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Robust McManlyPants on Average Display » cat-blogging

cat-blogging


Heavens. I can’t believe I let this sit for 10 months. A quick run-down of the things that have happened since my last update:

  • I won the 2012 Laine Cunningham Novel Award from The Blotter with my novel Perishables. It’s three connected stories about various experiences of a zombie apocalypse. In one of them, a vampire is at a meeting of his homeowners’ association when the dead rise. It’s a little silly and a little funny and a little serious and it has terrible recipes in it.
  • I published Perishables via Smashwords and Kindle and then decided to edit and publish the sequel, called Tooth & Nail. It’s built on a heavily edited NaNoWriMo I did some years ago about the same vampire.
  • I worked the partisan primary runoff election and my staff never mentioned the O’Keefe video. I’m sure they had seen it, but no one brought it up. I was intensely grateful.
  • I worked the general election in November. Jesus H. Christ on a platinum surfboard, what a day. I’ve never been so busy. It was busier than the partisan primary but the county gave me lots of staff and we all survived. There were partisan observers from both major parties in my precinct but they were very kind to me and to one another. Again, I’m sure lots of those people had seen the video but no one said anything. I was at least ten times as grateful because I had plenty more to think about that day. I also passed the election without any major run-ins with campaigners though I did have a couple of really amusing conversations with them.
  • I spent much of last autumn thinking about Tooth & Nail while I did a few promotional activities for Perishables: interviews on blogs and podcasts, for instance, and a few Google Hangouts with a group devoted to zombie fiction fandom. It was nice, after all the stupid bullshit of a year ago, to have a fictional world in which I could curl up and forget reality.
  • I ran my first 5K fun-run last October and my friend who is 6’7″ and ex-Army Airborne had trouble keeping up with me.
  • I spent November, December and January editing Tooth & Nail and dealing with my next-to-last class in the graduate certificate program I’ve been pursuing. I was kind of a stress ball.
  • I’ve spent the spring semester dealing with my last class and I still am kind of a stress ball.
  • I tried to play in two games of Call of Cthulhu at Dragon*Con last year, both of which were disastrous busts. I ended up running a one-shot for the Scourge of Nibelheim (aka “the Vampire group”) a few weeks ago. I enjoyed it but it ran too long and I didn’t get to include like half the stuff I came up with for it because I am just terrible at managing a game and remembering, you know, the poignant bits.
  • I had Shadowrun pretty much ruined for me, and for all my friends, by one really terrible game of it at Dragon*Con. Way to stay classy, totally-separate-and-self-isolating-and-aggressively-dickishly-insular Shadowrun Dragon*Con gaming track.
  • I ran my first timed 5K a few weeks ago and on a cloudy, rainy morning of running uphill at ~40F I clocked in at 25:13.6, 7th out of 46. I am extremely happy with that!
  • I’ve learned to love Twitter. Seriously, I used to say it was the diametric opposite of what I wanted the Internet to grow up to be but it is pretty great.
  • I gave a five-minute lightning talk at the opensource.com #cc10 get-together celebrating 10 years of Creative Commons:

  • I’m approximately two years behind on reading comics. I plan to catch up as soon as I finish this graduate certificate program next month.
  • I’ve been asked to contribute a short story to an anthology built around the theme of “invasion” and am currently mulling some ideas. I am super-excited!
  • I attended my twenty year high school reunion and survived it and even reconnected majorly with some really wonderful people I knew back in the day. Facebook and life in general have gotten a lot more entertaining as a result.
  • I’ve joined a queer softball league.
  • I’m going to be a guest at ConCarolinas in Charlotte the weekend of 5/31 through 6/2!
  • I want the word “marriage” and I want to win the Supreme Court cases, absolutely, but I am also a little bit afraid that the queer communities will be divided into “normals” and “freaks” if we win and that the Right will use our victory as an opportunity to draw a line between those of us who are already primed for idle conformity: relatively moneyed, adhering more closely to rigid gender roles and identities, white, middle-class, “safe”. It will be vital, if we win this, to remember that it still must be okay to be different. Difference is what has given us the culture we create and celebrate together and difference has given us the advantages we are afforded by outsider status in the larger culture around us. We must continue to value people who have different families, different identities, different relationships (or none at all), different goals, different priorities and different beliefs. We do not all have to settle down into quiet, monogamous, dom/sub, top/bottom dichotomies defined by doggy day care and dinner parties. We have to stay freaks somehow.
  • My house is ruled by my cats and sometimes I find that really frustrating but mostly I am thrilled beyond measure at their benevolent dictatorship.
  • I’ve been watching Star Trek: Deep Space 9 while at the gym and it is really fucking good.
  • Last year I skipped NaNoWriMo – what would have been my tenth – to focus on editing Tooth & Nail. This summer I’m doing My Own Private NaNo to work on the first draft of a science fiction novel, the setting for which was developed in a two-session game of Microscope played by Scourge of Nibelheim.
  • We tried Fiasco this year and it is so. Freaking. Fun.
  • I bought a new camera – an Olympus – and I loooooove it.

Is that everything? I think that’s everything. A year of blogging in a single post. Heavens, indeed.

Dreamhost has begun supporting Gallery 2.3 as a one-click install/upgrade which is awesome because it includes Akismet anti-spam capabilities. Until recently I had to go through every few days and delete a couple dozen spam comments to keep my gallery presentable. Since the upgrade, not a one. Sweet.

This means I can more comfortably point out that my cats are adorable. Surely this is an observation unique to the internet.

On to other, freakier topics: last night I was going around the house locking up and such prior to going out to eat when I heard a muffled thud outside near the front of the house. I didn’t see anything and the sound in question could come from a million innocent sources and the cats did not run and hide so I didn’t think much of it but I kept my eyes peeled when I went out the back door, through our super-clangy gate (made of purest audium, guaranteed to wake the dead) and around the side of the house to get in the car. What did I espy? A dude in a jogging suit or something like it with a hat or a hood that shaded his face completely standing across the street looking in my direction. When I stepped out of the shadows and into the relative light of the driveway he took off running. I do not mean that he began to jog, I mean that he burst into full-bore pedestrian flight complete with frequent glances back over his shoulder at me.

Nothing seemed amiss with the house so I leapt into the car and tried to chase him but by the time I was in, had it started, got up the drive and was down the street he was nowhere to be seen. Aha, I thought, My coincidental timing has scared him away.

Then I got to thinking, what if he comes back while I’m at dinner?

The way I figured, if it were a harmless misunderstanding – say, a vigorous and perhaps slightly skittish jogger – then I could sup without concern. Were he a would-be opportunistic burglar or thief of some sort and I’d simply surprised him with my gate-clangings as he, for instance, considered breaking into the car of the neighbor across the street, then I’d probably scared him so badly that he was long gone and I could, again, sup without concern. The third option was that he was the sort who would be back in moments and in that case, you know what? Fuck that, I was going to dinner and getting out of his damned way.

I did call 911, though, and they sent a prowl car out to do a couple of laps and see if they could spot someone matching the description, such as it was. Weird. When I got home I went through yard and around house and inside and all the closets and rooms with a flashlight but nothing turned up. Bizarre.

I am such a stereotype.

A couple of weeks ago I caught the cats snuggled together for a nap and got a picture of them. The flash woke and annoyed Didi, however, leaving him looking freaky.

So cute.

The Boyf is out of town this week and that means that I am the cats’ only entertainment. As such, they get really, really bored when I’m not there. They have each other, yes, but as often as not they look to one another to find an accomplice rather than a playmate. They are not one another’s toys, they are in search of toys to use together.

Of late they’ve been getting intensely curious about door knobs. No, “curious” isn’t the right word. They know what door knobs do. They’ve no curiosity to satisfy on that front, I’m afraid. Rather, they’ve been working like the devil to try and figure out how to operate door knobs without human intervention. More than once I’ve turned a corner to find them stretched up, paws wrapped around a doorknob, doing their very best to turn it. I know that sounds like it’s fiction, like I’ve made it up to have a cute catblog to tell, but it’s absolutely 100% true. As a former co-worker used to say, here is my hand. I swear it is true. They have sought for weeks now to figure out how to operate doors.

To digress seemingly further, we tend to enter and leave the house through the laundry room in the back. One of the primary reasons for this is also what has given the laundry room its name: the Cat Lock, much like an air lock on a spacecraft. We can walk into the laundry room, shut the door firmly behind us, then leave through the outer door without having to ward off the cats should they try to check out the Big Blue Room on the other side of the house’s exterior walls. Now, the laundry room door doesn’t like to close all the way but we early on learned the simple trick of pushing it shut until we hear the click. As a matter of habit I tend to push the door, lift the knob slightly, hear the click and then tug on the door to make sure it’s entirely shut. I do this every time I walk through that door. I know I’ve done it for the last two days running.

And yet, when I’ve gotten home from work on both the last two days I’ve found said inner door, from the kitchen into the Cat Lock, just barely open and a furry face or two peeking at me through the crack.

One or the other of the cats – or both, gods help us – has learned to open a door with a regular, round door knob. No thumbs, people. No thumbs, but I swear they’ve learned to open doors.

I’m sorry, archaeologists of the future. Once you’ve translated this blog post you’ll know what happened to my kind. A terrible future is staring me in the face every night when I get home from work.

Could it possibly be more beautiful today? I would have a hard time being convinced of that. I am blogging from the back porch because the very thought of going inside kind of hurts me.

The grass is cut, the kittens have been to the vet for their annual checkup and boosters and such. We are under orders to change their feeding habits immediately. I can’t even really talk about how fat the cats are. Oh my sweet heavens. Otherwise, they’re in perfect health and the assistant was extremely impressed with their teeth. We even got a tutorial on claw-trimming and picked up some legit trimmers while we were there. Though the boys yelled the whole way there and the whole way back, they’ve long since forgotten the ordeal entirely. As I write this they are piled up in the sunny spot on the kitchen floor. Life is pretty good today.

Does it get any cuter than this?  Gogo has a habit of wrapping himself around my arm when I’m at the computer.  A few weeks ago I documented the phenomenon.

The day before election day was extremely sunny and warm and a bird was hanging out around my office window. The cats, who had been napping, were quick to get interested. Therefore, behold: a feast of kitten cuteness.

Have you seen Bascha’s pictures of Dorian? Holy. Cow. My brain just blew a cuteness fuse.

Also, the whole Fortuny thing. That link goes to a Wired blog, from there you can get to the (ahem) raw data if you want. In other words, the link in this post, the one you’re reading right now, is work-safe, but anything past there is totally uncharted territory. My take? Fortuny’s a tool and I don’t wish actual physical retribution on him but I do expect he’ll spend a while hiding behind someone or another’s couch every time he happens to see some huge ‘roid-hound looking his direction at the mall, and he deserves every ounce of fear he suffers for it. I mean, seriously, pick a better target if you’re going to play stupid bullying pranks, kid. I thought RandroidsObjectivists were supposed to be all rational and shit, but he couldn’t work that one out for himself? Really? That maybe it wouldn’t be smart to piss off a couple hundred guys who derive sexual gratification from inflicting physical and verbal abuse? Oy! Ayn should have gotten a smarter batch of disciples.

Now, a few notes for people whose Google searches lead them here:

  • Please, for fuck’s sake, I’ll say it again: Just buy The American Astronaut if you want to watch it, there’s even a “Buy Now!” link right there on the goddamn page, I cannot believe you would rip off an indie movie by trying to download it. Jerks.
  • Are you ready for one giant skate for derbykind? This weekend sees The Carolina Rollergirls take on the Sin City Rollergirls (of Vegas, naturally) in their first ever bout at Dorton Arena.
  • No, really, I have no idea what happens to you if you hide from a cop in Virginia. I’m betting it means eventual arrest, however!

In videogames news: LEGO Star Wars II. The original trilogy. Aw yeah!

I have also signed up for NetFlix recently, and so we’re working our way through a whole slew of noir mysteries and documentaries on a variety of topics. I’ve finally rated enough movies that NetFlix is starting to recommend things that might be to my liking – such as Depeche Mode concert DVDs – but it’s also making some surprising remarks on my entertainment tastes. I currently have Wigstock in my queue – I cannot watch that movie enough times, I should just buy the damn thing – and have highly rated a few other queer-themed films and chosen “Not Interested” for the plethora of Bible stories they wanted me to watch. This apparently means, in NetFlix’ opinion, that I should watch a saucy teen drama from France titled Come Together. Ahem. The cover has two teenage boys shirtlessly making eyes at you. I did not add it to my queue, because if I want porn there’s a whole internet of it out here, but I was amused by the user review that concluded the film, which offers a richly acted, tense and complicated drama, “sadly does not include as much nudity as the cover suggests.” Eek.

At any rate, if you want to “Friends” me on NetFlix – which I take is all the rage on these webbertron things – then email me and I’ll let you know the address by which I signed up.

Finally, I’ve spent much of this week playing with my User Interface in World of Warcraft. My new flavor is Insomniax, a combination of Discord Unit Frames, BibBars and CT_Mod. Bottom line: I’ve totally smashed my old UI to pieces and rearranged it to buy back a lot of real estate on the screen. Tasty. I’ll have some before-and-after screenshots up sometime, probably tomorrow.

Two weird dreams I’ve had in the last couple of nights:

In the first one, Hillary gets elected President in 2008 and appoints me – me, not some dream-me who actually knows squat about such a position – to be Commerce Secretary. The next few weeks are a whirlwind of activity as people try to get me ready for the job. I’m fairly torn, in the dream, between the honor of being the first openly gay Commerce Secretary and being just totally and utterly unqualified for the job. I am also torn because, frankly, I think Hillary’s more Lieberman than Lieberman. Eventually I turn to The Boyf at one point and say, “You know, I didn’t like her to begin with, but this Commerce Secretary stuff? It doesn’t get more half-assed than this.” I wake up when my car is in the motorcade heading to her inauguration.

Second dream is one I had last night, after checking my site logs and finding that a number of people have wound up here after googling for the names of the victims in those murders in my hometown. In the dream, I’m worried that my pseudonymity has been compromised, then it is – by one of my nephews posting a comment asking if I’m me and using my real full name to ask. (In waking life, I actually don’t care. The pseudonym is more of a joke than an attempt at hiding. I mean, yeah, I try to be discreet with personal information online, but I also know my real name is, at very most, two clicks from the page you’re looking at right now, and 99.99% of the people who read this already know me offline anyway, so whatevs.  Yeah, I use this pseudonym elsewhere online, but it’s as much an effort at consistent brand-identity – oh yes I did – as it is an attempt to keep my blog safe from people just randomly googling my name, which would be insane of them anyway because my real name is so remarkably generic.) Like many a superhero, I become concerned that those I love are somehow endangered by people in my far-away hometown knowing I have a blog – because, y’know, blogging about the kittens really generates the archnemeses – and attempt to eradicate all traces of my real identity from the interwebs. Eventually I awake wondering what the next foul plan plotted against me will be. Then I realize it was a dream and immediately wonder at how stupid my subconscious is.

Two, actually:

  • There is nothing as precious as listening to a kitten snore.
  • Except for when he snores while lying flat on his back, legs everywhere, with his head cocked to one side.

Believe it or not, I have posted some kitten pictures, taken and posted garden pictures from Saturday evening, and posted some other kitten pictures that I took at random yesterday.

So here’s this weekend’s heartstopper:  last night Didi fell out of the 2nd story window in my home office.

I have no idea what precipitated this, but all of a sudden there was neither a screen nor a kitten in that window.  I remember saying something stupid at the time, and then saying to The Boyf (who was standing in the room when it happened) that I was “on it,” whatever that means, and tearing off downstairs and outside to go find Didi.  The Boyf ran to turn off the AC, since it was right next to where Didi would have landed and so loud it might drown me out when trying to find him, and I got down there and started calling out for him.

He was right where he landed, walking around and meowing and generally freaked the hell out.  I rubbed him down very lightly and didn’t get any complaints, and he was walking on his own, so I went ahead and picked him up and though he was shaking (or was that me?) he was absolutely fine.

Now that window stays closed.  And in the meantime, Didi has loved all the attention.

The Boyf and I sat down on the back porch, eventually, to catch our breath and try to let the freakies wear off, and he said to me, “Well, I guess Didi’s probably down to about 8.7 lives, now.”

“If he’s down to 8.7,” I said, “I guess I’m at point seven.”

This is something I commonly say to my cats when they’re chasing, say, a moth. Bruce, on the other hand, was a genuinely fierce cat.  There are those who might even call him a bully.  He hated other animals, and would frequently have stare-downs with the neighbors’ dogs through the chain-link fence around our back yard.

He would win those stare-downs, too.

Thus it was with no small amount of amusement that I read this on MSNBC.com:

Jack is a ten-year-old orange-and-white tabby in West Milford, New Jersey. And when the cat spotted the bear in a neighbor’s yard earlier this week, the clawless kitty let the bear know who’s boss.

The bear scurried up a tree and eyed the cat for ten to 15 minutes, while Jack stared and hissed from the ground. The bruin inched its way down before jumping off and running away.

That’s just beautiful.

Here’s the downside: a clawless cat, outdoors? Bad idea, normally. Maybe, from the sound of things, though, this cat doesn’t need them.

As The Boyf finished getting ready, I took some ridiculously adorable kitten pictures.

Just, you know, FYI.

So, I keep up with what search strings lead people to my blog.  I am egocentric like that.  Mainly I do it because they are hilarious, my all-time fave being when someone ended up here (I know not why) by Googling the phrase “virginia slims 120’s, tranny.”  Since Friday, I have attracted eyeballs with only two topics:  the Waynesville, NC, voluntary castration case, via various search criteria, and, unrelated, the search string “kitten names.”  This is even better.

Why?

Because the kittens got fixed this morning.

I came downstairs as I was getting ready for work and The Boyf was just returning with our two littlest patients and said, “How are the boys doing?”

His response:  “Well, they have air quotes.”

Heh!

I wake up this morning to what sounds like a bomb going off in the driveway. Instead it is thunder – close and incomprehensibly loud and repeating over and over again, like a war going on down the street. The panes of the windows over our bed rattle and the ground shakes. I pull The Boyf’s window the last couple of inches closed, afraid in my half-asleep state that he’s getting rained on. Then I think of the kittens and lean over, peeking under the bed. I find them huddled and terrified. “It’s okay,” I tell them for a few minutes, over and over, as the thunder marches through. Eventually they settle back to something like sleep, as do I.

When I awake for real, the storm is gone. By the time I’m out of the shower, the sun has come out.

I run errands all afternoon, trying and failing to get my car inspected (I am too impatient to wait much, and have too many important things to get done today in terms of Hall business). Then I get back home and settled in to read the latest Superman, write more zombie story and sit on the front porch waving at neighbors as they walk their dogs. No sooner has The Boyf arrived home from his own errands than the sky darkens and the wind starts to scream. “There’s a tornado warning until midnight,” The Boyf comments. The trees bend lower still, and I start to hear a real roar on the air, a mad howl like I have never heard except during Hurricane Fran, ten years ago. The wind is blowing so hard that the pine pollen – a thick, yellow blanket routinely ejected in spring that coats everything in sight for weeks – is shooting through the air in thick sheets, mapping and narrating the whipping and turbulent twists and turns of the air. The sky stops being only a little darker than before and as thick, black clouds roll over us the sun is blotted out. It turns to night in the span of seconds, like something out of a bad apocalyptic horror movie. I briefly ponder whether a tornado is coming down our street, whether that’s the roar I hear in the distance – I remember a lifetime of hearing survivors describe them on the news by saying they sounded “just like a train,” and it certainly sounds like a train is out there – and then I push that back down and refuse to let the sound of a train in the distance become a bad thing because I love that sound too much.

I do go inside, though, rather than sit on the front porch and watch the storm.

In the house, the kittens are wigged out again. I go upstairs to finish reading my email, and they hurriedly pile onto my desk and stick their faces between the slats of the blinds and watch the storm pass through from my little office’s 2nd-floor window. I hear NPR announce a severe weather warning, from where The Boyf is listening to it downstairs as he makes dinner. I fret again, then once more push it back down. I refuse to live like that, I say to myself. If he hears them say that tornados are bound for our county, OK, fine, I’ll get worried, but for now The Boyf is reporting them miles and counties from here.

Two minutes later, it’s all over. The storm is gone. The darkness outside is normal night. The wind has died down, the rain has stopped bouncing off the window in my office, the trees are upright. The kittens pull their heads out of the blinds and hop down off that shelf onto my main desk area and curl up and take a nap. Didi always wants to be touching my keyboard, so he settled in right next to it. Gogo, normally the brave explorer blazing a trail for Didi to follow, curls up behind Didi instead and tucks his head in and goes to sleep as well.

I take a few pictures of them in the moment, and then it’s back to life as usual: dinner, thoughts of whether I’ll win the office pool tonight, contemplating a structure for the next PAGP update, debating adding onto what I’ve written of the Vampire portion of the Zombie Stories already today. It’s over just that fast. I blog it to try to lock in the way the kittens look right now instead of just moving on to other concerns. I take a couple more pictures as they shift and stir. Every time I move my chair they wake up, so I know as soon as I finish this and stand up and go downstairs they will be back on their feet and running around like crazy.

I hear The Boyf getting plates out of the cabinet, though, so I know it’s almost time to eat. Time to go back to ordinary concerns again.

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