Monday, August 31, 2009

Other: Thank You State Budget Crisis

As I mentioned in my last post, I came home today to a jury summons in my mailbox. I haven't had one in about 5 years now, so I was due. The last time, I did actually have to go in one day, but as they didn't end up drawing any juries from my pool, I was cleared for at least a year. It was also pretty cool, because there was a bus that stopped a block from my home and went straight to my assigned courthouse in downtown Los Angeles. This summons is actually for the same county courthouse, but sadly that bus route was cut in half between me and the courthouse. I'll have to take two separate lines now if I get called in, which is still much better than driving into downtown Los Angeles during morning rush hour.

Anyway, I called the 800 number to register. I guess I don't really have an excuse not to go, being unemployed and all, but, you know, I would like a job sooner than later, and I hope this doesn't interfere. Anyway, I felt like I spent about 6 years going through the phone menu and questionnaire, although it was probably only 5 minutes or so. However, I did do a little happy dance after one message. Because of the state budget crisis, county courthouse jury staff has a mandatory furlough every 3rd Wednesday of the month, meaning no prospective jurors from most pools, including mine, need to report on that day. My on-call week is the third week of the month! It's like I get a free day, reducing my chances of getting called in! (The phone message actually goes on to apologize for any inconvenience that may cause.)

Metro Journal: Aug 31 District Whine

No Dumbasses Allowed To beat the late afternoon heat in my apartment, I decided to go see District 9. As it is friggin' hot here, I slathered on the sunblock and then went out to wait for the closest bus. It was several minutes late. Some YMDs1 in mom's minivan yelled something out their window while they drove past me. Look, morons, if you're going to be That Kind of Asshole Who Yells at Strange Women on the Street, at least make what you're saying intelligible. All I heard were random phonemes. Also, there was no shade at the stop. Fortunately, there was a brisk breeze blowing, which, while not cool per se, was still cooler than the sun.

Anyway, I bought my day pass and then went to the intersection with the 780, which I had to race across the intersection to catch, but I made it. I went into Pasadena. I got there with a few minutes to spare, got out my knitting, and settled in. About halfway through the film, my ball of yarn fell on the floor and I couldn't seem to reach it in the dark. As it did keep feeding me yarn without snagging, though, I kept knitting. (I recommend the film, both for some great action effects and for a thought-provoking, if somewhat generic "why racism and mega-corporations are evil!" plot.)

After the lights came on, I extricated my yarn ball, which had fortunately not rolled anywhere and didn't seem the worse for wear. (Fortunately, no one seems to have spilled sode or dropped nacho "cheese" in that spot recently or even not-so-recently.) The movie had been longer than I thought, as I got out around 8. I went into the restroom before leaving the megaplex and noticed some bright pink patches on my left arm. They felt rather warm to the touch. I apparently missed some areas with the sunblock, and even though I couldn't have spent more than 15 minutes in direct sunlight, well, the sun was that bright and hot, even late in the afternoon.

When I got out, the sun was down, but it was still really warm, although not unbearably so. I got some chai at Starbucks and read my compu-nerd book a bit, then when out to the bus stop. I proceeded to wait a really long time. I knew the 780s had almost certainly stopped running, but I was there at least 15 minutes before a 181 showed up. It turned out to be standing room only, too, although at least the aisle wasn't packed like a sardine can. And of course, there were the standard dumbasses who stand in the front of the bus instead of moving back, thereby forcing people to push and squeeze past them so everyone can get behind the damned yellow line so the driver can move again. Bah.

One of the dumbasses standing at the front was a guy in his early 20s wearing an enormous backpack, the kind you use for camping with a bedroll and all that. He was wearing a chambray oxford shirt and one of those dorky driving caps. He was talking to someone sitting next to him. When he started telling them about how one time he was up near Pak Mann arcade2, which, while it did close a couple years ago, he made it sound like this Stone Age-era archaeological site. Anyway, he was saying that he was up near there with some of his "homeboys" and they were getting shot at by guys in a Honda Civic. WTF. We're talking Mr Wonder Bread white boy here. He didn't dress or use typical gangsta inflections, either. My mind was boggling. I missed some bits, but then he was telling the person about how he had seen some guy wearing a t-shirt that said, "So Cool, So Rad," and he "wanted to slap the shit out of him" for the "besmirchment" of... I couldn't figure out what, because my brain was boggling at how such a t-shirt, while not particularly cool or rad, could be so offensive, but mostly I was just in shock that such a fucking poseur was so up-in-arms about some other poseur, without having any idea of the hypocritical irony of his own poseur-ness. At least when I'm being a poseur, I'm well aware of it, although, let's face it, I'm so superkewl, I can get away with just about anything. Anyway, I'm sorry to deprive everyone of the rest of this spectacle, but this guy was just such a ridiculous, self-important, dumbass dickhead that I couldn't take the pain anymore. It is probably more entertaining to read about than it was to experience in real life. I got out my headphones to block out the stupid and the pain.

Oh, and then I came home to a jury summons! Um, woot? No, probably not. I go on call the week of September 14th.

1Young Male Dumbass
2An enormous video game arcade maybe a mile or two from Tech. They had everything. I vaguely seem to recall feeding enough quarters into the old Simpsons game to finish it one evening about six zillion years ago.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Other: Yeeee-haw!

One of my favorite bands of all time, the Raincoats, has apparently reunited, at least long enough to play a few shows. Including one just a few miles away! They'll be playing at the Echoplex on Sunday, October 11, as part of the Part Time Punks Festival.

The Raincoats formed in London during the punk explosion of the mid-70s. Several young women, mostly local art students, figured if all these men could form a band, why couldn't they? And since most of those male punks couldn't play instruments, it didn't really matter if most of these women couldn't either. And while they embraced the punk DIY-and-screw-anyone-who-doesn't-get-your-music aesthetic, if they were trying to sound like the men around them, it doesn't show. In the end, they just don't sound like anyone else, and if they do, it's because those people were trying to sound like the Raincoats.

They put out several albums over the next few years, finally disbanding in the mid-80s. While they never had commercial success, they become highly influential. That might have been that, until one day in the early 90s when a young man walked into a London shop where founding member Ana da Silva was working to express his love of the band's music and to ask if she had any copies of their out-of-print LPs to replace the ones he had worn out. Kurt Cobain wrote up the meeting and the band's importance to him in the original liner notes for Nirvana's Incesticide album. (You can stop reading that about the time he starts talking about what an honest and wonderful wife he has.) He eventually got the Raincoats to tour with Nirvana and helped get them a record deal with his label. They put out an EP and an album of new material, in addition to re-issuing the older recordings on CD. The band dissolved again after that, although core members Gina Birch and da Silva still remain more musically active.

So, anyway, yes, I already have my ticket.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Pandora's Litter Box: Ridin' the Bus With Pandora

Today would have been Pandora's 18th birthday (observed). The night before last I had a dream where she was following me around, like she used to do when we were young and foolish and lived on campus. In the dream, she got on the bus with me and curled up in my lap. I remember being worried that she was walking around with me on city streets, but she stayed with me.

I miss my girl.

Rocker Girl Kitty

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Other: Why Term Limits Don't Work

This scholarly1 article by Eric Prier and Kevin Wagner on the effect of term limits imposed on state legislators in Florida and Maine provides a disheartening argument against term limits for legislators. Instead of fostering greater competition and innovation in the legislatures' make-up, they've produced incumbents who have no real incentive to please their constituency in their last term and thus effectively have no accountability, and, because a new contender need only wait a few years before running for an open seat, many people run unopposed for their last term.

1As in, the authors actually analyzed hard numbers rather than pulling random opinions straight out of their asses.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Spoonerisms: Well, That Didn't Last Long

Spoon has figured out how to get out of the harness by using any pull on the leash to back out of the thing. I guess the collar-less action works for dogs because they don't have those mushy-shoulder joints.

Meanwhile, Dipity is still scared of Spoon, but we spent awhile swapping places yesterday. She has a hidy place between the end of the sofa and the bookcase that she seems to feel pretty safe in. Maybe a little too safe -- I realized yesterday evening she'd been there a few hours, so I picked her up and took her back to the bedroom for some food and water. She may have really liked it or she may have been afraid to leave, I'm not sure. Anyway, I'm going to push the integration because it's getting hot here again, and there's no air conditioning in the bedroom, so it gets really uncomfortable there in the day. I'm just going to have to keep a close eye and, if necessary, a squirt bottle on Spoon. I know he's a good kitty, but he just gets so excited.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Spoonerisms: Meet Cuties

Little Miss Blue Eyes I'm still trying to get the little dipity kitty to give Spoon the time of day. Fluzz suggested putting a harness on to restrain Spoon so the new kitty can see him without seeing 16+ pounds of him coming straight at her. I dug out the harness I had gotten about two years ago when he was getting seriously fat and I decided to try giving him "walks" for exercise. That didn't last long. He freaked out as soon as we were outside. This from a cat who had supposedly lived outdoors in his previous life. Um, anyway, that harness is now way too small. Last night I went to the pet store and found one that would fit not in the cat section, where they only go up to 16" chest sizes (Spoon is more like 19"), but in the dog section. Spoon qualifies as a medium-sized dog. The new one is easier to get on, though, and must be more comfortable since it doesn't actually have a neck collar component.

Workin' Cat Blues
The orange jumpsuit is next...
So I tried it out for the first time today. Spoon's not too happy, but he doesn't freak out, either. And I give him treats when I put it on so he'll think "harness == treats!" Dipity no longer really seems interested in trying to leave my bedroom, so I picked her up and took her out to the couch, where I gave her treats. She didn't seem too freaked out. Spoon made the occasional tug at the leash, but I had him firm. I decided to move his fat butt over to the opposite side of the couch (which I had to do by carrying him, because he responds to tugs on the leash by sitting down), but she thought that was a little too close for comfort, hissed a little, and went back to the bedroom, but she took her time instead of just freaking out and running.

I tried again later. This time I let her stay in the bedroom, but I got some ice cream ready. I secured the leash to where Spoon could see into the bedroom but couldn't get too close. That way Dipity could see him but he wouldn't look too big and threatening and couldn't charge. She was nervous and keeping an eye on Spoon, who didn't have much choice but to roll over and look pitiful on his leash. Then I gave her the ice cream dish, hoping she will now think "ice cream" when she sees Spoon. I'm sure most people actually do think "ice cream" when they see Spoon, although they probably think he's just eaten too much of it. Anyway, she didn't really hiss at Spoon, but she was circumspect. We sat around a little while and finally she decided she wanted to go under the bed, so I closed the door.

This is going to be slow-going. I just feel a little bad for Spoon because he can't sleep with me at night and he seems to be getting a little tense.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Spoonerisms: Oh, Sorry

Oh, Sorry Were you using this? This chart here? The one right under my paw?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Spoonerisms: Kitteh Update

Oh, you weren't trying to read this, were you?
The little kitty seems to be recovering well. She really, really doesn't like getting pills shoved down her throat, but she only has a couple more days of antibiotics. She did throw up this morning, but she seems to have gorged herself when I fed her this morning, as she had run out of food during the night. I can't imagine how she thought she could fit that amount of food in her little belly. But she hasn't spent the night meowing pitifully at the open window for three nights running now, so I think she's getting used to the idea of being an indoor-only cat.

Spoon is getting antsy to meet her, but she still seems scared of the idea. I'm going to give her a few more days, at least until she finishes the trauma of twice-daily pilling and gets over any remaining sluggishness, as cats tend to be even more defensive when they don't feel well. I hope she adapts to him; Pandora did, although it took awhile, but she had the advantage of being here first, so it was her territory, and, well, of being the indomitable Pandora. Spoon just wants a buddy, but he's a big cat and he's so overeager that I can see how he'd be scary to a little kitty. I know he's a total pushover, but she doesn't.

And, well, I've decided that I guess she's pretty much mine. Even if someone came forward at this point, I did have that one caller who said she'd seen her for at least a month, so I could easily make a case of abandonment. So, meet Serendipity, the little Dipity Kitty.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Spoonerisms: All's Well When the Kitty's Well

Hello AgainI hadn't posted about the little girl in a couple days because something worrisome happened. She had been increasingly sluggish Sunday, and I realized Monday night she hadn't been touching her food or water. I got her to eat some kitty treats that I put under her nose, and I didn't get much sleep that night. I took her to the emergency vet in the morning. She was running a fairly high fever and was dehydrated.

I was put in the position where I was looking at shelling out a lot of money for what was not legally and might never legally be my cat, all because of someone's inhumanely (but unfortunately too commonly human) irresponsible behavior. And that really pissed me off. At that point, if someone came forward to claim her, I would have ripped them a new one. (And I still feel that way.) I agreed she needed to be hospitalized, though, and, still worried, went home. Let's face it, my recent veterinarian experience has not been good. I realize it's only one data point and a very different situation, but the wound is still fresh. And this is such a young and sweet kitty who doesn't deserve this, not that any animal does.

Most of her tests came back normal, except for a spike in some white blood cells. It all indicated some kind of infection, logically something she had picked up while she was homeless. That made my blood boil. When I visited her the first evening, after they had gotten some fluids back in, she spent the whole time in my lap. She kept her head up a lot of the time, especially when there was a noise outside the exam room we had to ourselves, but she didn't try to leave my lap. When I visited her yesterday evening, the technician said her temperature was down some and they had gotten her to eat a little baby food. She definitely seemed perkier, although again, she spent the whole time in my lap, although she frequently rearranged herself. I spent 1½ hours there, reading and talking to her. And this morning, the vet said her temperature was close to normal and she was eating her food again, and I could take her home. Yay!

She cried the whole way home, but once I got her back in my bedroom and let her out of the carrier, she seemed, well, at home again. She ate a little food and then jumped on my bed with no problem and took a very, very long bath. Then she got some more loving from me, sprawled out purring on my stomach for several minutes. As you can see from the picture, she seems pretty damn relaxed. (You can also see where they shaved patches of fur from her forelegs for needles and such. Ouch.)

While it is highly unlikely anyone's going to come forward now, I'm still admittedly somewhat irrationally afraid to say definitively that she's mine. Still, I was so worried and I missed her while she wasn't here. She has that power over me.

Knittin' Crap: Tiggerfish

Catfish Meet my latest creation, the Tiggerfish. I named him in honor of the grey cat I grew up with, a Shaolin Zen Buddhist monk of a cat, philosophical and above feline politics, but ready to womp any cat who was stupid enough to mess with him.

Um, needless to say, he never had the confused look that this catfish ended up with.

(You can get the free knitting pattern here!)

Knittin' Crap: My Hero

This crochetin', creamsicle-wearing guy totally rocks!

(I've seen many copies of this picture on the web but not the "original." Oh, well.)

Metro Journal: Aug 12 Beverly Shrooms 90210

shrooms I had a job interview in that most famous of zip codes yesterday morning. First I took the 780 to Beverly Blvd, then I could take the 14 to within a block of the interview or the 714, which stopped several blocks away. As I was wearing my angry shoes, I wanted to minimize walking. I got on the 14, which magically turned into a short line, dumping rather surprised passengers at the Beverly Center. I had a lot of buffer time, but we had to wait awhile until a 714 showed up. Fortunately, the weather was mild as long as you were in the shade, and, well, it wouldn't be like Beverly Hills to have crappy side walks. I managed to make it there with a couple minutes to spare.

Walking back to the closest stop in the mostly-residential neighborhood, I noticed a really large cluster of wild mushrooms growing next to someone's flower bed.

The 14 intersects the 780 at Fairfax, less than two blocks south of Canter's. I hadn't been to Canter's, a world-famous, 24-hour deli with a menu that rivals War and Peace in length, in many years. Plus I was really hungry. So, while I was trying to walk as little as possible as my angry shoes were making my feet, well, angry, I walked up there. Mmmm, avocado melt.

All in all, it was a pretty uneventful ride back. While waiting for my "my feet hurt too much to walk half a mile and it's kind of warm out anyway" bus in front of the post office, I was treated to a lovely floor show. Well, not lovely, exactly. Three people were already sitting on the shaded bench, watching a bunch of YMDs1 standing next to a car with a very smashed front end, talking to a police officer. They were there awhile, then, too cheap I guess to get a tow truck, about half a dozen of them pushed the car down the block. They then blocked a side street for a couple minutes while trying to figure out how to maneuver the thing into a gas station.

That entertainment finished, I turned around in time to seeing some other YMD backing his BMW into a parking space. Um, WTF? It's a one-way parking lot. You go in one end, go out the other. And the slantedness of the spaces should also have been a clue, but, well, the driver was a YMTD.2 I was really eager to see if he would try to go out the entrance when he left, especially hoping there would be cars driving in at the time, so I could see if he was just a TFD,3 but the bus came before he came out. Oh, well.

1Young Male Dumbass
2Young Male Total Dumbass
3Total Fucking Dumbass

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Spoonerisms: Crank Call Newbie

On my voicemail today, caller ID blocked: (kid's voice) Hi, I found your dog. I mean cat. (heavy breathing for about 5 seconds, then hangs up)

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Knittin' Crap: Still Paying It Forward

Pay It Forward - Crochet Hook Case My second Pay It Forward project went out to craftykaren from Ravelry and coincidentally managed to arrive on her birthday! She is the recipient of a lovely crochet hook case... well, lovely as long as you don't open it and see how crappy my sewing skills are. Her cats also received a lovely catnip empanada.
Pay It Forward - Crochet Hook Case Pay It Forward - Crochet Hook Case

Spoonerisms: Just So He Doesn't Feel Left Out

Here's a lovely picture of Spoon trying to kill my yarn yesterday. The surprising thing was that it didn't even have any mohair content.

Spoon Kills Yarn!
And as I was posting this, he jumped onto the console for the cordless phone and managed to dial... something. Fortunately, he didn't use an area code, as that's required now, so he just got the message about how it couldn't connect to that number.

I am not making this up.

Spoonerisms: If I believed in that kind of thing...

I'm Melllllting No change in the immigration status of Code Name Fork1. I haven't heard a peep. Meanwhile, she's settling down more and more. She and Spoon did have an incident yesterday where she was carefully inspecting more of the apartment and he snuck up behind her, so when she turned and saw him, she freaked and ran. Well, she was running, so Spoon had to follow. He caught up next to my bed when her food and water dish are. I didn't see any flying fur, and certainly no wounds, so I'm not sure how much physical contact was made, but they definitely made a mess. It also put Fork2 out a little bit, as she hasn't been interested in looking outside the bedroom since.

I'm also not sure anyone taught her how to play with wand toys. It takes a lot of work to get her interested. She does like to smack around her catnip empanada a little, although I'm not sure she's old enough for the 'nip effect to set in. And I got her to use the cardboard scratcher, too. Spoon had taken to it right away when I got him, but she hadn't shown an interest. Yesterday I gently took her front paws, extended her claws a little, and ran them over the cardboard. Last night I saw her do it on her own! And then she did her floppy-melty thing on top of it. She's too cute.

Today would have been my father's 66th birthday. He loved Siamese cats his whole life. His mother kept them when he was a boy, and although he liked other breeds, too (his last favorite cat, Bandit aka "Junior," is a black-and-white mutt), Siamese were always his favorite. He didn't keep one as a bachelor, but my mother said that almost the instant they got married, they got one, almost like that was the reason he wanted to get married. Tiger died of feline leukemia before I was born, but to hear my father tell it, he was, of course, the most amazing cat ever.

My father had at least one Siamese in the house more or less continously for the rest of his life. He encouraged me to get one someday, too, to carry on the family tradition. I'm not picky about breeds; a good pet who needs a home is about my only requirement. But I can't help thinking about how a beautiful little Siamese shows up just as I'm getting ready to look for a new addition... I don't believe in ghosts or supernatural hoodoo, but if I did, this coincidence might seem like proof.

Come Hither

1Dan suggested we call refer to her this way for the time being.
2Note that this will NOT be her permanent name. I don't use it to her face.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Knittin' Crap: Free Crappy Patterns By Me

Roly Poly Kitty
As I've had occasional (as in, um, 3. Total.) requests for instructions for my improvised patterns, I decided to try out Google's "Sites" and put together a little site to make them available. It's called Karen's Knittin' Crap and the first pattern up is my Roly Poly Kitty, which was inspired by puchitomato (of Happy Poo fame) and her crocheted roly poly cats.

A day after I added the pattern to the Ravelry pattern database, I was amazed that 26 people have already added it to their queues. How did they find it so quickly? 56 people have marked it as a favorite pattern! (And my actual project only has 6 faves!) The mind boggles.

Anyway, as I add patterns, old and new, they'll appear in my new sidebar gadget.

ETA @1:14PM: In 27 queues now. !

Spoonerisms: Cool as the Fonz

Super Cutie Stray! Kitty is still here. Yesterday I notified the Pasadena Humane Society (they handle local animal control for Glendale), put an ad on craigslist, and put up fliers around a 1-2 block radius. As long as you can show you made a good faith effort to find the owner, you can take over ownership rights in 30 days. Which means in 28 more days, she'd be mine! (I'm already hers.)

But I'm still trying not to get my hopes up. I haven't actually given her a name, for one thing. Once a cat has snuggled you in the middle of the night, though, well, it's hard not to get attached. I just have a feeling, though, and maybe it's wishful thinking, that it will work out. For one thing I didn't see any fliers out for a lost cat while I was putting up mine. Considering that she spent so long in my building's courtyard, I doubt she had gone far from where she was lost (or dumped).

Anyway, Spoon is being cool-as-a-cucumber about the whole thing. He's been so good. He hasn't been scratching or whining at the door, even when I'm in there, although he does still watch it. A lot. Last night when I opened the door to come out, kitty raced past me and about 1-2' from Spoon, she let out that low hiss and he turned and ran away. Seriously. But she didn't go into a defensive posture or puff up or anything, and Spoon didn't seem overly freaked-out, just kind of... spastically accommodating. You know, Spoon-like. She could totally own him, and probably already does even if she doesn't know it yet.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Spoonerisms: What a Co-inky-dink

I'd been talking to my mother yesterday afternoon while I was waiting for a bus, before I met the kitty, and she told me how she had gone to the pet food store last weekend and they happened to be having a cat adoption day. She saw a beautiful cat which they called a lynx-point Siamese, but the shelter worker for some reason wouldn't consider letting it go to a home with other cats. I'd never heard of a lynx-point before, as I'm used to the more traditional variants like seal points (the solid, dark brown markings) but anyway...

I sent my mother the pictures last night, and she replied (this morning, of course) that it looked like the lynx-point she had seen over the weekend. I looked up the breed online and some of the pictures look just like it! What kind of coincidence is that! With a few days we both go from never having seen one before to finding ones who for some reason had no home!

Anyway, I didn't get much sleep last night. Kitty talked all night. Siamese are known to be very talkative, but she was antsy, wanting attention, but not able to sit still long. I would move to the fold-out couch, but it's just not as comfortable, and I didn't want to leave her alone for long periods. I finally got a couple hours on the sofa bed (not easy with mega-butt Spoon snuggled so close I couldn't move -- he rarely does that while I'm sleeping unless it's chilly) and when I went back in the bedroom, kitty had calmed down a lot. She still wanted lots of attention, but she has settled down, is less nervous, talks less, and I got her to eat and drink, which she hadn't been doing.

Spoon is still his standard mix of curious and confused, keeping an eye on the door and trying to peek in, if not invade, when the door opens. Kitty still hisses at him, but she's clearly not terrified and is maybe curious, too.

I haven't gotten the fliers up yet, although I have printed them out.

ON 8/4



(Ok, that's not actually my phone number, but I'm not posting my actual number on my blog, hello.)

No picture. I'm going to want feline photo ID if someone tries to claim her!

(FYI, I looked it up and lynx-points are technically Siamese with tabby stripes. They are still classified by coloration as seal, chocolate, blue, lilac, or red points. I can't tell which this girl is, and as she's not fully grown she may still get darker, but she looks a lot like a blue lynx-point I saw a picture of.)

Spoonerisms: Serendipity?

That stray I posted about earlier today? The one I thought was semi-feral? Well, tonight, as I was going out back behind the building to move my laundry to the dryer, the cat was still there and started meowing at me. I put out my hand and it came forward and sniffed it. That is not something a feral cat does. Then I realized I had it confused with a darker grey tabby that hangs around (which, sadly, I haven't actually seen in awhile.) I went upstairs and called the two closest 24-hour vets to see if they had lost posters for a cat like this, but they didn't. Then I went downstairs, managed to pick up the cat, brought it into the apartment, stuck it in the bathroom, then got out the carrier. Spoon, of course, was freaked out, and wanted to get in the bathroom.

I took the cat into the 24-hour place (it was 10:30 by now) and they scanned for a microchip, but there wasn't one. They examined the little girl (for it was a she) and tested her for FIV and FeLV (both negative), said she was about a year old, seemed in good health, had a few fleas, and was probably spayed. I promised to put up Found posters, which I will do in the morning, (I haven't seen any Lost posters for a cat recently), but for now...

She's friendly, but clearly nervous, making these half-hissing sounds even as she lets me rub her head. She's holed up in my bedroom, which Spoon rarely enters unless I'm in bed or I'm getting the vacuum out of the closet, with food, water, and a litter box. I'm not sure where I'll manage to sleep tonight. Spoon may get upset if he's cut off from me all night, so it may be the fold-out couch.

Spoon's a little freaked, watching the bedroom door right now from about 3 feet away. I think the visitor is afraid of him, part of the hissing, but she has every right to be nervous.

I don't know how this will work out. I'd be happy enough reuniting a pet with worried owners, but of course, well, I'd be happier if I had a sweet new pet. And while it's unlikely that someone would deliberately dump a sweet and beautiful Siamese mix (if the pointy snout and blue eyes didn't give it away, the voice would) like this... When I was 12, there was a beautiful seal point Siamese, about 6 months old, that had been around the neighborhood a couple weeks when my father finally saw him, which meant, of course, that he had a home. My mother put an ad in the paper, but no one claimed him. He stayed with my parents for 20 years. So it does happen.

Stray Kitty

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Metro Journal: Aug 4 Where There's Smoke

smoke1 I had to run a few errands, none of which was more than 1½ miles from home, but as much as I hate driving when there are Other People on the roads, I hate dealing with parking lots even more. I could have walked this route, which I've done before, but even in the late afternoon, it is Freakin' Hot now. So, bus to the rescue.

I think I've finally got the day-pass-on-TAP card thing down. I was spazzing for a while, and I even saw a sign on one bus explaining how it's done. Here are the steps:
  1. Tell the driver you want a day pass and that you have a TAP card.
  2. Feed in your $5.
  3. Wait for him to press whatever button and then tells you to tap your card.
  4. TAP your card, but not too quickly. Hold it against the scanner for a couple seconds, until it beeps.
Part of my problem was that there is not obvious "DAY PASS LOADED" message that comes up on the LCD display on the fare box. It beeps, but it beeps no matter what. I just feel like a dork asking the driver practically every time if it worked.

Anyway, first stop was the post office where I have my box. There was a package pick-up slip waiting! I got my box and it was from my Ravelry $10 Amigurumi group swap partner! I went to the table and opened it right away, trying to keep a minimum safe distance between me and the man standing next to me who was making phlegmatic noises. Inside, I found kitchen cotton (just the right stuff for the tawashi (Japanese scrubbies) and catnip empanadas I've been making), safety eyes, beads, and two sunny amigurumi flowers!
My Swap Box from Froggingqueen

(I had sent my partner some lace-weight merino and a cotton/Modal blend from my stash, an amigurumi booklet with three patterns, some stitch markers, and some, well, safety eyes, plus these two little guys:)
Penguin Toitle
(Turtle pattern by Tamie Snow. I came up with the penguin.)

Anyway, back to our story. After the post office, I took the 780 about a mile west to Glendale Ave. I walked to the post office a block north, blissfully in the shade of whatever-city-building is there, going toward to the bank. Now, we had had to pull over a couple times on the way there for police and fire vehicles with their sirens blaring, coming from the opposite direction. Today was one of those hot, clear days, with just a few cirrus clouds in the sky. Then I noticed ugly brown smoke, a huge cloud of it, to the northeast. Ah, that's why I had heard helicopters in the day. (As opposed to night, when they're used to track fleeing suspects in the dark.)

I went to the bank and got several rolls of quarters, because I am seriously delinquent on my laundry. Then I went to Starbucks, got an iced tea, read for awhile, then went to wait for the bus. I took the 201, which I'd never been on before, which runs from downtown, up through Silver Lake, overlaps the 180/181/780 route a bit through Glendale, then goes up Chevy Chase to end at whichever hospital is just to the north of the 134. (Glendale Adventist? I can never remember.) I had to pick up a prescription at the pharmacy. This put me much closer to the fire, and at this point I counted no fewer than 5 helicopters, probably 3 of which were news choppers because they were keeping their distance. Not out of any sense of Doing the Right Thing and keeping out of the emergency vehicles' way, of course, but because they'd get in trouble otherwise. (Aren't I a cynic?) The smoke appeared to be pretty close to the hospital, maybe (hopefully?) just a little to the east, but if my bad distance estimates are correct, that would put it in a dense residential area.

Duh, I just realized it would be all over the news websites by now. According to the Glendale News-Press site, the fire is centered over 40 acres around the 134/2 interchange, a rather woody, hilly area, where Glendale and Eagle Rock meet. Right now, the fire department is saying the fire is 70% contained, but voluntary evacuations are continuing. The cause of the fire is labeled "suspicious."

Anyway, while I was waiting for my prescription, the southbound 685 went by, which meant there wouldn't be another for 30 minutes. I decided to walk the mile or so home. I would be going south, and the early evening had cooled off enough that as long as I stayed in the shade on the west side of the street, I would be fine.

When I got back to my building, I noticed one of the semi-feral strays conked out in the dirt. She woke up when I got out my camera. She's absolutely beautiful, and looks like she has some kind of Siamese in her. If I thought it were at all possible to domesticate her, I would try.

Spoonerisms: New Kitty Tryouts

Grim II + Spoon
Spoon says, "His eyes are seriously freaking me out, man!" That's a veto.
Spoon and I have been talking about it (ok, the conversations mostly take place in my head) and we've had some new kitty tryouts.

BFF Tryout
"Um, is her face on her body or are her legs on her head?" He already goes through life confused enough as it is.
I made him a few trial friends in the past couple weeks. I don't think they're going to work out. They tend to be even more passive than he is, which is saying a lot. Spoon and I both need a boss kitty. Although this guy did have a lot of personality:

Amineko Excited Neko

But after Spoon told him, "Don't call us; we'll call you," the amineko got kind of upset.
Freaked Out Neko Pissed Off Neko

"But we can still be friends!"
Flipping-the-Bird Neko

Spoon basically needs a kitty to be his BFF, one who won't get smushed if Spoon happens to roll over on (probably) her. I'd also like one who is willing to be a fashion model, like orangecat.blackcat's guy here:

(Did I mention I do strange things when I'm bored?)

Monday, August 3, 2009

Metro Journal: July 31 Turnstile Terrorism

Couque D'assesWednesday I went down to Lunchmont for, well, lunch with some of my former co-workers. They're apparently thisclose to putting a sign over the door reading, "Arbeit macht frei."

Anyway, after a nice lunch, I took the 14 east toward downtown. There was this guy a couple rows ahead of me and across the aisle who seemed very much like he was talking to himself. He was a little better-dressed than the type of people who usually talk to themselves on buses, and I wondered if he had a bluetooth headset on the ear I couldn't see, but he had some wacky crap coming out of his mouth. He was rather excitedly talking about some woman who was responsible for setting up some conspiracy on the web. I couldn't tell if it was the same woman, but apparently someone was accusing him of fathering her three children, which was impossible since she apparently lived in Michigan. I had this odd sense of déjà écouté, like I'd heard someone telling basically the same story about the "Billie Jean" effect a long time ago at the stop at Melrose & Western.

There weren't many people on the bus, so it was passing a lot of stops. One time it did stop because the driver couldn't tell if the people waiting at the sign wanted to get on, but they didn't. Except the guy waited until after it had stopped and the driver started pulling out again before he gathered up his stuff and told the driver he was supposed to stop when it was a stop. I hadn't been paying attention, but I didn't notice if anyone had pulled the stop request cord. Anyway, the driver said, "All right, I'm stopping," although he couldn't pull back over. The guy, who actually was wearing a headset on his other ear, was still talking about stopping when it was time to stop when he got off. A few people sitting near him looked at each other with that "okaaaaay" grin.

I got off and got on the Red Line, which was really crowded. I decided to get off at the 7th St Metro station to see if they had some kind of kiosk where I could ask about putting straight dollars, rather than passes, on my TAP card. The station has three levels: street, Blue Line platform below that, and Red/Purple Line platform below that. It also has exits to two streets, Flower and, I think, Hope. The street level exits for each street are not contiguous; to get from one to the other, you can either walk outside around the block or go down to the Blue Line level and go back up the other side. I wandered around, found no kiosk, then decided to take a DASH to Little Tokyo, as that would involve less walking that taking the Red Line to the Civic Center station. Except I wasn't sure which DASH stopped where or what their schedules were. Fortunately, there was a tourist welcome center across the street! I figured they might have bus schedules, which they did. They also had typical tourist tchochkes and sold things like Disneyland tickets. I got the Downtown DASH brochure and left. The Little Tokyo DASH (line A, I believe) was right across the street and supposedly ran about every 7 minutes during the day. It took a very circuitous route, but I got where I needed to go.

Kinokuniya didn't have anything new and exciting in the way of craft books, so I went downstairs to the Japanese supermarket and got some goodies, including some langue de chat cookies (that's what the box said in Roman alphabet characters, among lots of Japanese stuff I couldn't read), literally "cat tongue." The box also had "Couque d'asses" on it in big letters, so I assume that was the brand name. I have no idea if that's real French, and I don't think it would matter. (I thought cookies were called biscuits.) The cookies, which have a maccha (green tea latte) filling in the middle were ok, but not as good as the name.

Feeling lazy in the heat, I took a Metro with a headsign for Union Station to, well, Union Station, where I took the Gold Line to Pasadena and the 780 back to Glendale. All in all, I think I swiped my Metro day pass about 9 times.

Oh, yeah, and apparently they're installing turnstiles in the light rail stations. Right now it's kind of an honor system, where it's assumed you'll either swipe your TAP card or have bought a small, paper ticket from the machine. They do have period checks of riders, but rarely. I haven't seen any turnstiles yet, but they started installing them in June. However, the weird thing is that not only are they doing it to reduce fare evasion, but apparently turnstiles will... get ready for it... also stop terrorists! I am not making this up.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Other: Doin' Hard Time For Virtual Crime

Last year, I talked about how peoples' "lives" in on-line games are bleeding more and more into the real world. The July issue of Scientific American1 has a short article on how current laws cannot address in-game crimes, which can lead to real-life repercussions.

They mention the, well, humorous case of the British couple divorcing because the husband's Second Life avatar was boinking another player in the game (just don't ask), and how the wife had gone on to date someone she met on World of Warcraft. Something I hadn't known was that the husband had countered that he had to seek on-line solace in the first place because his wife was already a WoW addict. ?!

A less funny story I hadn't known concerns a real-life murder back in 2005. Chinese Legend of Mir 3-addict Qiu Chengwei actually killed his friend after that friend borrowed an in-game sword and then sold it for real money. When Qiu reported the virtual theft, the police told him there was nothing they could do about something that happened in a game. Then Qiu was really, really sentenced to death for the murder, although the Chinese authorities later commuted it to life in prison.

A Brussels prosecutor even wanted to charge a man whose avatar raped another player within Second Life. That failed to happen, but it brings up how much of their emotional lives people can invest in these communities, to the point where virtual theft and violence can be traumatic for some.

Obviously, most people look initially to the game companies to police their players, but it's impossible to prevent a determined person from creating another account if theirs is deleted. The article also points out that most companies would rather count their profits than expend time and energy getting rid of paying players, even if those players' antisocial behavior pushes others out of the game.

Yes, I am one to talk about not leaving an MMORPG behind when I log out, as I just admitted to sending a doll to a Puzzle Pirates employee. But the game's owner, Three Rings Design, makes a serious effort to minimize griefing. While most of the game's players are adults, they do welcome anyone who can abide by the terms of service, including teenagers. (In fact, they just opened a new "ocean" aimed at children and families which has extremely strict language filters and has even removed mentions of alcohol from the game.) It certainly helps that it has a much smaller subscriber base than, say, Second Life's one million active users, but they also actively engage the players.

1I will read the August issue before the end of August!

Knittin' Crap: More Geeky Action

FishheadredAs I previously mentioned, one of the Puzzle Pirate artists gave me an in-game "doll," a big honor, because he liked my Crushed Cultist design so much. I decided to thank him and impress him with my mad amigurumi skillz by making the doll in real life and surprising him with it. So here's the Fishheadred doll:

He sent me a PM. He said it was awesome, especially the eyepatch action. (People keep commenting on that. It's strange how you might think a little detail is just something cute, but other people really pick it out.)