Thursday, December 31, 2009

Spoonerisms: Ghosts of Kitties Past

As promised, I made an effort to go through old pictures while at my mother's, to relive some Christmas cat memories. Of course, the pictures stopped getting put in photo albums around the time I was 6, and while my mother could recall finding the photos after that during her recent cleaning, she couldn't remember where she put the box they were in. "I don't suppose it has 'pictures' written on the side." "No."

Then there was a huge nuclear meltdown and I had to get to the minimum safe distance as rapidly as possible, where the minimum safe distance is about 2600 miles.

But, here are some of the pictures I found before that, taken on my parents' old Kodak Brownie...

Yummy Lite Brites!
Kitten Prissy, playing with the Lite Brites I got for Christmas in 1975. BTW, rest easy, as I'm pretty sure that carpet pattern was legally banned on December 31, 1979.
Ok, not a Christmas picture as it was taken around January 1976, but isn't it cute?

Tinseltown Tigger
Tigger, Prissy's son, gets the tinsel treatment, 1978. I believe he was a little over a year old at that point.

Tigger, with one of his classic philosophical expressions, taken around 1986, when he was about 9. This was my Buddhist Shaolin monk of a cat, very even-tempered and exuding such understated power that no other cats messed with him. He was the perfect cat to grow up with.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Other: Breaking Branches In the Family Tree

I decided to turn to the Internet to try to flesh out the tree. Yes, my grandmother left voluminous genealogy records, but they were not ordered or assembled into an actual tree, and it would have taken a long time and a lot of floor space to try to piece through it.

So, among other things, I've discovered that Thomas Watkins "Maggots Saved My Life" Perry, Jr., whom I mentioned in my last post as having survived a Civil War bullet to the lung, seems to have been my great-great-great-grandfather, and apparently died in 1917, aged about 75 and 53 years after his miraculous survival in Atlanta. The paternal line of his wife, Susan Florence, is traced back on one site to a William Flourance, born in 1637 in England or France, and who apparently immigrated to Virginia by the time of the birth of his first child, around 1670.

And Elmer Melvin, recipient of that "shellback certificate," issued the first time he crossed the equator, apparently traces his paternal line (and therefore part of mine) to one Daniel Melvin, born on the Isle of Skye in 1708, who came to America, married a North Carolina native, and then had his first child around 1737. And because the Melvins are the ancestors of my Mormon grandmother, they were all posthumously baptised into the LDS Church. Even the ones who were born and died before Moroni even started talking to Joseph Smith. I am not making this up.

No, really, I'll stop now. Mostly because I've just about run out of free sites to search and I refuse to pay to join one. This obsessive micro-burst has just about run its course.

Although I still don't know whether or not "stopped to look at moon" is a euphemism or not...

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Other: Climbing the Family Tree

The papers I mentioned in my previous post made me want to learn a little more about my family history. By great fortune, my paternal grandmother had been a Mormon and they are very big on genealogy. My mother showed me where some of her research papers were. I haven't found a nicely formatted tree, per se, but there are many sheets from The Genealogical Society of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints, Inc with the hand-copied records of various family members of my father's side of the family. The earliest date I've found so far was for a Thomas with my surname, born circa 1783 in Randolph County, Georgia, occupation "Farmer." The fields for his father's and mother's names are blank.

There are some wonderful type-written records with stories. Some are straightforward. My father's father's death, at the age of 43 is described:
...died of a heart attack about noon Sunday July 8, 1962. He had gone fishing, and died at the water.
From what I can tell, his father had also died of a heart attack in 1940 at about the same age.

Two accounts of the same person:
Dr. James Perry of England born about 1770 moved to Richmond or Petersburg, VA about 1790, moved to Darien Georgia to Perry's Mill on Cobb Creek and Altamaha River about 1800 to 1835. Died and ware buried in a brick vault at Perry's Mill about 1835.

Dr. James Perry of England settled at Petersburg Va and was a very eminent surgeon of the day. Subsequently he moved to Darien Ga and built a handsome home on the Altamaha river and established Perry's Mill which remains to the present date 1904. He built a sanitorium and had a large practice.
I believe my great-grandmother was descended from him.

Two accounts of his son and grandson, who had quite an amazing story:
Thomas Watkins Perry, Sr. was born in Richmond Va. and lived afterwards at Hatchechubbee, Ala. He was a veteran of the war of 1812... [He] had three sons in the Civil War in the C.S. Army. Patrick Henry Perry, William Condon Perry of Hardaway's Battery, Thomas Watkins Perry, Jr. of Co. E. 39th Alabama under Col (later Gen) H.D. Clayton. He served through the war and was severely wounded at the battle of Atlanta, Ga. Shot through the chest, worms (blow flies) ate the decay and he lived for more than fifty years.

Thomas Watkins Perry, Jr. born March 12, 1842 son of Smithie Tarver Perry, received his education from the best schools of the country during his time... He was Lieutenant in Co. E 39th Regiment of Alabama Volunteers in the Civil War, under Col. (afterwards General) H. D. Clayton. He left Seale Ala on March 15, 1862 in this company... On July 22, 1864 at the later battle of Atlanta, a ball passed through the body of Lieutenant Perry and tore away part of his right lung. After the surrender he resumed farming. He is now the clerk of circuit court of Russell County of strong vigor, developed by out of door life. (1904)
There were actually a number of relatives from the various branches who fought and often died for the Confederacy.

One transcription has this moving note:
Watt Perry (born June 1, 1877) died Jan 17, 1893 buried in Seale, Ala. Cemetery. "My darling Boy" God have mercy on me and help me to bear this great loss.
Jan 17, 1895 we are back at home where my good child died. Life is still so hard without my boy and how can I live without him.
January 17, 1897 we are preparing to leave our old home. All memories of the dead and past rush thick up on me. Leaving the grave of my poor dead boy, to return when and how is beyound my recording.
Jan 1898 one year in Brantley. "Thank God for all of my loved ones, that out of storm and care, have risen to peaceful heights above and stay to meet me there. Thy will be done."
-Mary Perry

Most of the deaths were of older people dying of natural causes, but there are some exceptions:
Sankey Perry born 1870 died 1935... Was shot on the street in Phenix City, Alabama by a man who was jealous of him because he was kind to and loved by children of people with whom be boared [?].
Nickolas K. Perry, born 1910. Died 1934. Killed by robbers while he and young lady were out for ride and stopped to look at moon, and were singing and negros who were sleeping in the woods appeared to take car and money, not a planned robbery.

Does "stopped to look at moon" sound like a euphemism to anyone else?


My mother found an ancient suitcase of papers which had belonged to my father's mother. Most are various records dating from the 1930s-50s, but there are some gems, including a small (about 2"x4") book containing the four gospels. The very faded handwritten inscription in the front is dated 1889. There was also this large and fabulous certificate rolled up in there, printed on heavy paper and about 14"x18" in size:

Imperium Neptuni Regis

It reads as follows:

TO ALL SAILORS WHEREVER YE MAY BE: and to all Mermaids, Sea Serpents, Porpoises, Sharks, Dolphins, Eels, Skates, Suckers, Crabs, Lobsters and all other Living Things of the Sea

GREETING: Know ye: That on this 23rd day of November, 1936 in Latitude 0000 and Longitude 106 // 30 E there appeared within Our Royal Domain the U.S.S. Black Hawk bound South for the Equator and for Manila, Philippine Islands


That the said Vessel and Officers and Crew thereof have been inspected and passed on by Ourself and Our Royal Staff
AND BE IT KNOWN: By all ye Sailors, Marines, Land Lubbers and others who may be honored by his presence that

Elmer W. Melvin

having been found to be numbered as one of our Trusty Shellbacks he has been duly initiated into the

Be It Further Understood That by virtue of the power invested in me I do hereby command all my subjects to show the honor and respect to him wherever he may be

Disobey this order under penalty of Our Royal Displeasure

Given under our hand and seal this 24 November, 1936

Davey Jones
His Majesty's Scribe

Neptunus Rex
Ruler of the Raging Main

By his Servant J K Esler, Commander

It has the seal of the U.S. Navy. I believe Elmer Melvin was my father's mother's mother's brother. What a find.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Other: Things That Make You Go WTF

I've been saving up some stories that just make me either scratch my head or want to pound it into the keyboard, or even pound someone else's head into the keyboard.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Spoonerisms: The Most WonderFur Time of the Year

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

What is it about Christmas time and kitties? The tree, the wrapping paper, the new stuff that has to be sniffed and investigated and inventoried, the abortive attempts to decorate the cats themselves. (Sadly, my cats miss out on the tree and its accompanying pile of wrapped presents.)

My memories of Christmas are often peopled by, well, cats. Prissy, the tiny Siamese kitten playing in the tinsel when I was 3. The original Coco, posing with reindeer antlers made for a dog for all of 10 seconds, barely long enough to snap a photo, and that with a really pissed face. More recently, the first Christmas I visited after my parents got Coco II. As soon as we put all the wrapped presents I had brought for them under the tree, he started shredding them. Just the ones I had brought, though...

Perhaps when I am visiting my mother over the holiday this year, I will go through the old picture albums and scan some of my own classic Christmas cat memories in.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Knittin' Crap: Costume Ball

Costume Ball A few months ago, my friend Steve and I were discussing the San-X mamegoma characters, those little seals that would be cute enough except they also have all sorts of costumes. Steve asked why anyone would put a costume on a baby seal. Why, because it's unbearably adorable! Of course! While it's totally absurd, we couldn't deny that it was also absurdly cute. Leave it to the Japanese cute machine to come up with something like that. Steve then suggested a new character: a ball.... with costumes!

So, I'm introducing Costume Ball! And Costume Ball's first gender-nonspecific costume, the sunflower!
Sunflower Costume Ball

Stay tuned as I add more Costume Ball costumes!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Other: Escape from the Vault!

I previously reported how, over a year ago now, I had tried to get into Fallout 3. After I finally worked out the graphics card issues, I couldn't get out of the vault. I set it aside, for what turned out to be over a year.

Then, a little over a week ago, I decided to try it again. Why? (****SPOILER ALERT FOR BRAD****) For Brad's Xmas present I made him a Vault Boy amigurumi after the game's mascot.
Vault Boy
That made me itchin' to give Fallout 3 another go, so I did.

I was barely heard from for 9 days. (And I don't think anyone noticed I was missing.) I "finished" the game earlier this evening. (Note I have none of the add-ons.)

Mini-review: Yes, overall, I'm disappointed, for several reasons.
  • Gameplay: Sorry, I'm just not into FPS. I prefer the old interface. Yes, I'm old and stodgy. So shoot me with a plasma rifle.
  • Stability: I cannot count the number of times the game crashed while I was playing it. It would just die. Usually it would fairly quickly come to the desktop again and I could restart, but occasionally it would hang, and I even got a couple BSoDs. So Fucking Annoying. And they weren't re-createable either. I'd load, try to do what I was doing when it crashed, and it would be fine. Fucking Windows. (I don't own an XBox or a PS3, so those weren't options, but the original two were PC-only anyway, and, well, I'm old-school anyway.)
  • Fun: You know, it just lacked some of the magic of the first two. The first two games had this great sardonic humor. This one tries to re-create it, but that's exactly what it comes across as: that it's trying to re-create it. I never thought I'd say it, but I miss awesome characters like Myron. I miss the bit from 2 where you can actually be forced into a shotgun wedding for seducing a rancher's daughter... even if your player is female. (This happened to me once, and try as I might, I never could recreate it. Ever after, I would just get shot at.) Almost everything in that vein that does happen in 3 just seems forced.
I avoided the help guides and cheats for the first several days, but annoyance with the amount of time I wasted getting lost in buildings because they were dark, repetitive, and the Pip Boy map was nearly useless, drove me to lose patience, and I ended up spending a lot of time at the Fallout wiki. Oh, that's another thing. I replayed the first 2 games several times, and even now I start to think it might be good to try again... (No! No! Bad Karen! You need fresh air!) Replaying this game doesn't interest me. Oh, and it's annoying that, unless you buy one of the add-ons, the levels cap at 20. And once the game is over, without one of the add-ons, it's over. You can't keep exploring or finish up any side quests.

Anyway... yeah, it did keep my interest enough for over a week that I didn't do much else, but I wanted to squeal with delight so much more. Playing that much also seriously messed with my dreams. One involved Super Mutants and kittens, although they didn't interact directly. Aw, but wouldn't it be cute if a mean ol' Super Mutant had a snuggly pet kitty?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Other: Dear Job Posters

Dear job posters,

Do NOT put "Linux Engineer" in the listing title if you require as much Windows administration experience as you do Linux. Most of the Linux/UNIX engineers I know, myself included, do not, in fact, have much if any Windows admin experience. It is not some "default" for systems engineers to know Windows before they know how to manage a real operating system. If you want people who know both, call it a Linux/Windows Engineer position and be prepared to get applications from schizoids.


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Spoonerisms: Junior

Bandit and Coco II
Bandit, top, puts the kitten Coco II in his place, circa March 2005

My father's beloved cat Bandit died over the weekend after what was apparently a rapid series of strokes. Bandit showed up over 15 years ago when friends of my parents found a kitten when they were out walking, and being allergic, brought him straight over to their house. He was the first cat they had gotten since I left home, and the first couple of times I visited, he wanted nothing to do with me. Then one Christmas he had sustained one of his many injuries fighting with some creature real or imagined, and my soft, warm lap was too much for him to ignore.

My father called Bandit "Junior," the son he never had, and their affection was clearly mutual. Always riddled with health problems, mostly from his overactive lifestyle, Bandit's health became more precarious at the same time as my father's. He clearly missed my father when he was away at the hospital. After my father died, Bandit perked up some. I realize it's anecdotal evidence, but I really do think that Bandit felt the stress of my father's absences and the clear distress he was in when he was at home, and it took its toll on him. His health did actually improve somewhat over the past year, but he was still clearly showing his age.

Rest in peace, big guy. You made my father very happy.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Spoonerisms: Spoon vs. Dipity

Now that Dipity has settled in and seems comfortable enough just to be herself, I decided it was time to do a side-by-side comparison of her and Spoon. It turns out that in many ways they are very similar in personality, much more so than Pandora and Spoon were.

  Spoon Dipity
Size Still around 16 lb. A little over 11 lb. when she was at the vet in September. She still has that long, lanky Siamese body, but she has a slight bulge around the middle.
Intelligence Still not very Ditto. And I thought Siamese were supposed to be smart.
Bossiness (scale of 1 to 10) 3 When she's hungry and out of food, 9
Relationship with electric lap sunnysideup Loll Cat
Camera Hogginess Hog!
Still the king...
Roly Poly Elephant
...but she's a contender
Reaction to vacuum cleaner Still is halfway under the bed as soon as I take it out of the closet Also tries to hide under the bed, which leaves Spoon between a rock and a sharp place
Reaction to strangers Afraid to snuggly in 5 minutes or less Must... sniff...
Leadership rank The Omega Cat Beta, which means she's the de facto alpha cat

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Spoonerisms: My Latest Lolcat

Heated bed direkshuns:
moar funny pictures

Knittin' Crap: Handmade Holidays

nopeekinz As I have far more time (and stashed yarn) than money these days, it's going to be a handmade holiday. And because my stash doth floweth over, everything is being made from yarn and other notions I already have. I already have all the gifts planned out and most are done. The only item I had to buy was a zipper for a pillow cover. Price: $2.49 + tax.

I'll post the gift run-down after the holidays.