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KITTENS!

Posted on Tuesday, February 16th, 2016

Dave!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)...


Jenny & Jake

Jenny & Jake

Jenny & Jake

Jenny & Jake

Jenny & Jake

Jenny & Jake

Jenny & Jake

   
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.

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Poop

Posted on Thursday, February 18th, 2016

Dave!"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.

Because kittens.

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Setback

Posted on Friday, February 19th, 2016

Dave!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...

Kittens!
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.

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Socializing

Posted on Sunday, February 21st, 2016

Dave!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.

   

KITTENS!

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.

   

KITTENS!

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.

   

KITTENS!

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.

   

KITTENS!

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!

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Biological

Posted on Thursday, February 25th, 2016

Dave!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.

KITTENS!

KITTENS!

Almost.

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Play

Posted on Friday, February 26th, 2016

Dave!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...

   

KITTENS!

   

KITTENS!

   

KITTENS!

   

KITTENS!

   

KITTENS!

   

KITTENS!

So cute!

   
Bit by bit...

   
Bit by bit...

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Photographical

Posted on Thursday, March 3rd, 2016

Dave!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...

   

Jenny!

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...

   

Bullet Sunday 465

Posted on Sunday, March 6th, 2016

Dave!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...

FREE HOUSE! U-HAUL!

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...

VAMPIRE CATS!!!!

VAMPIRE CATS!!!!

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 cat high-fiving Chris Hardwick

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!

   

CAT WEEK 1: History

Posted on Monday, March 21st, 2016

Dave!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 Sits!

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...

Jenny & Jake

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...

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CAT WEEK 2: Adoption

Posted on Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016

Dave!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...

Jenny & Jake

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...

   

KITTENS!

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.

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CAT WEEK 3: Toys

Posted on Wednesday, March 23rd, 2016

Dave!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...

Jake Lion

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 Teaser

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...

Jake Teaser

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 Thrashin' a Toy Mouse

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...

Kittens at Play

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...

Kittens and an iPad

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...

Jake is cowling

Still adorable.

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CAT WEEK 4: Food

Posted on Thursday, March 24th, 2016

Dave!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.

Anyway...

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...

Starving Kittens!

The first thing they get is a bowl of wet food. Which Jake attacks right away...

Hungry Jake!

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...

Jenny Drinks Water!

Though sometimes how she drinks it is a bit... odd...?

Jenny Drinks Water!

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!

Jake Loves Potato Chips!

In an attempt to offer a healthy snacking alternative, I grew some cat grass!

Jenny in the 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.

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CAT WEEK 5: Siblings

Posted on Friday, March 25th, 2016

Dave!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 and Jenny Kittens!

Jake and Jenny Kittens!

Jake and Jenny Kittens!

Jake and Jenny Kittens!

Jake and Jenny Kittens!

Jake and Jenny Kittens!

Jake and Jenny Kittens!

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...

Jake and Jenny Kittens!

As entertaining as the kittens are to me... I'm even happier that they are so entertaining to each other.

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CAT WEEK 6: Caturday

Posted on Saturday, March 26th, 2016

Dave!Wrapping up Cat Week with some random kitty pictures on Caturday...

BASK IN THE ADORABLE!!

Jake and Jenny Kittens!
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.

   
Jake and Jenny Kittens!
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.

   
Jake and Jenny Kittens!
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.

   
Jake and Jenny Kittens!
You would think that this is an invitation to rub her belly. You would be wrong.

   
Jake and Jenny Kittens!
Just when you think that they couldn't possibly do something to be more adorable than they are...

   
Jake and Jenny Kittens!
...they prove you wrong.

   
Jake and Jenny Kittens!
Sleeping is their most favorite pastime. They nap after breakfast, after lunch, and after dinner... then sleep through the night. Thank heavens.

   
Jake and Jenny Kittens!
Compact kittens are the best kittens.

   
Jake and Jenny Kittens!
Jenny's favorite spot is the window sill. She can stare outside for a half-hour or more and not get bored.

   
Jake and Jenny Kittens!
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.

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Bullet Sunday 468

Posted on Sunday, March 27th, 2016

Dave!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 kinda siding with North Korea on this one. If you are so 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 guy 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. I mean, holy crap, this is NORTH KOREA... the entire country is a human rights violation, and their history is replete with examples of even the tiniest offense resulting in harsh punishment. This was no accident that landed him in jail, it was intentional violation of their laws. 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...

Jake and Jenny Kittens!

Jake and Jenny Kittens!

   
• 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!

   

Stuff I Bought Week: Scatmat and Ssscat

Posted on Wednesday, March 30th, 2016

Dave!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...

Scat Mat!

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...

So...

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...

Ssscat!

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.

Oh well.

Hopefully a solution will come along that actually works.

Until then, there's always "NO!"

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Stuff I Bought Week: casa pura Stair Treads

Posted on Thursday, March 31st, 2016

Dave!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.

Anyway...

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...

  • Most important, the "chocolate brown" color looked to be a good match from what I could tell in the photo.
  • There were 15 treads... exactly the number I needed... when most sets only had 13 (I only have to order one set!). As a bonus, you also get a mat!
  • The reviews were really good.
  • They had a "London" design which was rounded to show off more of the wood, which I liked much, much better than big rectangles that covered everything.
  • They were among the cheapest treads available... just $89!... which meant I wouldn't be out too much money if I didn't like them.

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...

   
Jake and Jenny kittens on casa pura stair treads!

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...

   
casa pura stair tread installation.

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.

   

Caturday 1

Posted on Saturday, April 9th, 2016

Dave!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...

Jake and Jenny Kittens!

Jake and Jenny Kittens!

Jake and Jenny Kittens!

Jake and Jenny Kittens!

It's not worth the worry and the risk to me, so I've decided not to let them out.

Kinda.

I'm drawing up plans for a "catio" enclosure so they can get a little taste of what it's like to be outdoors...

Catio Plans!

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...

Jake and Jenny Kittens!

Jake and Jenny Kittens!

Jake and Jenny Kittens!

Yeah. Definitely worth it.

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Mornings

Posted on Monday, April 18th, 2016

Dave!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:

  • 6:50am — iPhone Alarm Goes Off. This is not to wake me up... I've been up since 4:00-4:30... but to remind me that the kitties need to be fed, and I should put away my work and get moving.
  • 6:52am — Bathroom Break. Everybody poops. Even me.
  • 6:57am — Open the Bathroom Door. Once Jake and Jenny hear the toilet flush, they haul their fuzzy little asses up the stairs as fast as they can so they are waiting for me as I open the door. Then I usually get them all hyped up by saying "Who's ready for breakfast? Should we get some breakfast? Come on, let's go get breakfast!" And we'll all go tearing back down the stairs so I can dish out their wet food.
  • 7:00am — Breakfast! Jake devours his bowl. Jenny licks hers... maybe taking a bite or three if she's really hungry. At this point, I usually go back to my bedroom so I can finish up whatever I was working on when the alarm went off.
  • 7:20am — FEED US! Since Jenny doesn't like wet food very much, I always serve her up some dry food a half hour later. Jake, being Jake, will join in eating her dry food and polish off the wet food she didn't eat. Because of that, he's just as excited for 7:30 to come around as she is. Which means they start hanging out on my bed around 7:20 waiting for me to come back down and give them dessert. Many times I've looked up from my computer to see them just laying there staring at me...

Kitties Say FEED US!

Kitties Say FEED US!

  • 7:30am — Crunchy Time! As soon as I notice that 7:30-ish has rolled around, I start getting the cats hyped up... "What time is it? Is it crunchy time? It is! It's crunchy time!" Which has them going out of their minds as they hop around the room and tear downstairs at top speed.

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...

Kitties Say FEED US!

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.

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Suess!

Posted on Friday, April 22nd, 2016

Dave!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...


Dr. Suess cat toys!

   
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!

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Caturday 2

Posted on Saturday, April 30th, 2016

Dave!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...

The Visitor!

WHEN ALL OF A SUDDEN...

The Visitor!

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!

The Visitor!

Note that Jenny didn't move. I'm pretty sure she could take him.

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Behavior

Posted on Monday, May 2nd, 2016

Dave! 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!

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Surgery

Posted on Friday, May 6th, 2016

Dave!Sigh.

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...

Jake Kitty Hugs

He was a little freaked about the appearance of my eye, however...

Dave Eyes

And the reason I knew this is that I looked up once he changed position and saw him doing this with his eye...

Jake Eye Twitch

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...

Jake Eye Twitch

It's nice to have cats to help(?) with the recovery process.

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Caturday 3

Posted on Saturday, May 7th, 2016

Dave!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...

Jake Belly Rubs

He especially likes my mom, and will throw himself in her path to get a belly rub from her...

Jake Belly Rubs

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...

Kitty Window Ledge

Kitty Window Ledge

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...

Kitty Window Ledge

Other than that, they're inseparable as ever...

Kitty Window Ledge

See you next Caturday!

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Fostering!

Posted on Wednesday, May 11th, 2016

Dave!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 4-1/2 months later.

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...

Baby Kitties

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...

Baby Kitties

Baby Kitties

Hopefully little Nick is happy and healthy in his new home.

Anyway...

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.

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Caturday 4

Posted on Saturday, May 14th, 2016

Dave!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...

Caturday Cat!

Caturday Cat!

   
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...

Caturday Cat!

Which she appreciates...

Caturday Cat!

   
They usually sleep on their Kitty Condo Tree, but a couple times a week they sleep on my bed...

Caturday Cat!

   
Jenny's biggest struggle each day is deciding whether or not to ambush her brother...

Caturday Cat!

Caturday Cat!

And... she did.

   
And, oh yeah, the kitty whores in heat are still dropping by...

Caturday Cat!

Caturday Cat!

Jake always seems to enjoy the show.

   
And that wraps up another Caturday!

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Shelf

Posted on Wednesday, May 18th, 2016

Dave!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...

Kitten Shelf

But he finally came around yesterday afternoon...

Kitten Shelf

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.

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Caturday 5

Posted on Saturday, May 21st, 2016

Dave!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...

Kitties!

   
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."

Kitties!

   
Now that Jenny has decided she likes to be petted, she's been running to greet me whenever I return home...

Kitties!

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!

Kitties!

   
And... somebody is reminding me to take a break from blogging...

Kitties!

   
Until next Caturday...

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Toys!

Posted on Tuesday, May 24th, 2016

Dave!So... a really good day to be one of my cats.

Long-time blogging friends Poppy and Dawg sent a Kitty Care Package for Jake and Jenny that came filled with all kinds of stuff they quickly became obsessed with...


Kitty Toys from Poppy and Dawg!

Kitty Toys from Poppy and Dawg!

Kitty Toys from Poppy and Dawg!

Kitty Toys from Poppy and Dawg!

Kitty Toys from Poppy and Dawg!

Kitty Toys from Poppy and Dawg!

Kitty Toys from Poppy and Dawg!

Kitty Toys from Poppy and Dawg!

Kitty Toys from Poppy and Dawg!

Kitty Toys from Poppy and Dawg!

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!

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CATBUTT!

Posted on Thursday, May 26th, 2016

Dave!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...

Jenny the Cat!

Jenny the Cat!

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.

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Caturday 6

Posted on Saturday, May 28th, 2016

Dave!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...


Cat Crazies

Cat Crazies

Cat Crazies

Cat Crazies

   
Pretty much how I wake up every morning...

   

The two kitty whores in heat are still putting on performances for Jake most nights...

Cat Whores in Heat

Cat Whores in Heat

I wonder how long cats stay in heat? This is getting a little crazy.

   
Until next Caturday...

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Tribute

Posted on Thursday, June 2nd, 2016

Dave!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...

Jenny and Tan Mouse

She's so adorable when she's demanding food.

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Bullet Sunday 478

Posted on Sunday, July 3rd, 2016

Dave!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.

Bad Monkey Lovs Milk

   
• 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 Creamy Asiago Cheese Spread

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...

Cookey 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?...

Shopping Cart

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...

Jake Sleeping Like Only Jake Can

Jenny Being Her Adorable Self

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)...

The Horror That Is S v B

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...

Jupiter's Legacy 2 Cover

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.

   

Cat Catchup: Kittens

Posted on Wednesday, November 2nd, 2016

Dave!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...

Jenny!

Jenny!

And Jake... well... Jake is still Jake, just a little more grown up...

Jake!

Jake!

He still spends a lot of time laying spread eagle for some reason...

Jake!

Jake!

The siblings still adore each other...

Jake and Jenny!

And do most everything together...

Jake and Jenny!

Jake and Jenny!

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...

Jake!

Jenny!

Jake!

Jenny!

Jake!

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.

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Cat Catchup: Catio

Posted on Thursday, November 3rd, 2016

Dave!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..

Catio Building

Catio Plans!

Catio Building

After a few days, it was time to unleash the kittehs!

Catio Building

Catio Building

Catio Building

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...

Fake Jake Terror!

Fake Jake Terror!

Fake Jake Terror!

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...

Catio Building

Catio Building

Catio Building

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...

Catio Building

Catio Building

The finished shelving...

Catio Building

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...

Catio Building

Catio Building

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!

And About Those Cubs...

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!

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Cat Catchup: Automated

Posted on Friday, November 4th, 2016

Dave!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.

Jenny and Litter Robot

   
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?

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Caturday 7

Posted on Saturday, November 12th, 2016

Dave!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...

The cats have been in the pantry...

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?

Because cats.

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.

   

Bullet Sunday 482

Posted on Monday, November 21st, 2016

Dave!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...

Mountain Snow Line.

Mountain Snow Line.

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.

   

Thanks for Nothing? Everything?

Posted on Thursday, November 24th, 2016

Dave!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...

Thanksgiving Dinner.

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...

Content Jake in the Sink.

Content Jake in the Sink.

Jenny kept running out to the catio, getting cold, running back inside to steal my body heat, then running right back out again...

Content Jenny.

That's something to be thankful for, I suppose. It's nice to be useful.

Hope your Thanksgiving was equally eventful.

   

Caturday 8

Posted on Saturday, November 26th, 2016

Dave!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...

Janny In the Basket.

Kinda funny how that works in her head.

But, then again, most things that cats do are funny in my head.

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Bullet Sunday 484

Posted on Sunday, December 4th, 2016

Dave!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 Vol. 3...

   
• 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!"
LETTER: "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."

...or not.

   
• 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?

Fixer Upper.

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...

Fixer Upper.

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.

   

Ruined in a Day

Posted on Thursday, December 8th, 2016

Dave!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 >

Meanwhile, back at home...

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...

Jenny in Bed

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...

Jenny on the Stairs

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...

Jenny on the Stairs

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.

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Home and the Unlucky Rabbit’s Foot

Posted on Saturday, December 10th, 2016

Dave!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.

Anyway...

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's foot?

It's... a rabbit foot?!

I rush back down to the guest room and, sure enough, this happened...

Dead vintage rabbit.

Okay then. The cats knocked one of my rabbits off the shelf. Sad... but nothing super-glue won't fix.

The question is... how?

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.

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Bullet Sunday 485

Posted on Monday, December 12th, 2016

Dave!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...

Jake Asleep On Me

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...

Jenny While I Work

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...

Jenny While I Work

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...

Trump Being Trump

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.

   

Nothing, and All That It Entails

Posted on Monday, December 12th, 2016

Dave!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...

Jenny Fetch

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...

Jenny Fetch

Message received.

So I drag myself off the couch, move the furniture, retrieve Pink Mouse, put the furniture back, then give the toy back to Jenny...

Jenny Fetch

Who promptly falls asleep...

Jenny Fetch

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...

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Caturday 9

Posted on Saturday, December 17th, 2016

Dave!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...

Jenny Ambush

Jenny Ambush

Jenny Ambush

Jenny Ambush

Jenny Ambush

Jenny Ambush

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...

Jenny Ambush

Don't worry about Jake though. He somehow manages to muddle through...

Jake Naps

Happy Caturday!

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Traffic Ruins Everything

Posted on Monday, December 26th, 2016

Dave!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..."

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Dave16

Posted on Saturday, December 31st, 2016

Dave!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.

   


JANUARY

• Had something terrible happen, then went on a blog strike...

Dave On Strike!

   


FEBRUARY

• 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...

Jenny & Jake

Kittens!

   

• Had something even more terrible happen, but having two amazing kitties to care for kept me from killing myself...

KITTENS!

KITTENS!

KITTENS!

   


MARCH

• Terrible continued to happen, so I bought a new camera and a new lens to distract myself from the shambles my life was quickly becoming...

Sony 90mm MACRO

Sony 90mm MACRO

   

• Had something terrible happen (I turned 50), but was strangely okay with it because: kittens...

Jake and Jenny Kittens!

   


APRIL

• 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...

Guest Room Remodel Project

It was a big job, but I had plenty of help...

Guest Room Remodel Project

   


MAY

• 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...

Dave Eyes

Don't worry, I had round-the-clock care...

Jake Kitty Hugs

   

• 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...

Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8

   

• 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...

Baby Kitties

The third kitty was a brother who was adopted before I arrived or I would have adopted all three of them.

   


JUNE

• 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.

   


JULY

• 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.

   


AUGUST

• Still on sabbatical. Continuing to explore new levels of terrible.

   


SEPTEMBER

• 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.

   


OCTOBER

• 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.

   


NOVEMBER

• 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...

Jake!

Jenny!

   

• Told everybody about building a catio back in September, which allows my kitties to go outside safely...

Catio Building

Catio Building

   

• 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...

Ace Fontana Rocks the Crowd with Mustache Harbor.

   

• Got Tattoo No. 7...

Dave Deconstructed Buddha on Lotus with Om Tattoo.

   


DECEMBER

We are all fucked.

• No, seriously, we are totally and completely fucked.

Went to Maine for work.

Cold in Portland, Maine

   


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.

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Caturday 10

Posted on Saturday, January 7th, 2017

Dave!Just what you were hoping for... another entry about my cats!

This time of year that's about all that's happening for me. And so...

This is handsome Jake when he's laying on your lap being petted...

Happy Jake Getting Petted

Here is what happens when you stop petting him so you can take a picture...

Mad Jake Not Getting Petted

If he had a knife... he'd cut a bitch for sure. Which is why I'll go back to petting and photographing at the same time...

Jake Snuggling Up for TV Time

And I guess I should stop working when Jake wants to be petted. It never works out anyway...

Jake Invades My Laptop

Jake can't help but be irritating. The minute I leave the house, he's all over the kitchen... the one place he's not supposed to go. I finally installed an alarm that sounds if I'm out of the house and there's movement in the kitchen. It works great. Here's the security cameras catching Jake two seconds before the alarm starts blaring...

Jake Snuggling Up for TV Time

I'd post a photo of him while the alarm sounds, but it's just a blur as he high-tails it out of the kitchen.

Jake isn't just irritating to me... he's also irritating to his sister. A while ago she brought up Jake's stuffed lion toy as her morning tribute. Jake was upset about this, and threw himself down next to it. Jenny, not dissuaded at all, snatched the lion and ran back downstairs with it. Jake, of course, tore off after her. A few minutes later, Jenny came sulking back, then threw herself on the window perch to pout...

Jenny Pouting

I didn't know what was bugging her until Jake came back up with his toy lion in his mouth. Apparently he snatched it back...

Jake Gets His Lion Back

As for Jenny... she's still as adorable as ever. When not pummeling her brother for irritating her, she's been spending a lot of time out in the catio...

Jenny in a Cold Catio

She's also taken to hogging the blankets on my bed. I started rolling them back so she wouldn't lay in the middle, preventing me from being able to get in. So now she just lays on the roll of blankets...

Jenny Steals My Blankets

Every morning Jenny drags toys upstairs as a tribute in exchange for breakfast. Or at least I think that's what she's doing. And now she's going overboard with it... bringing up an abundance of toys. I think she's trying to build an altar to the cat-god Bast.

And every morning I kick all the toys back downstairs so she has something to do the following morning.

Except a couple times now, she's having none of it. She barricades the steps so I can't kick the toys anywhere...

Jenny Steals My Blankets

Typical.

And now I suppose it's time to go to bed.

Assuming the cats will even let me in my bed.

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Reward and Punishment, Carrot and Stick

Posted on Thursday, January 12th, 2017

Dave!Tonight one of my worst fears nearly came true.

I went out the front door to drag the trash can from my driveway to my house. After I finished, I went back to open the screen door and noticed that I had left the front door behind it slightly ajar. For some reason I glanced down before opening the screen door and saw... Jake. I pounded on the glass to scare him the hell out of the kitchen before going inside. And then broke out into a cold sweat when I realized that, had I not seen him, it's likely he would have darted outside. The little bastard.

I have done everything I can think of to keep the cats out of the kitchen for just this reason. I even bought "scat mats" to discourage them from stepping foot inside. Touch the mat, and they get an electric shock. That worked for all of two days. On day three, they just started jumping over it...


ZOMG! MY CATS WERE SO ADORABLE WHEN THEY WERE LITTLE!

Eventually they learned that I would yell at them if I caught them in the kitchen... so they started only doing it at night when I was asleep. After I realized what was happening, I had my security system alert me if there was motion in the kitchen after I go upstairs for the night.

Eventually they learned that even if I wasn't in the room, I could still yell at them if they went into the kitchen if I were home... so they started only doing it when I was away at work. After I realized what was happening, I bought an alarm that would sound if there was motion in the kitchen when I'm away from home.

Eventually they learned that even if I wasn't in the room and wasn't home, there was still punishment for going into the kitchen... SO NOW THEY ARE DOING IT WHEN I AM HOME SO THE ALARM DOESN'T SOUND, OUTSIDE SO I CAN'T SEE THEM, AND DOWNSTAIRS SO I AM NOT ALERTED?!? I mean, come on... exactly how many contingencies do I have to plan for before all bases are covered?

Living with cats is enough to drive one insane.

Especially since the little fuckers still pretend to respect the boundaries that have been set for them. When I'm getting them breakfast in the morning, they wouldn't dream of stepping foot into the kitchen...

Jake and Jenny Won't Enter The Kitchen

But there's no question that they are planning their next kitchen break-in. Conditioning by reward and punishment is never cut and dry where cats are concerned.

Also not in question? How Trump is going to react in any given situation.

If you say or do something which displeases future Lord President Trump, you get the stick...

CNN is in a total meltdown with their FAKE NEWS because their ratings are taking since election and their credibility will soon be gone!

If you say or do something which pleases future Lord President Trump, you get the carrot...

Thank you to Linda Bean of L.L. Bean for your great support and courage. People will support you even more now. Buy L.L. Bean

Never mind that there are plenty of American companies in competition with LL Bean who have done nothing to deserve LL Bean getting preferential treatment and free advertising from their soon-to-be-president. But they didn't donate enough money to Trump to merit such treatment, so tough luck, I guess. Maybe if Lands' End were to put Trump's face on the cover of their next catalog proclaiming him "The Best President Ever!" they too will have Trump telling everybody to buy their stuff.

Which is a disgusting abuse of power by the president, but not entirely unexpected.

I live with cats. Nothing is unexpected to me.

   

Caturday 11

Posted on Saturday, January 14th, 2017

Dave!For about a month now, I have been turning the thermostat down in order to save money on my electricity. Heating is by far the priciest contributor to my bill, so I thought it was worth a shot. I never minded adding a couple layers to stay warm... but eventually couldn't take having cold fingers while working, so I relented and went back to a more sane thermostat setting.

The cats never seemed to care one way or another about the lower temperature. Them having fur coats and all. But they don't have to worry about their fingers getting cold while they type.

They don't do much typing on their iPad.

I was reminded of this when I found an old memory card and ran across some photos I took of Jake and Jenny when they were kittens. My favorites being them goofing around on a video game made for cats...

Jake and Jenny Kittens

Jake and Jenny Kittens

Jake and Jenny Kittens

Jenny is an all or nothing kind of gamer.

Jake would rather sit around being handsome than play games...

Jake and Jenny Kittens

Some things never change.

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YOU HAVE BAD INFORMATION!

Posted on Thursday, January 19th, 2017

Dave!

I've been online since... well... before the internet was a thing, really. Back when it was all bulletin boards and CompuServe and modem-to-modem and stuff like that. In oh so many ways, things have changed radically from those early days. But not everything. Some things haven't changed one damn bit.

Here is how online forums have worked since the dawn of time...

Poster: I am a bit confused about something and would appreciate people's experiences and opinions on this matter.
   
Me: Here is my opinion and my experience from having this opinion.
   
Commenter: YOU ARE WRONG! YOU HAVE BAD INFORMATION! GO FUCK YOURSELF!

For a goodly chunk of people, it's never about presenting their own opinions and experiences... it's all about attacking people who have opinions and experiences that differ from theirs.

Responding to some topics is more likely to invite an attack than others... like... say... "What's the best brand of mobile phone, iPhone or Android?"

Another example? As I found out last night, coming out against declawing cats is a topic that invites all kinds of attacks...

Jake!

My opinion on declawing cats is pretty cut and dry... you just don't fucking do it. It's not like cutting your nails, it's like removing the entire tip of your finger down to the first knuckle. And if you're okay with doing that to a kitten, then you probably shouldn't have a cat. I would let my cats scratch the shit out of everything I own and still never consider maiming them like that.

Or...

I'd buy a shitload of scratching posts and cardboard scratchers, put them next to everyplace that my cats want to scratch so they have a more pleasing alternative, cover them with catnip to make them more attractive, put sheets of double-stick shelf-paper on things I want scratch-free to make them less attractive, then slowly remove half of the scratching alternatives once I figure out the ones they prefer.

Time consuming and expensive? Yes.

But it worked. My cats have their claws and me and my furniture are still in one piece.

Though some of my IKEA is sporting scratch marks from the training period. Oh well. Small price to pay.

Of course, there are people who have different opinions. And they are not afraid to attack you because of it. They call you names. They tell you that you're attributing human feelings to an animal. Provide "evidence" that declawing is not inhumane. Berate you for trying to make everybody hate them because they support declawing. Etc. Etc. Etc.

But whatevs.

All I did was provide my opinion and relate my experience, as requested. I don't really give a shit if people want to attack me for it. That's the risk you take.

I'm used to it. I have a blog.

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Caturday 12

Posted on Saturday, January 21st, 2017

Dave!We've hit a bout of above-freezing weather this week, which has the cats in and out of the catio all day and night. Especially Jenny, who just loves ripping it up out there. This has me forward to Spring when I'll start working on Catio: Phase Two, which will add even more cat-tastic fun! Though I'll probably be looking at installing gutters first, since the guy I hired never showed up and there's water everywhere.

I think the wet floor is why Jake would rather hang out with me on the couch...

Handsome Jake!

Jake Snuggler!

Jake Snuggler!

Not that Jenny spends all her time outside. She likes to snuggle up from time to time too...

Mopey Jenny!

Or sit around watching television...

Jenny Watches TV!

Also this week... I've started bribing them to spend time in the new cat carriers I bought for their vet visit next month...

Jake & Jenny Crate Training!

Not something I'm looking forward to. At all.

I'm pretty sure the cats won't be thrilled with the prospect either.

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The Cats of YouTube

Posted on Tuesday, January 24th, 2017

Dave!Today was a horrific day for the country in so many ways. I cannot fathom what it's going to be like after four years.

As if that weren't bad enough, I woke up to an idiopathic angioedema attack (which causes random swelling of random places like my tongue, throat, face, hands, or feet). Fortunately, it was just my right foot this time, which is painful and inconvenient... but not life-threatening like other areas can be. I took one of my massive antihistamine pills and hung out until I could put on shoes, then went to work knowing that it wouldn't last. Angioedema fatigue on top of antihistamines is a recipe for falling asleep at your desk.

I expected to head home at noon, but lasted until 2:30. Go me.

After napping for a few hours, I awoke to find that my foot had ballooned back up. So much for some desperately-needed vacuuming.

Which was okay with the cats. Especially Jake, who snuggled up to watch YouTube cat videos for a couple hours...

Jake Loves YouTube!

He can't get enough of those "funniest cats" compilations.

Jake has always been the more affectionate cat... but he's really been ramping it up this past week. He's crawling around my legs whenever I'm standing still. And he's all over me the minute I sit down. I don't know what it's all about, but I don't mind the company. Jenny still likes to sleep next to me on my bed and cry for the occasional cuddle. I guess that's enough for her.

And now... time to take another massive antihistamine pill and hope that something else doesn't decide to go all angioedema on me in the middle of the night. Especially not my tongue or throat... for which I keep an Epi-Pen on my nightstand, just in case.

Though waking up alive in America ain't what it used to be, so who knows if I'll actually bother to reach for it.

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Jake 25

Posted on Wednesday, January 25th, 2017

Dave!Ain't nothin' going on but the cats.

It's Jake!

   

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Caturday 13

Posted on Saturday, January 28th, 2017

Dave!A woman once called my cats "ordinary" after I posted a photo of them when they were impossibly adorable kittens. I'm assuming she was referring to the fact that they were "merely" American shorthair cats, and exceedingly common. Unlike the three Persians that graced her profile.

It was kind of an odd reaction, because I never said anything about them being "extraordinary." I think she was probably just jealous that so many people commented that they were cute.

I asked her if her precious Persians could solve quadratic equations, because MY CATS FUCKING COULD! She never commented back.

Anyway...

This is not my week. First The United States of America ends up in the shitter and now my cats won't let me dry my washing! Jenny loves the clothes dryer. I can never get my clothes out fast enough because she hears the buzzer and immediately runs to the laundry room. Oooh... nice, warm clothes...

Cats in the Clothes Dryer

Once I manage to get my clothes out, Jake decides to hop in too. It'll be at least 15 minutes before I can put the next load in now. But... awwww... look how Jake has his arm around Jenny!

Cats in the Clothes Dryer

Jake sure has grown up to be a big boy!

Speaking of Jake... all the photos I've been posting lately have been on him hanging out with me watching TV. But Jenny does that too...

Jenny TV Watcher

Jenny TV Watcher

The difference being that when Jenny sees something that upsets her on the television, she will run up and smack it. For example, here she is about to smack a 5ive Gum commercial...

Jenny TV Watcher

Other times she will run up just to see what's going on in the world...

Jenny TV Watcher

Smacking my television is a bit upsetting, but she's always really gentle about it, so I don't say anything. When it comes to cats, you have to pick your battles. So far as Jenny goes, she pretty much behaves all the time, and I'd like to encourage that.

Jake, on the other hand?

Well... when he's not going places he shouldn't go (like the kitchen) and getting into things he shouldn't get into (like the water fountain reservoir)... he's doing things he shouldn't do.

Like smacking pictures on the wall. Which he does every chance he gets for whatever reason.

In most cases, I just remove or move the picture. But there is one picture that I can't really move... my original Pulp Fiction poster. It hangs in the stairwell below the banister, and you can only see it going down the stairs. Jake likes to lay on the banister and smack at it. Until I admonish him, at which time he'll sit there pretending he's just innocently looking at it...

Jake Smacker

You can see that he's made it all crooked.

Eventually I can't take how adorable he is and call him over for petting, which he loves...

Jake Smacker

AWWWWWWW! What extraordinary cats I have!

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Caturday 14

Posted on Saturday, February 4th, 2017

Dave!My cleaning routine is fairly basic. I divide the house into sections, tackle a section each morning... then vacuum on Saturday... and finally handle any needed repairs or remaining cleaning on Sunday. Simple, really. Except not really. BECAUSE CAT HAIR! GAAAAAHHHH! Cat hair goes beyond dusting and cleaning because it gets into places that require you to tear apart your home to get to. And so I do this on the first Saturday of every month. Which is today. This morning, in fact. Which means my house right now is the cleanest it will be for another month. It's been completely ripped apart with all furniture moved and every crevice vacuumed out.

And then... just as I was sitting down to type this... a clump of cat hair goes floating past the window.

HOW DOES THIS HAPPEN?!? WHERE WAS IT HIDING? WHY, LORD... WHYYYYY?!?

It's interesting how my cat's behavior is ever-changing.

As an example, I have a water fountain that I bought for Spanky to try and keep him from meowing for the bathroom faucet. I've had it out for Jake and Jenny since day one. But, unlike Spanky, they never drank from the water spout... they just lapped from the bowl at the bottom...

Kitty Fountain!

Then today I noticed that Jake has started drinking from the water spout instead of the bowl, just like Spanky did. Jenny looks like she's trying to do that, but she goes in sideways and gets more on her face than in her mouth. Oh well. I'm sure she'll get it eventually.

When it comes to ordering pet food and supplies, I bounce between Petco, Amazon, and Chewy. Chewy was recommended by friends, and they've got the best prices on most things, so that's where most of my stuff comes from now. Especially food. You can tell when my bi-monthly shipment arrives, because the cat cupboard is full-up...

Cat Food!

Cat Food!

If there's one place in my house that's organized, it's the cat cupboard.

And then...

STEP ONE: Sniff at the box!

Cat in a Box!

STEP TWO: Step into the box!

Cat in a Box!

STEP THREE: Get in that box!

Cat in a Box!

And that's the way we do it...
It's a cat in a box!

At least they're taking turns...

Cat in a Box!

Cat in a Box!

Cat in a box, yeeeaaaaah!

And now, in security camera theater...

Listen to this and tell me that Fake Jake isn't possessed by Satan! It starts out mournful, but then goes full-on crazy. Note that when Fake Jake smashed into the catio fencing, Jenny ran inside. BUT THEN MY LITTLE TROOPER WENT RIGHT BACK OUT AGAIN! And... can anybody tell if Real Jake is growling back at Fake Jake? It kinda sounds to me like he is!

I have two sets of security cameras. One has video history, the other does not, and only stores a few clips at a time when it notices motion. I had an extra clip camera, so I decided to put it in the guest room, which is where the cats are always getting into trouble. A couple nights ago I heard a crash from the guest room while I was on the phone. When I got off the phone, I go running in and see this...

Cats on a bed!

I check the clip camera and see this waiting for me...

Cats on a bed!

Turns out Jake knocked another rabbit off the shelf. I'd be mad, but he's been playing Jungle Panther Cat lately, and he's too cute to be mad at...

Cats on a bed!

Alrighty then... until next Caturday...

Cute Jake!

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Fake Jake and Curiosity

Posted on Wednesday, February 15th, 2017

Dave!You might remember Fake Jake... the cat who looks a little bit like Jake, which resulted in my brother accidentally bringing him in while housesitting because he thought Real Jake managed to get out. He's also the cat that has been routinely terrorizing my cats when they're out in the catio... though they aren't so scared of him now that they realize he can't get in.

Anyway...

Fake Jake has learned my daily routine, which makes for some interesting times.

In the evenings, he knows what time I get home and will wait for the garage door to open so he can dash in before my car rolls up. This means I have to walk him out before closing the garage door so he doesn't get trapped... or, even worse... follow me into the house.

In the mornings, he knows what time I leave and will wait for the garage door to open so he can dash in after my car rolls out. This means I have to get out of my car, walk him outside, then "distract" him with some petting until the garage door closes...

Fake Jake Mornings

Fake Jake Mornings

He really is a sweet cat... even if he doesn't get along with my cats very well. And, despite living outdoors (even when it's freezing cold out) Fake Jake seems to be a happy, healthy kitty.

Probably a good thing my cats don't get along with Fake Jake... I'd be sorely tempted to steal him.

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The Veterinary Clinic Adventure

Posted on Thursday, February 16th, 2017

Dave!This is a long one, so strap yourself in.

When I adopted my cats one year ago today, I was supposed to take them back to the vet in six weeks as follow-up for their spay/neuter surgeries and to get a booster for a shot they had just gotten. It was never going to happen. As feral rescues, they were still hiding under the couch most of the time at six weeks. I called the vet and was told that since they were indoor cats they could probably get away with waiting for their annual check-up in a year.

Which was today.

This was something I absolutely did not want to do. In preparation I had read several stories from people who had said that their cats became hostile towards each other after their first visit. Something about the vet smell screwing them up or whatever. Jake and Jenny are so sweet to each other that this would kill me, so I was about as nervous as I've ever been. My first time having sex was not nearly as nerve-wracking as this. Needless to say, I did not get any sleep last night.

And then, before I knew it, it was time to go.

Months ago I bought new pet carriers that had doors on the top. I had numerous people tell me that it was the best, least traumatic way of loading your cat for transport.

Thank heavens I did.

I had been training them to go into the carriers for the past several weeks by bribing them with treats. It never failed. Until today of course. Jake went right in. Jenny refused for some reason.

My whole plan was to lock Jenny in first, because she was the one I was most worried about getting to stay in the box. So I grabbed her, with the intent of dropping her through the top of her carrier. She put up a fight, but I got her in on the third try. The commotion agitated Jake, but I was able to shove him in his carrier before he could back all the way out of the box. I quickly locked all the doors, sprayed a shot of Feliway to calm them down, and... voíla... two cats, ready for transport...

Cats in Carriers

At first, they were quite calm about the situation. Yes, they were trying to open the doors and get out, but they were more curious than upset about their predicament. After giving them a few minutes, I hauled them out to the car. I had put a 2x4 in the back seat so they wouldn't be at an angle, then faced the doors towards each other so they could see they weren't alone.

Two minutes after pulling out of the garage, I honestly thought I was the luckiest person alive. My cats were still calm and collected. This was going to be a piece of cake!

Three minutes after pulling out of my garage, Jenny started crying. Seconds later, Jake had joined in. Guess I wasn't going to be so lucky after all.

But the real drama began once I hit the highway. Jake started yowling. Then he was thrashing in the carrier so violently that I was worried he was going to hurt himself. Jenny went catatonic and just laid in her carrier frozen in terror.

Eventually Jake calmed down, but still went into howling fits from time to time. Jenny was in some kind of shock and didn't make a peep.

22 minutes after leaving my house, I pulled into the veterinary clinic. It felt a lot longer than 22 minutes.

When I got out to check on the kitties, I noticed Jake was panting hard and his bedding was flipped on its side. On top of that, his nose was scraped up, the poor guy. His efforts to escape had him in a sorry state. But by the time I had checked in and came back out to get him, he was calm again.

The nurse weighed and took Jake's temperature first. He took it like a champ, then went exploring. Jenny had to be dragged out of her carrier, but managed to be weighed/temperatured without too much of a struggle.

Jenny Hides

The nurse left, then the adventure really began as we waited for the doctor. Jenny ran to hide immediately. First trying to hide under the paper towels...

Jenny Hides

But eventually finding a much better spot...

Jenny Hides

Jenny Hides

Jenny Hides

Jenny Hides

She would stay there until forced to leave.

When the doctor came in, he let Jenny be and took a look at Jake first. The good news is that Jake is in perfect health... but, not surprisingly, could stand to lose 3 or 4 pounds. While I distracted Jakey-Bear with head rubs, he got the vaccinations he needed and didn't even flinch. Then he tried to escape by jumping to the TOP SHELF of the cupboard, and failed miserably. Lucky for him, the doctor had quick hands and caught him before he hit the sink. "Wow. That was pretty good for a cat his size! If he was four pounds lighter he would have made it!"

For safety's sake, we loaded Jake back into his carrier.

Then it was Jenny's turn.

Bless him, the doctor was really sweet in trying to calm her down and make her comfortable. He even let her stay put for the first half of her exam...

Jenny Exam

He finally had to pull her down to give her vaccinations. It wasn't too bad... though I did have to hold her down because she was just not into being exposed in the open like that. The doctor said "you have beautiful cats," and then... $200 later... it was over.

Jake started yowling a bit as we were half-way home, but he wasn't thrashing around hurting himself this time. Jenny never made a peep, but I think she was just exhausted and not catatonic again.

When we got home, Jenny immediately ran upstairs. Jake started walking around the room smelling everything.

Eventually Jenny came downstairs to forgive me for such a betrayal...

Jenny Petting

Jenny Petting

Jenny usually likes gentle petting. But the harder I scrubbed her, the more she liked it. This left her looking a mess, but I think it helped get the vet smell off of her, which I'm guessing was the goal...

Jenny Scubbing

After twenty minutes or so, Jenny hopped off so Jake could have his turn. He was still pretty freaked out...

Jake Petting

But calmed down after five minutes or so...

Jake Petting

So... probably more traumatic for me than them, all things considered. Or so I'm guessing. What I do know is that =knock wood= I am so very glad I won't have a vet visit for another year...

Jake & Jenny Petting

In the meanwhile... all is well...

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Caturday 15

Posted on Saturday, February 18th, 2017

Dave!It's a lazy Saturday.

Which is fine for the cats, but I've got stuff to do. Which would be fine except the cats are lazing all over me as I try to get my work done...

Lazy Kitties

Or begging for attention...

Lazy Kitties

Eventually they decided the floor next to me was close enough...

Lazy Kitties

And now? Back to work for me...

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Caturday 16

Posted on Saturday, February 25th, 2017

Dave!My life with cats.


Kitties

Kitty Toy

Kitties

Kitties

   

Which is probably better than my life without cats, I'm guessing.

   

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Mini Fake Jake

Posted on Monday, February 27th, 2017

Dave!And so Fake Jake has a new friend.

Kinda.

When I opened the garage this morning, it was two cats I found waiting for me. Introducing... MINI FAKE JAKE!!

Mini Fake Jake!

Mini Fake Jake likes to follow Fake Jake around, which Fake Jake finds very irritating. Poor Mini Fake Jake is constantly being swatted away...

Mini Fake Jake!

Mini Fake Jake!

Mini Fake Jake is shy, but completely adorable.

And now I have to chase two cats out of my filthy garage each morning...

Mini Fake Jake!

I sure hope that Mini Fake Jake has a home to get back to. It's still fairly cold at night.

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City of Angels

Posted on Tuesday, February 28th, 2017

Dave!And so here I am back in California for another quick work trip. Though, unlike my previous trip to San Diego which was a breezy nine hours, I'm sticking around Los Angeles for a couple extra days to decompress a bit. I haven't had a vacation in over a year, so it's the least I can do.

The good news is that the weather is supposed to be beautiful for the length of my stay. Given the flood of rains that have been pelting SoCal, that's a pleasant surprise.

The bad news is that I couldn't fly out yesterday, so I had to take an early morning flight to make my meeting...

        "Alexa? Set an alarm for 3:30am."

        "I've set an alarm for 3:30am."

        "Alexa? Kill me now."

I don't sleep very well these days, but I do like laying around in bed. Even if I'm working in bed. Having to drag my sorry ass out of bed at such a heinous hour makes me stabby.

Just ask my cats.

Not that they're happy about it either.

Jenny brings me toys every morning as some kind of tribute. I think that she thinks she has to bring me stuff so I'll get up and feed her. Some mornings she brings one toy... other times she'll bring a half-dozen. The hungrier she is, the more she seems to bring.

This morning when I got up at 3:30 to take a shower, Jenny flew into a panic and ran downstairs to start dragging toys up to me. Since I wasn't in my bedroom, she was confused as to what she should do, so she started making a pile in the upstairs hallway...

Kitties

Poor thing probably thinks she overslept!

Though my cats definitely have a better sense of time than I do, so who knows what goes through her fuzzy little head.

Anyway...

After having made sure that the Litter-Robot was emptied, the Feed-And-Go was filled, the television was turned on with the brightness lowered, and the extra litter boxes were set out, I was off to the airport.

Two flights later, and I was back in L.A.

A city for which I have mixed feelings.

Way back in the day, I worked on a project here over seven months. It was nice money, but having to fly back and forth every other week was tough. Even tougher was having to deal with the business behind showbusiness, which was awful to a mentally-debilitating extreme. Turns out I just wasn't cut out for the Hollywood lifestyle... nice as it was to live it for a little while.

But hey... after work I get to go to Disneyland, so there's that.

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Those Darn Cats and a Farewell to Disney

Posted on Friday, March 3rd, 2017

Dave!Last night at a wonderful early birthday dinner with friends, I had told them how proud I was that I finally managed to get Jake and Jenny trained to not jump on the kitchen counters. Yes, Jake still wanders into the kitchen from time to time but, thanks to sticky mats, his days of climbing over my kitchen counters was over.

And then... less than an hour after getting back to the hotel... I get a motion alert on my iPhone that there's movement in the kitchen. A quick check of the security cameras and, sure enough...

Darn Cats!

Darn Cats!

I rewound the footage to see what made Jake suddenly revolt, and was surprised to see that it was actually Jenny who was the instigator. You can see her beady little eyes reflecting in the dark on the refrigerator return before she makes a spectacular leap across to the kitchen counter...

Darn Cats!

Darn Cats!

Jake hopped up a minute later...

Darn Cats!

Darn Cats!

I thought Jenny had hopped back down, but nope... she was over digging in the sink...

Darn Cats!

Darn Cats!

Eventually I started talking to them from the speaker on the security camera, which was all kinds of confusing for them as they started looking around trying to find out where I was. Jake seemed to think I was on the ceiling, but Jenny seemed to figure it out eventually...

Darn Cats!

Darn Cats!

What's weird is that A) The motion alarm did go off, which usually scares them away, so apparently they are immune to that now, and B) My yelling at them to get off the counters through the camera speaker was equally ineffective. Eventually I rang the doorbell, which finally did the trick.

Guess I need to figure out how to tie the motion detectors to the doorbell when I get home.

It also looks like I will be disinfecting my kitchen counters when I get home.

Blargh.

   
I was pretty much Disney-ed out half-way through yesterday. But the hotel kicks me out in an hour... my ride to the airport isn't here until 3:30... and I have another day left on my park ticket... so I guess I'm going back to Disneyland again today. Oh well. There are certainly worse ways to spend an afternoon.

Still... vacation goals achieved...

  • Ate lunch at Earl of Sandwich daily.
  • Ate a Dole Whip Float from the Tiki Juice Bar in Adventureland.
  • Ate "The Grey Stuff" and Gaston's Brew at The Red Rose Taverne restaurant.
  • Ate beignets at Jazz Kitchen Express in Downtown Disney.
  • Didn't kill anybody.
  • Rode all my favorite attractions (except Pirates and Tower, which were closed).

Until next time, Disneyland.

   

Caturday 17

Posted on Saturday, March 4th, 2017

Dave!Traveling when you've got pets back home is the worst.

Not only are you missing your pets while you're gone, but you're worrying about any trouble they might get into as well. And so, even though I have spent a crazy amount of time cat-proofing my house and making sure there's no trouble they can get into, I'm still checking the security cameras several times a day...

...so I can watch them get into trouble.

Yesterday I posted about them jumping on the kitchen counters where they know they're not supposed to be.

But that was just the tip of the iceberg...

• Jenny dragged most of her toys upstairs, as expected. She also dragged up an iPhone cable, which one of the cats conveniently bit in two. No idea where she got it.

• I left my Hanes hoodie hanging on the back of a chair. It was pulled down, scratched up, chewed on, and dragged around the house.

• My upstairs office is now officially the cat's play room. I've had to pull all of my stuff out because they love to "play" with it. The only thing I had left in there was a desk, book case, and a box of envelopes. Now all I have is a desk and a book case.

• I'm working on a family photo collage in my stairway. Since it's an odd-shaped wall, I've used masking tape to section off where the photos go. Jake ripped down every bit of it he could reach.

• Which was a prelude to him ripping down a "DO NOT LET CATS OUT!" sign that's been in the catio for months. Apparently he's been hating it for a while and suddenly decided he'd had enough. So then, without hesitation...

Thanks, Jake.

   
When I got home last night after midnight, the cats went crazy ove me. Which was nice. Until Jenny decided she needed petting at 1:00am.

And 2:30am.

And 3:45am.

And 5:00am.

Neither her nor Jake have ever bothered me while I'm sleeping, so I'm guessing that she's just making up for lost time?

Anyway... today they had calmed down to their normal(?) selves and spent most of the day outside in the catio because it was just too beautiful out to be inside.

When I left, the weather was like this...

Cali Weather

L.A. was like this...

Cali Weather

Cali Weather

Now that I'm back? This is the view the cats have from their catio...

Cali Weather

Looks like I brought California skies back with me.

Which is great, because this snow can just go away any time now.

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Couching

Posted on Monday, March 6th, 2017

Dave!I've been getting up early each morning so I can catch up with the work that piled up while I was kicking' it in Disneyland. Even though I am not a "morning person," I seem to be most productive when I just wake up.

This morning I managed to make some huge headway... first while working in bed... then by moving down to the couch in the living room. When I got out of bed, Jake jumped up and took my spot. When I got off the couch to go into the office, he did it again...

Jake on the Couch

Apparently he's taking advantage of my residual body heat, which is nothing new. When it's cold outside and he's been out in the catio, his first stop when he comes back inside is to glom off my body heat by lying across my lap... whether my MacBook laptop is there or not.

Jenny, on the other hand, seems to actually like chilly weather.

Today after opening the windows for the first time since winter started last year, she was all over it...

Jenny at the Window!

Never mind the pet door out to the catio that she's been using all winter... looking out a window is fun stuff!

As is looking down at me while work... silently judging me as cats are won't to do...

Jenny on the Cat Tower Judging You

None too impressed, is she?

Honestly, I think that's her natural state.

She is a cat, after all.

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Veterinary Email Horrors

Posted on Tuesday, March 7th, 2017

Dave!In case you missed it, I took my cats to the vet for their one-year check-up last month.

Not that I wanted to, mind you, but it is required by Washington State law that your cats have current rabies vaccinations. And it is required by my pet insurance that they get an annual checkup. And I wanted to make sure that they got any other vaccinations that are recommended for cats to have so they stay healthy.

The whole ordeal was a traumatic experience for all three of us.

But mostly for me, and I was thankful that I could wait an entire year before having to go through all that again.

And then I get THIS emailed to me this morning...
   

Jenny Needs a Vet Appointment for her FelV Vaccination!

   
After shitting my pants at the prospect of having to take my cats back for another vaccination when I was just at the vet less than a month ago... I called up to find out why in the hell Jenny didn't get this shot already.

Turns out that she did, it's just that the way they have to bill vaccinations sometimes causes erroneous emails to go out. I actually don't have to go back (knock wood) until 2018.

So...

Pants shitting aside, all's well that ends well.

Sometimes, anyway.

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Thirteen Minutes Twenty-Seven Minutes

Posted on Wednesday, March 8th, 2017

Dave!Thirteen minutes.

Thirteen minutes is the amount of time between when I leave for work in the morning and when Jenny starts hauling all the toys upstairs that I had just brought down before I left.

Twenty-seven minutes.

Twenty-seven minutes is how long for her to make the nine trips up and down the stairs to do it...

Jenny Toys!

Which means I have to toss all the toys back down again before I go to bed so that she can "go hunting" for her "morning tribute" that she drops by my bed every day.

I'm happy Jenny is keeping herself busy... and all that stair-climbing is certainly good exercise... but I can't figure out what is compelling her to make sure all the toys are upstairs at all times. I had thought that dragging them up was a random process that she did throughout the day. But now, thanks to my security cameras, I know that's not the case. She starts in almost immediately and then keeps going until the job is done.

Guess I am going to have to buy more toys.

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Caturday 18

Posted on Saturday, March 11th, 2017

Dave!Adopting Jake and Jenny have me contemplating a lot of "What If?" scenarios.

The biggest "What If?" being... What if I hadn't adopted them? What would have happened? I came very close to not getting them because I didn't understand the rules at the Humane Society. If it wasn't me, I'm sure somebody would have adopted the kittens... they were tiny and adorable after all. But they likely would not have been adopted together, and I have a mild panic attack at the thought of Jenny having been separated from her brother at the beginning. Now she would do fine. But, as a kitten, she took a lot longer to come around. The only thing that helped keep her from being terrified for months was that she had her brother to lean on.

Another "What If?" that plagues me is... What if I had gotten to adopt Jake and Jenny's brother? I certainly wanted to once I learned there were three siblings. But somebody had "reserved" the third kitten, which was something I didn't even know was allowed...

Baby Kitties

The only thing I do know is that his name would have been Roger. The name I wanted to give Jenny before my mom forbid it.

Ultimately, two cats is what I wanted, and I do think that a third would have added some difficulty with my travel. Litter Robot would need to be emptied faster, so I couldn't be gone as long. Feeding would also be more complicated. So... all's well that ends well. At least I hope that's true for Could-Have-Been-Roger.

Anyway...

Jenny has become addicted to television. Every night she waits for me to head upstairs, then runs ahead of me... excited that we get to watch TV in bed. And heaven help me if I don't turn it on fast enough! She will start meowing at the television until I do...

Jenny Watches TV

Once it's on, she'll have a seat...

Jenny Watches TV

And watch for an hour or more...

Jenny Watches TV

She likes shows with people talking the best. The West Wing is a favorite. She does not like action-packed shows very much. The noise and fast camera swaps seems to be a turn-off.

If it's too late... or I am concentrating on work and don't want the TV on... Jenny will sit and stare at me with a disapproving look on her face if I ignore her meowing...

Jenny Watches TV

When that doesn't work, she throws herself down and pouts...

Jenny Watches TV

Other than TV time in bed, Jenny doesn't hang out with me very often. Could be because Jake has been really clingy lately. He's on me in the morning before I go to work. Taking a nap while Jenny hauls up her morning tributes...

Jake Hanging Out

And on me in the evening when I get home from work...

Jake Hanging Out

Covered in cats from sunrise to sunset.

There are worse ways to spend a day.

   

Fake Jake Waits

Posted on Monday, March 13th, 2017

Dave!I mentioned a while back that Fake Jake has learned my schedule and waits for me outside the garage every morning when I leave to work and every night when I return.

Yesterday being Sunday, I didn't see him coming or going because I was on weekend hours. But this morning, sure enough, he was waiting for me as I opened the garage door... wanting to be petted...

Fake Jake Waits

Fake Jake Waits

Fake Jake Waits

Fake Jake Waits

   
Such a sweet kitty. To people anyway. He doesn't seem to get along with other cats at all.

Speaking of other cats... no sign of Mini Fake Jake.

Hopefully that kitty made his way back home.

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Midnight Alarm

Posted on Tuesday, March 14th, 2017

Dave!There's one place in my home that my cats are not allowed to go... the kitchen. Partly because that's where the front door is and I worry about them getting out. But mostly because I don't want cat ass on my kitchen counters.

I had tied the kitchen motion detectors to an alarm to scare them away, which worked great at keeping the cats out. Until it didn't.

I had bought some sticky tape to put on the counters, which worked great at keeping the cats off. Until I removed it after a month because I thought they were "trained." But they weren't.

I was still able to scare them out of the kitchen by remotely ringing the doorbell, but tonight that failed too.

Well, it failed with Jake. He just starts looking around to see where the noise is coming from...

Alarm Cats

Jenny, on the other hand...

Alarm Cats

   
I just don't think Jake is smart enough to learn a lesson.

And so I've added anti-germ wipes to my shopping list.

Again.

I wonder if they sell remote-control water guns?

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Leaving on a Jet Plane

Posted on Wednesday, March 15th, 2017

Dave!The cats know when I'm leaving.

Packing the suitcase. Emptying the Litter Robot. Filling the cat feeder. Cleaning and filling the water fountain. It all adds up.

And once they realize what's happening... they stick to me like glue...

Leaving Kitties

Follwing me everywhere right up until I walk out the door...

Leaving Kitties

Nobody lays down a guilt trip like cats do.

And I'm off.

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Return to Sender

Posted on Friday, March 17th, 2017

Dave!And that was San Francisco.

Jester dropped me off at the airport and, before I knew it, I was on my way home. Via Virgin America Airlines, which I hadn't noticed on my ticket until yesterday... but, now that they're merging up with Alaska Airlines, I'm guessing this will be happening with greater frequency.

SFO had a display of Ouiji boards on my concourse, which was interesting but surprising. Given how freaked out some people are by them, you'd think they'd avoid putting such an exhibit in a public space like this. And yet...

Quiji Display at SFO!

Quiji Display at SFO!

Quiji Display at SFO!

   
The trip home was nothing exciting, which is the best kind of trip to have.

The cats were, of course, excited to see me. Jake was all over me from the minute I walked in the door, and needed a lot of attention before he settled back into normalcy. Or whatever passes for normalcy in a cat.

Jenny was a bit more reserved... until bedtime.

Then she decided to make up for lost time by bringing me a toy as a welcome back present. Or so I would imagine...

Jenny's Welcome Home Tribute!

Jenny's Welcome Home Tribute!

I started to pet her, but she was more interested in television, as usual...

Jenny Watching TV!

So I guess we're good.

Nobody tell her that I'm leaving again tomorrow...

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Pack It Up

Posted on Saturday, March 18th, 2017

Dave!And now I'm off again.

Of course the cats figured it out, they always do.

Jenny was particularly upset by the news. So much so that she thought it a good idea to prevent me from packing my suitcase...

Jenny in my Suitcase!

I distracted them with kitty treats and... away I went.

The drive over to Seattle was pretty bleak for March. Usually we're in almost-Spring mode here by then, but not this time...

Seattle Drive March!

Seattle Drive March!

Oh well. The roads were pretty much clear, which is all that really matters.

Las Vegas, here I come.

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Caturday 19

Posted on Saturday, March 25th, 2017

Dave!It seems as though my cats are getting more and more attached to me as time goes on.

Which means that it's more and more difficult to leave them when I have to travel. Despite their automated litter box, their automated feeder, and their automated neighbor checking in on them... they want me to be at home. And when I return after being gone a while, they cling to me constantly.

This morning while I was working in bed, Jenny laid right beside me the entire time...

Kitties in Bed on a Saturday!

And Jake was snuggled up wanting pets every ten minutes...

Kitties in Bed on a Saturday!

Poor babies.

The good news for them is that the weather is getting nicer, so I'll be able to start working on Catio Phase Two soon. They seem to spend most of their time out there now-a-days, so spicing things up a bit will make their days more exciting.

Hopefully exciting enough that they won't notice me being gone when I have to leave again.

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You’re Better Than This

Posted on Wednesday, March 29th, 2017

Dave!Jenny?

Can I have your attention please?

Are you listening to me, Jenny?

Jenny is Not Impressed

Every morning you bring me a tribute in exchange for my feeding you. It's unnecessary, but I like to encourage this kind of thinking.

Over the past year, you've really put your heart into the task, and I want you to know how much that's appreciated. Hauling a bunch of toys upstairs every day in an effort to please me is dedication you should be proud of, right?

Jenny is Not Impressed

But lately I've noticed a decline in the quality of your morning tribute, and I'm a bit disappointed in you.

Did you hear me, Jenny? I'm disappointed.

Jenny is Not Impressed

I mean, look at what you brought this morning! Just one tired old toy, a ratty tan mouse, and that's it...

Jenny is Not Impressed

Sad! You're not a slacker, so why are you acting like one? You're better than this! If you're going to do something, don't you think you should give it your best effort?

Jenny is Not Impressed

Me too!

Are we agreed that you're going to step up your game? That you're going to take a little less time sleeping, eating, and pooping... and a little more time improving the quality of your work?

Jenny is Not Impressed

Alrighty then, I'm glad to hear it!

Good talk, Jenny. Good talk.

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Some Seeds

Posted on Thursday, March 30th, 2017

Dave!Oh look!

That cat I planted has finally sprouted!


FakeJake!

   
Guess that means Spring is finally here...

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Caturday 20

Posted on Saturday, April 8th, 2017

Dave!Jake has started thinking he's the Alpha Cat of the house.

I don't know when the shift occurred, and it's not always consistent, but it's as if he realized that he's got four pounds on his sister and decided to take advantage of it. Sometimes. Other times he just can't be bothered...

Kitties!
Jenny was birdwatching and Jake snuck up on her. Surprise.

Mostly this Alpha Cat mentality manifests itself on the kitty tower.

Jenny always wants the top perch. If Jake's already on it, she'll take a lower perch, but it's the top one she prefers. Jake doesn't care which perch he's on. But 50% of the time when Jenny is on the top one, he'll knock her out of it just because he can. Sometimes she'll fight him for a little while, but eventually she relents.

This is not to say that Jenny is putting up with Jake's delusions of grandeur. She not only stands up to him when it suits her, she is not above jacking up Jake's shit on a daily basis...

Kitties!
She ended up nailing him good... he didn't know what hit him.

I just feel lucky that they still get along.

Needless to say, as the weather gets better and better the cats are spending more and more time out in the catio. They're even napping out there when the sun is shining. I only hope that if Jenny pukes from the bugs she's eating, that she pukes out there as well.

I think next weekend is the weekend I set up the garage as my wood shop. Then I'll be adding even more catio fun. The construction of which will be fun for me too.

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Bullet Sunday 502

Posted on Sunday, April 16th, 2017

Dave!Sure it's Easter, but there are other reasons to celebrate the day, because an all-new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Kitty! Everything I love about cats can be found in this one clip of a kitty trying to escape the field at a Marlins game...

What a trooper! Apparently a Marlins' employee adopted the cat, who was named "Don Cattingly" in a Twitter poll.

   
• Kedi! And, speaking of cats...

Can't believe I have to wait until November for this to come out on video!

   
• Atomic! Okay... putting aside the fact that the trailer for Atomic Blonde features music by both Depeche Mode and New Order... how badly does watching this make me want to see the movie?

Charlize Theron should be in a lot more movies.

   
• Ragnarok! Speaking of movie trailers... how amazing is the latest Thor movie looking?

I'm part of the minority who actually likes the Thor films. The first one was really great at establishing the characters. The second stumbled quite a bit, but was still entertaining. But this? Probably the best Thor yet. Possibly one of the best Marvel films yet.

   
• Spicey! Melissa McCarthy is hosting SNL on May 15th. I'm hoping it's just an hour-and-a-half of her impersonating Sean Spicer, playing out the best of his ongoing fuck-ups. Verbatim. In the meanwhile, we have yet another flawless sketch from last night's episode...

What a big, beautiful slice of chocolate cake.

   
• Politics! The more you know about how politics work in this country, the more you think that we should burn the entire system to the ground and start over...

Politicians don't act in the best interest of those they represent because they don't have to. That's the underlying reason we're as fucked as we are.

   
Now go eat some eggs, you animal.

   

Caturday 22

Posted on Saturday, April 22nd, 2017

Dave!My cats are frickin' adorable.

I mean, most cats are adorable, but every cat is adorable to their human in different ways. Jake and Jenny are very different cats with entirely different personalities and behaviors. And yet... they somehow still manage to get along. They still play together. They still groom each other. They sometimes still sleep together, though Jake has gotten so big that this isn't as practical as it once was.

While reading through a cat forum recently, I saw that people were posting things about their cats they find adorable. I came up with a list of my own, which I am re-posting here for Caturday...

Jenny Watching Jake Watching Something

  • Both cats run to meet me when I get home from work. But it's Jake that gets so excited he just can't stand it. Yesterday when I got home, I had groceries to unload and Jake got impatient waiting for his daily head scratches. So I look down and he's looking up at me with one one paw stepped into the kitchen... a place he knows he is not supposed to go. I look down and say "Jake, Nnnnoooooooo!"... and he draws the paw back. ADORABLE!
  • When Jenny hears me turn on the shower in the morning, she rushes to the bathroom and patiently waits for me to get out so she can get her head scratches. When I open the door and grab a towel to dry off, Jenny will wait for a minute or two... but start meowing if I don't dry off fast enough. That's already pretty adorable, but last Tuesday she yawned mid-meow and I nearly died it was so cute. ADORABLE!
  • When I climb the stairs, Jake will sometimes go racing past me and stop on the step so he can cut me off and get petted. I'll pet him for a minute then climb over him. If he's not done being petted, he'll race past and cut me off again so I'll have to pet him more. ADORABLE!
  • Jenny's favorite thing is smacking her brother in the face. At first she would wait for him to get settled in for a good poop in the Litter Robot, run up and bitch-slap him, then run off. But eventually she got tired of waiting for Jake to poop, and decided to find other ways of smacking him. The latest? She'll haul ass ahead of Jake up the perches in the catio, wait for him to catch up, then smack him in the face as he makes the last jump. ADORABLE?
  • I think I've mentioned before that Jake can't meow. He just kind of "squawks" instead. Like he opens his mouth wide but can't get anything to come out. It's adorable... but even more adorable is that he doesn't seem to realize he isn't making noise. The other day he wanted my attention, but I just started meowing at him. Each time he'd respond with a longer and longer squawk until I couldn't take it any more and gave him pets. ADORABLE!
  • When I turn off the lights and go to bed, Jenny will follow me up and hop on my bed with me because she wants to watch TV. This happens almost every night, but sometimes I don't feel like watching television and leave it off. Jenny will meow until I turn it on. ADORABLE!

And... I'm out of adorable for today.

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Bullet Sunday 503

Posted on Sunday, April 23rd, 2017

Dave!Everybody have a nice Earth Day?

Good! Because an all-new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Sikh! Essential viewing...

The more you know...

Sikhism is a fascinating faith that I haven't studied nearly enough.

   
• Kingsman! Holy shit! Going back to insert this in Bullet Sunday because it's just too good. I loved the first film, and it looks like the second is going to be more of the same!

Very cool that the American version of "The Kingsmen" makes their debut... " The Statesmen!" I wonder if a spin-off franchise is at hand? So long as Matthew Vaughn is involved, that's fine by me!

   
• Krypton! Ooh a TV show based on Superman's home planet... Krypton. This could be interesting! Wonder how faithful they'll be to the source material? Will we get to see the Scarlet Jungle? The Gold Volcano? How about Vathlo Island? The Jewel Mountains? Or even the Red Ocean? Can't wait to find out. The series is being developed at SyFy but, for reasons too fucking stupid to comprehend, they're killing the trailer everywhere it pops up. So I can't share the trailer. I can only share this hilarious reaction video from Double Toasted, which only shows parts of it (NSFW)...

The trailer is getting pretty good buzz. God only knows why SyFy is keeping people from sharing it.

   
• Mountains? When your CAPTCHA tells you to select all the mountain images, so you do... only to find out that they must live in Nebraska and think hills are mountains, which they most certainly are not...

CAPTCH Mountains... Not

#1 and #8 qualify as "mountains"... alrighty then.

   
• These Days! "Take That!" is a band that didn't get huge success here in the US when compared to their home in the UK, where they are massively popular. Even so, I've always liked the band, and was surprised to find out that they released an album back in 2014 that I missed entirely called III. The lead single is a track filled with poppy fun that I can't seem to get out of my head...

Kind of cool how Take That! keeps chugging along even after losing two of their bandmates.

   
• Puppy! And, lastly, your weekly dose of "Awwwww... cute!" is right here...

Amazing how Mother Nature works.

   
And now... I could really use another day of my weekend.

   

Caturday 23

Posted on Saturday, April 29th, 2017

Dave!Cats are still alive and doing well.

So I guess that's a win for me on Caturday then.


Jake

Jenny

   
Probably a sign that I need more cats.

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Bullet Sunday 505

Posted on Sunday, May 7th, 2017

Dave!It's good to be home, because an all-new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Travel Day! Last night I was going to head into Denver for some dinner and bumming around after Howard's birthday party, but made the mistake of "laying down for a minute" and decided I'd rather order out pizza and watch TV. After pizza, I decided to pack up my crap, iron tomorrow's clothes, and get everything ready to go for today. Always a smart move, because I just love being able to roll out of bed, shower, and head out on a travel day. Why I don't do this more often I will never know. I guess that deep down I prefer the mad dash of getting ready in the ten minutes before my ride arrives? Who can say?

   
• Home! When I arrived back home today, the first thing I did was start unpacking. Jenny felt threatened by dirty clothes flying and retreated to her basket...

Jenny in a Basket

Jake kept trying to crawl all over me, so I grabbed his favorite blanket and finally gave in while I was sorting laundry...

Jake Cuddles

Laying down was a mistake, as I fell asleep almost immediately. When I woke up, Jenny had joined in and I was covered in kittens. There are certainly worse homecomings.

   
• Things to do in Denver. Side-by-side on the Denver "Things to Do" rack at my hotel...

Guns and Weed Brochures

But which to do first? Hmmmm...

   
• Hope! As a huge fan of Greek mythology for as long as I could read, I've always had a soft spot for Wonder Woman. When George Pérez reinvented the character in 1987 by jettisoning decades of bad choices so she could be tied even stronger to her Greek mythological origins, Wonder Woman quickly became one of my favorite super-heroes. Which is why I've been awaiting her big-screen debut with absolute dread given the horrendously shitty movies DC has been churning out lately. And yet... there's hope...

Not bad. Not bad at all. I guess we'll know for sure on June 2.

   
• Spidey! And lest we forget that Marvel has a super-hero film of their own coming out this summer...

I mean, holy shit. I liked the first two Tobey Maguire films okay, but this... THIS... is Spider-Man! He moves like you'd expect Spider-Man to move, and it's a glorious thing to see. Cannot wait for July 5th!

   
• Neutrality 2. I have said pretty much all I have to say about the pig-fuckers in our government wanting to sell-out the internet to big media companies. But now that our corrupt asshole of a president is mounting a new assault, all I want to do is explode with rage. Here's a more rational response...

How the American people can be SO FUCKING STUPID as to put up with this FUCKING BULLSHIT is beyond me. But, hey... the American people elected a pussy-grabbing Cheeto Jesus as president, so I suppose I shouldn't be surprised.

   
And I'm fucking done.

   

Tiny Kittens

Posted on Friday, May 12th, 2017

Dave!Awwwww.

The kittens look like Jake and Jenny when they were little.


   

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Caturday 24

Posted on Saturday, May 13th, 2017

Dave!I am a hundred miles away from my cats this Caturday... which means I'm checking in on them several times a day via the plethora of security cameras that activated the minute I walked out the door. Usually they are out in the catio, but this morning they were nowhere to be found. In order to solve the mystery, I reviewed camera footage and found out where they went, but it's an area served by a battery-backup local camera, so I'll have to wait until I get home until I find out what mayhem they are up to.

The big cat-news this week that I didn't realize would be "cat-news" until it happened: I bought new couch pillows from IKEA.

Jake and Jenny were all over them the minute I set them down...

KITTIES STEAL MY IKEA PILLOWS!

KITTIES STEAL MY IKEA PILLOWS!

Jenny, in particular, just loves them. She will roll around on them... move them around... bite them... even attempt to tunnel under them like she's building some kind of pillow fort...

KITTIES STEAL MY IKEA PILLOWS!

The first morning after I set them out, I walked downstairs to find all four thrown on the floor. I went back to the security camera footage and found that Jenny had thrown them off the couches in the middle of the night so she could sit on them. She'd even drag them from place to place so she would have someplace new to sit...

JENNY ON PILLOWS!

Most of the day she leaves them on the couch, thankfully, preferring to use them as a throne from which to survey her kingdom...

JENNY IS QUEEN OF THE IKEA PILLOWS!

Jake likes to think he's the queen when Jenny is off eating bugs in the catio...

JAKE IS KING OF THE IKEA PILLOWS!

Speaking of Jake... the minute he sees that I've woken up each morning, he's been hopping up to snuggle. Usually with his butt in my face so he can get rump-scratches...

Jake Morning!

In other cat news... I noticed that there was kitty litter E-V-E-R-Y-W-H-E-R-E when I got back from Denver. Much more than usual. I couldn't quite figure out what had happened, as I didn't remember seeing a kitty-litter fight when I was checking in...

KITTY LITTER EVERYWHERE!

Then it happened again. And last night I finally figured out why. Both cats are trying to climb in the Litter Robot at the same time... something that hasn't happened before... and it's making a big mess. Not sure how to handle this. But if it gets to be a common thing, I'll have to think of something, because kitty litter is expensive.

This evening when I got a text alert that the Feed-And-Go feeders went off, I didn't see either can running up to eat supper. I pulled up the cameras and saw that they were both out in the catio and must not have heard them cycle. So I use the speaker on the camera to tell them "It's dinner time! Go eat dinner!" which is usually all it takes. When I'm home. When I'm talking through the speaker, they get confused...

Where are you??!

"HOW DID YOU GET IN THAT TINY BOX, HUMAN?!? WHY ARE YOU NOT HERE FEEDING US?!?"

And lastly...

Meet Barnaby, a cat I found on Facebook...

SweetBarnaby!

Barnaby is a 15 year old sweetheart who came to us as a stray. This super affectionate fellow shouldn't be spending his golden years in the shelter. Please come meet dear Barnaby at the VAO soon. He promises to melt your heart.

When I went to the shelter, this is the kind of cat I honestly thought I'd be walking out with. I told them I'd take whatever cat had an eye missing or three legs or whatever it was that was making them unadoptable. I was told "Oh wow... usually we love people like you... but we don't have any cats like that right now." And instead I ended up with two of the most perfect kittens you've ever seen. I hope this sweet older kitty finds a home.

UPDATE: And he has...

Thank you for the outpouring of love and concern for Barnaby. We are no longer accepting applications for him. Barnaby has already received multiple applications and will most likely be going home soon.

Sometimes people are good.

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As Many Mondays Past

Posted on Monday, May 22nd, 2017

Dave!This has not been a very good day.

Last weekend I thought I had a kidney stone, but the pain subsided and I counted my lucky stars that it was gone. Turns out it was a temporary reprieve. Last night I started having pain again, and it only got worse as the evening went on. By the time I woke up this morning, the pain was stabbing through my back so badly that it was hard to walk.

But I had to go in to work, so I took some pills, put on my tough-guy pants, then headed out the door.

Only to find that most of my irises, pretty as they are, had all collapsed under their own weight...

Stupid Irises on the Ground!

What a stupid flower. I guess bees still pollenate them when they're on the ground, because otherwise I'm guessing they would be extinct. I suppose if they are still alive when I'm feeling better, I'll have to tie them up like last year. Still, those plants that manage to stay upright are as pretty as ever...

Yellow Irises!

I anticipated that work would be agony, but it actually managed to take my mind off of things... for a while.

By the time noon rolled around I was D-O-N-E.

And so I went back home, took more pills, then had to spend some quality time with Jenny, who was upset with me for leaving her today in the first place. I'm guessing that shedding her winter coat is an itchy process, because she wants to be scratched all the time... and will start crying if you don't comply...

Jenny Wants Pets!

Eventually I managed to disengage so I could go upstairs where I planned to die in bed. It was a good plan... until Jake decided it was his turn for attention. Or maybe he was playing nurse, it's hard to tell...

Jake Wants Pets!

I streamed a couple episodes of West Wing off Netflix, then decided to listen to some music in the hopes I would fall asleep. But Apple's streaming services were shit, as usual, and I couldn't never get my music to load on my AppleTV...

Apple iTunes Streaming Sucks Shit Through a Tube!

I don't understand why Apple doesn't spend some of their billions of dollars solving a problem that none of their competitors seem to have. I can stream to AppleTV without problem every time I try from Netflix, HBO, Showtime, Starz, Amazon, Hulu, Youtube, and the like... but Apple's streaming rarely manages to work without some kind of issue. If I can get it to work at all. Maybe Apple needs to hire other people to develop their shit since they seem incapable of doing it themselves. When I pay for stuff in the iTunes Store, I expect to be able to have access to it.

Anyway...

Today the heat got up to 86 degrees here, but I never had to turn on the air conditioner... even though I noticed many of my neighbors had. I'm chalking that up to my having installed a ceiling fan in my bedroom, which worked so fantastic for me last year. Such an energy-saver. I wish I had the fixtures in place so I could put them in every room of my house.

And now? Time for more pills and sleep. Fingers crossed. Really hoping that everything works itself out soon, because I can't keep missing work with all the stuff I have to do there.

Much as my cats would probably hope otherwise.

   

Caturday 25

Posted on Saturday, May 27th, 2017

Dave!Shedding.

It's the one part of having cats I could really do without.

Because, let me tell you, Jake and Jenny have really stepped it up a notch when it comes to the amount of cat hair that's blowing through my home. I vacuum and vacuum and dust and dust but there is still loads of the stuff in every possible nook and cranny.

Which is why my most favorite thing ever is now THE FURMINATOR!

The Furminator!

It pulls dead hair off a cat like a magnet and, while it doesn't eliminate cat hair in my home completely, it has drastically reduced what I'm having to vacuum up.

At least it was... for Jenny, anyway. She used to love it, but now she's resisting it. I've had to go back to a "regular" cat brush. Not nearly as effective, but it's better than nothing. And she loves it...

Jenny Got Brushed!

Jenny Got Brushed!

You know it's good when she wants her belly brushed.

Every once in a while I will assault her with The Furminator because she so desperately needs it. Hopefully one day soon she'll be back to loving it again.

Maybe if I get her high on catnip before Furminating her? Jake isn't much affected by the stuff, but it makes Jenny go nuts...

If there's good news to be had in the shedding department, my cats spend most of the time out in the catio as of late. They are out there from sun-up to sun-down most days. The sights, sounds, and smells are vastly more entertaining than what they can find inside the house...

Out in the Catio!

By far the most exciting part of their day is when visitors stop by. Sometimes random dogs drop in, which is always exciting. Jenny wants none of it, and come charging in the house. Jake, on the other hand, is unfazed. Jenny doesn't have a problem with other cats though. Even when Fake Jake is being aggressive, she doesn't get to riled up anymore...

Fake Jake Encounter!

Fake Jake Encounter!

And speaking of Fake Jake...

The poor guy just wants some attention. Some days when I get home from work, he's over in the neighbor's driveway just meow... meow... meowing. My heart goes out to him, so I always call him over to get some pets. But no matter how long I spend with him, it's never enough. He always waits at the door wanting more...

Fake Jake Pets!

Fake Jake Pets!

This past week Fake Jake came over for some love while I was unloading groceries. After petting him for five minutes or so, I turned around and saw Real Jake glaring at me from the screen door. I was caught red-handed spending time with another cat, and he was pissed.

In proud cat dad news... Jake's diet has been paying off. He's down a pound since I changed to indoor food and started restricting his access to food! He's still a lovable lump of a cat, but somethings never change...

It's Jake!

It's Jake with his Toungue Out!

And... that's about it for cat news this week.

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Caturday 26

Posted on Saturday, June 10th, 2017

Dave!I've been doing some construction in my bedroom, which has been a source of much anguish for my cats. They don't like the smell of the paint. They don't like the dust. They don't like the noise of my power tools. They really don't like the noise of the vacuum cleaner running all the time. I try to keep the door closed so that Jake and Jenny don't walk in paint or get hurt on something, and that's the thing they seem to hate most. They are used to going where they please and telling them they can't is tantamount to tragedy for them.

The thing they do like is that the bedroom windows are open for ventilation. Never mind that they have an entire catio open to the outside world... they like experiencing the outdoors from up high...

Jake and Jenny at the Window Screen

It worries me that they might find a way to punch through the screen and escape, so I've been closing the bedroom door every day when I leave. But last week I realized I forgot, and had to rush home to make sure they hadn't escaped. Which they hadn't. Thankfully.

Speaking of the outdoors...

Fake Jake still comes running for petting whenever he sees me. One day this past week he got a little bit more... aggressively affectionate... when I was giving him a rubdown and split my thumb open...

Fake Jake Mauling

Fake Jake Mauling

I was taking photos of him, so I actually caught the moment when it happened...

Fake Jake Mauling

Fake Jake Mauling

Fake Jake Mauling

He was undeterred by my pain and didn't let up on wanting more petting...

Fake Jake Mauling

Such a sweetheart to people... well, he tries to be a sweetheart when he doesn't have you running for antibiotic cream. Not such a sweetheart to other cats though.

Real Jake is as sweet as ever, often laying down with me when I'm in bed watching television or reading...

Jake Hanging on the Bed

He's not so sweet when he's busting the heck out of the last two crackers in the package...

Jake Eating My Crackers

But at least he eats what he kills...

Jake Eating My Crackers

Jenny has been really skittish as of late. Unless I walk towards her slowly and talk to her, she'll run off and hide. She hasn't acted like this since she was a kitten, so I'm not sure what's going on. Like Jake, she spends most of her time hanging out in the catio. Though with her it's a little more literal...

Jenny Hanging Out

Along with being far more skittish, she no longer allows me to pick her up. And any touching has to be on her terms now. Fortunately, she wants a lot of attention, so I'm not deprived...

Jenny Morning Scratchers

Jenny Morning Scratchers

Jenny Morning Scratchers

Such a pretty girl.

And, with that, I'm off to make more noise, dust, and stink in my bedroom.

   

Bullet Sunday 510

Posted on Sunday, June 11th, 2017

Dave!Time to bask in the rosy glow of the blogosphere, because an all new edition of Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Batman! It's difficult for me to think about Sunday bullets when my head is trying to wrap itself around the passing of original Batman Adam West. It's even tougher to try and explain how his television show influenced my childhood. Yes, the show was cheesy as all get-out, but my love of comic books and super-heroes all goes back to Batman, which I faithfully watched in reruns every day after school...

Adam West and Burt Ward as Batman and Robin!

But the thing that cemented me as an Adam West fan is how the actor totally owned his character, and leveraged everybody's love of who he was to get an entirely new career as an animation voice actor. While probably best known for the Mayor of Quahog in The Family Guy, he voiced dozens of roles...

The Family Guy Mayor Adam West

There have been a lot of famous people rushing to express their condolences, but the one we've been waiting for is from Adam West's Robin, Burt Ward. And with that... godspeed, Adam West. You will be missed.

   
• Black Panther! And... we're finally getting a real look at the long-awaited Black Panther movie. Like everything Marvel touches, it's looking incredible...

And, to think, we've got the new Spider-Man: Homecoming and Thor: Ragnarok movies coming soon! So great.

   
• LEGO CATS! What happens when two of your favorite things get smooshed into one? There is a company making LEGO Cats!

LEGO Cats!

AWESOME! Thanks to long-time friend and food blogger extraordinaire, Foodiddy, for the link!

   
• Nail Me! Of the many tools I've invested in, my pneumatic brad nailer is one of my favorites. Being able to BAP! BAP! BAP! nails into place is a time-saving bit of wonderful I can't get enough of. There's a price you pay, however, and that's having to lug around an air compressor. For this reason, I've been dreaming of buying a nailer that is cordless and tankless... like the Milwaukee 18-Volt 15-Gauge Angled Finish Nailer...

Milwaukee Fuel 18 Nailer

Problem is... it's like $400, which is a lot of money.

But then Home Depot sends me an email saying it's on sale at 40% off... just $240! And that comes with a new M18 Fuel battery! Sweet! I mean, I don't have $240, so it will have to sit on my credit card with my biscuit cutter, but it's still pretty great. If you're in the market for such a thing, the sale runs through June 21st!

   
• NEWSFLASH: A Studio Ghibli Theme Park Is CONFIRMED for 2020. — And... guess where I'll be going in 2021? There is no way to properly express my enthusiasm for even the idea of such a magical place.

   
• Humanity! I think it's awful we have to make commercials to explain lessons in Humanity 101 but, if we must, this is what it should look like...

This wonderful spot on foster homes for kids is not something new for Norway, they are also responsible for this amazing commercial...

And yet I live in a country that would rather build a useless border wall that will ultimately cause more harm than good (while doing fuck-all nothing to solve drugs or illegal immigration problems) instead of put any money towards those who need it most. That's how fucked up things are now, and how far we've fallen from the basic humanity that used to define us. Shameful.

   
• NEWSFLASH! Jeff Sessions says he’s ‘surprised’ Americans aren’t embracing his anti-marijuana stance. I'm betting a LOT of things surprise this dumbass moron. Like electricity. And indoor toilets. And being able to bring a woman to orgasm...

Sessions Dumbfuckery
Photo by Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

I am sick and fucking tired of wealthy old white men making decisions based on their idiotic, antiquated notions. Legalization of cannabis is a growing trend because THE CITIZENS OF THIS COUNTRY WANT IT, and I find it ironic that Sessions comes from a party who's all about state's rights... except when it comes to something he doesn't like. What a fucking hypocritical douche.

   
And... no more bullets. There's a new episode of American Gods to be watching!

   

Caturday 27

Posted on Saturday, June 17th, 2017

Dave!Life with cats is never boring. Well, actually it's mostly boring. Cats sleep... like... an insane amount of time. But the bits where they are awake is interesting. Mostly because my cats do not exhibit consistent behavior. Just when you think you have a handle on them, they mix it up, and start doing something entirely different.

Jenny, for example, did not "meow" the first 8 months I had her. Unlike Jake, who seems physically unable to "meow," apparently it was because she just didn't feel like it. Then... it started. Just weak little meows from time to time when she wanted attention. That transitioned into this kind of forlorner meow (that was bordering on a wail) when she wanted attention, which breaks your heart. And now? When Jenny really wants your attention, the meows are unleashed. They still sound a bit "sad," but they are numerous and loud.

At first I went running whenever she exhibited this behavior, because I was worried something was seriously wrong. More than once I've gone tearing down the stairs worried that she's sick or trapped under a rogue meteorite that crashed through the ceiling. Nope. She just wanted to be petted, and didn't feel like climbing up the stairs for it.

Most mornings now she will patiently wait for me outside the shower. Apparently she loves rubbing against you when you're damp. Once the water turns off, the clock is ticking. If I take too long drying off, she will start meowing for me to hurry up.

That pussy ain't gonna pet itself, so it would seem.

As I've mentioned many times, Jenny brings me a morning "tribute" in exchange for me getting out of bed and serving her breakfast. She'll waltz in with a toy (or several) and drop them on the floor by my bed anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours before she's due to be fed. Here, for example, she's just dropped off Tan Mouse and is looking up at me in expectation of food...

Jenny's Morning Tribute!

Jenny's Morning Tribute!

Some mornings she will haul a tribute toy all the way upstairs, but discard it before she gets to my bedroom in favor of a different toy...

Jenny's Morning Tribute on My Stairs!

There are times this results in a kind of interesting art installation on my stairs...

Jenny's Morning Tribute on My Stairs!

Her favorite toys, these crinkle-fish that have catnip in them, are rarely offered as tribute. She prefers to keep them with her so Jake can't take them, especially when she's ready for a nap. She'll hunt one or two of them down, then crawl into bed. Like she did here with Blue Fish...

Jenny Sleeping with Her Fish Toy!

You can't tell in this photo (because I was too slow) but she's hugging Green Fish in her little paws...

Jenny Sleeping with Her Fish Toy!

Also new? Jenny has started moving furniture in the mornings while waiting for breakfast to be served. She starts by dragging all the couch pillows onto the floor then moving them around. Then she goes after anything she can physically move. Like the box I've been using for garbage while cleaning out my filing cabinet. Or the brush loop. Or her little scratcher lounge...

Jenny Sleeping with Her Fish Toy!

If I hadn't heard it going on and seen it on security camera footage, I would never have believed it. She will drag/push that thing across the entire house. And it's almost as big as she is! I have no idea why she's decided to become an interior decorator, but here we are.

As for Jake?

Still being Jake. Though a little bit grumpier because I've had him on a veterinarian-dictated diet. And since he's a fairly active cat, he's been losing weight quite nicely. His pronounced belly is almost gone...

Kitties Exploring my Desk!

Jake and Jenny's favorite place remains the catio. Now that it's warmer, they are out there all day long. Jenny will even stay out all night, because that's the best time for catching and eating bugs, apparently. Earlier this week they were both out there while I was working on the couch. All of a sudden they come dashing in the house, then take up residence on the loveseat so they can observe the catio from afar. Turns out the giant dopey black lab was back for a visit, which they do not like at all...

Kitties Watching the Catio!

Though Jenny tried to make the best of a bad situation, as always...

Jenny Grabbing Jake by the Tail!

Jenny Grabbing Jake by the Tail

More excitement was to be had this week because they are repairing the stucco on the condos. This included the stucco in the catio, which meant I had to finally use the pet door blocker to keep them from running out...

Stucco Work in the Catio!

Jake was most definitely not okay with having his catio privileges revoked, because the catio is his favorite place to be. He decided to compensate for his disappointment by being a BAD, BAD KITTY and crawling on the kitchen counters, regardless of how many times I told him to GET OFF OF THERE...

Jake Being a BAD BAD KITTY!

Time for the Clorox Wipes. Again.

Why can't he stay out of the kitchen like his sister?

Oh well. Jake wouldn't be Jake if he wasn't thumbing his paw at authority.

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The Great Jake Escape

Posted on Monday, June 19th, 2017

Dave!And so I'm dead now.

When I went upstairs to watch Netflix in bed at 9pm last night, Jenny was still out in the catio. When I finally decided to go to sleep at around 11pm, I checked the cameras and saw she was still out there. This is not unusual, as she loves chasing bugs in the catio at night. Jake, I assumed, was off asleep somewhere.

When I woke up at 2am, I checked the cameras and saw that Jenny was still out in the catio. No Jake. I activated all the internal cameras. Still no Jake. I assumed that he was still off sleeping somewhere. So I started scrubbing backwards through the internal cameras so I could figure out where.

Jake was nowhere to be found. The last time he showed up was 7:15pm, when he was climbing down the cat tree.

Holy crap! Did I lock him in the laundry room?

No.

I can't find him anywhere.

No big deal, I grab the cat treats and shake the bag. Jenny comes running in from the catio immediately.

No Jake.

This is unprecedented. For Jake to not show up for kitty snacks is inconceivable. He loves those things. Loves them. The only reason he wouldn't show up is because he's trapped somewhere. Or dead.

And thus begins 20 minutes of total panic as I proceed to tear my house apart.

Still no Jake. He's vanished.

Either he has wedged himself somewhere I haven't thought of or... he got outside somehow?

Total panic becomes a complete meltdown as I start checking outside cameras. And there he is. Wandering around the back yard. At least he was at 1:28am, which was almost an hour previous...

Jake Outside!

What. The. Hell?

At first I thought it might be Fake Jake, but the more I watch the video, the more I'm convinced it really is Jake, and he managed to escape. Some way. Some how.

I am trying to think if I have ever been at the panic level I was at that moment.

I honestly don't think I have.

And so there I am, out in the catio with the door wide open, shaking a bag of treats. He shows up minutes later...

Jake Rescued from Outside!

But... how? How did he get out? He was around when I got home from work, I'm sure of it. Did he escape when I took out the garbage? Did I leave a window open somewhere and he pushed out the screen? Is there a hole in the fencing on the catio?

Back to the cameras. And... turns out he pushed off the roof of the catio (video at 8x speed)...

A couple things to note:

  1. Jake paces back and forth, pushing on the roof at different spots. It's like he knows he can push through somewhere if he can get the leverage.
  2. I can't see where he drops to the ground. I'm guessing he jumps over to the shrub, and climbs down that way?
  3. Jenny totally watches him escape.
  4. Eventually Jenny pushes through the roof as well, but chooses not to leave. Thank heavens.
  5. The catio is now closed, pending my securing the roof panels.

From what I can tell, Jake was never too far away from the catio. He appears on the back porch several times throughout the night (video at 8x speed)...

Though he did circle the entire building once. He appears in the front yard at 11:45pm... goes out of frame at the bottom near midnight... then reappears at the top of the frame exactly 30 minutes later. Heaven only knows what he did along the way (video at 8x speed)...

More than once he tries to find a way back into the catio, and most times his sister is on the other side watching him...

Jake Watches Jenny!

Jenny Watches Jake!

So there you have it... Jake's big adventure.

And my nervous breakdown. Because all I can think about is how this could have happened tomorrow when I'm traveling and Jake would have been stuck outside.

Needless to say, I won't be getting any sleep tonight. If ever.

Maybe if I would stop checking the video cameras every 15 minutes to make sure the cats are still inside and safe...

Jake Safe Inside!

Cats. What can you do?

   
UPDATE: Turns out my framing contractor (who also made the roof for the catio) used screws that were way too short. They were barely grabbing into the wood. So when Jake was walking back and forth pushing on the ceiling, the screws were popping out like rivets...

Short Screws!

Short Screws!

I'm replacing them all with screws that are 2-1/2" times longer.

Short Screws!

And... Jake and Jenny can enjoy their catio once again.

And... I can have the peace of mind that the cats can't get out.

Until the next time.

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Vegas Redux, Finale

Posted on Friday, June 23rd, 2017

Dave!Despite not having to get up early (my flight wasn't until 11:55am), I couldn't seem to get back asleep after waking up at 4:00am.

Oh well. It gave me time to iron so I didn't have to fly home wrinkled.

In regards to my Leaving Las Vegas... I love McCarran airport. Unlike the majority of US airports, it's very efficient and has been optimized to move people in and out as quickly as possible. TSA PreCheck line backed up? THEY OPEN ANOTHER PRECHECK LANE! WHAT A CONCEPT! And... ZOFG... plenty of gate seating! For all other airports I arrive 2 hours early because even with PreCheck you never know. With McCarran I am perfectly comfortable arriving 45 minutes before flight time knowing I'll be at the gate 15 minutes later and, not uncommonly, walking into the plane ten minutes after. I wouldn't hate travel so much if this was the normal at airports.

The flight home was great.

The drive home, however, was brutal.

True to form, WSDOT can’t concentrate their efforts into QUICKLY completing a single project... they have to sprinkle resources on several projects, which means they all drag on forever. On I-90 East, they have ripped out huge chunks of the highway and just left the holes there, meaning three lanes of traffic become one on a busy Friday where half of Seattle is headed over the mountains.

Which translated into 45 minutes added to my drive time home.

I'm guessing it's going to be left that way all weekend long. And I just don't get it. Light it up, double-shift that shit, and GET. IT. DONE!

How the hell is it that I am constantly seeing videos from other countries where they will replace an entire fucking bridge in two days... or replace an entire fucking intersection overnight that fell into a sinkhole... or rebuild a fucking washed out road in ten hours... WHEN EVERY DAMN PROJECT IN WASHINGTON STATE TAKES MONTHS TO YEARS TO COMPLETE?!?

It wouldn’t be so bad if they would focus on one project and GET. IT. DONE! But they don’t. New projects keep popping up all over the place while old projects sit incomplete. You don't stop for construction ONCE on your journey... you stop FOUR TIMES. I'm guessing I-90 is probably going to be fucked up for weeks... and apparently nobody at WSDOT gives a flying fuck that it’s summer vacation season and NOW is when the roads need to be fully operational. Why would they? It would seem there are -zero- consequences to having everything torn to shit all the time.

And speaking of never-ending construction...

When I pull into my driveway, I notice that my new ultrasonic mole repeller isn't doing the job.

On the contrary, the mole seems to be taunting me by DIGGING NEW HOLES RIGHT AROUND THE ULTRASONIC STAKE!

Kölsche

Ugh. No idea what my next step will be there.

And... apparently there was a power outage while I was gone.

The horrible part about it is not that all the clocks have to be set... but that the Litter Robot DOES NOT COME BACK ON WHEN THE POWER IS RESTORED. How fucking useless! I mean, seriously. WHY? They sell a battery back-up, but I always assumed that it was so your Litter Robot would run while the power was out. I don't care about that... but I care quite a LOT that it just stays off permanently if there's a power interruption.

And so... the Litter Robot was filled. The two back-up litter boxes were also filled. So nasty. And I feel terrible. Especially for Jenny. She is pretty particular about wanting to poop in a clean box. She will hold it and hold it until she can't anymore, and is forced to use it. I can't believe that she didn't poop on the floor. I would have. And so now I have to buy a $40 battery just to make sure Litter Robot works after an outage. This is on top of the already outrageous price for the unit and the accessories I had to buy that should already have come with it.

I ordered the battery so this won't happen again... but, wow. Still feel terrible. I should have been checking the security cameras to make sure it was running.

And with that... time to catch up on all I missed. Good thing I have a weekend coming up...

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Caturday 28

Posted on Saturday, June 24th, 2017

Dave!It's good to be back home.

On Thursday morning... the day before I was to fly back... I was awakened by my security cameras telling me there's motion in the kitchen. I get all ready to yell at Jake to get out of there, but when I look at the footage, and...

...it's not Jake, it's Jenny...

Jenny Scavanging in the Kitchen

Jenny Scavanging in the Kitchen

She has been a good girl and hasn't been in the kitchen for ages, so this is puzzling. It looks like she's trying to find food maybe?

So I go back through other camera footage only to find she didn't eat dinner last night. She was out in the catio when the feeder activated. By the time she got hungry and made it to the feeders at 1am, Jake had (of course) already eaten all the food. I activated the feeders immediately so she could have an early breakfast, but I still felt awful...

Jenny Scavanging in the Kitchen

And I've been getting a stare-down from her ever since I got back.

Jenny Stare-Down

And now... a mystery to solve.

Before I leave on a trip, I always buy new toys for the cats. Probably out of guilt. For this trip I bought a ball that makes noises... except it's too loud and the cats are scared of it. I also bought a ball with a little moving pole that has a feather on top. The cats are intrigued by it, but pretty much just let it slap them around in the face...

New Cat Toy

And now that I'm home? The ball is missing.

Gone.

Kaput.

Not under the couches. Not in the catio. Not in any closet. It's vanished. No idea where they dragged it off to, and I can't find out what happened on the security cameras. I'm guessing that the cats know where the cameras are and how to avoid them.

One more thing to do...

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Cats. Kids. Mondays. Life.

Posted on Monday, June 26th, 2017

Dave!My cats are a never-ending source of entertainment. They are also not of this earth and defy all my attempts to understand them. That, in itself, should keep them at a distance, but the truth is that they have become intricately woven into my life in unexpectedly deep ways. Part of that has to do with the fact that I'm single and all my best friends and family don't live here, so the cats are acting as surrogates. Part of it has to do with the fact that, for the most part, I like animals more than people.

And part of it is because they're the closest things to kids I plan on having.

Which is why all y'all's horror stories about your kids has zero effect on me.

Sure, your baby may have exploded diarrhea at a McDonalds birthday party... but last night I had to chase Jake around with a paper towel because he had a pebble of poop stuck on his sphincter. His efforts to scrape/bite/rub it off only resulted in an inflamed butt-hole, so there I was. And then this morning I had to inspect his sphincter to make sure the irritation and redness had subsided, which it had. And thank heavens for that, because otherwise we would have ended up at the vet, and nobody wants that.

And sure your baby may cry because it wants to be held... but this morning Jenny was crying as I was trying to leave for work because she wants to be petted. And, unlike holding a baby where you can do other stuff, petting Jenny demands 100% of your attention. And since she knows I will drop everything when she's meowing, she will keep doing so until I give in. The good news is that she was so desperate for attention that I was able to spend 10 minutes brushing her with The Furminator.

And sure you spend your days and nights worrying about how you're going to afford to send your baby to college one day... but I'm spending my days and nights worrying about whisker fatigue.

And for those of you who don't know what "whisker fatigue" is... allow me to introduce Dr. Catsby...

Now, most probably like you... when I first heard of "whisker fatigue," I called bullshit. Cats have been eating out of tiny bowls for hundreds of years. This is just some lame marketing ploy, right?

But then I started observing my cats.

  • There are times Jake will paw food out of the bowl onto the floor and eat it there.
  • Jenny is always hesitant to start eating. Furthermore, she won't actually stick her head in the bowl and bite the food... she licks it until she can't reach it. But when I put the food in a wide bowl or a shallow plate, she will bite it.
  • Jake will sometimes stop eating, walk around a bit, then come back and sit in front of the bowl like he wants to eat... but sits there for a while before doing so. I think it is actually hurting my attempts to get him to lose weight, as he's eating more than he normally would because he's making so many trips.
  • There are times Jenny refuses to eat at all. And by the time she's finally starving enough to force herself to eat, Jake will have eaten all her food.

I've tried plates, but the food gets pushed all over the place. I've tried shallow bowls, but the food still gets trapped in the corners. =sigh!= I guess you win, Dr. Catsby...

Dr. Catsby's Bowls for Whisker Fatigue!

Expensive little suckers.

But if they work? One less thing to worry about!

Though I do hope that Jake can keep a clean sphincter for at least a month before I'm worrying about that again. If I wanted this kind of stress I would have had kids

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I Got a Heatwave Burning in My Heart

Posted on Friday, July 7th, 2017

Dave!Temperatures finally breached 100° this week, so the air conditioner had to be turned on. Darnit. Odds are it's going to stay on because the forecast is up there for the next ten days. Probably longer.

So much for tiny electricity bills.

Even though I set the temperature between 74° and 76° and use ceiling fans, it's a goodly chunk of money to keep everything in the house from melting.

Including the cats.

And then...

Back in 2015 when Apple released the latest and greatest 4th generation Apple TV, I purchased one to replace my aging 2nd generation unit (which I moved to the guest room). Despite the remote being shit, I was happy with the upgrade. At first. Eventually I found out that the unit had horrible problems streaming video from Apple. Other sources... Netflix, HBO, Showtime, YouTube, Hulu, you-name-it, were all working fine on Apple TV, it was just my iTunes Store purchases that were stuttering and crapping out... or not loading at all.

So when I ended up winning a second Apple TV from an incentive give-away, I just tossed it in the closet. My bedroom TV has Netflix built-in, so I figured I'd just wait until somebody came up with a hack to turn the Apple TV into a web server or something. Since it had problems streaming my rather large collection of Apple media, it just wasn't worth messing with.

Until Game of Thrones Season 7 was announced to be arriving.

My bedroom TV doesn't have an HBO app, so I decided to dig out the extra Apple TV so I can watch Thrones in bed as God intended.

But first I had to find the thing, because I had no idea what happened to it during the move. I've been searching off and on for weeks to no avail. And then this morning I finally found it.

By accident.

My cats have been acting crazy, so I decided to start putting my iPhone charging cable in the tiny empty cupboard above my range hood and microwave where they couldn't get to it... and... voilà...

Tiny Cupboard Treasures!

My "empty" cupboard contained an old phone book, a Hershey chocolate candle, and... my missing Apple TV. In all honesty, I do not remember putting it in there. I don't remember putting any of it there. I can't even think of why I'd have done it.

Probably so I wouldn't lose it?

Jenny helped me set it up...

Tiny Cupboard Treasures!

And... ready for new Game of Thrones on the 16th!

   

Caturday 29

Posted on Saturday, July 8th, 2017

Dave!When I went to bed on Thursday night, everything with my cats was fine.

Something happened that night and everything changed. It's as if they suddenly realized that there are no consequences for their actions... no punishment for their bad behavior.

Yesterday morning began with my waking up to Jake pulling my movie posters off the wall...

Jake Poster Killer

Jake Poster Killer

Iron Man is now crooked. I just left him that way since Jake will just try to pull him down again...

Jake Poster Killer

At least Jenny was being a good kitty, right? No. She was climbing around the kitchen where she knows she's not supposed to be...

Bad Jenny in the Kitchen!

After serving the kitties breakfast, I went back upstairs to get ready for work and slog through my email. It was then I heard cupboard doors banging...

...IT WAS JAKE WAS STEALING KITTY SNACKS OUT OF THE CAT FOOD CUBBY! And he had just had breakfast!

Jake the Thief!

Then he and Jenny chewed it open to get at the yummies inside...

Jake and Jenny Thieves!

Jake and Jenny Thieves!

Clearly my cats have turned a corner and are completely out of control.

Thinking I need to start in on some tough love, I took the advice of Facebook friends and pulled out the squirt bottle. Much to my shock, Jenny was first to get sprayed. She didn't really react. It was like she didn't understand what was happening. Once she figured out she was getting wet, she walked over to the scratcher lounger and started pouting...

Jenny Pouting on the Lounger!

Then I felt bad.

Today things were better... though Jake did decide to pull my clean clothes down to the floor. Again.

Tomorrow's a full moon, I'm hoping the cat madness will end once it's gone.

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Catspreading

Posted on Monday, July 10th, 2017

Dave!I always feel sorry for animals having to endure the summer heat while wearing a fur coat. It can't be comfortable. Though my cats still like laying out in the catio when the heat is on, so maybe it's not as big a deal as I'm thinking it is.

Jake has his own way with dealing with the heat... catspreading.

I notice when it's hot out in the catio, he'll usually lay on the cool, shaded concrete... then spread out for maximum heat dispersion...

Jake Catspreading
Yes, I desperately need to wash my windows!

Indoors is another story.

The cat tree sits right under the HVAC vent. When the air conditioning turns on, he'll immediately spread out for some cooling relief...

Jake Catspreading

And then when it turns back off, he'll go back to a normal position...

Jake Catspreading

Perfectly logical. Yet still odd.

But whatever floats your boat, little buddy!

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Caturday 30

Posted on Saturday, July 15th, 2017

Dave!I'd have thought that my cats would have settled into their personalities after a year-and-a-half... that no new big surprises would be on the horizon.

It certainly seemed that way. Until this past week, when big surprises did indeed show up.

When I first got Jake and Jenny, they were terribly frightened and shy...

Jake and Jenny Day One

It took a week before I could lure them out from under the couch to play. It took four weeks before Jake would let me touch him... five weeks before Jenny would allow petting. Weeks after that, the cats were fairly sociable and would climb on me if I lured them with a cat charmer. Months after that, Jake would be all over me... Jenny not so much. Eventually she came around, but there were always conditions. If she was laying near me, I couldn't touch her or she'd get scared and run away. Any time I'd be petting her, she'd nervously pace all around me, never laying down or getting comfortable. She'd hop on the bed and watch TV with me for hours... but at a comfortable distance. Every once in a blue moon she'd sit or lay for a few minutes while I'd scratch her ears, but anything more than that just wasn't going to happen.

Until this past week, when all of a sudden she's hanging out with me every morning like this...

Jenny is a Cuddle Bug

Jenny is a Cuddle Bug

Jenny is a Cuddle Bug

Jenny is a Cuddle Bug

Honestly never thought this would happen.

And then there's Jake.

He'll happily hop next to me on the couch or sit in my lap for an hour at a time. He's been doing this for a long while now. But yesterday it got weird.

I came home early from work around 1:30pm. The minute I walked through the door, Jake was all over me, following my every step... rubbing up against me any time I stopped moving. Then I sat down and he was immediately on me to take a nap...

Jake Hangs on Me

He then stayed on me... for the next ten hours... while I worked, watched TV, and ate dinner. The only time he'd leave is to eat or go to the bathroom. If I got up for any reason, he'd start crying and cling to me. I was starting to wonder if he was sick...

Jake Hangs on Me

Jake Hangs on Me

Jake Hangs on Me

Jake Hangs on Me

Jake Hangs on Me

Jake Hangs on Me

Jake Hangs on Me

Jake Hangs on Me

Around 10:30 I went up to bed. He was right there with me until I fell asleep. When I woke around 3am, he was gone. And this morning things seem to be back to normal.

Well, as normal as things can be when you have cats.

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Implausible Deniability

Posted on Tuesday, July 18th, 2017

Dave!I don't think that my cats have fully grapsed the idea that there are security cameras everywhere throughout my house and I can see most everything they do.

So when I come downstairs, walk into the kitchen, and see that the cupboard with all the cat food, cat treats, and cat toys has been ransacked, their attempt to profess their innocence by pretending to be shocked and saddened that such a tragedy has occurred doesn't do them any favors.

Nor does blaming "ghosts," which seems to be their go-to explanation.

Today I attempted to show Jake some camera footage which clearly shows he is guilty of breaking into the cat cupboard. Again. He remained steadfast in his innocence.

I'd say he's got a huge pair of balls on him, but he doesn't have any balls at all.

Even so, I'm too proud of him to be angry about it.

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Caturday 31

Posted on Saturday, July 22nd, 2017

Dave!It's strange how much I worry about my cats when I'm not at home. Not over things like them tearing up the house or making a mess or anything like that... but worry over them being lonely or bored.

Right now I am checking in on them with the security cameras and they are exactly where I saw them when I left yesterday. Jake is on top of the kitty tree and Jenny is laying on the stereo receiver (I think she likes how it gets a little warm... even on the hottest days). She naps there most of the time now...

Jenny on the Stereo Receiver

Seriously, she does.

I've been documenting it with my iPhone...

Jenny on the Stereo Receiver

Jenny on the Stereo Receiver

Jenny on the Stereo Receiver

Jenny on the Stereo Receiver

Awwwww... this one is my favorite...

Jenny on the Stereo Receiver

She's making a pillow out of my Star Wars Blu-Ray collections!

As for Jake? He's busy being Jake. When he's not eating, pooping, or napping... he's destroying my expensive books by chewing on them... sometimes as I am reading them...

Jake Eats a Book

LOOK OUT SPIDER-MAN!!!

And... going to try and be inspired by my cats and get some sleep now.

Which would probably be easier if I were home with them.

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Caturday 32

Posted on Saturday, July 29th, 2017

Dave!My new cat sitter doesn't start until tomorrow, so Jake and Jenny are on their own for another day. Not a big deal, as I've been gone a lot longer than this and they've been fine. Thanks to Litter Robot, Feed-and-Go, and my security system, they are in good hands. So there's no need to worry about them. And, hey, if something comes up, I can always call a neighbor to check in. It's all good.

Except...

It's tough not to worry when you're 2,500 miles away and you've got all this crazy crap going through your head.

Take, for example, feedings.

In the past I'd fill the automated feeder to max levels so I was assured that the cats wouldn't go hungry while I'm gone. But then Jake had to be put on a diet, so that wasn't a good option any more. Now I put the exact amount each cat gets in the feeder so they aren't over-eating.

But then I started worrying that if Jake scarfs down his dinner... and wants more (which he always does)... will he push Jenny out of the way and steal her food? This is a genuine concern. He's a much bigger cat and, while Jenny doesn't put up with his shit, she's also not in a position to shove him back when she's such a petite little lady.

Last night I got my answer. The feeders activated and Jake and Jenny came running to eat...

Jake and Jenny at Dinner

As expected, Jake mowed through the bulk of his dinner before Jenny had even taken a couple bites. Would he force his sister out of the way to steal her food? Turns out... no... he wandered away...

Jake and Jenny at Dinner

That's a relief... but I know for a fact that when he's hungry later on, he won't hesitate to eat whatever food is left, and he doesn't care whose bowl its in.

In other news... Carl got stuck under the media center this morning. I heard three beeps over the security camera, which means he's sucked up something he shouldn't have. Probably a stray wire underneath. Jake was most concerned when his robot pal stopped working...

Jake Investigates Stuck Carl

I asked Jake to pull Carl out and take him to his charging station, but that was apparently asking too much. Instead Jake climbed the cat tower and took a nap.

Which doesn't sound like such a bad idea. I've been up since 4:30am and work is just getting started now at 2:30pm.

I'm going to need a bigger Coke.

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Asphyxia Again

Posted on Monday, August 7th, 2017

Dave!The smoke-filled air has become so bad that going outside for even a minute is like painting my lungs with glue. Most days now the haze is so bad that I can't even see the surrounding hillsides. The paper said air conditions would be improving, but that hasn't happened at all.

Which has resulted in my cats being upset at me for limiting their time out in the catio.

I only let them out when I can see through the air... and even then just for an hour. Any more time than that and I worry what might happen to their little lungs.

Needless to say I really worry about the animals (like Fake Jake) that are out in the smoke all day and night. This cannot be good for their health.

Ironucally, my Solar Eclipse viewing glasses and camera lens cover arrived today. Don't know if things will be cleared up enough for that to matter, but here's hoping.

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This Isn’t Skepticism

Posted on Wednesday, August 9th, 2017

Dave!Honestly.

I don't know what it is.


Skeptic Jake

   
But he's a cat, so...

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Caturday 33

Posted on Saturday, August 12th, 2017

Dave!Thank heavens for cats.

Because, seriously...

Although it's not always sunshine and roses. Jake and Jenny are still evolving in their personalities. And their brother/sister relationship. Which is not always great. Now that Jenny has been more and more enthusiastic about hanging out with me, Jake has occasional fits of jealousy where he'll chase her off so he can have all the attention. Nothing violent... yet, and they are still mostly happy together... but it's a growing concern. Jenny can definitely take care of herself, but Jake is a big bruiser of a cat that has some pounds on her.

She makes up for it in attitude though. Just look at this grumpy face...

Jenny Morning Tribute

Jenny dragged Lion all the way upstairs as her morning tribute, then had to meow so I was sure to see it. Unfortunately, it was still an hour until breakfast time, so my ignoring her did not sit well. She started ripping into poor lion, then getting upset when the fur from his mane got stuck in her mouth...

Jenny Morning Tribute Fight

She was triumphant in the end though...

Jenny Morning Tribute Triumphant

As for Jake? Still loves being Jake. Which means every day when I come home from work, he's all over me...

Jake on Dave

Jake on Dave

Jake on Dave

Fake Jake has been hanging around more than usual, which provides endless entertainment for the cats. Jake is no longer afraid of his doppelgänger, which means they actually kind of "hang out" together from time to time. Though I know if the fencing were removed, Fake Jake would likely be on the attack, so catio containment is still critical. This often results in a "Cat Watching Cat Watching Cat Watching Cat" scenario...

Cats Watching Cats Watching Cats

Ugh. Unfortunately, they just power-washed the gutters and concrete, so my windows are even dirtier than usual. Such a pity that window-washing is not including with the HOA fees!

And that's it for Caturday Saturday... now I'm off to the other side of the mountains.

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Kitty Pals

Posted on Wednesday, August 16th, 2017

Dave!Well, the world may be going to shit, but at least I have cats to keep me sane.


Kitty Pals

Kitty Pals

Kitty Pals

Kitty Pals

Kitty Pals

Kitty Pals

Just like when they were kittens... but not quite so compact...

Kitty Pals

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Caturday 34: Raccoonageddon

Posted on Saturday, August 19th, 2017

Dave!My inability to sleep has nothing to do with my cats. They've always been oddly respectful of sleepy-time. On those rare occasions I do manage to fall asleep, they leave me alone. Even if I just pretend to be asleep, they'll walk in the room, take a look, then walk right back out. It's weird them being so unselfish while being cats and all, but I'm not going to complain.

Except...

Every once in a while...

Something happens and they go all "cat" again.

Like last night when I woke up to armageddon happening downstairs. The cats were freaking out over... something... and the commotion was nuts. Is there a big bug in the house? Did a mouse climb through the cat door? What could it be?

Nothing showed up on the security cameras.

Until I reviewed outside footage.

A family of five raccoons decided to visit the catio, which caused quite a stir. I've sped-up the footage to double-speed...

Here's a zoom-in on the above footage to see them better...

I especially love the little raccoon at the end who is desperately trying to make friends with Jake, who just isn't having it...

Raccoon Friend

   
Guess I need to look into getting some Raccoon Chow.

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Caturday 34

Posted on Saturday, August 26th, 2017

Dave!As I mentioned in an earlier post, my cats' behaviors continue to evolve.

It used to be that my cats would happily share my affections... climbing on me or next to me at the same time. Usually when I was n the couch trying to work while watching television...

Jake & Jenny Petting

This hasn't been the case for several months. Now if one cat is near me, the other one will avoid me. And they seem to have come to some kind of mutual agreement as to who gets to be where.

Jake gets the couch. Jenny almost never jumps on my lap while I'm sitting there anymore...

Jake Lap Cat

Jake Lap Cat

Jake Lap Cat

Jenny gets the bed. Jake will still hop on the bed next to me from time to time, but only if Jenny hasn't gotten there first...

Jenny Bed Cat

Jenny Bed Cat

Jenny Bed Cat

Jenny is still claiming the stereo receiver as her personal space. It's a great spot to satisfy her television addiction...

Jenny watching Rick and Morty

For whatever reason, Jenny is particularly fond of Rick from Rick and Morty. When she hears his voice, she perks right up.

My efforts at cat-proofing the cupboard where I keep the cat food and cat toy supply has met with failure. My first attempt was a latch that adhered to the doors. It took Jake all of one night to figure out how to move the latch so he could get inside. My second attempt was with a plastic clip that added resistance to pulling open the doors. Jake just pulled harder and opened them right up.

Since he can't open the cans and pouches of food, he settles for stealing toys. I'm forever finding them... still attached to their cards... scattered around the house...

Jake Steals a Toy

Ever since the eclipse, Fake Jake has been visiting with increasing regularity. He stops by at least once a day now, usually more. This is a source of great excitement for the cats. Especially Jake, who watches for Fake Jake out the side window, then goes tearing towards the catio whenever he spots Fake Jake headed in that direction. After visiting for a while, Fake Jake gets bored and wanders off. Jake will then come tearing back inside so he can follow Fake Jake to the guest bedroom window. Whenever I hear kitty claws running at top speed on my wood floors, I know exactly what's happening...

Jake Chasing Fake Jake

Jake Chasing Fake Jake

Jake is obsessed with Fake Jake encroaching on his territory, and will follow him from window to window to window to keep an eye on him.

   
And now it's time for me to set Caturday aside so I can see how big of a disaster the Netflix Death Note adaptation is. The original manga and animated series were pretty great, so my expectations are at an all-time low.

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This is the Story of a Girl Named Lucky

Posted on Monday, August 28th, 2017

Dave!Thanks to things like "blogging" and "social media," I've made friends around the world. I know somebody who lives just about anywhere. In many ways, this is a very cool thing. Especially when it comes to travel, since there's a friendly face I can visit with no matter where I go. But there's also a down-side.

Because when disaster and tragedy strikes, odds are, I know somebody affected by it.

Such is the case with Hurricane Harvey. I have three blogger friends in the Houston area. I have a friend from work just east of there in the Beaumont/PortArthur area. I know other people in East Texas that could ultimately be affected too.

There's few things worse than watching the news and feeling helpless while seeing what's happening to people I care about.

Well, there's one thing.

Destruction from events like Harvey are terrifying and worrisome... and living with disaster looming in an uncertain future is a horrible thing to suffer through... but at least people understand what's happening.

Abandoned animals do not...

Abandoned Puppy Chained to a Pole in Floodwaters
Photo by Ruaridh Connellan ©2017 Daily Mail (UK)

Abandoned Puppy Chained to a Pole in Floodwaters
Photo by Ruaridh Connellan ©2017 Daily Mail (UK)

   
All animals know is to be hungry, scared, and confused as incomprehensible things happen to them. This poor girl was left tied to a telephone pole as the floodwaters started to rise.

I hope it was an accident.

I hope the dog was tied temporarily, and some emergency called the owner away temporarily and they couldn't get back.

I hope this is just a cruel twist of fate that has the owners as upset as I am that this could happen.

Because anything less than that makes me about as upset as I am capable of being.

Luckily the photographer, Ruaridh Connellan, has a heart and rescued the puppy from her plight...

Abandoned Puppy Chained to a Pole in Floodwaters
Photo by Alan Butterfield ©2017 Daily Mail (UK)

Abandoned Puppy Chained to a Pole in Floodwaters
Photo by Ruaridh Connellan ©2017 Daily Mail (UK)

   
I know the majority of people have kindness in their hearts for animals. I know there are a lot of people like me who would risk their lives to save their pets. But I also know there are people who would leave their animals to die if it was inconvenient to do otherwise, and that's pretty hard to take.

You can read the whole story of "Lucky" at the Daily Mail site.

   

Caturday 35

Posted on Saturday, September 2nd, 2017

Dave!Cats are so weird.

I would give just about anything to be able to climb inside their little heads and find out what is going on in their brains. I mean, I'm sure they act the way they do for a reason... I'll just be darned if I know what that reason is most of the time.

Sure some of the time it's just common sense. Like the way they act around meal time...

Jake and Jenny Is It Dinner Time Yet?

That kind of crazy I can understand.

Everything else? A mystery.

Jenny has gotten to the point where all she wants to do is spend the whole day in bed with me. She runs to hang with me the minute I head up to go to sleep... and stays with me until I fall asleep. Mornings are the same thing. Once I'm awake, she will hang with me wanting to be petted until I get up to take a shower. Then she comes and waits by the shower so she can lead me back to bed for more belly-rubs...

Jenny Fuzzy Belly Rubs

Jenny Fuzzy Belly Rubs

Jenny Fuzzy Belly Rubs

Jenny Fuzzy Belly Rubs

   
Jake has started getting very clingy when I get home from work. He will lay on me for hours... only wanting to leave when it's time to eat...

Clingy Jakey Bear

Clingy Jakey Bear

Clingy Jakey Bear

Clingy Jakey Bear

   
For anybody wondering... yes, Jenny does still bring me toys every morning as tributes. And she's getting good at making a whole production out of it, complete with drama...

Jenny Tribute Waiting

Jenny Tribute Waiting

"If you won't feed me, I suppose I'll just put my head down and die..."

Jenny Tribute Waiting

Sometimes she manages to surprise me. Like when she brought DOUBLE PRETZELS as tributes. I didn't even realize that we had two of them...

Jenny Tribute Waiting

   
And... that's enough cats for one day. See you next Caturday...

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Bullet Sunday 522

Posted on Sunday, September 3rd, 2017

Dave!Don't let smoke inhalation get you down, because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• FIRE! Once again it would seem that the Columbia Basin is on fire. This is the view I had on the drive over the mountains...

Wildfire Smoke Scenery

   
• Chase! My... My... My pants! Jake chases Jenny. Jenny chases Jake...

It's the circle of life up in my house.

   
• Tolerance! A short but bittersweet article that's worth a minute of your time: The Christians Making Atheists. The decline of Christianity in a nutshell. But, in reality, it could also hold true for other religions that attempt to hide their bigotry in the guise of religion.

   
• Fresh! This is what happens when you travel a lot and keep forgetting to pack deodorant...

Deodorant Drawer Madness

That's a lot of money tied up in antiperspirant products!

   
• Thrice! Hey! Did I happen to mention that the latest issue of Thrice Fiction has been released, and you can read it online or download it for FREE?!? Well, you totally can! Just visit the Thrice Fiction website!

Thrice Fiction Magazine No. 20

If you like fiction and like to read... it's worth the price of admission. Which is FREE!

   
• All That We Share! Nice to know that while this country is tearing itself apart that other countries are making an effort to keep it together...

Viva la Denmark!

   
Have a good Labor Day weekend, everybody.

   

Where There’s Smoke…

Posted on Tuesday, September 5th, 2017

Dave!The drive back home was awful. In what was just so typical, WSDOT stopped me twice on the pass for projects they'll never finish... meaning I sat in smoke for a half hour. This resulted in an upset stomach and a whopper of a headache. I do not react well to smoke.

Especially when there is so much of it...

Smokey Drive Home

Smokey Drive Home

Much to my horror, it was even worse at home than on the passes. The smoke is so thick I can't even see the surrounding hillsides.

After stopping at work for a couple hours, I ran home to check on my little monsters. And freaked out when I realized that they had been hanging out in the catio when the air quality was abysmal. The first thing I did (after a lot of petting) was close the cat door.

It did not go over well with Jake and Jenny.

Much whining and crying ensued as they tried to figure out how to open the door...

Catio Door Closed!

Catio Door Closed!

Catio Door Closed!

Eventually I relented and let them out for a bit. Luckily they didn't want to stay out long... they don't like the smoke any better than I do... so now I'm in a quandary. Do I keep the door closed so I can rest easy knowing they won't be exposed to air toxins? Or do I leave it open to avoid whining and crying and trust they will limit their own exposure?

Oh I'm closing the door, alright. I don't trust either of them to do anything I want them to do. Instead I distracted them with towels to play with. They love towels...

Cats on Towels!

But eventually Jake started whining again.

So Jenny, ever the loving caretaker, decided to make him feel better by licking his head...

Cats on Towels!

Cats on Towels!

But eventually their gaze kept going back to the door to make sure it was still closed...

Cats on Towels!

This upset Jenny, so Jake returned the favor...

Cats on Towels!

And now... back to finishing assembling a bed, washing linens, stocking guest supplies, and getting some foodstuffs together... just in case my friends have to evacuate their home because of the fires. All I need to do is find a hair dryer and some dentist toothbrush kits in my travel supplies, and I'm ready. I hope hope hope hope that they don't have to abandon their home (I know how that feels first-hand), but I'm happy I can help if they need it.

Betweens hurricanes, floods, wildfires, and other disasters, things are sure a mess in this country right now.

Clearly God is not pleased that Trump was elected president.

Isn't how that works?

Because if I had a nickel for every time President Obama was blamed for natural disaster...

   

Air Quality and You

Posted on Wednesday, September 6th, 2017

Dave!Well this sucks.

I think I might be dying. At least the smoke is making me miserable enough that I feel like I'm dying.

Believe it or not, the air quality is better today that it was yesterday... you can actually see the nearby hills. What you cannot see are mountains. The sky is just white when you go looking for them...

Missing Mountains!

Smokey Valley
To see the full resolution, click photo to embiggen.

   
You can kinda see hills there... but that's it...

Smokey Valley

   
I've been keeping the cats inside to protect their little lungs... no catio for you! They are not pleased. They just sit at the window being mad that I won't let them go outside...

Jake Wants my iPhone Camera

   
Jake eventually gave up and climbed on my lap for attention...

Jake Wants my iPhone Camera

   
Though it seems as thought he's finally getting wise to my photographing him...

Jake Wants my iPhone Camera

Jake Wants my iPhone Camera

Jake Wants my iPhone Camera

Jake Wants my iPhone Camera

   
Silly kitty.

Here's hoping tomorrow's air quality is better than today. I don't know how much more of this I can take.

   

Inside Cats

Posted on Thursday, September 7th, 2017

Dave!The air quality improved enough that I decided to let the cats outside for a little while. When I opened the catio door, they didn't last very long... coming back inside after only a few minutes.

I thought that perhaps the smoke was irritating or scary enough that it would keep them from going outside, but my hopes were soon dashed. After verifying that it wasn't a trick and they really could go outside if they wanted to, they started spending all their time out there, as usual.

This meant having to close off the catio again. The last thing I want is two cats with respiratory problems.

Because me having respiratory problems is more than enough. I've been coughing my head off since the smoke started rolling in, and have had just about enough of the stuff.

Given how my cats have been whining about wanting to go back outside, I'm sure they feel the same way.

   

Caturday 36

Posted on Saturday, September 9th, 2017

Dave!As I had mentioned earlier, much of this week was spent with the catio closed for business because of smoke. This was met with much confusion and disdain by Jake and Jenny, who have become very much accustomed to being able to go outside whenever they want.

When not trying to bite the door... or trying to figure out how to open it... they would try to get out by other avenues. Jenny, for example kept clawing at the window. It's like she knew it was futile, but just had to let her frustration be known...

Jenny Wants Out!

Jenny Wants Out!

Eventually she gave up and tried to get into the laundry room instead...

Jenny Wants Out!

I felt bad about it, but it just wasn't healthy out...

Smoke!

And so they spent all their time hanging around being bored...

Smoke!

Or beating up on Carl when he runs out of juice...

Die Carl Die!

Or taking my spot on the couch...

Couch Potatoes!

   
The good news is that, now that they can go outside again, things have returned to normal. Or what passes for "normal" when you have cats.

Jake is back to glomming all over me while I try to work...

Jake Snuggle Buddy!

   
And Jenny? Well... she's back to being the best bedtime snuggle pal you could hope for...

Jenny Bedtime Pal!

Jenny Bedtime Pal!

Jenny Bedtime Pal!

   
Hoping for the best for all my friends, family, and co-workers facing off fires and hurricanes. Stay safe, people.

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Bullet Sunday 523

Posted on Sunday, September 10th, 2017

Dave!Wildfires and hurricanes got you down? Sorry to add to your troubles but another natural disaster has arrived, because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Charitable! IF YOU HAVE A KIND HEART AND ARE ABLE TO DONATE TO FIRE/HURRICANE RELIEF... PLEASE VERIFY THAT THE CHARITY TO WHICH YOU ARE SENDING YOUR HARD-EARNED DOLLARS IS GOING TO MAKE GOOD USE OF IT. There are all too many charities which do not. A good place to start is to head to Charity Navigator, which reports on what charities do with their donations.

   
• Orville! The geek reviews for Seth MacFarlane's new sci-fi show The Orville were pretty bad. I decided to tune in anyway, just to see how awful it really was. Except... I actually ended up liking it. No, it's not Galaxy Quest like everybody expected... it's actually a faithful clone of Star Trek: The Next Generation, but with some funny moments scattered amongst the drama...

The Orville on FOX Poster

Actually, I'd argue it's superior to Next Generation, which I never really got into. My favorite part of the show is the helmsman and navigator (Scott Grimes and J. Lee) who have amazing buddy chemistry. Other characters are a bit glossed over, but the previews of upcoming episodes looks like they'll get their day. Is it a perfect show? No. It's a bit uneven and the pacing drags a bit in spots. But those are things that will improve in time as the writers, actors, and directors get everything figured out. The one thing they've nailed though is the special effects, which are pretty great. I've gone from zero expectations to high hopes over the course of just this one episode. May the rest of the season be worth my valuable time.

   
• Intermission! Of course, this was back when a candy bar was 5¢ and you could actually afford to GO to the lobby and buy a treat...

It just gets crazier as the video goes on. I remember some of this from the movie Grease where John Travolta has been stranded at the drive-in... branded a fool. What will they say Monday at school?

Oh Sandy.

   
• Danger! Just when you think you've seen it all, Delta Airlines has to come along and prove you wrong...

The Orville on FOX Poster

Delta claims that the flight was never in any danger. Weather radar implies otherwise, but okay.

   
• Polydactyl! Speaking of hurricane Irma close calls... I was very happy to learn that all 54 cats at Hemingway House in Key West were sheltered and made it through the storm. I haven't been there in over five years, but the place sure made an impression on me...

Kind of a cool place to visit if you're ever in Key West.

   
• Orlando! As I type this, Irma is headed to Walt Disney World. Here's hoping Mickey Mouse, Pluto, Buzz Lightyear, and company all stay safe!

   
And that's a gale-force Bullet Sunday... over and out.

   

Giant Murder Spiders and Rearend Cellular

Posted on Tuesday, September 12th, 2017

Dave!I've been coming to Spokane for work for decades. There are a lot of memories in this city for me.

Most memories are easy to recall here because so much of the city is unchanging. Spokane is a relatively big city that feels like a town. Small businesses in old brick buildings go on for generations. Today I passed by a block of these buildings and remembered that it was where I had my first driving accident. I was coming up to a stoplight when the driver behind didn't stop in time and bumped into me. After we pulled over to survey the damage (surprisingly, there wasn't any) he said "I'm so sorry. I was trying to answer a call on my cell phone." Back then mobile phones were a new technology and I had never even seen one in person. I remember being surprised that Spokane even had cellular service. I was shaken, but sympathetic towards the man's plight because he let me hold his bulky cell phone. It might as well have been magic to me, I was so fascinated by it. I was tempted to ask him if I could make a call, but I knew the pay-per-minute rate of the day was astronomical, so I reluctantly handed it back without comment.

This was not the first time I was rear-ended in Spokane. The second time I was coming up to a stoplight next to Safeway and a woman plowed into me. This time there was damage... albeit minor. I got insurance money to repair my bumper and it looked good as new. The second and third times I was rear-ended, I took the insurance money and went on a trip. Because eventually my priorities shifted. I'd rather travel than have a nice car.

The hotel I stayed at last night is a beautiful restoration property in downtown Spokane. Everything from the public spaces down to the paint on the walls of my room is lovely. Except... holy crap is it noisy.

There is a central atrium where people gather, and everything from quiet conversation to children screaming echoes throughout the entire hotel. And when those children are running around screaming until 2am? Just try sleeping through that. Then... then... there's the air conditioning. Every time the air starts up, there is a loud "snap" followed by a huge "bang." It literally sounds like somebody is trying to break into your room every time it goes off. Especially as you're attempting to drift off to sleep at 3am.

And so I am sleep-deprived and exhausted.

Which made for a fun day at work, I'll tell you whut. I'd best describe my demeanor as "punchy."

C'est la vie.*

Work went exceedingly well and, before I knew it, it was time to grab lunch at David's Pizza (my favorite pizza in the known universe) and head home.

Which was a much better journey than yesterday.

Yesterday's drive across Washington State's Central Basin was long and boring as always... but augmented with the excitement of asshole drivers. The speed limit is 70mph. I drive around 75mph. Occasional I would pass a truck doing 60mph only to have some asshole jam on up to my bumper doing 90mph... who then flips me off when I jet back over to the right-hand lane. Sorry that I interrupted your illegal driving speed, asshole. In what universe do I deserve to be flipped off for that? If I had psychic powers, I would be telekinetically ripping off middle fingers, no lie.

On my way home I stopped at a mini-mart gas station outside of Quincy (home of the best corn in the nation!) to fuel up and grab something to drink. When I went up to the counter to pay, a kindly elderly gentleman leaning on a cane (surely 90+ years old) was in line ahead of me. He was buying a single ice cream sandwich... nothing else... with a credit card. He talked in a whisper, but I could hear him tell the cashier that he couldn't open the package on his ice cream and asked him to do it. They cashier grabbed a pair of scissors and did so, after which the old man said "thanks." He then had to put away his credit card, put his wallet in his pocket, grab his ice cream bar, and shuffle off to destinations unknown. The process took forever but I actually found it fascinating to watch and didn't mind at all. We'll all be there someday, if we're lucky.

Or unlucky, depending on your perspective.

After paying for my Gatorade and a Coke, I pass the old man eating his ice cream sandwich when a thought flashed through my head.

"Holy shit! He's not driving is he?"

I was beyond curious to know if the empty car parked by the mini mart was his, but didn't want to wait ten minutes to see if he drove away in it... or if somebody else was driving... or if he was being picked up... or if he actually walked to the mini mart from somewhere miles away.

After starting up the car, I noticed the MAINTENANCE REQUIRED light had come on. Apparently all those oil change email notices that I had been ignoring had come home to roost. And so I detoured to Jiffy Lube to take care of that, because heaven only knows when I'd ever have time to drive there again. Hey, it was on my way home anyway... so might as well.

As I pulled into Jiffy Lube, I noticed that the air quality in Wenatchee was more smoke-filled than I had seen it all year. This made me very concerned for my cats, so the first thing I did when I got to the waiting room was check my security cameras...

Sleepy Catio Kities

OF COURSE they're both outside. Why wouldn't they be?

And then I noticed movement in the corner of the security camera. What the heck is THAT, I wondered.

Oh... it's just a GIANT FUCKING MURDER SPIDER DISPOSING OF IT'S DEAD LOVER'S BODY!!! I think I actually said "Holy shit! out loud when I zoomed in...

Giant Murder Spider

THE HORROR! I mean, come on... she just dumped the dead body into her web and went back to hiding in the door frame...

Giant Murder Spider

To say I was in a panic is an understatement.

My cats were outside in the catio WITH A GIANT MURDER SPIDER! And since GIANT MURDER SPIDERS are always poisonous, their fate was in serious doubt. Because there is nothing... nothing they love more than to play with bugs. If either one of them saw the thing... my guess is that I would arrive home to a cat in respiratory failure because it had been bitten and poisoned.

So I wait for an agonizing 20 minutes while my oil was changed.

I drive home through work traffic, which is another 30 minutes of torture.

I get home, tear into the house, lure both kitties in from the catio, close off the catio door so they can't get back out, run and grab the bug spray from the garage, run around the house to the catio door, then soak... soak until dripping... the entire upper corner of the frame.

Eventually a tiny little spider crawled out, fell to the ground, and died.

"Huh. I guess when a little spider is close to the camera lens on a security camera, it only looks like a GIANT MURDER SPIDER.

And then I feel so awful. If I had known it was just a little spider, I would have left it alone. I am not a spider murderer. If I find a spider in my house, I catch it and take it outside. I try to console myself with the fact that she murdered her little spider-boyfriend after mating, then dumped his body without a care, but it didn't work. Then I tried to console myself with the fact that the little spider won't be laying millions of eggs which would hatch and fill up my catio with tiny spider babies. Somehow, I was able to make my peace with being a spider murderer after that.

Of course... there's nothing to say that she didn't lay those millions of eggs before she dumped the body.

Which means millions of spider babies intent on revenge for the death of their mother. That's all I need.

   

* Will it impress you to know that I can spell "C'est la Vie" without having to Google it? No? Okay.

   

Caturday 37

Posted on Saturday, September 23rd, 2017

Dave!Jenny is turning into one of the most bizarre cats I've ever known. Which is to say she's an average cat. On one hand, she is terrified of everything. If somebody rings the doorbell or there's a loud noise, she vanishes in a flash. Needless to say that if I have a visitor, she hides until well after they leave. If I walk into a room... even carefully, she bolts. She is the very definition of a scardy cat.

And yet... she is demanding as hell. 20 minutes until breakfast? Screw that. She wants to be fed now. You want to work when she wants to be petted? Screw that. She wants to be petted now. She has discovered how to meow, and she uses it when you displease her. And she's completely manipulative about it. If her first meow doesn't work, she will try different meows until she gets results. It's totally adorable, of course. Well, it's adorable so long as you pet her in the way that she wants to be petted. And she will totally supervise your every move to make sure you are doing it right...

Jenny the Cat

And speaking of supervision... Jenny will show up to lord over you whenever you are working on something interesting. When I was rewiring my media center, she sat staring at me for a full 20 minutes...

Jenny the Cat

In other news... Jenny rules my entire house now.

After getting Carl the RoboVac, I had to remove the electrified "Scat Mats" because Carl liked chewing on them. Jake would always hop over them when sneaking into the kitchen, but Jenny rarely crossed over. And, on those rare occasions that she did, it was never while I was around. But now? She puts her little foot out to make sure she isn't going to get zapped... but she goes into the kitchen whenever the hell she feels like it. And that's whether I am there or not. She is fascinated by the refrigerator, and makes a bee-line to the kitchen any time I dare to open it...

Jenny the Cat

Jake, on the other hand, won't go into the kitchen unless I'm gone or upstairs. And if I ever catch him in the kitchen, he bolts the second he sees me. Jenny, on the other hand, has zero shits to give any more.

And speaking of Jake in my kitchen...

I finally got around to painting two doors that I've been putting off for months. I knew I'd need a third coat, so I just left the paint can on the kitchen counter with the lid barely on and the paintbrush nearby. But then... as I was in bed typing this... I hear a big crash that sounds like it's coming from the kitchen. I take a look at the security cameras to see what the heck is going on, and...

Jake the Cat is Going to Paint

Jake the Cat is Going to Paint

I didn't even wait for the video to finish playing. I tossed aside my laptop and went running downstairs expecting to find my kitchen covered in paint. Except, luckily, didn't happen. Jake walked right by the paint can... went to the cupboard... and pawed a can of PAM cooking spray onto the floor... and that's what I had heard.

In other Jake news... he's been stealing Jenny's new favorite spot on the stereo receiver lately. Though sometimes they do share it. Usually when it's getting close to dinner time and they feel like staring at me in an attempt to get an early meal...

Jake the Cat

At least until one of them passes out from hunger...

Jake the Cat

And, since I mentioned Carl the RoboVac earlier...

Apparently Carlthe RoboVac has declared all-out war on Litter Robot. It's robot vs. robot...

I attempted to tell Carl to be nice since his fellow robot is literally cleaning up shit all day long... but Carl is having none of it.

Probably because he's cleaning up shit every day too.

Though, not literal shit. That would be horrifying.

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The Accidental Bird Sanctuary

Posted on Tuesday, September 26th, 2017

Dave!I love my cats... honestly, I do. 99% of the time they are a wonderful addition to my life, and I can't imagine living without them.

And yet...

This morning I got out of bed and was surprised that neither Jake and Jenny were hanging around trying to convince me that they needed an early breakfast. Even weirder? There was no "tribute" from Jenny waiting for me (she brings me toys each morning... in exchange for my feeding her, I'm guessing). These unprecedented events had me worried that they had broken out of the catio or something, and I would be spending my day tracking them down.

Except...

When I turned to go downstairs, I saw them both at the bottom waiting for me.

Ominous.

Then, as I walked into the kitchen to get their breakfast, the pieces of the puzzle started sliding into place. The wild running around this morning was apparently due to a bird in the house. I knew this because there were feathers in front of the cabinet where I keep the cat food...

Bird Feathers Clue

And so I go rushing back upstairs to check the security cameras and... sure enough...

There's a Bird in the Kitchen

I start going back through camera footage in an attempt to figure out how long this has been going on. Here's from an hour prior...

There's a Bird in the Kitchen

It's amazing how stealthy cats are. Jake hopped up and was practically on top of the bird before he flew away...

There's a Bird in the House

Here's an hour-and-a-half prior...

There's a Bird in the House

Poor bird! This footage (featuring Jenny making a spectacular leap to catch him) was from almost two hours prior...

And here's her leap from from a different angle...

   
So proud of her... but also horrified.

I scrubbed the cameras from the time I went to bed until the time I saw the bird feathers. I was expecting to see footage of one of the cats coming in from the catio with the hapless bird in its mouth... but I never saw anything of the kind. It's as if the bird just magically appeared around 4:45am out of thin air. I suppose it's possible that the bird flew into the garage while I was cleaning it and followed me in the house when I had the door open... but wouldn't I have noticed that? No idea.

Meanwhile... I have a bird in the house.

I go back downstairs to look for it and, not two minutes later, Jake and Jenny go tearing through the house, chasing the bird upstairs. I go running after them just as the bird goes flying in my bathroom. Poor thing saw the skylight in there and thought he could escape through it. Not knowing what else to do... I close the bathroom door.

And now what?

Do I sneak in the bathroom and try and catch it?

Do I wait for the bird to become exhausted and hope I can scoop it up and take it outside?

My mind is reeling. About the only thing I know for sure is that I won't be hurting it or killing it. So... What about building a tunnel from the bathroom to the cat's bedroom and opening a window? THAT JUST MIGHT WORK!!!

So I start at the bathroom door...

My Bird Tunnel!

And build it to the cat's bedroom door...

My Bird Tunnel!

   
And... here we go. I apologize for shooting vertically (something I never do for video, because WTF?), but it was the only way to get the important information in-frame...

A few notes...

  • Yes. Yes. I know that building a tunnel was a bigger ordeal than what was needed... but I just don't care. The idea was to get the bird out of my house without hurting him. Trying to catch him in a pillowcase or a cooking pot or whatever was too risky. If he breaks a wing, he'd end up dead.
  • The tunnel took about 15 minutes to build.
  • The posters in my bathroom are by Robert Lyn Nelson, a painter I like from my visits to Maui.
  • The Kleenex box was too big and covered the bird when I was attempting to move him, so I reached for my Aveda Botanical Kinetics Hydrating Lotion (which, by the way, is magic in a bottle if you're looking for a moisturizer).
  • The cat's bedroom is a mess because I had just taken down the extra bed I put up to house friends that might need to evacuate from the wildfires. I pushed all the furniture in the middle so the bird couldn't get stuck between it and a wall.
  • I rotated the camera at the end, not thinking that the movie wouldn't rotate with it. Oops. The bird seemed to fit in the frame better that way.
  • I am amazed that the cats didn't kill the thing. Or eat him. Heaven only knows they had enough opportunities. Guess they thought he was a fun toy rather than breakfast? I'm grateful beyond words, because THAT would have been a horrible mess to clean up.
  • Birds are tougher than you'd think. This poor guy took a beating and was undoubtedly traumatized, but took it all like a champ and didn't seem to be injured when he flew off.

And that was that.

Earlier this month I had posted this on Facebook...

A lot of bird activity outside now that it's getting cooler. My cats spend all day outside in the catio going nuts. I really need to put a bird feeder out there this winter.

And now?

I think that might not be such a great idea after all.

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Caturday 38

Posted on Saturday, September 30th, 2017

Dave!At 1:12am this morning, I was awakened by Jenny hopping on my bed and meowing. This is highly unusual. My cats never bother my while I'm sleeping... or even when I'm pretending to be sleeping. I pet her for a little bit, then rolled over and ignored her so I could get some sleep.

At 4:36am this morning, Jenny was back on my bed meowing. This had me worried that Jake was hurt somewhere and she was wanting me to follow her like Lassie. But then... I heard something. The television was turned on with the sound blasting. This happens every once in a while when my DirecTV gets a software update.

And this was what Jenny was trying to tell me all along. So I found my iPhone, fired up the DirecTV app, then turned off the television.

Jenny immediately ran back downstairs.

Where presumably she went to sleep now that the television wasn't going to keep her awake.

The next time Jenny came up was to deliver her morning tribute around 6:30am. Usually I barely notice because she's quite stealthy... but this morning I heard what sounded like a rock being dropped on my floor. Turns out it wasn't a rock... it was a small screwdriver...

Screwdriver Tribute

Note how she dropped the soft mouse toy on the carpet... but the hard screwdriver on the wood floor. I still have no clue how she managed to carry the thing upstairs. I had left it on the kitchen counter, which means she would have had to knock it to the floor first. I check the security cameras and, sure enough, she was there...

Cats on Counter

But Jake was as well, so maybe he knocked it on the floor...

Cats on Counter

The little shits... they know they're not supposed to be on the kitchen counters!

Speaking of Jake... he still likes hanging out with me when I get home from work. Usually he likes to curl up next to me when I plop down for some television. What's new is that if I start to get up when he's not ready to get up... he'll put a paw on my leg to stop me!

Jake's Paw on My Leg

The smarter move is to lay on top of me so I can't get up so easy...

Jake's Paw on My Leg

So soft and fluffy!

Until next Caturday then...

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Caturday 39

Posted on Saturday, October 7th, 2017

Dave!I keep thinking that the cats will stay indoors now that the weather is getting colder, but they're out in the catio as often as they ever are. Which is all the time.

They do tend to huddle closer together than usual, however...

Screwdriver Tribute

I haven't turned the heat on yet, so the cats are still vying for the warm spot on top of the stereo receiver. Sometimes this ends up in an awkward pose...

Jake and Jenny trying to fit on the stereo!

Though they often end up in awkward sleeping poses even when they're alone...

Jake oddly sleeping on the stereo!

The couch is cold to lay on, which the cats Do Not Like, so I put towels and blankets down to make them more comfortable. They start out nicely-arranged each morning when I straighten everything out, but they don't stay that way for long...

Jake sleeping in a pile of towels!

Jenny, who loves to watch television more than any cat I know, is particularly happy to make herself a "nest" in the towels and blankets so she can watch TV with me. She was particularly interested in the season one finale of The Good Fight (fantastic show, by the way)...

Jenny watches The Good Fight!

Jenny watches The Good Fight!

At least she was while the show was on. The second the started rolling the credits, she was out...

Jenny watches The Good Fight!

Speaking of Jenny... I've mentioned how she just loves to have her tummy rubbed... but also resents it at the same time. I just got the best photo to date of how she'll grab my had with her front paws to get that good rubbin'... but will push my hand away with her back paws at the same time...

Jenny belly rubs... or not!

Even when I manage to get in a position to rub ONLY the spots she wants rubbed, she will change her mind in a second for any reason and every reason at all...

Jenny belly rubs... or not!

Jenny belly rubs... or not!

Even with all their antics, they are still the sweetest cats ever...

Sweet Jake!

Sweet Jenny!

Until next Caturday then...

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Electric Blanket Dreams

Posted on Tuesday, October 10th, 2017

Dave!Last year I was young and foolish and unaware of how expensive home heating was. I turned the thermostat on come October and never looked back.

Until the electric bills started rolling in.

Once I realized how insanely expensive it is to turn the heat on, I tried to be much smarter about it. Having a "smart thermostat" helped, because I could program it to adapt to my schedule and not be wasting energy when I wasn't home. Not that I could just turn the heat off completely... because I've got cats. Sure they have fur coats, but I don't want the poor things freezing.

This year I decided to use my electric blanket so I'm not spending a ton of money heating my home at night, and today was the day it got turned on.

Jenny had absolutely no idea what to make of it.

She walked around poking it and sniffing it... then flopping down on it because it was oh so warm! For the longest time she just kinda laid there in disbelief at what she was experiencing...

Snow in the Mountains

Once she understood that it was indeed toasty heat eminating from the blanket, and not just her imagination, much rolling around and purring ensued...

Snow in the Mountains

Now she's completely passed out from the joy of it all...

Snow in the Mountains

Guess I'm going to have company at night now.

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Caturday 40

Posted on Saturday, October 21st, 2017

Dave!I haven't posted about my cats in a couple weeks, so let's get caught up then, shall we?

First of all, my efforts to keep my cats out of the cat food/treat/toy cupboard continue to fail. If I tape it, they paw at the tape. If I buy a child-lock, they chew it off. I'm beginning to think that nothing short of a deadbolt is going to do the trick. Especially when I wake up and find this waiting for me downstairs...

Destroyed cat food bag and treat bag!

I know it's Jake who does the breaking in, but every time I check the security camera footage, Jenny is most definitely sharing in the spoils.

Second of all, Jenny continues to love the electric blanket. As I mentioned a while ago, she just can't seem to get enough of it. Even though she's perplexed as to how it works. For some reason there's a disconnect between her brain telling her it's not possible and her body sensing its glorious warmth. She still walks around on it like she can't believe what's happening. Though most of the time she's sleeping...

Jenny having electric dreams!

Jenny having electric dreams!

The only thing that will wake her up is when the local high school football team scores a touchdown and they fire off the cannon...

Jenny having electric dreams!

Just look her crossing her legs like the little lady she is!

Well, except when she's torturing bugs, which seems to be her favorite activity after sleeping. When the painters had to leave the doors open, a LOT of bugs who were looking to find a warm spot for the winter came crawling/flying in. I try to capture as many as I can so I can take them outside, but sometimes Jenny has other plans...

Jenny about to torture a bug!

The little monster.

Speaking of Jenny...

People keep asking me if she still brings me tributes in the morning. The answer is, yes. As you can see from this photo I took last week where she was particularly industrious that morning...

So many tributes!!

Eight... eight... toy tributes. Which has to be some kind of record.

As if that wasn't enough Jenny for this Caturday, I have to share that I think that she has joined in the WAR OF THE ROBOTS that's been going on in my home between Carl the RoboVac and Clay the Litter-Robot. I caught her throwing towels on the floor for Carl to choke on just as he was headed to clean around the couch, THEN SAT THERE WAITING FOR HIM TO ARRIVE...

Jenny Hates Carl the RoboVac!

Clearly Jenny is Team Clay (whom she loves) and not Carl (whom she seems to hate).

And, speaking of Carl, he may soon have a little brother hanging around! More on that next week!

And speaking of hanging around, I think I might have a ghost. I haven't seen them... but will admit I've noticed weird noises going on from time to time. Like one of the cats is walking towards my bedroom, then I look and they are both already in the bedroom. So maybe not just a ghost... IT'S A GHOST CAT?!?? Jake and Jenny seem to spot Ghost Cat often, as sometimes when I check in on them throughout the day I see them acting strangely (well, more strangely than usual). Like they'll be eating and suddenly turn around to look at something...

Cats spotting GHOST CAT!

But when I check the other cameras, there's nothing there. When I captured the above footage, I came home and checked the secondary security camera system (which is on battery back-up and stores locally in case the internet and/or power goes down) but they didn't spot anything either. Then I started scrubbing through the audio thinking it might have been a creak from the house settling or something, but... no. Which is strange, because the microphones are very good at capturing even the softest noises.

So I dunno. Hopefully one of these days I will spot Ghost Cat so I can come up with a name that suits them.

In final Caturday News... it is raining hard while I type this. Really hard. Which has Jenny very upset and confused, as she's raging at the rain she can hear everywhere, but not see (turn your volume way up)...

Jake, however, doesn't seem much bothered by the rain. Here's him "helping" me type up this blog entry...

Jake helps! By Sleeping!

See you next Caturday.

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Bullet Sunday 529

Posted on Sunday, October 22nd, 2017

Dave!I am Sundaying so hard right now, because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Feral! This past Monday was "National Feral Cat Day." My cats, Jake and Jenny, were feral kittens when they were found. I don't think they quite adapted to foster care, and were still very much feral little scrubbers when I adopted them. Weeks of patience turned into months of building trust which has turned into 1-3/4 years of the best furry friends I could hope for. They are still, in their hearts, feral cats who are very slow to trust. And they hide the minute anything out of the ordinary happens. Sometimes, on rare occasions, they are even wary of me. But most of the time they love crawling all over me for pets and attention and I've never been lonely since they took over my home. Feral cats are more work than those kitten raised around people... but I wouldn't trade mine for the world. If anything, I think I appreciate them more than I would other cats because I had to put effort into getting them to accept me. And once they did? There's no better feeling...

Jake Naps

Jenny is a Cuddle Bug

Kitty Pals

If you have the opportunity to help out a feral cat, the work is definitely worth the reward!

   
• Dimensions? And so... it would seem that LEGO Dimensions is no more. Typical. Oh well. The gameplay was getting tired... but it was kept fresh by the licensed properties they kept bringing to the table.

LEGO Dimensions Game

Wish they would have got LEGO Star Wars in the mix before signing off... after Disney Infinity dried up, it seemed a natural.

   
• Get Help! The reviews for Thor: Ragnarok have been stellar. And with each new clip released, I just want to see it more...

Cannot. Wait.

   
• Lucifer! Right now there's a lot of good television going on. In addition to The Good Place, which is the best show on television right now, we've also got Star Trek: Discovery, The Flash, The Orville, and Supergirl... not to mention some of the indy oddball stuff (like Dirk Gently), which makes it tough for me to keep up with my shows. But that one show I will always make time for? Lucifer!

Lucifer's Maze on a not-so-good day

Last season was fantastic because "Mom" came to visit, which led to some interesting directions for the show. Now they seem to be focusing on fleshing out secondary characters instead of bringing in new ones, and I couldn't be happier. Maze is probably the best character on the show after Lucifer, but has been largely marginalized. But this last episode (S03:E03 Mr. and Mrs. Mazikeen Smith) puts her in the spotlight and the results are so amazing I find myself wishing they would spin her off into her own show. If you're not watching, you really should be.

   
• Jack! Another show I've been very much enjoying has been the revival of Will & Grace. Though I strongly dislike the two main characters, secondary characters Jack and Karen always seem to salvage the show. The latest episode (S09:E04 Grandpa Jack) is no exception. Jack, who discovered he had a son (thanks to a sperm bank "donation") gets an even bigger surprise when he discovers his son had a son, so he's now a grandpa!

Jack meets his grandson

I will not spoil the story except to say... it's both hysterically funny and emotionally devastating at the same time. And it has two guest appearances that are absolute gold. When they restarted the show, I was hoping that we'd see Jack's son again. I never expected that his story would be this good. Well worth a look.

   
• Decor! When I moved into my home, I noticed that the previous owner had left a lot of decor scattered about. None of it was too my taste, so I made it my mission to toss it all out. The only thing left is a lion head above my doorbell and a weird dried flowers plaque with hooks I use for my keys and hats. The plaque was useful, but I vowed to replace it when I found something better... I never did. The lion I was going to ditch when it was removed for painting... but I ended up putting it back. Don't know why. I kinda like him, I guess...

My feisty lion head!

My key hooks!

I suppose one of these days I really should go shopping to find a replacement for my key hooks.

   
And... Sunday is over. So too are the bullets.

   

Heatwave in a Cold Snap

Posted on Monday, October 30th, 2017

Dave!It's been getting colder. I know this because the heat has been coming on from time to time. And last week I was mostly freezing from the minute I got out of bed... all the way to work... most of the day at work... all the way back home... then right up until I crawled under my electric blanket at night.

But yesterday and today?

Heatwave!

Well, not really, but it's been unseasonably warm out. My cats have been lapping it up... hanging out in the catio as if they know that the warm days are numbered. They are not always easy to spot out there, however...

Cats and Skeleton Cats

Enjoy it while it lasts... enjoy it while it lasts.

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Skeleton Cats and Halloween

Posted on Tuesday, October 31st, 2017

Dave!It's Halloween again!

This past week when I was at Home Depot, all their decorations and spooky stuff was on sale for 50% off, which wasn't tempting to me (what a waste of money!)... until I saw two cat skeletons for $9 each. Now that I'm interested in.

Jake and Jenny? Well... not so much. They sniffed around for ten seconds, then went on with their busy lives...

Cats and Skeleton Cats

Cats and Skeleton Cats

Cats and Skeleton Cats

Hopefully my trick-or-treaters will be more intrigued with Dead Jake and Dead Jenny than the live versions were...

Skeleton Cats

And don't forget my awesome wreath addition...

Halloween Wreath Upgrade

Now that decorating is done, all that's left to do is pass out the candy...

Halloween Candy

Guess we'll see how many trick-or-treaters I get this year. Last year it didn't top 60.

   

Caturday 41

Posted on Saturday, November 4th, 2017

Dave!Tonight is when the clocks get set back in the USA for Daylight Saving Time ending. You would think that I'd be happy because it means an extra hour of sleep, but I most decidedly am not. First of all, dicking around with the clocks is just plain idiotic in 2017. Second of all, my cats... who don't give a crap what a clock says... will be in my room at 6am tomorrow wondering why in the hell I am not getting my ass out of bed to feed them. What am I supposed to do? Explain to them that they will have to wait an hour because of stupid Daylight Saving stupidity? I suppose I could try, but odds are THEY WON'T UNDERSTAND ME BECAUSE THEY ARE CATS!

Though... the are very smart cats, apparently.

A couple times I've come home and found the television powered on in my bedroom. Each time I didn't think I had left it on, but maybe I'm going senile. On Thursday when I got out of the shower, I head to my bedroom and see my TV on again. This time I KNEW I didn't have it on, so I figured that it is somehow turning itself on. When I go in to turn it off, I notice Jenny laying on my bed staring at the television. I then look at my nightstand and see the AppleTV remote. Suddenly... 2 + 2 snaps together in my head. The AppleTV remote is so overly-sensitive that it will activate if you so much as fart on it. It would be easy for a cat to step on it... even bump it... and turn on the TV. JENNY IS TURNING ON THE TV SO SHE CAN WATCH IT! Except she hasn't figured out how to start up a video, so she ends up staring at the AppleTV menu. Then she gets bored because there's no action, and leaves. Which would be fine, except she doesn't turn the TV off when she's done. I dunno... maybe she comes back when the screensaver activates? Who can tell with her. She's a very private feline...

Jake Messes the Thermostat

And then...

After the TV incident, one of my Facebook friends was joking about the cats finding the thermostat control. I laughed it off... as anybody would... BUT THEN I CHECKED ON MY CATS WITH THE SECURITY CAMERAS ON FRIDAY AND I SEE THIS?

Jake Messes the Thermostat

Yep. That's Jake. Messing with the thermostat.

While Jenny watches.

CATS!!!

That same morning while I was getting ready for work, I find Jenny biting at her back-right claws over and over again. She was walking on that foot just fine earlier, so I go into a panic thinking that something is wrong with the nails. Then I film her in case the vet wants to see it. THEN I Google the issue only to find out that nothing is wrong... she's just giving herself a pedicure...

She hops down and walks away, her foot looking perfectly normal. I wonder how long until I stop panicking at absolutely everything my cats do that's new to me?

Jake has been especially friendly lately. Though I think it's because he likes my body warmth, since he's been sleeping on my chest while I work and watch TV almost every night. Unfortunately, my need to sing along to 80's music is not compatible with his ability to sleep (which is substantial).

Madonna's Holiday...

Jake Listens to My Singing

Thompson Twins' Hold Me Now...

Jake Listens to My Singing

Poor Jake.

I can't be an easy roommate to live with.

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The Art of Home Maintenance. Or Not.

Posted on Tuesday, November 7th, 2017

Dave!Checking in on the cats via the security camera system is always a mixed bag.

Most times, they're sleeping or looking out the window. No big deal.

But other times? Not so much...

Okay... let's unpack all that's wrong with what's going on here.

First of all, Joy the RoboMop has violated her "boundary" and has left the kitchen to mop my hardwood... something that's fine, I guess, but not what I wanted her to do.

Second of all... do you see those neatly-stacked, carefully-sorted piles of dirty laundry? Oh... neither do I... my cats tore into it and made one giant mess out of it all. Glad some cats and robots are having fun breaking all the rules today.

Lastly... Where are my frickin' cats? I have checked every camera and haven't seen them! My guess is that there was a loud noise and they're hiding under the couch or under the bed or something. Either that or they've totally escaped, and now I have a new adventure awaiting me after work.

Can you imagine how boring my life would be without cats and robots?

   

Caturday 42

Posted on Saturday, November 11th, 2017

Dave!Happy Veterans Day, everybody! Thanks to all the men and women who have served or are serving now.

I've been over the mountains since Thursday, letting my robots take care of my cats. For the most part it's an arrangement that works well. Sure my cats miss me, but not enough to keep out of trouble. Like climbing on the kitchen counters so I have to clean and disinfect them when I get home...

Cats Raid the Kitchen

Since the kitchen counters are now the only place the cats are not allowed, it's where they seem to rebel the hardest when I'm gone.

Speaking of not being home...

Jake kept going missing from the security cameras when I checked in. I thought he found a new place to crash in the guest bedroom, but it turns out that wasn't the case at all.

Before I left, I washed a rug and set it across the downstairs bathroom vanity to dry. Jake must have walked across it and sunk it into the sink. Making the perfect place to sleep...

Jake Sink Bed!

Jake Sink Bed!

Jake Sink Bed!

Whenever Jake isn't sleeping on my lap, now he's sleeping in the sink.

I guess I have to buy a new rug since Jake's claimed this one.

Which won't get any complaints from me. Lately Jenny likes to sleep on my arm so I am trapped...

Trapped by SleepyJenny!

But you can't be upset when you have a cat this adorable...

Trapped by SleepyJenny!

   
The drive back across the mountains was uneventful and snow-free (though I had my snow tires put on just in case). Exactly what you want a trip to be when winter has come.

The first thing I did when I got home was to put together a new IKEA wall-cabinet I bought so I have somewhere to put my keys and stuff next to the front door. My cats decided to help...

Cats Help Put Together IKEA

Cats Help Put Together IKEA

Good thing they're so cute. They're completely worthless when it comes to assembling furniture.

Until next Caturday then...

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