Monday, November 30, 2009

Spoonerisms: Story of My Life

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

I've also had plenty of afternoons and evenings where that was true. For mornings, though, it's as constant as pi.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Other: I Watch Too Much TV

So, I just finished watching the first batch of episodes of the "re-envisioning" of the classic 80s sci-fi cheezfest V. I can't say I'm enjoying the show, but it doesn't make me cringe too often, so I guess I'll keep watching when new episodes start again in March. However, I thought I'd share the show's theme with those who have not been watching. In one sentence: We need universal health care to keep the Scientologists from taking over the world.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Knittin' Crap: More Anti-Nazi Knitting

I just watched Cinema's Exiles: From Hitler to Hollywood, a PBS documentary about European filmmakers who became refugees during the Third Reich.

The Nazis had placed very strict limits on the amount of cash that a person could take out of the country, and German bank accounts could not be accessed internationally. Paul Kohner, who had been born in what was then Austria-Hungary and had gone to Hollywood long before the Nazi regime, still traveled frequently with his wife, Mexican-born actress Lupita Tovar. Now 99 years old, she recounts in the film how, one time as they were leaving Berlin for Paris in the mid-30s, he handed her a wad of cash to take to impoverished refugees of the Berlin film industry in Paris and told her to hide it. She was knitting a sweater at the time, so she unrolled her ball of yarn and rewound it with the cash inside. When the guards inspecting the departing train looked in, all they saw was a woman knitting from a very large ball of wool. When they got to Paris, he told her to get the money out so he could return it to its owners. She told them they would have to wait while she unraveled the large ball of yarn again.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Knittin' Crap: Anti-Nazi Knitting

I was going through piles of old magazines looking for my license plate (don't ask), flipping through issues that caught my eye. In an issue of Piecework from 2004, I found an article about an Australian man named Jim Simpson who had knitted himself a blanket while he was in a German POW camp in WWII. Wow! He got the yarn however he could and made knitting needles from pot handles. I got up and googled for him so I could share the story, and coincidentally, an Australian news site had just published an article on him last week. Check it out! And we're not even talking a wimpy, simple blanket, either!

Spoonerisms: Attention Dial Tone

In that twilight between sleep and wakefulness, my brain does strange things. Well, even more than normal. This morning, as soon as I began to stir, Dipity was on me. She and Spoon had had a very noisy row at 6AM so, even though it wasn't his "fault," per se, I closed Spoon out of the bedroom/bathroom area so they wouldn't wake the neighbors and so I could get more sleep. This left Dipity cut off from the food in the kitchen, so a few hours later, she was doing the Feed Me Cha-Cha. She was purring and snuggling, but it was in that high-energy, "I don't really want you to pet me, but I thought this was the best way to get your attention" way. I scratched her head and thought about how, while we probably most often associate purring with a happy cat, they actually use it for a lot of things. Yes, it's a bonding tool, but they also purr when they want attention and sometimes when they're afraid. Biologists think it may also aid in healing. Even the big cats purr, but because of the physiological changes made to their vocal chords so they could roar, they only purr on exhalation, unlike housecats, which have the duplex purr function. As Dipity was using the attention purr, it occurred to me her purr was a lot like a modem operating somewhere between 25 and 150 baud, and she had just issued the ATDT command: Attention Dial Tone.

Knowing she wasn't going to let me get more sleep, I got up and opened the door and she was in the kitchen like a rocket.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Spoonerisms: Ridin' the Bus with Casper

This black-and-white cat in England is a regular on the local bus line. Awesome!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Spoonerisms: Separate Vacations

Dipity in the Hole Dipity in the Hole

Dipity, the day after Spoon returned. Note he was conked out all of about 3' away, on the edge of the couch, when she got in the donut hole.
Last week, Spoon had a sleepover! My friend Steve had to give his cats away because of family stuff, but with his wife out of town and his toddler staying with grandma during the week, I thought he might like a temporary cat and Spoon and Dipity might like the break. Steve's friend Mark was staying there, too, so Spoon would get extra attention! I dropped him off Monday night and he hid under the couch. He didn't mind when people reached under and petted him. I think he was just really agoraphobic. I actually thought he would adjust faster and if I'd known it would take him almost a day to come out on his own at all, I wouldn't have put him through that. But eventually he adapted and was very, well, Spoon. When I picked him up Friday evening, he still got a little freaked by the ice-maker in the fridge, but he was pretty cool with everything. Meanwhile, Dipity really liked being an only cat. She clearly enjoyed having the run of the apartment, because she spent a lot of time running around the apartment.

Relaxed submissive So when Spoon came home Friday night, they were both a little surprised. Dipity didn't even realize right away what happened because he would walk by her and she wouldn't know to get upset. By Sunday, though, they were about back to where they were before Spoon's vacation. Dipity doesn't come out of the bedroom as often as she did while he was gone, but she also seems unwilling to give up all the freedom and will still wander out to the far reaches.

Really, she's very silly. She doesn't usually look where she's going, so she ends up face-to-face with Spoon. Unfortunately, she usually responds by getting excessively aggressive. There are still too many aggressive episodes, but there are some positive (or at least not negative) interactions. Last night they both slept on the bed, one snuggled on each side of me. This was not without difficulty. Dipity would growl at Spoon whenever he moved. He was clearly trying to be careful. Of course, I had to be extremely careful when I needed to rearrange myself, because then the cats would need to rearrange themselves, and Dipity would get defensive. Still, they didn't fight, at least not until Spoon got up to leave and Dipity felt the need to chase him out of the bedroom for good measure, and then later, un-snuggle me to jump off the bed and chase him out when he tried to return.

This morning Dipity attacked Spoon's tail while he was curled up in my lap, where he'd settled a couple minutes earlier after she turned him back from the electric lap. That got her squirted and closed in the bedroom for awhile so they could calm down. While she was in there, Spoon settled in the electric lap. I let her out and she ended up jumping up next to Spoon and had time to stare out the window and lick her tail before she realized he was 6" away from her, which caused her to growl slightly. She stayed calm and Spoon stayed put, so I gave them a couple of cat treats to reinforce their calm behavior. Spoon even started grooming, which means he is oblivious to what's going on around him but also means he really throws his weight around literally, and Dipity still stayed pretty calm. I suspect the best I can do now is be patient, reward calm interactions, and keep the spray bottle handy to halt excessively aggressive behavior.

Bergman By Cats
Bergman By Cats Bergman By Cats

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Pandora's Litter Box

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

I'm pretty sure that's not true. I only ever found cat litter and the stuff that you use cat litter for in Pandora's box. I think it's safe to say I'd've gotten an earful if she found anything else in there.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Spoonerisms: Meow, Meow, Captain

Why does this make me think of Star Trek as enacted by cats?

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

"Because you're a total geek, Karen."

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Spoonerisms: Wimpy, Wimpy, Wimpy

Electric Lap, Day 1
January 2007, day 1 of the electric lap. Spoon discovers its joy the first time. Pandora waits in line for the first time after trying to glare him out of it proved unsuccessful. (Spoon had a boo-boo on the back of his head at the time, hence the collar. I believe he had had an altercation with the fold-out couch.)

I got the electric lap almost three years ago to soothe Pandora's stiffening joints. She spent several hours the first time and would get up for short breaks. All was groovy until, later that day, Spoon also discovered the electric lap. Pandora jumped up, all ready to resume her nirvana... and realized there was now a line. Bummer. Spoon ended up spending more time in the thing, I think mainly because, even with all his extra subcutaneous insulation, he likes to be really, really warm, warmer than Pandora usually liked with all her supercutaneous insulation.

Flash forward. Dipity is totally digging the bed of bliss. She has already started to compete with Spoon for the most outlandish position possible. She has also discovered the queue. Yesterday she just charged up there, looked out the window a bit, turned to the lap, and discovered it was occupied. She didn't even growl at Spoon. (I think she might think of this as "his" territory.) She settled down, I presume to wait or just to act cool. I watched with academic interest for a bit, then set up the camera to video to record the nuances of their interaction while I got up and left the room to take care of other stuff. When I came back about 5 minutes later, Spoon had vacated the bed! Dipity was still sitting there, looking totally innocent. I watched the video. She didn't even do anything to scare him off! He is a seriously wimpy cat.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Spoonerisms: Dipity Discovers the Electric Lap

Dipity Discovers the Electric LapDipity has discovered the wonders of the electric lap. Although she had actually climbed over it before in her explorations, maybe her feet hadn't registered its magical properties. Today, however, she became enthralled. She spent a couple hours there in her first visit and then after a break, returned and has been there several more hours.

Dipity Discovers the Electric Lap Dipity Discovers the Electric Lap

Spoonerisms: Dipity Doo-Dah

Dipity's been here three months now. She seems to be pretty much at home. She even got her first Ravelry avatar appearance! She's also become much more bossy, exploratory, and social.

  • Bossy: See the hungry cat cartoon I posted previously. She's an expert at the "get out of bed and feed me" song and dance.
  • Exploratory: Last week she started following me down the very short hallway from my bedroom to the bathroom. She's pretty consistent about that. The past couple of days, she's started coming out in the living area more, but that creates problems when she runs into Spoon.
  • Social: When I started this post, she was curled up in my lap, something she did for the first time last night. So cute. She talks to me all the time and wants more attention, but I want her to learn to come out of the bedroom and get it, but that creates problems when she runs into, well, you-know-who.
Poor Spoon, he just wants to be buddies, but she's gotten more aggressively defensive, chasing and slapping at him when she feels cornered in "her" territory. Of course, she also doesn't look where she's going, so she'll be exploring, end up 6 inches from him, and start slapping. That leaves him a poor, confused boy. I'm trying to give him all the extra loving I can. And it looks like he might even get a vacation next week!