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The Howling at Midnight

Posted on Thursday, January 2nd, 2020

Dave!I have come to the conclusion that once you pass 50 it takes two days to recover for every day you go without a bare minimum of sleep. I went three days without sleep, so it's going to take six days before I recover. Which, for me, will be sometime Saturday.

It was not always like this. Used to be I would operate on a few hours sleep for weeks and suffer no ill-effects. Sometime in my mid-30's this changed and I needed a couple hours extra sleep to recover from a week of insanity. Then I hit 40 and suddenly I needed a day for every day of missed sleep to recover. That was at least manageable. But two days per day? How do I schedule for something like that? Being able to operate at only half-speed is killing me.

Last night I went to bed much earlier than I usually do (around 11:00pm instead of 1:30am) in an attempt to make up for lost rest. Jake, who usually sleeps with me most nights now, fell asleep in the downstairs guest room so I wouldn't be bothered by him. This left Jenny, whom will hop off the bed and go sleep in the other guest room the minute I fall asleep.

But not last night.

Oh no. I fell asleep while petting her and she was very upset about it.

VERY.

I woke up to the sound of her walking around my room howling because I dared to fall asleep before she was done with being petted. When she gets upset or wants attention, she will meow from time to time... but this was howling. Keep in mind that this camera is downstairs, so what you're hearing is one floor and three rooms away from the microphone. That's how unbelievably loud she was...

I love how she is so loud that Jake wakes up and is all WTF?!? and goes walking upstairs to see what Jenny is on about.

And so... I pet her for another twenty minutes until she was satisfied, then eventually fell asleep and hour-or-so later. Not quite getting the sleep I was hoping for, but... well... cats... you know.

Speaking of cats...

One of my favorite things on YouTube is Super Easy, Barely An Inconvenience, a series of "pitch meetings" for popular films by Ryan George for Screen Rant. The guy does the same thing every time and yet it is hilarious every time. The most recent pitch meeting is for the Cats movie, and it's one of the best yet...

And so now I'm binge-re-watching all of the episodes of Super Easy, Barely An Inconvenience while I work, which is a fantastic use of my time. Better than most stuff on television if I'm being honest.

And here's hoping that Jenny gets all her required petting in before I fall asleep so I can maybe... possibly... perhaps... kinda get some sleep tonight?

Well, she's a cat, so I'm not holding my breath. But maybe I should hold my breath. Can a cat howling in your bedroom wake you up if you've passed out from holding your breath?

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Ibuprofen and Benadryl Cocktail

Posted on Friday, January 3rd, 2020

Dave!Somehow, someway I managed to seriously injure my right shoulder. I think the muscle in it is torn or something. No clue whatsoever how it happened, but it's been a couple months. Probably slept on it wrong, because that's a thing that happens after you turn the-big-five-oh.

Anyway...

Since I am not a pro athlete or even remotely physical in any way, this is not a big deal. It doesn't bother me at all during the day because, let's face it, there's not a lot of shoulder action that comes from typing on a keyboard, clicking on a mouse, or watching television. The only time it bothers me is when I am trying to fall asleep* and I end up laying on it funny. Then... ouchies. But, no big deal, I just load up on some Ibuprofen and take a couple Bendryl, problem solved.

Except when it isn't.

Which was last night.

As I mentioned a couple times now, Jake reeeeeally likes to snuggle with me at night now. Lord knows why with all the tossing and turning I do, but he apparently likes a wild ride while trying to sleep. Or he's just terrified I'm going to leave him for a week like I did over the holidays (=insert sad emoji=). On those nights when he wants to sleep on top of me, it's especially awkward because I'm a side-sleeper. So in order for this to work, I have to grab a pillow or two and build a "shelf" beside me that he can lay on. Because, you know, laying beside me might result in him getting crushed and he won't do it. It looks something like this...

Jake laying on top of me and the pillows next to me... being king of the bedroom.

When Jake hopped up last night and waited (im)patiently for me to build his sleeping shelf, I had to reach behind me to grab a pillow. Unfortunately I did that with my bad shoulder and twisted in such a way that I let out a yelp. Jake did not have any sympathy at all. He promptly hopped on top of me and fell asleep.

Then, at 3:00 in the morning, I could not get to sleep and simply couldn't take the agony any more. I gently lowered Jake to the bed (much to his annoyance) then escaped from under the covers so I could go drug up on an Ibuprofen and Benadryl cocktail.

And go to the bathroom... again... something else that happens after you turn the-big-five-oh.

When I got back to my bed, he had decided to lay down RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF IT, which meant I had to kinda work my way around him. Eventually he curled up BETWEEN MY LEGS... SO COMFORTABLE... and I passed out 20 minutes later thanks to over-the-counter drugs I was abusing.

When I woke up to the 7:00am cat feeding alarm blaring, Jake was sniffing my face... probably wondering if I was dead. Because if I wasn't dead, why wasn't I rushing downstairs to feed him his breakfast?!?

And so my day was spent attempting to get caught up on work while in a sleep-deprived stupor... occasionally wincing with pain.

How about you?

Though, if you're under 50 years-old without cats, I probably don't want to know.

   
*I lie. I found out while traveling last week that it hurts my shoulder a great deal if I offer to get a suitcase full of bowling balls down from the plane's overhead bin for a young woman who is 90-lbs. soaking wet if she's a day** and would probably be crushed in the attempt.

**Or however the fuck that metaphor goes. I am from the Pacific Northwest where we don't do that.

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Caturday 141

Posted on Saturday, January 4th, 2020

Dave!I've heard a number of scary stories about people who have had to leave their cats only to come back and find their shoes pooped in... their clothes shredded... their furniture chewed up. Basically, the cats get their revenge for being abandoned. For whatever reason, I am blessed with two cats who are not vindictive like this at all. When I come back, they are incredibly happy to see me and then hang around me constantly. Whatever room I'm in, they're in regardless of time of day.

Jake sitting on the bed while I work while Jenny is on the window shelf.

Jake curled up next to me while my arm is around him.

Jenny on the nightstand rubbing up against my arm while I pet her.

Jake sitting on the end of the couch staring at me to make sure I am not going anywhere.

   
But they will leave me if there's something exciting outside. Like Fake Jake stopping by for a visit...

Fake Jake outside the catio staring up at something.

They will abandon me instantly for that...

Fake Jake outside the catio staring up at Jake and Jenny staring down at him.

And now it's time for the second-most dreaded time of year... making an appointment for Jake and Jenny's annual checkup at the vet. Because the most dreaded day of the year... their annual checkup at the vet in February.

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Bullet Sunday 644

Posted on Sunday, January 5th, 2020

Dave!We may be on the verge of World War III as a reckless, clueless president is intent on starting a war to distract from his impeachment, but all is not lost because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Oh Deer. So there I was falling asleep last night when the security system alarm goes off on my phone telling me that there was a person on the side of my house and in my back yard. I thought it might be a cat trying to get into the catio again, but Jake and Jenny were in bed with me. Nope... definitely not a cat... it was A FAMILY OF DEER! A couple others came along after this video...

Apparently with the warmer weather they are looking for something to eat, because they spent some time in my shrubs before moving on...

A deer walking through my back yard.

I feel horrible that somebody may harm them as they try to survive by heading into suburbia.

   
• RIP Syd Mead. It's unbelievable how so much of how we envision the future was defined by one guy... Syd Mead. He has created a tremendous volume of incredible work, and I was saddened to hear of his passing.

Syd Mead scene from Bladerunner showing a futuristic city street.

Syd Mead scene from Bladerunner looking out of a flying car's windshield.

Syd Mead future submarine-like-craft that shows futuristic construction.

Syd Mead scene from Bladerunner showing a futuristic cityscape skyline awash in lights.

2010, him. Aliens, him. Blade Runner, him. Blade Runner 2049, him. Star Trek the Motion Picture, him. Tron, him. You will be missed, sir.

   
• Poop. I loathe coffee. I have never liked it despite my proximity to Coffee Central (AKA Seattle). On those occasions where it's the only thing to drink, I will try it (again) and want to barf (again) so I've just stopped trying. Finally, finally I've found a video which encapsulates how I feel about the entire situation...

Smart kitty.

   
• Persevere. And speaking of cats... for all the challenges you meet in 2020... take courage from this cat who perseveres over whatever life throws at them!

Way to go, buddy!

   
• Squishy. HOLD UP A MINUTE... how many butternut squashes were y'all going to let me buy, peel, and cube before telling me that they make LUXURY BUTTERNUT SQUASH that comes pre-peeled, pre-cubed, and frozen for my convenience?

Me holding a bag of frozen butternut squash.

Y'all are on my list now. — I think I was dangerously close to breaking down crying in the supermarket when I saw it in the freezer case. This changes so much!

   
• Fly Someone. And lastly, I missed this adorable Christmas commercial from Heathrow Airport. Well worth your time to watch...

What a nice way to end Bullet Sunday! Have a good one, everybody.

   
Stay safe and be kind, everybody...

   

Caturday 142

Posted on Saturday, January 11th, 2020

Dave!I will never understand my cats.

Never.

After I returned from my travels a week ago, my cats were all over me. They wouldn't leave my side any time I was home. Jake and Jenny could not get enough of me and I was adored.

Until today.

But before I get to that, let's take a look at eight photos of them not being able to get enough of me...

Jake and Jenny laying in bed with me.

Jake on my bed peeking out from behind a blanket.

Jake curled up on my bed.

Jenny rubbing up next to me.

Jenny getting scratches from me.

Jenny getting more scratches from me.

Jake laying next to me curled up and looking up at me.

Jenny getting butt scratches in bed.

   
Tonight I was at the office working. I lost all track of time, so I didn't get home before Jake and Jenny's dinner alarm sounded. When I walked in the door seven minutes late, they were both sitting there waiting for me.

They were livid.

L-I-V-I-D-!

They ate their dinner and then, instead of coming into the living room to hang with me, they ran upstairs!

A couple hours later Jake finally came downstairs. After a while he hopped up on the couch next to me. Mostly so he could show me his ass...

Jake on the couch next to my legs with his ass pointing in my direction.

After making sure his butthole had been clearly presented, he lay down at my feet and threw his head down on my leg so he could look as forlorned as possible... his dinner was seven minutes late, and he was still devastated by the memory of it all. Devastated.

Jake curled up next to my legs with his head laying on my leg looking sad.

He went to sleep soon after.

Jake curled up asleep next to my legs.

I started talking to him so he would come lay on my lap and keep me company while I watched TV. He looked up at me... grunted... THEN TURNED AROUND AND WENT BACK TO SLEEP...

Jake curled up next to my legs sleeping but turned around so he's facing away from me.

Jenny is still upstairs not speaking to me.

So... gone for seven DAYS, cats can't get enough of me.

Seven MINUTES late for dinner and they are so mad they want nothing to do with me.

I will never understand my cats.

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Caturday 143

Posted on Saturday, January 18th, 2020

Dave!Earlier this week before going to work I was in the kitchen packing a lunch when I saw the lights in the dining room turn on. This was strange because that set of lights isn't programmed to turn on until 30 minutes before sunset. I was about to tell Alexa to turn them back off when they went off on their own.

What is going on here?

I head into the dining room and... there it is... Jenny is turning the lights on and off.

Jenny sitting on a shelf by the light switch.

Jenny turning on the lights in the dining room.

This was not an accident. She's done it twice since then. I don't know if it's fun for her... or she likes the beep that the smart switch makes... or it's her way of getting attention... or what. At first I was just going to de-program the switch. But then I though "why?" Let her have her fun. If it becomes a problem, I'll just deal with it then.

Also this week I set up a security camera in my bedroom to see if Jake is actually sleeping at my feet all night long. It just seemed impossible given all my tossing and turning. But, yep, he sure does. Not only that, but I am not tossing and turning nearly as much as I usually do. I wonder if my cat buddy is responsible? Seems likely. Previous times I've recorded myself to see how I'm sleeping I'm like a maniac.

Speaking of sleeping with cats...

Jenny will fall asleep next to me... so long as I am petting her the entire time. The minute I stop one of two things will happen: 1) Cry until I start petting her again if she hasn't had enough, or 2) Leave if she has. What's weird is that if I am asleep, she will leave. Neither of my cats will wake me up. Last night I was so sick that I couldn't sleep. I went to bed at 10:00pm and watched television and pet Jenny until 2:00am at which time I couldn't take it any more and went downstairs for sleeping pills. Jenny was gone when I got back.

I took a photo of her every 20 minutes. She doesn't move a lot...

Four images of Janny sleeping

Four images of Janny sleeping

Four images of Janny sleeping

I'm willing to bet that had I kept petting her, she would have slept there until the breakfast alarm rang!

Before I sign off this fine Caturday, I ran across this photo last night and it absolutely slayed me. It's adorable times a hundred...

It's also genius. I'd credit the guy for his fantastic photo if I knew who he was. Obviously he's quite the cat lover, as his awesome wardrobe attests.

Until next week... same cat-time, same cat-blog.

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Tiny Cat House Living

Posted on Monday, January 20th, 2020

Dave!Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day! Technically I have the day off but, given how behind I am at work (something not helped by being sick this past weekend), I really didn’t have the day off.

Yesterday afternoon I had somebody float the idea of creating a tiny house community. After ten seconds of thought, I decided I liked the idea. As I get older I am trying to rid myself of all my possessions so that cleaning up after me when I’m gone won’t be so much a burden. What better way to get rid of 90% of your stuff than to move into a place where there’s no room for it? Assuming a location existed where I could find work, I’d build my tiny house, drive it there, then set up until retirement. After I retire (assuming I get to retire) I can drive my home to wherever I want to end up.

Tiny house living might be a great option for me. Assuming I could find one which has a ground floor bedroom so I’m not having to climb up to a loft each night when I’m 90 years old (knock on wood).

Except...

What about Jake and Jenny?

Tiny house living with cats seems an almost impossible idea. For one thing, I think they’d go crazy if they were confined to a small space for extended periods. As it is now, they like to run all over the place and cutting down their room to roam by such a huge amount would be cruel, wouldn’t it?

And then there’s the smell of their litter boxes. I have Litter-Robots which actually do a pretty good job of containing smells, but that’s when there’s 1,800 square feet for it to dissipate. What happens in 240 square feet?

And so... I guess perhaps tiny house living isn’t such a great option for me after all.

And then last night I got to thinking... unless... what if the tiny house was built from the ground up with cats in mind?

An hour later I had roughed out an idea in Chief Architect Home Designer.

  • The home is single-level for humans... but the addition of an upper “catwalk” for the cats gives them far more space to wander.
  • Perhaps running a steel pipe underneath the entirely of the catwalk would give me a place to hang clothes in my bedroom, pots and pans in the kitchen, and a place to dry clothes after washing in the living room? No closet required! Just put bins underneath a flip-up mattress on the bed for storage of things which don’t hang.
  • To handle the Litter-Robots, why not build a ventilated loft for them? Between the robots keeping the smell to a minimum and cat-flap barriers to keep any residual smell contained, this is totally doable. You’d have to use incline-steps (which lower from the ceiling) for the once-per-week changing of the bags and twice-annual scrubbing, but if the bed flips up, there’s plenty of room for that.
  • A removable “catio” that bolts to the back side of the unit adds even more room for the cats to have access and allows them outside time. Just unbolt to make the house street-legal when you move it, then bolt back on when you arrive.
  • So many designs have the bathroom at one of the ends. This seems such a waste of potential window space! I’d rather have the bathroom in the middle and have nice big windows on the ends!
  • 99% of the time I eat on the couch while watching TV. No need to build a separate dining area, I’ll just create a fold-out table when I need it.
  • A couch which converts to a bed for guests isn’t as nice as a dedicated guest room, but it would work in a pinch.

And here we are. Note that I don't know how to make a slant-roof in Home Designer, but that's the kind I would definitely use on this so the snow would slide off. It just has to be tall enough at the front-side for the Litter-Robots, and could slant towards the back no problem. Cat's don't need more than 18"-20" to run around...

A rendering of my Tiny House plan.

Also not shown... wheels. The entire thing would be built on a trailer bed so it's movable.

Here's the back side with the catio attached. Note that Jake and Jenny would access the catio from a door in their loft...

A fenched walkway and cat enclosure attached to the back of my Tiny House.

Here you can see the upper track for the cats leading to the ventilated loft where their Litter-Robots would be located...

A walkway for the cats runs all around my Tiny House.

Here you can see how the Litter-Robots would be accessed from a door in the bedroom. An incline staircase would be lowered from the ceiling, the bed would be flipped up, and the staircase would attach beneath the door. You can also see how there are stairs leading up to the cat track (just as there are in the living room)...

A walkway for the cats runs all around my Tiny House.

You can see the vents in the cat loft here. I'd think that I'd probably get some near-silent, slow-moving fans to install in each. That would help keep small flying bugs which might get past the screen from entering while keeping any smells blowing outside...

A cutaway view of my Tiny House showing the vents in the cat loft.

Tiny houses are, well, tiny. There's no getting around it. I would likely have to build a small shed that I could transport with me to hold stuff I don't use that often but want to have handy. I still love the idea of a metal pipe hanging under the upper catwalk so I can hang stuff from it. As you can see from this render of the living room, there's plenty of room for it. Note that the catwalk has windows all the way around so Jake and Jenny can look out everywhere and not feel so confined...

Looking up at the catwalk in the living room.

A view from the catwalk in the bedroom for looking down at the unsuspecting human sleeping there...

Looking down at the bed from the catwalk.

The bathroom features a full-size toilet, vanity, cabinet, medicine cabinet, good-size tiled shower, plus a closet for electronics and a water supply (plus small water heater)...

In my Tiny House bathroom.

In the kitchen I prioritized a good-sized refrigerator/freezer, a micro-convection oven, range top, and a decent-sized sink. You can see the "stairs" for the cats to access their catwalk here on the left...

Looking towards my Tiny House kitchen.

Here's the blueprints. You can click on them to embiggen...

Tiny House blueprints.

The best part? $80-$100K and you're done. Assuming there's space where you want to live, you'll never have to buy another house. You can just take it with you.

And it's not so bad, really! I mean, sure I'd rather have a proper-sized house... but if that's not possible, I could certainly live like this. And I'm pretty sure that since it was designed to keep cats happy, they could live like this as well.

One of these days when I have some free time, I'll have to figure out how to slant the roof and add scratching posts and stuff. Fun times. Fun times.

   

Cat House Tiny Two

Posted on Friday, January 24th, 2020

Dave!It's funny how something can start out as a lark but snowball into something else entirely.

On Monday I wrote about how the tiny house craze might not work with me having cats, then designed a tiny home with cats in mind. The friend who asked me how I felt about tiny house communities posted my plans to a tiny house forum and, next thing you know, I've got a list of ideas from people who might actually want to attempt something like this!

As I had mentioned, I started with the idea of having a ventilated loft for the Litter-Robot litter boxes. The idea being that foul odors will tend to accumulate more easily in a tiny house, and it's better to plan for that from the start. Everything else just kinda fell into place.

There were some really, really good suggestions passed my way.

The biggest was that since I have a cat walk going all the way around the interior, I might as well add some storage underneath. I was also told that while I might not mind eating on the couch, a guest might feel otherwise, and it would be good to have a dining area... even if it was all collapsible.

And so... this morning while eating my Corn Flakes, I took the ideas that people had and revised my tiny house idea.

To make room for the dining table and add a window so you're not staring at a wall while you eat, I built cat "stairs" on the back of the door and added a pole so cats could climb up if they wanted to... along with small storage cupboards below the catwalk...

My tiny home interior, showing a dining nook with a table and chairs.

My tiny home interior, showing cat stairs and a climbing pole to the catwalk.

And here it is from above. Having a "catwalk" adds a lot of space for cats, and I changed the litter box loft so that they can access from both sides now, which would avoid congestion with more than one cat...

My tiny home interior, showing catwalk from above.

One person who was most enthusiastic about my plans asked if his-and-her closets could be added rather than hanging clothes everywhere. That sounded like a great idea, so I added closets (extending the home from 30' to 34') and also added corner shelving to the bedroom. Note that there are also cat stairs on the back of this door as well...

My tiny home bedroom now with closets!

Plus dual poles in the corners so cats can climb up to the catwalk that way if they prefer...

My tiny home bedroom now with poles in the back corners!

I had to switch from barn doors to actual doors for the bathroom to accommodate the cat stairs, but I actually like that better. I thought that barn doors would be better because you wouldn't be opening the door into somebody but, hey, people can be careful. PLUS... now that I think about it, there's no reason the doors to the bathroom/passthrough couldn't open inward which would solve everything. There's definitely enough room for both doors to do that. Hmmmm...

My tiny home bedroom now with poles in the back corners!

And here's the updated main floor plan with the dining table, closets, shelves, storage, and catwalk access poles and stairs (click to embiggen)...

Tiny House blueprints.

Note that the bathroom is slightly larger because I was told my electronics/water-tank closet was not big enough. Now it's plenty big enough for that and maybe some linens and towels! And now that I think about that... perhaps the washer/dryer unit would be better in the bathroom so the water tank and electronics were closer to the shower and kitchen sink. Nifty!

This was a really fun project! I may continue to tweak it as new ideas occur to me.

A pity I don't have millions of dollars laying around so I could buy a chunk of land for a tiny house community and actually build the thing. But who knows? Maybe somebody with money who wants to try tiny cat house living might take the idea and run with it?

   

Caturday 144

Posted on Saturday, January 25th, 2020

Dave!I've had to pull a chip bag off of Jake's head more than a couple times. Usually they are the "Big Grab" size, and once that goes on his head it don't want to come off! I have to chase him around the house until I can pull it off. Poor Jake.

The larger bags are easier for him to get out of. Unless I cut them down when they are near empty. Then he can get his head stuck in there while digging for crumbs, no problem. Earlier this week he got his head stuck but I was able to pull it off right away. I thought he had learned his lesson, but here he is at it again...

Jake sticking his head in a potato chip bag.

Until... he stopped short of sticking his head all the way in and started digging with his paw to pull the chips out of the bag...

Jake fishing for chips with his paw in a potato chip bag.

He knocked it on the floor, spilling crumbs. I was going to go toss it in the garbage, but he was learning something and so I put it back...

Jake fishing for chips with his paw in a potato chip bag.

Sure enough, he fishes a chip out of the bag so it falls on the floor and he can eat it...

Jake fishing for chips with his paw in a potato chip bag.

Jake fishing for chips with his paw in a potato chip bag.

And speaking of Jake...

He's not content to sleep next to me at night any more... he wants to sleep ON TOP OF ME now. This shot is him on my back. It was tough to take because my arm is twisting back with my iPhone...

Jake laying on top of me as I try to sleep.

It's easier when he lays on my chest...

Jake laying on top of me as I try to sleep.

Jenny is still being Jenny. She's incredibly smart. She's deviously clever. She's wonderfully . And she's also inexplicably weird at times. I've seen her jump down seven feet without even batting an eye. But earlier this week she hopped up 30 inches into one of my jean cubbies and somehow felt stuck. She cried until I got out of bed and helped her out...

Jenny sitting in a small cubical shelf crying.

Jenny sitting in a small cubical shelf crying.

She's a cat alright.

Until next week's adventure...

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Caturday 145

Posted on Saturday, February 1st, 2020

Dave!You will be pleased to hear that a life-long dream of mine was realized this week: Jake has consistently been falling asleep on my cold feet while I am working in bed. He did it on occasion over the years, but it was seemingly random and by accident. Then, on Tuesday he fell asleep on my toes... and has every day since. It's his favorite place to be now, apparently, and it's certainly my favorite place for him to be. So... win-win then, I guess...

Last week Dolly Parton started a meme sensation that's been picked up by just about everybody...

Earlier this week I made one for Jake...

And one for Jenny...

And that's all I have to say about that.

But before I go... watch this until the end...

I love raccoons almost as much as I love cats.

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Caturday 146

Posted on Saturday, February 8th, 2020

Dave!As I've mentioned before, there's nothing more stressful in my life than when my cats are sick. I've been very, very lucky*. Other than a rare hairball and an even more rare "scarf and barf," they've been really healthy cats, and they rarely puke.

So when Jenny started being antisocial, then puked in her dinner this past week... then puked in her dinner again when I cleaned it up... I was understandably freaking out. I tried feeding her a snack at midnight and she threw it up immediately. Not good.

Usually Jake and Jenny sleep in their separate beds like they are tonight...

A night vision photo of Jake and Jenny curled up in separate kitty beds.

But with Jenny feeling so terrible, Jake sought to comfort her by crawling into bed with her and watching over things while she slept...

A night vision photo of Jake and Jenny curled up in the same kitty bed.

Whether she wants him to or not. I kept checking in on them with the security cameras and saw that she crawled to the other bed... only to have Jake follow her there...

A night vision photo of Jake and Jenny curled up in the same kitty bed.

After I dropped a plate on the floor, I thought I probably woke them up. But only Jake was awake. Jenny was still passed out...

A night vision photo of Jake and Jenny curled up in the same kitty bed.

He's such a good brother. He does the exact same thing when I take them to the vet and Jenny goes catatonic...

Vet Visit Two Point Oh

The following morning Jenny had thrown up a bunch of water. Rather than panic and head immediately to the vet, I decided to feed her only small portions to see if she could keep food down. After a day of that, she had a full dinner, but was still being anti-social. She wouldn't let me near her.

Then the next morning she had breakfast without incident, then showed up while I was working in bed and was back to her usual self...

Jenny laying in a kitty bed passed out while Jake is wide awake.

And then there's Jake.

I've been waking up the past several mornings with him LAYING ON TOP OF ME. I finally put a security camera in my bed so I could see what was up. Turns out there's no reason for it. Jake comes wandering in around a half hour before breakfast time, then just climbs right on top...

Jake laying on top of me while I'm sleeping.

Which is nothing new. He's constantly crawling up on me even when I'm not in bed... hoping for some scratches...

Jake laying on top of me getting scratches on his chin.

The weather has been warming up at an alarming rate. This has meant that Fake Jake is leaving his shelter more and more. He's out most of the day now unless it's pouring rain out. Nights are still spent laying on the warming pad though...

Fake Jake laying in his shelter all nice and warm.

When I got home yesterday, Fake Jake came meowing and running from across the street. He was desperate for some scratches and pets. Then, as usual, he got overly-enthusiastic and snagged me after about five minutes. I just wait until it happens because I know he's not being mean... he's just being a cat... and it seems unfair to cut his time short...

My finger with blood on it from cat claw scratch wounds.

Oh well. That's what anti-biotic spray and band-aids are for, right?

   


*Seriously lucky. I've only had three real "incidents" for the entire four years I've owned them...

  • Jake started puking and couldn't even keep water down. Eventually he was so lethargic that he didn't even put up a fight when I packed him up in the kitty carrier and took him the vet. When I got there they had a line and asked if he had been using the litter box. I didn't know, so I checked the security system and found out that he had been trying to go to the bathroom many times... but I never heard anything drop when the Litter-Robot cycled. They immediately admitted him and, sure enough, his urinary tract was completely blocked. It was horrifying, and he had to stay in the hospital while I went to Hawaii and back.
  • Jenny had itchy skin so bad that she was scratching herself raw to bleeding. She was clearly miserable, waking up from sleep in order to scratch. I did my best to scratch her with fingertips whenever I saw her scratching so she wouldn't scratch with her claws. I coudn't figure it out, as there were no dietary changes and the whole-home humidifier keeps the air from going too dry. Eventually I started saturating her fur in the itchy spots with a rotating assortment of anti-itch sprays until, eventually, everything went back to normal.
  • Jake was hiding and could not be coaxed out. I was mortified that his urinary blockage came back despite switching to a pricey prescription food. At the vet they couldn't find anything wrong. When I brought him home, I saw he was limping badly. Checked the security cameras and, yikes, he fell down the stairwell and hurt his leg.
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Caturday 147

Posted on Sunday, February 16th, 2020

Dave!The reason that Bullet Sunday and Caturday switched places this weekend is that today is the 4th anniversary of my adopting Jake and Jenny.

When their 4th birthday arrived back in December, it didn't really register with me. Probably because that's an estimated date. They were feral rescues who were rescued when they were days old, so "December 6th" may or may not be the actual day. The date that I actually went and got them is not estimated, however, because I wrote a blog entry on that amazing day...

Jenny & Jake as baby kittens hesitantly looking out of the kitty carrier they were in.

Initially rescued so my mom would have a distraction from her mounting confusion and memory loss, she was able to coax them out from under the couch long before I was...

Mom and Jake

Probably because she was home with them all day so they got used to her faster. Or maybe just because they liked her a lot. Especially Jake, who would flop down and invite her to rub his belly at any opportunity...

Mom rubbing Jake's belly

Adopting my cats remain one of the best things I have ever done in my entire life.

After my mom passed, they were my reason for getting up in the morning, and they've been saving me every day since.

They are the most amazing creatures, and I love absolutely everything they do. Both of them are exceptionally well-behaved, never scratch up the furniture, always playing nice, and always happy to hang out with me. On those rare occasions something goes wrong... like them getting sick or waking me up in the middle of the night for some bizarre reason... I am never upset. Ever. Because they continue to be one of the best parts of my life...

Jake and Jenny Pals sleeping together in a way too small kitty bed.

If they have a failing, it's that I could never get them to adapt to other people. I have tried and tried and tried to slowly introduce them to houseguests. Sometimes, after a day or two, if nothing too exciting is going on, Jake might come downstairs to take a look... but he is wary the entire time and never hangs around for very long. My guess is that if somebody were to be around for several weeks they would eventually adapt. If I ever end up in a situation where that becomes a necessity, I sure hope that's the case.

In the meanwhile, I'm just going to keep enjoying their company for as long as I possibly can, because every day I love them just as much as I did when I first got them four years ago...

Jenny Eating My Feet!

Happy Caturday, everybody!

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Time and Tide and Time Again

Posted on Thursday, February 20th, 2020

Dave!If there's one thing I'm certain of, it's that humanity as a whole is on the decline.

Today reeeeeeally drove that home for me. Vividly. And so I decided to go home and turn off the world for a while. Which would usually mean that I'd clean house, play video games, or build something, but I didn't feel like doing any of that.

Fortunately Netflix decided to tell me that there's a new offering called #CATS_THE_MEWVIE, which is a documentary about cats on the internet...

Mom and Jake

Yep. That did the trick.

Even if some of the people on this are nuts. Or assholes. Or both.

Ready to face the horror show that we call "Reality" again.

   

Caturday 148

Posted on Saturday, February 22nd, 2020

Dave!Jenny has become a crotchety old gal and, heaven help me, it just makes me love her even more. Never mind that she only just turned four last December, she is wasting no time in reclaiming her time right now.

For the longest time, neither of my cats would meow. Jake doesn't meow because he can't... he just kind of silently mouths his meow or kinda does a dry squawk. The only time he gets vocal is for his trips to the vet which, holy cow, has to happen very soon now.

Jenny always could meow, but chooses not to.

Until now.

Not that she's annoying about it. She's still mostly silent. But when she wants attention or wants to let you know that she's not at all pleased with a situation, she definitely lets me know it. Last night I was working a while before bed when she hopped up next to me and was all "Meow! Meow! Meow! Meow!" Until I started petting her. Okay then, maybe she has an itch. So I start petting her with one hand while I continue to compose emails with the other.

"Meow! Meow! Meow! Meow!"

"What the heck, Jenny, I'm petting you... SEE?!?

And she's fine.

"Meow! Meow! Meow! Meow!"

What is going on with you?!?"

And then, after a bit, I figure it out.

It's not enough that I'm petting her like she wants to be petted... SHE IS MAD BECAUSE I'M NOT LOOKING AT HER WHILE I'M PETTING HER!

I swear... I am not making this up! I'll start petting her until she kinda drifts off like this...

Jenny drifting off to sleep while purring happily.

Then, every once in a while she will raise her head and squint to check and make sure I'm looking at her while petting. If I am, she'll drift back off. But if I'm not? "Meow! Meow! Meow! Meow!"

Jenny squinting as she checks to make sure I'm looking at her while petting her.

Now... I've given up trying to understand why cats do anything. They're cats. That's why. But this is entirely new and has come completely out of the blue. Why is it that now she demands my complete attention? Do I do a better job petting her when I'm not half-occupied doing something else?

And then there's her wanting to play SuperCat. Still...

Jenny hanging off a cat perch with her paws extended out like she's flying.

Jenny hanging off a cat perch with her paws extended out like she's flying.

THAT'S the pose that really gets me. Especially because she usually hangs her tongue out...

Jenny's tongue is sticking out while she's hanging off a cat perch with her paws extended out like she's flying.

Jenny is such a remarkably smart, funny, sweet cat. And her personality makes my heart melt. But I can't help but wonder if in four more years I'll be spoon-feeding her all her meals or something.

Because apparently I can't resist her, no matter what she wants.

And apparently she knows this.

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Caturday 149

Posted on Saturday, February 29th, 2020

Dave!Another Saturday... another Caturday.

Jake has been acting pretty weird lately, which is to say that he's acting more like a cat. I thought his skittish and erratic behavior was due to the Feliway diffuser running out, but it's still half-full. Which means he's being totally weird all on his own.

For whatever reason, he will run around the house... climb the cat tree... run around the house... climb the cat tree... run around the house... climb up the cat tree...

And this goes on from the minute I get home until dinner time. He used to just sleep.

Still makes time for chin scratches though...

And butt scratches, of course...

I don't know what has him all riled up, but it's bound to be good exercise, so I'm not complaining.

I wish I could find motivation like that.

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Caturday 150

Posted on Saturday, March 7th, 2020

Dave!The reason I keep checking in on the coronavirus has nothing to do with me... it's my cats. Right now it is believed that pets can be carriers but they won't be affected by it like humans are. Which is great, because I am mortified at the thought of having two cats with no way of explaining to them why they're hurting, sick, and confused.

Even so, I've been washing my hands a lot more than usual.

With a face like that, how can I not?

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Temporary Yard Work for Cat Treats

Posted on Friday, March 13th, 2020

Dave!I live each day in a Benadryl-induced haze so that people don't think my allergies are coronavirus symptoms. That would be bad enough if not for the fact that I keep getting curve-balls thrown at me.

Take this morning, for example.

I worked late, late, late last night and was still dead-tired when my cats came running in after the Alexa alarm for their 7am feeding went off. So I dragged my ass out of bed and made my way past the landmine of cat toys strewn in my path to give them their food and get some household chores out of the way. At 8am I decided to go back to bed for a half-hour nap before heading into the office.

Five minutes after my head hit the pillow, Jake and Jenny were running into my bedroom at top speed. I had no idea what brought that on... until a second later when the yard-care people fired up a thatcher so they could groom the lawn for Spring. The noise was huge, the cats were freaked, and I wasn't going to get any sleep.

Then, at 8:30 the Alexa alarm I set to "wake me up" went off, which got the cats all excited because they thought it was feeding time again when they heard it.

As I was headed to the shower I realized that the thatching noise had stopped and it was quiet... even though I only heard them working on the side of my home and nowhere else. I thought perhaps the thatcher had broke down and looked outside to see if there was a problem.

Oh there was a problem alright...

A shit-load of snow falling outside my bedroom window.

Great.

Might as well go to work then.

My cats were still waiting for their second breakfast when I trudged down the stairs...

The cats waiting for their second breakfast with Jenny at the bottom of the stairs and Jake on the table... both of them looking up the stairs in anticipation.

Note that Jake is ON THE TABLE WHERE HE KNOWS HE'S NOT SUPPOSED TO BE!

I'm all like "SERIOUSLY? YOU JUST HAD BREAKFAST 90 MINUTES AGO!!" But I was feeling sympathetic from the noisy yard work that scared them, so I gave them kitty snacks before heading out the door.

Where I had this greeting me...

A shit-load of snow piled on top of my car.

Guess I converted my garage into a wood shop too soon?

I am going to try and do as little work-work as possible this weekend so I can get caught up on house-work that's been piling up. Because, just like with the snow that's currently falling, I really don't need an avalanche to bury me.

I'm buried enough.

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Caturday 151

Posted on Saturday, March 14th, 2020

Dave!Jake and Jenny have been bonkers crazy this past week. Perhaps they are sensitive to the shit sandwich which we're all dealing with now? I dunno. Cats are smart, but I don't think that they are reading the news while I'm asleep. But maybe they are.

It all started on Monday when I nearly crapped my pants because I thought there was a snake under my bed...

A shadowy shape under my bed resembling a snake.

It was cat fur, of course. Which is why I exclaimed "I JUST VACUUMED TWO DAYS AGO!" after I figured it out. But now that the weather is warming up, the fur is practically falling off the cats in handfuls.

Jenny has taken to being particularly savage in teasing her brother. Sneaking under the scratcher lounge so she can swipe at Jake when he jumps off. Eating his snack when he's out in the catio. And, oh yeah, walking by with Mufasa while he's next to me getting petted...

Jake next to me watching Jenny walk by.

About two seconds after this photo was taken Jake scampered after her at top speed so he could retrieve his prized toy.

Jake has been even more clingy than usual lately. He wants attention all the time...

Jake looking up at me with his pretty green eyes while getting a butt rub.

And then there's Jake squawking for me while I'm in the kitchen. Usually he only does this when he's in distress or needs help finding Mufasa. After dropping everything and running in to find out what was wrong... I found out he wanted emergency belly rubs...

Earlier in the week I walked in the door, greeted the cats when they came running. Checked their food and water. Pet them for a while. Then went to work. But Jake was not satisfied with the level of attention, and decided to hop on me in a way to get my full attention...

Jake laying on my shoulder so he can get more butt scratches.

More than once I've woken up in the morning only to find Jake curled up at my feet. I try to stay still so I don't disturb him...

Jake curled up at my feet asleep.

But he's easily disturbed...

Jake curled up at my feet awake and squinting at me.

Jake is one cranky boy when you wake him up from sleep.

I don't have the coronavirus. At least not that I know of. But I'm acting as if I do in the hopes that I won't catch it and, if I do, I'm hoping I won't pass it along to my cats. I'm washing my hands before I touch them. I've ordered an extra bag of Jake's prescription food in case I'm quarantined. That kind of thing.

And, oh yeah, I'm also treating my bodily fluids as if they are toxic and keeping the bathroom doors closed so the cats can't go in. They don't normally go into the bathrooms unless they follow me in, but better safe than sorry, right?

Naturally they are furious that there's a place in the house that they can't go... even though they don't really want to go there. They felt the same way about the laundry room until Jenny figured out how to slide open the pocket door that leads there. Alas they can't open a door with a latch, and so they sit and meow at the door (Jenny) or squawk at the door (Jake) in an attempt to open it that way.

It doesn't work, but it does give them something new to do.

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Caturday 152

Posted on Saturday, March 21st, 2020

Dave!This morning Jake came running into my room and attempted to convince me to feed him breakfast early. Instead I gave him a full-body massage with both hands as a distraction. He was in such ecstasy that I thought I was going to have to find him a cigarette. Then the breakfast alarm went off, Jenny came running in all excited, and the spell was broken.

Since it's Saturday, I decided to work in bed for a couple hours. Jake never came back, but Jenny did. No idea why she kept staring me down with contempt and disapproval, but that's what she was serving up all morning...

Jenny looking at me with disapproval and contempt.

I don't know that my cats understand that a plague has descended upon us, but they definitely know something is wrong with the world. At night they are irritable and restless. After I go to bed, Jenny just hides in the closet. For the past two nights Jake will sit on the stairs and howl until I come down. After I talk to him for a minute and pet him, he'll follow me upstairs and fall asleep on the foot of my bed as usual. Not really sure what it's all about. It's like he's forgotten where I am or something?

Jake at the bottom of the stairs, looking up and howling.

Despite not having a handle on the COVID-19 situation, I am proud to say that both my cats have been practicing social distancing. When Fake Jake pops by for a visit, Jake hides around the corner even though there's a glass door between them...

Jake peeking around a corner out the screen door.

As things drag on... and seem to be getting worse... I am oddly calm. Whatever happens I'll find a way to survive somehow. Regardless of what that may mean in an uncertain future. The only thing I worry about are my cats and how any drastic change to my life might affect them. That worries me a great deal.

Fortunately there are loads of cat videos on the internet to take my mind off things. Like this one...

Take care of yourself... and any furry friends you might be living with.

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A Hazy Shade of Spring

Posted on Wednesday, March 25th, 2020

Dave!My life has become a delicate balancing act between taking enough Benadryl to keep post-nasal drip down so I'm not coughing my head off... and enough caffeine to stay awake so I can work. Too much Benadryl and I'm unconscious. Too much caffeine and I won't be sleeping at night. Not enough of either and I'm non-functional. It's a tough spot to be in, I tell you what.

Any time not spent trying to stay awake enough to work is spent trying to stay awake enough to catch up on television and play Animal Crossing: New Horizons (a game I think I've played long enough to comment on in a semi-review post on Friday). And hang out with my cats, of course. But that's something they feel they can do while I'm asleep. I keep waking up to find them sleeping next to me. Awwwww.

I maintain that cats have a sixth sense and know when something is wrong. Whether they are looking to be comforting or are looking to be comforted doesn't really matter... I'm awfully glad to have my furry companions at a time when I'm living my life in a Benadryl-induced haze while trying to self-isolate.

Not that I'm knocking my Benadryl-induced haze, mind you. It's dulling down the horrors of a world gone to shit, and that's kinda nice.

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Caturday 153

Posted on Saturday, March 28th, 2020

Dave!If people could see me talking to my cats, they would think me insane.

Jake likes me to talk to him though, and actually talks back. He can't meow, so he kinda squawks, but I know what he means.

Jenny just stares at me for a minute... then looks away like she's embarrassed for the both of us.

As you can imagine, in the day-and-age of Washington State's "Stay-At-Home" order, I am awfully glad to have my cats around. More and more every day. They keep me company... and definitely keep me entertained... which is something I'm happy to have while in self-imposed exile.

Even if my cats sometimes tire of me bothering them during their down-time...

Jenny asleep in a cat bed.

Jenny woken up looking VERY cross.

You will note that there's a toy in there with her. Jenny has been going through a toy renaissance lately, dragging them around and sleeping with them...

Jenny getting a head-scratch while laying in a cat bed that has toys in there with her.

The other night Jake was wailing downstairs again after I went to bed. I have tried to just let him yowl so he doesn't get trained into thinking that he can beckon me on command... especially when I'm trying to sleep... but I just don't have the heart. What if something is actually wrong this time? So I head to the stairs and immediately know what's got him stressed this time...

Mufasa the toy lion sitting on the stairs.

Apparently Jenny grabbed Mufasa from Jake and ran away with him. And if Jake can't find his favorite toy, he's understandably upset. So I took Mufasa to him downstairs, he grabbed it and sauntered off, and that was that.

This past week I got a security alert on my phone while I was at work. When I looked to see what had happened, I saw Jake and Jenny running from the kitchen at top speed. Curious to know what had happened, I checked the kitchen-cam only to see this...

A stack of dishes completely obstructing the kitchen security camera.

I've been tearing apart my house and disinfecting everything, and should have put the dirty dishes in the washer after I finished cleaning out the sink. Naturally I was curious as to what had happened, but my cats were safe so I didn't rush home.

And when I did get home I found this...

Carl the RoboVac choked to death on a big towel.

My cats still hate Carl the RoboVac. And since I have no idea how that bath towel got in the kitchen, I'm guessing they are still working together to murder him. This time by choking him with the towel.

Psychotic nut-balls.

And speaking of psychotic nut-balls, HAVE YOU BEEN WATCHING THE TIGER KING ON NETFLIX?!? This was me and Jake watching earlier this week...

Jake riveted by the glow of the television which is playing Netflix's The Tiger King.

The show is just bananas. Seriously. You have NO idea...

If you want to see some seriously messed-up television, there's your show.

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Caturday 154

Posted on Saturday, April 4th, 2020

Dave!I had somebody read about the cat feeding station I built (I needed a way to clean the cats' eating area easily), then email me to ask just how messy Jenny could be when eating. The answer is... very. She loves loves love wet food, but she won't bite it. She always licks it. Problem is that she barely gets any in her mouth that way, so I bought a small blender so I can liquify her half of the wet food for every meal. That way she can lick it all up and be happy as a clam.

After she's done eating it looks like a murder scene or something...

Jenny making a mess with cat food being splattered everywhere.

That was after last night's dinner. This was after this morning's breakfast...

The mess Jenny made with cat food being splattered everywhere.

I always clean it after breakfast, though in the summer I usually clean it after breakfast and dinner because I don't want to attract bugs.

Is it a lot of trouble? Yes. Would my life be easier if I fed my cats only dry food instead of dry and wet? Sure. But I love my cats entirely too much, and this is what you do to keep them happy.

They're totally worth any amount of trouble...

Jake and Jenny snuggling in a cat bed.

Last night I watched my two Quarantino movies after I had blogged for the day, so I'm going to plop them right here. My double feature was Django Unchained and The Hateful Eight...

Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained Movie Poster.

Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained Movie Poster.

Django Unchained is one of my all-time favorite movies. Period. It's a really cool flick filled with terrific characters and fantastic performances by everybody involved. Easily my favorite movie each from Jamie Foxx and Leonardo DiCaprio, the biggest surprise was Samuel L. Jackson playing one of the most loathsome characters in cinematic history. He is vile. Christoph Waltz didn't have the exceptional material that rocketed him to stardom in Inglourious Bastereds, but he makes the most of his every scene.

My least favorite Tarantino film is Death Proof... not because I don't like it (on the contrary, I love it), but because the rest of his films are just so amazing. The Hateful Eight is in the same boat, coming in just ahead of Death Proof. I love it... and if it were in any other list it would come out near the top... but in a list for Tarantino is comes out near bottom just because some movie has to. This movie is more subtle all the way around, giving us a closed-door mystery with some decent intrigue and stellar performances. It's also one of the most beautifully-shot Tarantino film with the second best red herring in "The Lincoln Letter" (#1 would be "The Briefcase" from Pulp Fiction).

And now all that's left is Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, which I will be watching tonight.

After which I will have to resist the urge to watch all of Tarantino's movies all over again.

   

Caturday 155

Posted on Saturday, April 11th, 2020

Dave!Jake and Jenny are mostly happy to have me home so much.

They like hanging around me, so now they get to do that a lot more. They also like interrupting me when I'm working, so now they get to do that a lot more too. The begging for treats was unbearable at first, but now they're understanding "no," so there's that.

Times like this I'm grateful that they have a catio. The weather has been really nice lately, so they spend hours out there playing and sleeping in the sun.

In other news, my Facebook feed has been filled with videos of cats avoiding obstacles and it's my new rabbit-hole to fall through on YouTube...

And now, since there's not much else going on with my cats and because you may be needing a break from the horrors of the world... here's Baby Jenny having big fun with Baby Jake's tail...

Aw, kittens. I miss that. Makes me wish I had two more.

But not really. I can't imagine being quarantined with four cats.

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My French Dutch Oven

Posted on Wednesday, April 15th, 2020

Dave!This morning I was awakened at 5am by the sound of a cat puking. Since this happens so rarely, I immediately grab my iPhone so I can use the flashlight on it to see who's sick. Turns out nobody is sick. Jake just had a hairball and, of all the places in my home, he decided to puke it up in my bedroom. Thanks, buddy!

Guess I need to step up my brushing with the Furminator.

And now for something entirely not cat-related.

I have been craving bread for a week. But I haven't baked any because 1) I don't want to use up what precious little flour I have left... and 2) I am too tired after work for a long process of multiple rises. And so... tonight I decided to just whip up a loaf of single-rise "wet bread" which doesn't taste as amazing as my beloved SourJo bread, but it does taste like bread. AND I NEEDED IT!

Bread rising in a proofing basket.

Bread sitting in a Dutch oven after baking.

Bread. At last.

Dutch oven bread always gives me the nicest crust. I used to have a cast-iron Dutch oven that I inherited, which I hated. Eventually I replaced it with an Emile Henry potato pot after a friend and I were discussing bread and she recommended it. The thing is made in France and was really expensive... $100 I think?... but it's so perfect for bread. The reason being that "regular" dutch ovens are deep with a shallow lid. It can be tough to get in and out of it when you're dealing with a "wet loaf" that doesn't hold its shape and may be sticky. The potato pot is less deep but has a tall lid. So there's room to rise, but it's easy to work with. Apparently so many people ended up using this potato pot for bread that it's been rebranded "bread & potato pot" by Emile Henry (a company founded 1850 in Burgundy!).

Which is all a convoluted way to say that my Dutch oven is a French oven, I guess.

UPDATE: The pot is indeed pricey. The red one I have is now $120 at Amazon, but they have a black one for $110 as well. As you can see, the pot is split in the middle instead of the top so that the lid is deeper and the base is more shallow, making it much nicer for bread-making...

And it also does a bang-up job of cooking potatoes, as it was originally designed for.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I just ate dinner and am going to have a slice of bread for dessert!

   

Caturday 156

Posted on Saturday, April 18th, 2020

Dave!I know from my security camera systems that my cats spend most of the time when I'm away sleeping. Within a half hour of me leaving the house, they are off napping somewhere. On a regular office work day for me this means that they are sleeping from 8:30 to 4:00. If I'm gone traveling, they sleep all day and all night, waking up only to eat, drink, or go to the bathroom. Occasionally they'll saunter out to the catio or look out the window, but it's mostly sleeping.

And now that I'm home a lot more than usual?

They are awake a lot more than usual. Sure, they still sleep for hours at a time... but they want to sleep near me while I work or play video games or watch television. This can cause a problem for Jake, because he tends to blend into the background. Especially the fuzzy blanket I got at a Christmas gift exchange which I leave on the couch...

Jake sleeping at a weird angle on a fuzzy blanket except you can barely see him because he's the same color as the blanket.

He loves that thing. But, as you can imagine, I've come close to sitting on him more than once. I've have to really remember to make sure he's not dozing away if I'm going to sit on that blanket.

See where his head is? Take your time, because it's not where you think it would be. That's how he sleeps. I have no idea how or why, but that's how he does it.

As you can imagine, spending more time awake is more opportunity for conflict... even if it's play conflict. The other day I was watching Jenny giving herself a sun-bath out in the catio. Jake decided he wanted to sit where she was sitting, and took a swat at her. Now, most times, Jenny will decide it's not worth the trouble and wander away so Jake can have his way. But lately? She is not having it...

Jenny may only be 2/3 the size of Jake, but she can and does hold her own when she feels like it.

Lately for me, "holding her own" means demanding belly rubs whenever it occurs to her that she wants one...

Jenny leaning her head back to get belly rubs.

Seriously, she will meow and fret until you give in.

I always give in.

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Bullet Sunday 658

Posted on Sunday, April 19th, 2020

Dave!Life in isolation may be better than no life, but your life is about to get measurably better... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Dough! I finally broke down and baked a couple loaves of my beloved SourJo bread. It was too hard going without, so I used the last of the flour I had been saving and went for it. The result was as delicous as it was beautiful...

Two loaves of delicious bread on a cooling rack.

I have decided to slice and freeze the pan-loaf so I can thaw it out as toast when I need a bread fix. The round loaf, however? That I'll be eating in copious chunks with butter and jam! I sure hope that flour, sugar, and yeast come back to grocery store shelves sometime soon.

   
• Various Corn! Oh look... John Oliver is back to drop some truth on the outrageous levels of stupid shit that have been plaguing us as of late...

The Below Deck: Sailing Yacht drop-in was particularly wonderful for those of us who are fans of the show.

   
• Terms of Agreement! HOLLYWOODREPORTER.COM: COURT RULES PHOTOGRAPHER GAVE UP EXCLUSIVE LICENSING RIGHTS BY POSTING ON INSTAGRAM. This is categorically absurd. A feature of Instagram is that people can embed and share what you post. Mashable wanted to use the image without embedding the Instagram framing. They offered money. The artist refused the amount of money. So Mashable just used the Instagram framing as it was DESIGNED TO BE USED!! If you don’t want people using your work in ways that social media was designed to be used... THEN DON’T FUCKING POST IT TO SOCIAL MEDIA! Especially a site like Instagram where you have to agree to their terms specifically allowing this kind of thing when you sign up for an account. Put your work on a PRIVATE SITE and EXPLICITLY STATE the terms of use (or lack of use) where you are sharing it. This is not rocket science. Nobody should be shocked or surprised as to what can happen when you post your work to social media. THIS IS WHY THEY CALL IT "SOCIAL MEDIA!"

   
• Sucks So Good! One of my favorite movies of all time is What We Do In The Shadows. It's hilariously funny in all the right ways. It spawned a television serious on FX that was every bit as well-done and hysterical. And now they've started their second season...

I was late to the television series (I didn't know it even existed), but now I'm crazy for it. I pre-ordered the entire season at iTunes because I just know that I will be watching them over and over again. Highest possible recommendation.

   
• Moo! Cows are truly some of the most gentle and beautiful animals. Part of why I can’t bring myself to eat them...

THAT is one content kitty right there!

   
• Color! This is probably the coolest thing I've seen all year. A series of RGB colorspace books which depict every color imaginable...

A person with white gloves turning the page of a massively thick volume of color pages in the RGB Color Atlas.
Image attributed to Brittany Schall

Two of the three volumes of the RGB Color Atlas.
Photo by Vegard Kleven

You can read about the RGB Colorspace Atlas over at Colossal. You can see the work over at artist Tauba Auerbach's site.

   
• 'MURICA! And let's wrap this up with a shut-out to the brave nurses confronting IGNORANT STUPID FUCKING ASSHOLES protesting lockdown BY BARRICADING STREETS DURING A PANDEMIC WHEN AMBULANCES MAY NEED TO GET THROUGH...

I am so fucking sick and tired of this idiotic trash that I want to vomit. You can read about it here.

   
And that's all she wrote for bullets this Sunday.

   

Caturday 156

Posted on Saturday, April 25th, 2020

Dave!The more I stay at home... the more clingy my cats get.

Especially Jake, who is spending all night, every night on my bed. He comes in, flops down, then snuggles up next to me. He's there when I fall asleep, then still there when I wake up in the morning. Sometimes he gives himself a bath first...

Jake staring at the camera, mid-stare, in the middle of a bath.

And then.. flop...

Jake laying down getting a belly rub.

Sometimes Jake doesn't bother with a bath. He just goes right to sleep... covering his face because I had the lights on...

Jake laying down with his belly exposed, covering his eyes.

When he's out-out and has stopped purring, I always go in for a belly rub...

Jake laying down spread-eagle.

Jake getting a belly rub while sleeping.

You'd think that he'd wake right up. But nope! He was like this for over a half-hour. Like he's stuck..

Jake in the exact same position... spread eagle... not having moved an inch.

Last night I went to bed early and was watching television. Jenny loves watching television with me, so here she came...

Jenny sitting on my bed watching television.

After a few minutes she was totally invested in whatever was on the TV...

Jenny laying down, still watching television.

The fun and games were over when Jake showed up for bed and decided to give her a facial...

Jake licking Jenny's face.

Then, because Jake feels that the bed belongs to him at night, so he chased Jenny off, the little shit-head...

Jake watching television on my bed.

But don't worry. Jenny has her revenge. Usually when she runs across Mufasa and hides it somewhere. Earlier this week I went to take my morning shower and there was Mufasa...

Mufasa, Jakes small plush lion toy, laying in my shower.

I always feel bad for Jake... no matter what he's done to deserve it... so whenever I find Mufasa I will usually go find Jake so he can have his toy back.

Have a great Caturday, everybody.

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Caturday 157

Posted on Saturday, May 2nd, 2020

Dave!When it comes to feedings, I've had to develop a specific routine in order to keep the peace.

Jake wolfs down his meals as fast as he gets them. Jenny takes her time, and will wander away and wander back as she eats. Which means if I just feed them their dinner all at once, Jenny will eat a bit then leave. While she's gone, Jake will eat his food, then her food. Which is why that's not really possible.

And so it goes like this...

  • 6:50am — Alexa alarm sounds. I feed them a sixth-can of wet food.
  • 7:00am — The dry food auto-feeder drops the remainder of their breakfast.
  • 9:00am — Tiny portion of cat treats (which I feed them every day because that's how I lure them in the cat carrier when they have a vet appointment).
  • Noon — The dry food auto-feeder drops a small snack for them.
  • 5:50pm — Alexa alarm sounds. I feed them a sixth-can of wet food.
  • 6:00pm — The dry food auto-feeder drops the remainder of their dinner.
  • 9:00pm — The dry food auto-feeder drops a small snack for them.

By spacing out their feedings, Jenny gets all of her food and Jake doesn't get more than his. It also makes sure there's no binge/purge that can come from eating too much too fast.

You'd think that all this would mean that Jake is the one who makes feedings difficult, but that's not the case. As I mentioned last month, Jenny won't bite wet food, so hers has to be pureed so she can eat it by licking. Also? She needs strong-smelling foods or she won't eat them. Which means both of them get fish-based meals whether or not Jake would rather have something else, because fish smells the strongest. And sometimes Jenny isn't satisfied because it's not smelling strong enough and will be upset. For those times I have to mix in some horribly-stinky dried fish flakes to get her eating. And, here's the part you won't believe, Jake never begs for food. Jenny absolutely does, and will go running to the kitchen any time I'm there in the hope that she'll get a snack.

In other Jenny news... it seems there's something besides Rick from Rick and Morty that will cause her to come running... Ray Charles. He was on an old 1977 Saturday Night Live repeat tonight and she came running in to watch while he was singing... then left shortly after he was done...

Jenny watching Ray Charles on television.

In many ways Jenny has changed the most over the years. Used to be she would run away terrified if another cat was within sight. Then she got to the point where she wouldn't run... but instead observe from a distance. And now? She will actively run out to the catio to confront them, pushing Jake out of the way to get there first. A black cat came walking by and she was on it..

Jenny confronting a cat out in the catio while Jake is making his way out to see what's happening.

The black cat out on the porch in front of the catio.

Earlier this week she ran out to confront a GERMAN SHEPHERD that wandered into the yard. I knocked on the window to scare the dog away because I worried he might bite her if she stuck a paw out or something. This was her reaction...

Jenny looking at me while her front paws are hanging off a cat shelf in the catio.

Jake is probably least happy with Jenny's changes. Used to be he could terrorize her and she wouldn't do anything about it. But now? Jenny knows exactly how to get her revenge... steal his favorite toy. Jake is so paranoid about it that he drags Mufasa with him everywhere and looks around nervously when he has to drop him... like here when he wants to groom his belly...

And speaking of Jake, now that the weather has gotten hotter, he's catspreading again. Especially on my bed when I have the ceiling fan on...

Jake flopped on the bed all spread out.

But he'll do it anywhere...

Jake flopped on the couch all spread out.

Still not happy about me photographing his catspreading though. I get a look...

Jake spread out and glaring at me as I try to photograph him.

Sorry, Jake... if not for photos, Saturdays wouldn't be as exciting.

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Caturday 158

Posted on Saturday, May 9th, 2020

Dave!I know I keep mentioning how Jenny keeps getting more demanding, but it bears repeating because there seems to be no limit to how much she'll pile on. This morning, for example, she stood by the water fountain and started meowing. I went to see what was wrong and... the water level was too low for her highness's liking. She doesn't actually drink from the flowing water like Jake does, she wants to drink out of the well. So she sat there until I went and got a glass of water to fill it to a more acceptable level.

Earlier in the week she was upset that I was taking too long in the bathroom and she wanted her morning pets and sat outside the door and meowed and meowed.

And before that SHE WAS UPSET THAT THE TELEVISION WASN'T ON! Seriously. Sat there in front of the television meowing until I turned it on.

I'm getting really good at interpreting what she wants. Thankfully.

Jenny spends most of the day and a good chunk of the night out in the catio now. In daylight she naps in the sunshine. At night she... stares out into space? No idea what she's looking at. Or for...

Jenny in the catio out in the dark.

Jenny staring out into the dark.

I planted some flowers outside so that she has something to look at while she's out. I don't know that she appreciates them, but the bees sure do...

Jenny looking out from the catio to the flowers planted on the patio.

And then there's Jake.

Who is also becoming more demanding.

When I got home yesterday, Jake went running around the house and stopped long enough to scratch on his post. He got a claw stuck but, instead of working it free as he normally does, he just sat there squawking for help until I came and freed him. Methinks I spoil my cats a bit too much...

Jenny staring out into the dark.

So... it's nice to be needed... I guess?

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Caturday 159

Posted on Saturday, May 16th, 2020

Dave!My cats have never really responded to catnip regardless of how many times I try. When they were kittens I would buy catnip toys and sprinkle it on scratching posts to entice them, but it never really did anything. Eventually I just gave up. They were happy to scratch on their posts without it (thus saving my furniture) so why bother?

The last thing I bought them were a few toys filled with Maine Organic Catnip. They would chew on them and toss them around, but it didn't seem the catnip was doing its thing.

Then this past week somebody was singing the praises of "From The Field" catnip, so I thought I would give the 'nip one last shot. When it arrived I could smell it through the bag. Heck, I could smell it through the shipment packaging!

I sprinkled it on Jake's favorite toys... Mufasa the lion and Moose the mule... plus the Maine lobster roll that already had catnip in it. He rolled around on them for a bit, but then he wandered off...

Jenny wasn't interested at all.

And so... I guess my cats just aren't genetically disposed to catnip then. I read that can happen. Oh well. At least now I know for sure. Because if they weren't going to respond to this skunk, nothing will do it.

I tossed the bag on the kitchen counter, fed us all dinner, then plopped myself down in front of the television and started working.

TELL ME. TELL ME THAT NOBODY SAW THIS COMING!

So there I am working away when I hear the cats in the kitchen goofing off. I worry that they've gotten into the garbage. But nope! THEY GOT INTO THE CATNIP! Hopped on the counter where they knocked it to the floor, then put a bunch of teethmarks in the bag before slicing an opening and getting it all over the kitchen floor. THEN they decided to roll around in it, fight in it, and go nuts in it. And then there's Jenny picking up Mufasa and throwing him at Jake at the 1-minute mark. So apparently I was making a bad assumption that they were not affected by the stuff. Because clearly...

And so I guess I just wasn't using enough of the stuff or something? The good news is that now I can throw them a 'nip party from time to time.

It's legal to get high in Washington State now, after all.

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Caturday 160

Posted on Saturday, May 23rd, 2020

Dave!The Mufasa paranoia continues.

Poor Jake is still dragging his favorite toy everywhere for fear that Jenny will hide it if he lets it out of his sight.

The bad news is that half the time he'll get distracted and leave Mufasa unattended. The good news is that Jenny seems to be over it. For whatever reason she isn't hiding the stuffed lion any more. Whenever Jake is wandering the house crying because he can't find it, I'll see it in some totally obvious place. Like sitting on the stairs...

Which is where he will often drop it on his way up or down...

Jenny is far more clever than that. If she wanted to hide it, she wouldn't be leaving Mufasa on the stairs.

But Jake still thinks that she's taking it, and will freak out when Mufasa is missing and Jenny is available to blame. Here he is waiting for her to come downstairs so he can force her to tell him where Mufasa is, even though he was the one who dragged it upstairs just a half-hour earlier...

Note that poor Jenny is all WTF?!?

Which, as you can imagine, is her default state with a brother like Jake.

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Caturday 161

Posted on Saturday, May 30th, 2020

Dave!Usually, my cats like to be wherever I'm at when I'm home. And I've tried to accommodate that by having places for them. If I'm in my bedroom, they hang out on the window perches I put up. If I'm in the living room, they are either laying on the cat bed I put on the coffee table... or hanging out in the cat tree. But now that I'm home all the time? They are starting to tire of hanging around me. They're either out in the catio or sleeping in the bedroom.

I kind of miss it though. My cats are entirely entertaining... even when they're doing nothing. Jeny flopped down in some water that leaked into the catio when it rained and was sporting a mohawk for a while. Eventually I managed to mostly get rid of it by petting her with damp hands, so it's almost gone now...

Jenny with a spot of fur standing up on her back like a mohawk.

But don't think that they avoid me entirely. I took some shirts out of the wash to hang up... turned around for a second... and suddenly Jenny is there on one of my shirts...

Jenny laying on my wet shirt on top of the washing machine, her claws sunk into it.

... and would not let it go. I pull on it, and she pulls it back.

I even tried to distract her with chin scratches...

Jenny getting chin scratches from me.

But nope!

Rather than risk battling it out and getting claw marks on a pricey shirt, I decided to just let her keep it. And she did. For over fifteen minutes! Amazing that my cats are now getting hair on my clothes before I even get them dried!

In other news, the Mufasa drama is still in effect, even though Jenny seems to have lost interest. What seems to be happening now is that Jake misses chasing his sister around for his toy, so now he's taken to throwing Mufasa around...

This is really worrisome, because I don't know that this toy can take that kind of punishment day in and day out. And, much of the time now, it's like Jake is literally daring Jenny to take his favorite toy.

Jenny hears Jake running down the steps and waits to see what's up...

Jenny waiting at the bottom of the stairs.

Jake come down, carrying Mufasa as usual...

Jake coming down the stairs with a toy lion in his mouth while Jenny waits for him at the bottom of the stairs.

Then Jake will drop Mufasa right in front of her, pretty much inviting her to grab it...

Jake drops Mufasa his toy lion at Jenny's feet.

Jenny, not one to pass up an invitation like that, reaches down to pick him up...

Jenny getting ready to pick up Mufasa.

At which point Jake immediately freaks out and chases her away which, I'm guessing, was what he wanted all along...

Jake chasing Jenny up the stairs while Mufasa lays there at the bottom.

At some point a pair of my boxes was dragged out of the laundry bag I didn't have time to run upstairs, so this is what greeted me when I got home...

Mufasa the toy lion laying next to a pair of boxer shots.

Cats. Wouldn't want to do quarantine without them!

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Caturday 162

Posted on Saturday, June 6th, 2020

Dave!My cats like to sleep. A lot. I understand that this is true of most cats, but mine have raised it to an art form.

Especially Jenny, who doesn't seem to do much else now-a-days. Her sleeping is only interrupted when it's time to eat or poop. Other than that I am allowed to pet her in the mornings still, but her playing and exploring seems to have gone by the wayside. At first I thought she might be sick or something, but I honestly don't think that's the case. She just loves to sleep.

A couple weeks ago I was wiping down the coffee table and stacked to the two kitty beds I keep there on top of each other. When I came back from rinsing out my dustrag, Jenny was sitting on top of both beds (each with a warming pad) and loving it.

Ever since, that's her favorite place to sleep...

Jenny laying in the indent from stacked kitty beds with her legs kicked out, looking all content and happy.

Just look at her! Could she be any more relaxed? Laying in that pillow pit with her legs kicked out. Adorable.

And make no mistake, she is out. She used to jump awake every time there was even a slight noise. Now it has to be me slamming a door or, as in the case of this photo, waking her up with a sneeze...

Jenny waking up from her double-stacked kitty bed looking grumpy.

And here's the thing. She was so grumpy from having been waked up that she just stared at me for a long, long time. Eventually she flipped over so she could glare at me from an all new angle...

Jenny from a different angle in her double-stacked kitty bed looking grumpy.

And even that wasn't good enough. She had to flip again to continue staring at me. She wanted to make very sure that I know what I did and it was wrong of my to sneeze...

Jenny from a different angle in her double-stacked kitty bed looking grumpy.

OKAY! OKAY! I GET IT, I GET IT!

Jenny pushing back with her little feet giving me yet more death stare.

And it's not just her double kitty bed. Even when she's laying next to me in my own bed while I'm working, I get a dirty look when I have to get up and get ready to go into the office...

Jenny giving me a death-stare on my own bed after having been awakened.

As for Jake? For him it's all Mufasa all the time now. He loves that little stuffed lion and carts him around everywhere, even though Jenny seems to have lost interest in stealing it. Lately Jake dropped Mufasa on my bed then ran away. I guess I'm supposed to guard him or something...

Jake dropping off Mufasa next to me while I'm working in bed.

Uh oh...

Jenny wandering up to grab Mufasa from my care.

Guess Jenny isn't done stealing her brother's favorite toy after all.

Eventually Jake must have seen her with it, because he dragged it back upstairs and fell asleep with it in short order...

Jake curled up sleeping with Mufasa next to my feet I'm working in bed.

I think Jake even recognizes "Mufasa" by name now. Earlier this week he followed me up to bed with Mufasa in his mouth. Hung around for five minutes, then went downstairs... but left his lion with me. Five minutes later and I heard him wailing because he can't find him... so I had to yell down "JAKE! YOU LEFT MUFASA UP HERE! COME AND GET HIM!" And... so he did! Sweet! Didn't have to take Mufasa down to him!

I am holding Mufasa out to Jake, who is grabbing his toy in a blur.

As concerned as I've always been that Jake will tear apart Mufasa and lose his favorite thing in the world, I'm even more concerned lately. He usually just walks around with it, rolls around with it, and carries it places. But lately he's started really ripping into his lion for some reason...

Jake going to town on Mufasa with his teeth.

A few days ago he brought Mufasa up and proceeded to bite all over it pretty rough. Especially tearing at the fur on his mane and tail. I only caught the end of his rampage on film when he was done, but it's still pretty scary because Mufasa ain't going to last much longer with this kind of treatment...

I've tried to get Jake hooked on other toys, but to no avail. He was sitting in the middle of the room looking bored, so I fired up his WhirlyBall (a ball with a stem and a feather on it that rotates) and set it down next to him. He just sat there and let the feather repeatedly smack him in the face.

I know how you feel, buddy. I know exactly how you feel.

After letting WhirlyBall dig on his face for a couple minutes, he ran and hid in the cat tree so he could observe it safely...

Jake going to town on Mufasa with his teeth.

Of course I felt awful that I had scared him into being a bunker cat. Guess I won't be trying that again. And so I guess it's back to buying every new toy I find until I get something he likes as well as Mufasa.

Which is probably futile, but I have to try.

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Caturday 163

Posted on Saturday, June 13th, 2020

Dave!Strangely enough, my cats aren't sick of me spending every minute I'm not at work here at home. They still love having me here and following me around for attention.

Jake is still snuggling up to my feet whenever I'm working or sleeping in bed. I'll nod off, wake up, and there he is. Sometimes in the morning when I wake up he's there too...

Jake sleeping on my feet.

Jake sleeping on my feet.

Jake sleeping on my feet.

Jake sleeping on my feet.

It's his favorite new thing. Jenny's favorite new thing? Sitting in a box, apparently...

Jenny sitting in a cardboard box.

Every morning when I walk down the stairs she's sitting there waiting for her breakfast.

A couple days ago I mentioned that I was having to dig through an insane number of cables in an attempt to find a way to connect my photo archive to my NAS drive. I had cables sorted into piles all over the kitchen counters. At the end of the counter I had a small pile of short cables I had thought would be good for travel. When I woke up yesterday morning, some of them were on my bedroom floor (along with Mufasa) and one of them was left on the stairs...

USB cables and Mufasa he stuffed lion on my bedroom floor.

I didn't really need to look at the camera footage to know who did it, but I pulled it up just the same...

Jake up on the kitchen counter looking very GUILTY!

Time to disinfect the countertops again.

And now, before we go... I give you this...

Jake and Jenny were feral rescues, but they were gotten to when they were babies. Some cats aren't so lucky, but all of them deserve a chance.

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Caturday 164

Posted on Saturday, June 20th, 2020

Dave!It's Caturday... and I'm sick! Sick of barfing my guts out all day long. Ugh.

If y'all remember, I added a massive sisal pole to the catio two years ago this month. I was happy to see that Jake and Jenny took to it right away. They are regularly scratching on it from all four levels that it's accessible, and they both enjoy climbing it as well. This is something that my catio-cam rarely captures because they climb the side opposite the camera, as it's the side without the hinges that attach it. Then, just a couple days ago, Jenny climbed up the side next to the camera for some reason! I finally had it on video...

My efforts to find a new toy for Jake continue, but he only has eyes for Mufasa. He is still dragging him everywhere and still licking and chewing him every chance he gets. Yesterday morning he was laying on my bed whining for Mufasa... which was laying right behind him... here he is after I handed it over...

As you can see, Mufasa ain't going to last long with that kind of treatment, which is why I am trying to find a replacement. Nothing has worked so far. I finally moved on from stuffed lions and tried a battery-powered floppy fish. Jake is completely unimpressed...

Jake ignoring Floppy Fish.

Jenny won't even get near it until it stops moving...

And so... I guess it's back to Mufasa for Jake...

Jake chewing on Mufasa.

Enjoy it while it lasts, buddy.

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Caturday 165

Posted on Saturday, June 27th, 2020

Dave!Social distancing comes home.

So there I was, giving Jenny belly rubs because she absolutely insists on it every morning when I'm trying to get some work done when the unthinkable happens in the day-and-age of COVID-19.

I sneezed.

Jenny hops up like she heard a shot, then jumps to the end of the bed.

Jenny laying down all content while I scratch her belly.

Jenny at the end of the bed, glaring at me.

Where she glared at me for ten solid minutes...

Jenny at the end of the bed, glaring at me.

I swear... she may have a cranky face, but she is the sweetest kitty ever. She just believes in social distancing when she suspects you are coronavirus-symptomatic.

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Caturday 166

Posted on Saturday, July 4th, 2020

Dave!This has been a tough week. On top of having to cancel plans I've been looking forward to all year, I haven't been feeling well lately. Nothing coronavirus-related (at least I hope not), just tired and bummed.

But at least I have my cats, right?

Though I think Jenny is tired of all this quarantine shit...

Jenny staring at me looking discontent.

Jake, however, seems okay with it...

Jake flopped against my leg getting chin scratches.

And now I guess all three of us will be getting back to the same old grind.

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My Monday, As Explained By My Cats

Posted on Monday, July 6th, 2020

Dave!Well that was awful.

Rather than put into words how my week started, here's my cats to do it for me...

Jake scowling at the camera.

Jenny scowling at the camera.

Yep. Pretty much that.

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Hydrangeas by Morning, Pasta by Night

Posted on Tuesday, July 7th, 2020

Dave!This was starting out to be yet another killer day at work so I decided to get up early. This way I had a minute for breakfast, which allows me to work on perfecting the perfect egg and cheese biscuit sandwich.

So I got up... I fed the cats... then I went to grab a pan to fry up some eggs... and... whoops. All my pots and pans were dirty. And I just didn't feel like washing them by hand, which you have to do because they don't recommend the dishwasher since it ruins the coating. It's not even like it's that hard. My pots and pans are totally easy to clean because nothing sticks... it's just having to stand at the sink and turn on water and squirt the soap and scrub with a brush and dry them off and put them away... no individual task is tough or takes long, but when taken all together it seems like a lot in the morning when I'm trying to get out of the house.

So instead I went out back to take a look at my hydrangeas.

These things are amazing because after having been chopped to the ground in the Fall, they don't seem to do anything when all my other flowers are starting to sprout in the Spring. Then... in what seems like a few days... they explode with growth. Seriously, it's several inches a day, and then the flowers magically appear out of nowhere. Last night I noted that they were all in full bloom...

My pretty, fluffy, flowery, white hydrangeas in full bloom.

My pretty, fluffy, flowery, white hydrangeas in full bloom.

Madonna famously loathes hydrangeas, but I think they're pretty. They certainly take up a lot of space... and they don't stink, which is nice. I'm happy to just let them keep growing year after year since it doesn't require any effort by me (except to chop them down again in October).

When I got home I really wanted some creamy walnut sauce on pasta.

But I was so tired after 12 hours working that, once again, I had very little motivation to scrub my pots and pans. And since every last one of them was dirty, I figured I'd just take a pass.

But then I couldn't bring myself to eat another peanut butter sandwich like I did last night, so I spent the 15 minutes it took to clear my sink and start cooking for 25 minutes.

Totally worth it...

A beautiful plate of walnut cream sauce on pasta.

Delicious to the last bite. Except now I've got a sink full of pots and pans again.

Then it was time to ignore the dirty dishes and hunker down with Jake and watch television, which was pretty much all I had the energy for...

Me and Jake sitting on the couch watching television.

Except for a bowl of chocolate ice cream with walnuts and whipped cream, of course.

   

Caturday 167

Posted on Saturday, July 11th, 2020

Dave!As I've mentioned a couple times, Jenny refuses to bite wet food... she will only lick it. So for the past several months I've been puréeing her wet food so she can lick it up. Then this past week something interesting happened. Jenny started sitting in front of where Jake eats so she could see what food he was getting before going to her bowl... and then not eat. This was both disheartening and amusing.

In order to get things back on track so Jake wouldn't end up eating two dinners, I decided to start mixing in a little water with a fork in hopes that it would be easy enough for her to lick but not be so radically different that she'd refuse to eat it. And... it seems to be working. So crisis diverted.

In other news, Jake is back to being clingy again. He seems to be running in cycles. The minute I sit down he's right there...

Jake grabbing on my leg.

Jake stretched out next to me.

And if I spread out on the couch?

Jake sleeping on top of me.

I think the only thing he loves more than me is the sun...

Jake laying in a sunbeam.

And Mufasa, of course...

Jake laying in a sunbeam.

Though a couple nights ago something weird happened. I heard him wailing at the bottom of the stairs, which usually means he can't find Mufasa... but when I checked the security cameras he had Mufasa right there with him...

Jenny, on the other hand, is the same as she always is. She either wants a treat or wants belly rubs...

Jenny flopped over and expecting belly rubs.

Jenny flopped over and expecting belly rubs.

She may have simple needs, but at least she's consistent.

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Caturday 168

Posted on Saturday, July 18th, 2020

Dave!Something has been making Jake one unhappy camper for a few days now, and tonight when Alexa chimed for the cats' dinner I found out just how cranky he actually is. I told Alexa to stop, then went to throw clothes in the dryer before dishing up the cat food. Jake stood at the doorway to the laundry room and squawked and squawked and squawked until I threw down my wet clothes and ran to fix his meal.

He. Was. Pissed.

Which is strange considering how he just seems to adore hanging around me. Still sleeping at the foot of my bed each morning...

Jake at the foot of my bed yawning.

He also seems to be making friends with Fake Jake, because they'll hang out together sometimes now...

Jake and Fake Jake sitting on opposite sides of the catio.

Remember how they used to throw themselves at each other whenever they saw each other through the catio fencing like this?

Jenny, of course, wants nothing of it. This is how she prefers to interact with Fake Jake when he's hanging around the catio...

Jenny staring intently out the window.

Adorable, isn't she?

Helps when she's managed to get her beauty sleep in and doesn't get interrupted like she was here...

Jenny looking very rough after having been woken up.

Until next Caturday, fellow humans.

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Two Cats, One Door

Posted on Monday, July 20th, 2020

Dave!Last night the skies were as clear as they ever are, so I decided to wander and see if I could find a place where I might see the NEOWISE comet. I keep running into these amazing shots other people are taking, and grabbed my binoculars in an attempt to at least see something.

My cats, not accustomed to my abandoning them after sundown were upset. As I was passing through the catio I heard comotion at the cat door and went to see what the issue was. Turns out it's just Jake and Jenny both trying to squeeze through at the same time so they could follow me...

Jake and Jenny adorably trying to squeeze through a small kitty-sized door at the same time.

Eventually Jake snaked through so Jenny could follow. They then watch through the catio fencing with forlorned faces as I walked around to see if I could get clear of the trees and hills blocking my view.

No such luck.

Oh well. My cats were waiting to greet me after my comet-spotting failure, so that was nice.

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Caturday 169

Posted on Saturday, July 25th, 2020

Dave!If it weren't for my cats, I probably wouldn't have survived my mother's death. Waking up each morning to feed them was my reason for getting out of bed each day. And now that I've been stuck at home in isolation for six months, they're my reason for getting out of bed each morning... again.

Except after breakfast Jake comes right back upstairs and would probably like nothing better than hanging out in bed with me each morning. Especially if it means he can get belly rubs...

Jake getting belly rubs.

Though sometimes you have to wonder if what he wants is belly rubs... or to tempt you into attempting to give him belly rubs so he can spring a trap...

Jake on his back inviting belly rubs... maybe.

99% of the time, it's just belly rubs though...

Jake getting belly rubs.

And sometimes all he wants is an audience while he gives himself a bath...

Jake sitting up after giving his belly a bath.

Jenny still likes to hang out in bed with me if Jake isn't already there. Otherwise she's happy to sit with me on the couch...

Jenny sitting like a little loaf of bread next to me on the couch while I give her butt scratches.

Doesn't get much better than that.

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100º In the Shade

Posted on Wednesday, July 29th, 2020

Dave!The temperature trend has been edging steadily upwards. Today it was 104º and tomorrow it's supposed to reach 105º before hitting 108º on Friday.

This afternoon when I got home I went to pull the garbage and recycle cans out since tomorrow morning is garbage day. As I pulled the first can out, I interrupted Fake Jake who was sleeping in the shade on concrete blocks I put down so he could more easily get around the house in winter...

Fake Jake laying down on concrete bricks next to myself house footing behind some shrubs.

I worry about Fake Jake quite a lot when it gets cold, which is why I put out a heated shelter for him. In the summer he seems pretty smart about finding shady spots to rest so I don't worry as much. My first Summer here I put cold packs in shelter, but then he stopped sleeping there so I stopped. But with temperatures reaching 108º? I dunno. Maybe I should try cold packs again? That seems way too hot, even for a heat-loving kitty.

   

Caturday 170

Posted on Saturday, August 1st, 2020

Dave!As I've mentioned, I don't discipline my cats. There's no reason for it because they just don't do bad things. On the rare occasion they do something that I'd rather they not do, it's not because they're bad, it's because they're cats doing cat stuff and I failed to provide a more desirable alternative. And that's on me.

Then today something happened.

I was doing laundry while Jenny was watching. I apparently didn't give her the attention she was wanting, because next thing I know she's clawing on the chair in the guest room.

"Jenny? What are you doing? Why can't you sit in the chair like a good girl?"

Which, of course, she did the minute I caught her...

Jenny sitting on the guest room chair.

Because she actually is a good girl.

When she's getting the attention she demands, of course.

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Caturday 171

Posted on Saturday, August 8th, 2020

Dave!Happy International Cat Day, everybody! Though when it comes to my cats, EVERY DAY IS INTERNATIONAL CAT DAY so it's nothing special in my house.

I spent my early morning of the day hanging out with Jake, who wasn't feeling well for some reason. Eventually he snapped back to normal and went running upstairs for bed as if he hadn't just spent the early, early hours of the morning howling and upset.

And speaking of bedtime...

As I've mentioned a few times now, Jake sleeps at my feet every night. He's there when I fall asleep. He's there when I wake up. But here's the thing... I toss and turn constantly during sleep. I sleep on my back. I sleep on my front. I sleep on my side. I sleep on my other side. And for the past couple mornings I've woken up with a kink in my neck, so I decided to put a security camera in my room to try and figure out what I've been doing to cause it.

Nothing on the camera explains it.

But I did get an explanation as to how Jake manages to get through the night at my feet with all my tossing and turning. He wakes up. He repositions himself. He falls immediately back to sleep...

What's amazing to me is how I manage to stay asleep when he's crawling all over me all night long.

Jake climbing over me as I sleep.

And as it gets closer to breakfast, he gets a little more aggressive... poking me to wake up and feed him...

Jake poking me in the butt while I sleep in an attempt to get me to feed him an early breakfast.

I've been subscribed to Dr. Uri's Vancouver Vet YouTube channel for a couple years now, ever since I watched a video on how to pick up cats since mine don't like to be picked up AT ALL. The first thing you notice about this video is that Dr. Uri has two of the most chill cats ever...

A video I missed was the story of how he got his first cat, Mr. Pirate...

A very good cat indeed.

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Caturday 172

Posted on Saturday, August 15th, 2020

Dave!Jenny has been irritable lately and I am fairly certain it's because of the kitchen remodel I've got going on. She doesn't like change, and having everything ripped apart certainly qualifies. Most of her irritability is reserved for her brother. Usually she's able to ignore Jake's shenanigans, but now? Not so much.

Earlier in the week her brother wanted to lick her head for some reason. Instead of just walking away like she usually does, Jenny kept pushing him away until he got the message...

Jenny pushing Jake away with her foot.

Jenny pushing Jake away with her paw.

Jenny pushing Jake away with her paw.

If Jake's upset by the remodel, he doesn't show it. His favorite place to seep now is on top of the dishwasher after it's been run because it's toasty warm up there without a counter carrying it up...

Jake on top of the dishwasher.

Giving Jake chicn scratches on top of the dishwasher.

When the dishwasher isn't running, I guess I'm the next best thing...

Jake on top of me.

Jake on top of me.

The rest of the time Jake is chewing on my tools...

Jake Chewing on Pliers.

Jake Chewing on Pliers.

Mmmm... tasty pliers.

Three more weeks. Fingers crossed.

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Bullet Sunday 675

Posted on Sunday, August 16th, 2020

Dave!Six months in quarantine and dumbass idiots just keep our pandemic going strong, but at least there's something to read... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• So Very COVID! U.S. Coronavirus Outbreaks Are Increasingly Tied to Small Family Gatherings, according to this Vice article: If You Love Your Family, Stay the Hell Away From Them. This pandemic is never going to end. This is why.

   
• WOMAN, CAMERA, TV! Sarah Cooper has just been given a comedy special deal by Netflix. After her many hilarious videos and this monologue for Kimmel, it's easy to see why...

Good on you, Miss Cooper.

   
• JAJA DING DONG! If you saw the Will Ferrell Netflix movie, Eurovision: The Story of Fire Saga, you know that he plays an Icelandic singer who dreams of competing in the Eurovision song competition. A joke in the movie is when he sings a song called Jaja Ding Dong, which is about exactly what you'd think it would be about. Well, the real-life Iceland Eurovision contestant, Daði Freyr, is constantly being asked to cover the song, and he finally relented...

Awesome.

   
• Puppies! When I was in Zimbabwe, I was very, VERY lucky to see wild dogs. They are rare to spot, and there was a group of people that flew in a couple weeks prior to my visit who came specifically to photograph them... but never saw a single pup after a week of searching. They are really remarkable creatures, and it's cool that they have found ways to help restore the wild dog populations of Africa...

They're beautiful creatures, to be sure.

   
• Cats! Tell me that you don't think of Jake and his beloved toy Mufasa when you see this...

Cats are the most incredible creatures.

   
• Cohen! Michael Cohen's new book is coming, and it promises to be a doozy. I won't give the piece of shit a single cent of my money no matter how much dirt he's dishing... and there's really no reason to. I'm sure all the tea will be spread far and wide without me having to buy a thing. If nothing else we'll finally get confirmation that the pee pee tape exists...

I believed it all along.

   
And that's they way it goes. Enjoy your pandemic.

   

Caturday 173

Posted on Saturday, August 22nd, 2020

Dave!My cats have no problem whatsoever letting me know when they are upset.

Jenny will whine her sad little meow when she wants to be petted or wants to be fed. Jake never bothers me for food, oddly enough, but he definitely lets me know when he wants attention.

Or I'm making too much noise.

My kitchen renovation is in high gear and it's not something he's happy about. Jenny just runs and hides when I am using power tools. Jake kinda-sorta sleeps through it. But then I had to buy a more powerful belt sander which is far noisier than my old one, and Jake can't sleep through it. So he runs and complains to me, then goes and hides with his sister.

But this morning I started sanding again with the expectation that he would come running to complain, but he didn't. I looked in on the cat tree and he was... sleeping?

Guess he's adapting. By the time I'm finished he'll probably be completely accustomed to it. Typical.

And speaking of complaining...

Jake loves potato chips. And every time I open a bag, he comes running because he knows I'll be passing a couple his way...

And a couple chips is usually enough. He'll smack on them for a while until they're gone, then wander off. But lately he complains that he wants more. So much for not bothering me for food.

He's still adorable in all the right ways though, so it's all good...

And speaking of adorable...

I do not close the door when I have to use the bathroom. But, like the good kitties they are, Jake and Jenny don't disturb me. Though they are often waiting for me when I get out...

See you next Saturday, cat-fans.

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Caturday 174

Posted on Saturday, August 29th, 2020

Dave!I've had a headache for since I woke up with it on Wednesday. It's worse in the mornings so I've been taking an aspirin and a nap before starting my day.

At least I try.

After they've had their breakfast, Jake and Jenny take turns wanting belly rubs. And who am I to say no? So I check my email with one hand while taking care of business with my other hand...

   
They never return the favor, however.

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Caturday 175

Posted on Saturday, September 5th, 2020

Dave!Well, the raccoons are back.

And this time they seem to be making friends with Jake. Used to be that when Jake would spot them and run out to the catio, they would scamper away. But now they actually come up to the fencing and make noises at him. Assumably trying to communicate.

Tonight at 11:00pm on the dot, Jake ran out to the catio at top speed. I assumed that Fake Jake was out there, but when I looked out, I saw four sets of beady little glowing eyes looking back to me.

The video footage is pretty awesome...

   
Jake just ponies up to the fencing and stares at them...

   
What's surprising is that they came back three times after. The first time they kind of do a walk-by. The second time one of the raccoons at the end approaches the catio. The last time they just go marching right up to the catio looking for their buddy...

   
As for Jenny? Not a chance that she's going out there when raccoons are in the area...

Jenny sitting inside staring outside.

   
But, hey, it was Ginger Cat Appreciation Day this past Tuesday, so I'm pretty sure she's been coasting on that through now...

Jenny getting belly rubs.

   
Of course, here at my house EVERY DAY IS GINGER CAT APPRECIATION DAY, and don't think that she doesn't know this. She is aware.

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Bullet Sunday 678

Posted on Sunday, September 6th, 2020

Dave!Summer doesn't seem to be ending any time soon, but don't let 100° days get you down... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Growth! I don't remember how I ran across this video, but it's really, really cool...

Jake and Jenny seemed to grow up exactly this fast.

   
• Squirrel! I somehow missed this amazing Mark Rober video, which is a must see...

His channel is one of those that I wish posted more often... but you just know that it wouldn't be this good if he did.

   
• Die! And the new James Bond trailer is out...

Looks almost worth risking your life going to a movie theater for!

   
• Expecting! I watched the HBO Max series Expecting Amy which is absolutely fascinating. Not because of Amy Schumer, but because of her husband Chris Fischer. In her Netflix special, Growing, her talking about him and his being on the autism spectrum is the absolute best part of the show. In Expecting Amy you get to see the reverse side of it all. The guy seems as sweet as can be and is a massively famous chef, so he's a lot more than "just Amy Schumer's husband."

So, yeah, worth a look. And also watch their cooking show Amy Schumer Learns to Cook on Food Network.

   
• Bash! Earlier this week I had mentioned that NBC had picked up the amazing medical drama, Transplant, starring Hamza Haq. I know absolutely nothing about the guy, so I searched YouTube for some interviews. He does not disappoint...

But the real treat was spending the day with him during Ramadan during quarantine...

Very much looking forward to a second season.

   
• Christie! Back when cable TV first came to town, we got a 6-month trial package that included HBO or Showtime or both or something. It was then that I discovered that one of my favorite Agatha Christie novels, Death on the Nile, had been turned into a film. I watched it many, many times. Now, after a successful remake of Murder on the Orient Express, we're getting a remake of Death on the Nile as well...

Interesting to note that both versions of the film has quite a few name-brand stars...

ROLE1978 VERSION2020 VERSION
Hercule PoirotPeter UstinovKenneth Branagh
Louise BourgetJane BirkinRose Leslie
Linnet Ridgeway DoyleLois ChilesGal Gadot
Marie Van SchuylerBette DavisJennifer Saunders
Jacqueline de BellefortMia FarrowEmma Mackey
Mr. FergusonJon Finch 
Rosalie OtterbourneOlivia HusseyLetitia Wright
Manager of the KarnakI.S. Johar 
Andrew PenningtonGeorge Kennedy 
Andrew Kathchadourian Ali Fazal
Salome OtterbourneAngela LansburySophie Okonedo
Simon DoyleSimon MacCorkindaleArmie Hammer
Colonel RaceDavid Niven 
Mrs. BowersMaggie SmithDawn French
Dr. Ludwig BessnerJack WardenRussell Brand
Euphemia Annette Bening
Syd Adam Garcia
Bouc Tom Bateman

Looks like it will be worth a look!

   
And that's the end of that. No more bullets to be had this week.

   

Caturday 176

Posted on Saturday, September 12th, 2020

Dave!The smoke, which was getting better, has taken a turn for the worse as winds push the contaminated air from Oregon and California up our way.

And as hard as it is on me and my allergies, it's double-tough on my cats.

Usually, I let them go outside in the catio while wildfires are burning because they don't last long out there when the smoke is bad. But, for whatever reason, Jake and Jenny were spending way too long out there given how bad the air quality is...

Air Quality: HAZARDOUS!

I worry about their little kitty lungs, so I went ahead and blocked the catio door so they can't get out. They are not at all happy about this... especially Jake, who sat and stared out the window for over an hour...

Jake sitting on the cat lounger so he can see out the window.

And, as expected lately, he will not leave my side. He's on me when I fall asleep...

Jake asleep on my legs at night.

And he's there when I wake up...

Jake asleep next to me in the morning.

And if I wait too long in bed, I'll have both of them on me...

Jake and Jenny laying next to me on the bed.

Jake is clingy when he's upset...

Jake laying on top of me.

Jenny is looking for inspiration elsewhere...

Jenny staring at a Wonder Woman poster.

Really, really hoping that this smoke subsides next week. Between my allergies and nausea and the cats' anxiety... this is more than enough.

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Virtual Hellscapes

Posted on Monday, September 14th, 2020

Dave!I am not ashamed to say that I am most definitely not doing well.

Not only is Central Washington being blanketed with smoke from our own wildfires, massive amounts of smoke is being blown in from the fires in Oregon and California as well. And despite five air purifiers running day and night, my allergies are in overdrive, making for a miserable existance. I have had a crushing headache for a week. Breathing is painful. Nosebleeds happen at random. My eyes and nose are running almost constantly. Sleep is almost impossible. Not a great day to be me, that's for sure...

   
Last night I finally passed out around 2:30am. I woke up shortly after 3:00am choking on blood from yet another nosebleed. That is a scary enough way to wake up... but I had aspirated and couldn't breath. The wheezing as I struggled to catch a breath freaked my cats, both of which ran out of the room at top speed. Eventually I managed to work through it, but getting back to sleep was impossible. I called in sick and have been nodding off and on ever since.

Poor Jake and Jenny. The fires have been so tough on them.

After terrifying her early-early this morning, Jenny ended up sleeping in the room next to mine...

Jenny sleeping in a cat bed.

Jake... is more complicated. He has been really clingy lately and sleeping with me every night. After he ran out scared, I heard him come walking back in about an hour later. He didn't hop back on the bed, so I wasn't sure where he went. This morning I found him hiding in the cat tower...

Jake hiding in a hidey-hole in a cat tower.

My cats rarely go in those hidey-holes. As in very rarely. But Jake wanted to sleep near me while also being scared and this was his solution. Naturally I feel terrible about it. Note the smoke out my window.

And so here I am taking a sick day at home with two cats who are afraid of me.

In-between trying not to work because it makes my headache worse, I've been zoning out in front of the television. One think I saw today was that Drew Barrymore has a new talk show. I was interested in seeing how they were going to manage a new talk show, fully expecting it to be remote chats on Zoom or something. But that wasn't the case. Drew's Charlie's Angels co-stars Cameron Diaz and Lucy Liu were there with her... albeit socially distanced...

Drew, Lucy, and Cameron on a chat show set.

Except...

That wasn't the case at all. While Drew nd Lucy were in New York... Cameron was still in Los Angeles, appearing in the studio virtually...

Cameron Diaz disappearing from Drew's chat show.

Cameron Diaz disappearing from Drew's chat show.

Weird to think that things like this will quickly become our new normal.

In the meanwhile I'll just go back to the virtual hellscape that's my life right now.

   

Caturday 177

Posted on Saturday, September 19th, 2020

Dave!For the first time in weeks we caught a break in air quality. After being Hazardous, Very Unhealthy, Unhealthy, then "Unhealthy for Sensitive Persons"... today air quality was GOOD! This was nice for me, because I might get to not feel sick for a couple days... but really nice for my cats, who have been begging to go out in the catio for way too long.

Seriously. They will sit on the scratcher lounge and look outside for hours...

So I went to the back door... pulled the door off the cat-flap to the catio... then nearly got trampled as Jake and Jenny bolted to go outside...

Jake was laying out there for about 45 minutes. Jenny, on the other hand, would not leave...

I kept checking security cameras to see if she had come inside without my seeing her, but she was there right up until the Alexa dinner alarm sounded...

Before the catio re-opened for business, Jenny was occupying her time by watching television with me. I had dusted off my DVD collection of all the James Bond films and was watching them in order. This was my view for a good 20 minutes of Goldfinger...

Jenny looking at James Bond in Goldfinger on the television.

Methinks she might want to be a Bond girl! She gave me an annoyed stare when I told her that the name "Pussy Galore" had already been taken...

Jenny looking at James Bond in Goldfinger on the television.

Here's hoping that our air quality remains good so I can keep the catio open.

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Caturday 178

Posted on Saturday, September 26th, 2020

Dave!Given how Jake is the cat that's a little chonky, you'd think that he would be the one constantly begging for food and first to the bowl when the automated feeder dispenses a snack. But, nope, that would be Jenny.

When the automated cat feeders goes off, she is first to her bowl. And every time I go to the kitchen, she comes running no matter where she is because she's hoping for a treat. It's like she spends her entire day waiting for it to happen. And when I don't give her a treat? Let the meowing commence...

Jenny waiting for a treat.

I mean, she is the sweetest, most loving and gentle kitty you'll ever meet. But when she is expecting a treat and doesn't get one?

Jenny looking very angry.

As the weather gets colder, Jake is more inclined to use me as a heating pad. How I don't wake up when he's crawling all over me is a wonder. I finally started putting a pillow out so he will lay on that instead of on me...

Jake crawling all over me as I sleep.

Jake crawling all over me as I sleep.

But it is fun waking up and finding him there. He's such a sweet boy...

Jake crawling all over me as I sleep.

Always happy to remind me I need to take a break from work...

Jake crawling all over me as I try to work.

Always happy to remind me that cats love boxes, even when their flat...

Jake laying on a flattened box.

In other cat news, there's a new cat in the neighborhood. My cats are not happy about it. Whenever the cat comes to visit Jake goes running out howling and Jenny goes running out hissing her most intimidating hiss. But the guest cat? Isn't the least bit phased. He just stands there...

Jake and Jenny howling and hissing at a beautiful blonde cat outsie the catio.

Jake and Jenny howling and hissing at a beautiful blonde cat outsie the catio.

Eventually he gets bored of Jake and Jenny's drama, so he turns and sashays away...

Jake and Jenny howling and hissing at a beautiful blonde cat outsie the catio.

Speaking of the catio... the afternoons are perfect weather right now. Not too hot. Not too cold. And even when it was pour rain out earlier this week, they can't get enough of it. The view from my window is often this...

Jenny staring at me from the cat ramp in the catio while Jake hangs out in the background. Cloudy grey skies and rain are happening.

And that's my Caturday.

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Caturday 179

Posted on Saturday, October 3rd, 2020

Dave!I cannot win with my cats.

In order to climatize them to the absurdly stupid tradition of changing the clocks twice a year, I always move the time in small increments the month prior to the change so it's not a shock to them. As you can imagine, the Spring is far, far more difficult because I am serving their meals progressively later. They do not like this.

You would think that being fed earlier in the Fall when D.S.T. ends would be something they love. And yet... not so much. THIS was their reaction to be woken up 15 minutes early for lunch today...

Jake looking at me, very upset.

Jenny looking at me, very upset.

Usually when the feeder goes off? They bolt downstairs to scarf their little mid-day meal. But now? They just lay there glaring at me like food is the worst thing in the universe... then eventually saunter downstairs to begrudgingly eat.

I apologize to them, even though I hate Daylight Saving nonsense more than they ever could.

The time change (15 minutes a week for four weeks) has had a domino effect... ramping up the disdain for even thr smallest inconveniences. Take Jenny wanting to get into the laundry room, for example. The door is tough to open and close. Which is why I leave it open just a bit while washing clothes so it's easier to slide. Sometimes I leave it open a bit too much and Jenny is able to force her way in. But this time I didn't leave it open enough and she was pissed that she couldn't get it open. Pissed...

Jenny trying to get the laundry door open and failing.

Jenny trying to get the laundry door open and failing.

Here she is preparing to unleash a meow of frustration like she's never done before...

Jenny trying to get the laundry door open and failing.

Fun!

There is a good thing about Fall arriving. I wake up every morning with Jake snuggled up to me. His favorite spot is behind my knees...

Jenny trying to get the laundry door open and failing.

There are better ways to wake up.

But there are many, many worse way to wake up as well.

   

Caturday 180

Posted on Saturday, October 10th, 2020

Dave!As Summer turns into Fall and bugs start trying to find a way inside to escape the cold, Jake and Jenny are going full-out bonkers. Bugs are like Pokémon to them, and they are compelled to Gotta Catch 'Em All.

The madness was on full display when Jenny started chasing a fly that found its way inside. She was happily batting it in the window... chasing it to another window... and generally having a good ol' time.

But then Jake came running in and things escalated to 11 in a real hurry. He was in Beast Mode and Jenny was having none of it. She ended up hiding from his mad dashes inside the cat scratcher lounger...

Jenny hiding in the cat scratcher lounger.

Jenny hiding in the cat scratcher lounger.

Poor thing. It was her fly first!

Speaking of Jake...

Used to be that Jenny was the one who would come up meowing when she was demanding to be petted. Now Jake is getting in on the action. He can't meow, but he can squawk. Earlier this week he hopped up on the bed, flopped on his back, then squawked until he got belly scratches...

Jake on his back expecting belly scratches.

Jake on his back GETTING belly scratches.

Ahhhh... that's the stuff.

After he was done, he wandered off content.

FOR ABOUT TEN MINUTES!

Then he was back to take a nap...

Jake on his back sleeping.

And, yes, this is his default sleeping position now.

If only I could lay around in bed all day like this. Must be nice.

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Caturday 181

Posted on Saturday, October 17th, 2020

Dave!Each year I try to hold off turning on the heat for as long as possible. Most years I get a couple weeks to a month. This year I got a day. But I have the heat low enough that it's still a bit chilly in the mornings when walking on the floors. To combat my feet getting cold, I wear socks and put them under a heating pad while I work or watch television.

When I can, that is.

If I get up to get a load of clothes out of the washer... or go grab a snack... or any reason at all... my cats will spring into action. And most of the time they immediately fall asleep so that they're too cute to kick off of the heating pad...

Jake Laying on my Heat Pad.

Jake Asleep on my Heat Pad.

Jenny Sitting on my Heat Pad.

Jenny Asleep on my Heat Pad.

Jenny Giving Herself a Bath on my Heat Pad.

In other news...

After spilling crumbs all over the floor, Jake got his head stuck in a Cheetos bag. Again. First he was shocked and just kinda sat there being all "Well. This isn't all I had hoped for"...

Jake with a Cheeto bag stuck on his head.

After taking this photo I went to take it off his head. Just as my hand touched it... BEDLAM. I then had to chase him around the living room as he crashed into everything. After the bag was finally off, he was just pissed... AT ME!

I'm having better luck with Fake Jake. I started dropping food down when he's around so as to distract him from running in my house while taking out the trash and stuff. Problem is that now he comes running every single time he hears my door open so he can extort food from me. Except when he came running this last time, he was too distracted to eat because he spotted a grey cat across the street...

Fake Jake looking past the plate of food in front of him.

This resulted in a fight. Not a real fight, but a play fight...

Fake Jake play-fighting.

After which the grey cat came back to eat while Fake Jake stood guard...

Fake Jake looking past the plate of food in front of him.

Fake Jake looking past the plate of food in front of him.

When I mentioned this to a neighbor, she told me that she thought that they were related somehow. Brothers maybe.

I wouldn't know.

All I do know is that now I'll likely have two cats extorting food out of me instead of just one.

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Bullet Sunday 684

Posted on Sunday, October 18th, 2020

Dave!Cooking on Sunday seems like a tough sell before facing your Monday, but sometimes life throws you an easy recipe... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• LEWKS! Dolly Parton is one of my favorite people on earth. This video of her looking back on her leaks over the year is a great indication why...

National. Treasure.

   
• Rona! Thinking that overcoming COVID gives you immunity is most probably a mistake.

   
• UnHallmark! SQUEEEs in Hallmark...

Amazing how some of the best Hallmark movies aren't actually made by Hallmark any more. This film, for example, features an interracial couple. That is so exceedingly rare at Hallmark that you could reasonably argue that it doesn't exist. But, hey, they're producing a gay Hallmark Christmas movie this year, so maybe anything is possible?

   
• Meow! This made my week. Do not mess with a cat's pet!

The cat is fantastic, yes... but that puppy is too adorable.

   
• Pete! I think it's important to revisit this moment in Pete Buttigieg's "town hall" on FOX "News" from 2019. It's where he's asked about what people are labeling "late-term abortion"... something which is not medically accurate ("late-term" is past an expected due-date for birth), but generally accepted to mean 21 weeks or later in pregnancy. I keep seeing "late-term abortion" pop up in conversation lately, and I honestly don't think people truly get what it is. As explained by Mayor Pete in the video below, for the vast majority of women who have been carrying a baby for 21 weeks, they're expecting to carry it to term. They want that baby. So if they're needing to get an abortion into the third trimester, it's not because they've changed their mind, but because of a catastrophic medical problem for either the mother or child. So to deny women a necessary medical procedure under those circumstances is both horrifying and cruel (read this, as just one example... there are thousands more). Yet this is what some very unreasonable and sadistic people are wanting to deny a woman in need at one of the worst times in their lives.

I was initially a fan of Buttigieg, but ultimately problematic in some areas. That being said, I'd sure pick him over Trump or Biden. His thoughtful, measured response to serious issues is something we are sorely lacking in government.

   
• Flix! I laughed far more than I should have at this...

Lord only knows what people would think when looking at my Netflix!

   
• T-RAV! One of the best things about visiting St. Louis is their "Toasted Ravioli" (AKA "T-Rav"). Which, most places, is actually deep-fat-fried instead of toasted. It's amazing stuff. It's not always easy to find a non-meat version, but it's always worth it. My problem is that St. Louis is 1600 miles away, so the only way I'm going to get it is to make it myself. Fortunately, it's pretty easy, and I'm giving my recipe below...

A bowl of small raviolis, a bowl of beaten egg, and a bowl of seasoned breadcrumbs.

Dipped and battered raviolis resting on a baking sheet.

Finished T-Rav on a plate with a dollop of marinara and parmesan sprinkled on top.

  • I use Buitoni Fresh ravioli (in the refrigerator section at the grocery store) because it's smaller and I don't have to worry about the center not cooking completely. Freeze it for about 10 minutes until the outside of the pasta is chilled. You can use frozen ravioli, but you need to thaw it enough that the center is thawed, then re-chill it because the outside must be cold for stuff to stick properly.
  • While the ravioli is chilling, mix 1-1/4 cups of panko breadcrumbs, dash of rosemary, dash of garlic salt, scant teaspoon of dried oregano, scant teaspoon of dried basil, and a 1/3 cup of fine-grated parmesan cheese. Beat three eggs until smooth.
  • After the pasta has chilled, drench each piece in the beaten egg, shake a bit to get the excess off, then put in the breadcrumb mixture. Cover and press down a bit to make sure the crumbs have adhered. Place each piece on a cookie sheet to set.
  • Put the tray of coated ravioli in the freezer for 15-20 minutes so the batter is frozen to the pasta. If you're going to cook much later, you'll need to transfer to an air-tight container. Otherwise... heat up 3/4" of oil to medium to med-high (range tops vary... you want to quick-fry until golden without burning). Cook about one minute each side and set on paper towels to drain.
  • Serve with fine-grated parmesan and dried parsley on top and marinara sauce to dip. Enjoy!
  •    
    And that's a wrap on this delicious Bullet Sunday. THIS TIME!

   

I’m Restless

Posted on Tuesday, October 20th, 2020

Dave!I've written about how Jake crawls all over me while I sleep but, by some miracle, I don't wake up. I say "miracle" because I am a light sleeper.

But it doesn't work the other way around.

Probably because he's (relatively) small and I'm (relatively) big, so me bumping into him is quite a bit different than him bumping into me. Poor guy, I woke him up a half dozen times last night. Here he is wide awake after I rolled onto my side and ran into him...

Jake getting pushed around as he attempts to sleep by my legs.

But that wasn't bad enough. I was exceedingly restless and was pushing the poor guy around all night...

Jake getting pushed around as he attempts to sleep by my legs.

Jake getting pushed around as he attempts to sleep by my legs.

Jake getting pushed around as he attempts to sleep by my legs.

Jake getting pushed around as he attempts to sleep by my legs.

He looks like a Weeble. Just look at that face. He doesn't know what happened...

Jake looking perplexed at why he is getting shoved around.

But does he go find a calmer place to sleep? Nope! Curls right back up against my legs.

I'd feel bad, but he sleeps all day long while I'm slaving away at work, so I'm sure he's all good.

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Conversations With My Cat

Posted on Thursday, October 22nd, 2020

Dave!I read yet another article calling me stupid because I have cloud internet security cameras. It's all BUT WHAT IF PEOPLE HACK YOUR CAMERAS AND SPY ON YOU? Well, first of all, my interior cameras automatically turn off when my iPhone detects that I'm at my house. By the time I walk in the door, all the cameras have switched off. In order for them to turn on again, I either have to leave my home or manually turn them on.

Second of all? Even if somebody hacked my cameras, what would they see? Me partying with cocaine and hookers while cockfights are being held in my living room?

I wish.

In actuality, the worst thing that they might see would be me talking to my cats...

Me talking to my cat Jake in a low-res security camera still photo.

This is me telling Jake that he can't have my bread because it's my food and he just had his dinner. I then go on to explain that bread is probably not a good thing for cats to eat because it's people-food and might make his tummy hurt. When none of that works, I just tell him a story about that time I was partying with cocaine and hookers at a Vegas cockfight.

And, yes, I manually turned on my camera to get that photo. It's okay though because the hookers and cocaine is in the kitchen and the cockfight doesn't start until midnight.

And don't get all judgemental... we'll totally be masked for the cockfight.

I get enough judgement for having cloud security cameras.

   

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