting Social Security and Medicare since we're all probably going to be dead by the time he gets around to it. In the meanwhile... this is how Republicans are saving American jobs?
And... the bullets have flown. Until next week then.
Posted on Monday, December 12th, 2016
I don't know that I got sick, per se... but the effects of all day travel just to go through all day work and then cap it off with another bout of all day travel has taken its toll.
This morning when I got to work I had trouble sitting at my desk. It always felt like I was about to fall over. So I caught up as best I could then ran home to sleep. But couldn't actually get to sleep, of course. That would be too easy.
Welcome to my day of doing nothing.
When I've so much to get done that doing nothing is the worst thing I could possibly do.
Great news for the cats though.
Jenny loves playing fetch. She'll grab a toy (her favorite being Pink Mouse) and drop it on me so I'll toss it out. Then she'll go pounce on it with all the fierceness she can muster and bring it right back...
After about 20 minutes I accidentally threw Pink Mouse under the entertainment center where she couldn't get to it. I thought I was too lazy to go get it, but then Jenny started knawing on my wallet...
So I drag myself off the couch, move the furniture, retrieve Pink Mouse, put the furniture back, then give the toy back to Jenny...
Who promptly falls asleep...
Which is exactly what I've been wanting to do all along, the pooper.
Huh. Just noticed something.
Jenny spends a lot of time out in the catio where it's cold... and look at how fluffy her coat is getting! Now I just need to train her to fall asleep across my feet at night.
And, my day of nothing continues...
Posted on Saturday, December 17th, 2016
My cats are weird, wonderful creatures. Which is to say that they are cats.
Personality-wise, they are very different. Jake is a sweet, lovable lump who eats too much and plows through life head-first. Jenny is a sweet, petite bundle of affection who is cautious and calculating. Both are curious to a fault, but Jake is the one who will inevitably let it lead him into trouble.
The most serious Jake will ever get is when he is pooping. It is a grave and somber affair which he gives profound consideration. The least serious Jenny will ever get is waiting for Jake to poop, then run up and smack him in the face right in the middle of it. Which she does often.
But that's not the only time Jenny will plan an attack. Ambushing Jake is her most favorite thing, and she'll happily take the opportunity any time she has the advantage. Like this morning when she was giving herself a bath and noticed Jake laying on the floor chomping on a toy mouse... while facing the other way...
Annnnnd... she pounced on him with happy abandon.
Jake never knew what hit him.
Jenny had a snack and then fell asleep in the window...
Don't worry about Jake though. He somehow manages to muddle through...
Posted on Monday, December 26th, 2016
The first thing I did when I woke up this morning was check the mountain pass reports to find out if I will be able to get home. Much to my surprise, Stevens Pass was bare and wet, though the afternoon forecast was for snow. So I made plans to leave at 11:00, thinking that my drive back would be a piece of cake.
And it would have.
If the hundreds of people also wanting to get back over the mountains weren't all leaving at the same time to beat the snow.
Which meant that even though the roads were perfect, I still had an additional 40 minutes of travel time. Which was crappy, yes... but at least I didn't have to chain up.
And thus ends my last trip of the year.
When I finally got home the cats were ecstatic to see me. I was ecstatic to see a bathroom.
And speaking of cats...
And now? Bed.
"Alexa, play George Michael..."
Posted on Saturday, December 31st, 2016
For those who only read one of my posts each year... or anybody wanting a recap of the past year here at Blogography... this post is for you! As customary, I've jettisoned loads of the usual junk so this entry is "mostly crap" instead of the "total crap" they usually are.
I suppose I should preface this year's entry with a disclaimer that 2016 was, without a doubt, the worst year of my life. The reasons are personal and I can't go into them here, so you'll just have to trust me. Suffice to say that any other year where I thought I was having a bad year only goes to know that I had no clue what a "bad year" really was.
And now I do.
• Had something terrible happen, then went on a blog strike...
• Had something terrible happen, then adopted my Jake and Jenny (two feral rescue kittens) in an attempt to cheer myself up. Pretty much the only awesome thing to happen all year...
• Had something even more terrible happen, but having two amazing kitties to care for kept me from killing myself...
• Had something terrible happen (I turned 50), but was strangely okay with it because: kittens...
• Thought my life was improving, then had something terrible happen, then decided to remodel my guest room so I wouldn't keep dwelling on just how gut-wrenchingly awful things were...
It was a big job, but I had plenty of help...
• Didn't think things could possibly get worse, but then something terrible happened when an eye infection I got years ago in Costa Rica came back to haunt me...
Don't worry, I had round-the-clock care...
• Things went from terrible to tragic, so I bought another camera lens to distract me from the new level of hell I was consigned to...
• Hit rock bottom, but was able to hang on when my kitten's foster parents paid a visit and shared some early photos of my reason for living...
The third kitty was a brother who was adopted before I arrived or I would have adopted all three of them.
• Made it three days into June before my blog broke down. Then something beyond terrible happened and I had to take the rest of the month off from blogging to recover.
• In an effort to escape from my terrible life while I could still function, I went to New Orleans for a concert.
• The trip to New Orleans was nice, but it didn't make my life any better. Something newly terrible happened when I returned and I decided to take a blogging sabbatical because there was nothing left to say.
• Still on sabbatical. Continuing to explore new levels of terrible.
• Still on sabbatical. What was left of my world fell apart when the worst day of my entire life came and went.
• Found myself longing for the good ol' days when my life was merely "terrible" and spent the second half of September wanting to die.
• Still on sabbatical. Spent the month of October trying to find a new "normal" that I could cling to so I could escape the demons that returned after a 25 year hiatus.
• Returned to blogging as a way of clawing my way out of The Pit of Despair for the second time in my life.
• Caught everybody up on the past five months. Starting with my cats, who were my reason for living while absolutely everything in my universe was going to shit...
• Told everybody about building a catio back in September, which allows my kitties to go outside safely...
• Started rethinking not killing myself when Donald Trump was elected President of the United States of America. Ran through the Worst Case Scenario becoming reality.
• Took a much needed trip to San Francisco so I could hang out with one of my bestest friends, who happens to be a rock star...
• Got Tattoo No. 7...
• No, seriously, we are totally and completely fucked.
And there you have it, the worst year of my life. I still don't know how I survived it (but I'm guessing it was the cats).
I'd say that I'm hopeful for a better 2017, since things couldn't possibly get worse than this... but we elected a total fucking lunatic to run the country, so there's no such guarantee.
Best of luck, everybody.