Friday, December 31, 2004
This edition of Friday Cat Blogging is Whitty's story.
Her proper name is Whittleton KY 11, named for the Whittleton Branch Campground on KY State Route 11. She is more commonly called Whitty, Whitty Kitty, Meanie, Squeak, Kentucky Wildcat, and more recently, Stumpy. Whitty is being featured tonight because January 1 is her 10th birthday.
Whitty's story began in the summer of 1995, when I went camping with some friends at Natural Bridge State Resort Park in Kentucky. We stayed at above mentioned campground in the park. The first night, we walked from the campsite to the lake and nature center in the park. On our way back, a skinny little brown tabby cat came out of the brush on the edge of a parking lot, and approached the four of us, meowing pitifully. I talked to her for a second, asking something like "Where'd you come from?" She followed us for about a half a mile, all the way back to the campsite.
She hung around the campsite all week, while we were there. No one claimed her, and she didn't wasn't wearing any sort of collar. She was very friendly, and we started calling her "Kitty", and feeding her meat from our dinner in the evening - hamburger, hotdogs, etc., and some eggs in the morning. In exchange, a couple of mornings, Kitty left us a dead mouse in the campsite.
By the end of the week, no one had claimed her, and she was leaving our site less and less. I decided to bring her home, that she was an abandoned or lost cat, and needed a good home. So I loaded her up in my SUV, an my friend held her while I drove 2 hours back home to Indiana from the park. When I got home, I coaxed Kitty out of the car, and told Mom "Look! She followed me home. Can we keep her?" I told the story of how no one wanted her and she stayed at our campsite all week. So Kitty became Whittleton, named for the campground I adopted/rescued her from, Whitty for short.
When Whitty reached her full size, she turned out to not be a small cat. She is not fat by any means, a little softer around the middle now in her older years, but only a few ounces. She is a hearty 14 pounds of attitude and muscle. She is a calico tabby, with a ticked coat, which gives her a wild appearance. With all of her bulk and muscle, when she talks it is with this high-pitched little squeak - it's absolutely hilarious. This cat who won't take crap from anybody, and is Queen of All She Surveys, squeaks like a toy.
To be continued...
How Whitty Became Stumpy
That's how many are now confirmed dead from the earthquake and tsunami. 20,000 more believed to be dead in the province of Aceh, Indonesia, the hardest hit area. Thousands more unaccounted for and believed dead in other parts of Indonesia, Thailand, India, Sri Lanka, and other hard-hit areas.
How high will the final number be? It's impossible to comprehend that many lives lost so quickly. The number is now so large, it's just a number, it's too large to have a human connection anymore.
I didn't loose a friend or loved one in the tsunami, nor do I know anyone who did. It's so distant, so remote, so surreal. I'm sure those who are living it feel in part the same way. Surreal. Having an oddly dreamlike quality. That's what this seems like, a dream. One that we will never wake up from.
120,000 lives extinguished in a few short hours.
Thursday, December 30, 2004
The death will continue to rise as disease spreads through the areas affected. This is because there is no longer any sanitation, there are bodies that were not buried/cremated rotting in the tropical heat, insects carrying disease such as malaria, and people continue to not have any food or clean water. Some of the islands and communities are very remote, and have not yet been reached by government officials to provide any sort of aid. The survivors in those areas have been on their own since the disaster occurred. Some were lucky and received food and supplies that were dropped from aircraft.
If you wish to donate money to the relief effort,try to specify that your donation go toward the "tsunami relief fund" or something to that effect whenever possible. Otherwise, the donation will go into the organization's general fund, and while it will be used for a worthy cause, it may not be the specific cause you with to aid. My thoughts/suggestions on donating: don't do it out of guilt or sense of obligation. Do it out of love and compassion for your brothers and sisters in this world. Do what your heart tells you to do.
NY Times list of organizations
CNN.com list of organizations
Some words of caution - don't send any money to "organizations" that emailed you. In all probability, it's a scam. Even if the email appears to be from a known organization, don't respond to it, follow any links in the email, call any phone numbers, or open any attachments. If you want to donate to an organization, YOU SHOULD CONTACT THEM FIRST. Please, please be cautious and don't get ripped off. There are plenty sonsofbitches that would happily play on your emotions and generosity to steal money from you.
Also, there are many, many organizations not on those two lists that are very worthy. If you know of one, have some you prefer to support, by all means, please do. Just be cautious if you are not familiar with a group. Do some research online, check them out before you open your wallet.
Tuesday, December 28, 2004
I want to express my condolences and sympathies to anyone who lost a loved one in the disaster, or does not yet know the fate of their loved one. What I write cannot adequately express my sympathies. Being a survivor is very hard, and there is nothing you could have done differently, there was absolutely no way of knowing this was going to happen. It will get better with time, each day will get a little easier.
I stand by what I wrote on Sunday. The earthquake and tsunami illustrate the point I was making. The quake was not the major killer, it killed less than 5,000. The resulting tsunami is what killed over 57,000, according to the New York Times. Many of the areas devastated by the tsunami are rural, and had no tsunami warning system. The residents of those areas had no idea the wave was coming until ocean level receded, as the water was pulled into the wave, just before the it hit. That only gives a person a few minutes. Another factor that contributed to the high death toll is the Indian Ocean area has no alert system, like there is for the Pacific Ocean. This is because there had not been a major tsunami in the Indian Ocean since 1883, when the Indonesian island volcano Krakatoa exploded. I'm seeing a trend of when a geologic event happens in Indonesia, it's historic.
I first heard about the quake late Sunday, on the Weather Channel of all things, and really only caught up on it this evening. I'm taking the week off from the world, relaxing, blogging, and sleeping. News? What news?
Monday, December 27, 2004
I picked up Noah from Tom's house Saturday morning, as I was heading out. It's been about 3 years since Noah's been on a trip longer than the vet's, but he remembered the routine. I put a saddle blanket over the luggage and stuff in the back seat to protect it, just in case he got sick, and a towel in a spot as some extra padding for a bed. Well, apparently he had a big breakfast, and the poor thing got sick, fortunately for me on the towel, less than 5 minutes into the trip. I pulled into a church parking lot, rolled up the towel and stuck it in the trunk. After that he didn't have any more problems.
Noah spent the trip either sleeping in my lap or lying on the blanket behind my seat. For safety reasons, if he's going to be in my lap while I'm driving, he has to be lying down, no exceptions. That's always been the rule, and he's learned that. He keeps my lap warm better when he's lying down anyway.
We stopped a couple of times as we journeyed up I-65 through Tennessee and Kentucky. In Bowling Green, KY, I found a CVS pharmacy open, and bought Noah a leash and harness, since I'm a goober and forgot his. I got him harnessed up, actually 2 collars improvised as a harness, one around his neck and one around his chest, attached to the leash, and let him out for a walk. Ya know, taking a cat for a walk will get people's attention.
We continued north, and the roads became more and more interesting, however the roads only truly were bad on the secondary and tertiary roads in Indiana. After an all day drive, I finally made it, just after sundown. Eirene, her husband Orion, and their two boys were still at my parents' house. We opened presents, and I got a chance to relax and unwind.
Noah has decided he's definitely a Southern cat, and does not like the snow at all, especially when it's deeper than he is tall. Yes, when we arrived at the farm, Noah experienced the wonders of 30 inches of snow for the first time in his life. This is only the second time he's ever seen snow. He wasn't sure what to do when he sank in it up to his belly, except look up at me with a pitiful expression. He's joined my parents' cats and the hissing only lasted 12 hours. Whitty and George are trying to ignore him, Shadow isn't sure what to think of his new twin, and Cleo finally decided she has a new playmate. Ultimately, this is why Noah likes to travel, there are kitties at the end of the trip for him to visit and play with.
Sunday, December 26, 2004
Things are going to be getting very interesting in the world over the next 10 years or so. With the weather we've all had recently, I've heard a lot of "What global warming? This is the snowstorm of the century." Basically, as the planet warms and the ice caps continue to melt, lots of fresh water is being dumped into the north Atlantic. This is disrupting the Gulf Stream in the Atlantic Ocean, causing it to not re-circulate and re-warm the water. As a result of this disruption in the ocean's currents, weather patterns are changing. North America is seeing colder winters. It's predicted that the average temperature will drop 10°F in the next 10 years. This week could become the norm for winter, or something similar.
In addition to world weather patterns shifting, the program discussed massive earthquakes, volcano eruptions on the order of Krakatoa, massive tsunami, droughts, asteroid impacts, global epidemics, etc. Events that could cause people lots of problems, and cause thousands, even millions of deaths. All of these events would be devastating on a regional or even world-wide basis. Yes, it would cause a human tragedy with the number of deaths. Fortunately, the world will keep spinning, life will go on.
Life adapts to changes in environment. Even the human race will survive, society will continue. I know this sounds brutal and cold-hearted, the world is overpopulated. I wish we'd stop reproducing so effectively, I don't want to see human suffering. I also know you can't save everyone. Tragedy happens. We can't predict earthquakes, so we can't evacuate an area before one. Tidal waves from earthquakes move fast, and hit remote areas that can't be notified in time. All we can do is help the survivors and bury the dead. The planet will survive, even if we manage to wipe ourselves out. All of the rest of life on Earth will continue, and some of it will be better off with us gone.
Past Carnivals at Carnival of the Cats (amazingly enough).
No Christmas pictures yet, so here's a couple from the archive.
Amon packed up and ready to go.
Eep posing for the camera.
Earlier today, Noah was settling into his new favorite chair, looking out one of the windows, happy he wasn't outside in the snow. As I watched, he stood up, and began growling. I thought one of my parents' cats had decided to explore him some more, and he was being unfriendly, although I was suprised, since the worst of the growling ended this morning. As I watched, he stood up, and looked out the window, still growling. Suddenly, a little dog head popped up, looking in, and it wasn't one of my parents' dogs. Dad and I went to the door, and saw a coon-hound puppy, maybe 6 months old, standing on the drifts. She was cold and scared, looking for some shelter.
We let her in. The cats hated it. Yesterday I brought Noah, who they tolerate, but a dog today? How much worse can it get? She checked them out while we found a dish and gave her some food and water, and warmed her up.
It's the day after Christmas on the farm. Yesterday's present already found it's way to their door. Someone was so desperate, so eager to get rid of her, that they went out on roads that are barely plowed to dump her. Yesterday's present was shivering and hungry, trying to get someone's attention. Yesterday's present already "went for a ride." At least they didn't shoot her, and left her here, where it's obvious someone takes care of dogs. At least they didn't dump her in the middle of a field and leave her to freeze to death. A bullet would be kinder than that fate - quicker and painless.
Noel has a home now. She's been introduced to the other dogs, is sharing their food and their house. She will sleep with the pack, share their warmth. Noel has a home.
Thursday, December 23, 2004
- Harm none, do what you will
- Not all who wander are lost
- Cogito ergo sum (Literally translated - I think therefore I am. Meaning, I doubt therefore I know - we can only know we exist because we can doubt our own existence. That which is not real does not doubt it's own existence.)
- Live each day as if it is your last. You never know when your last day on this world will be
- If we do not learn from the past, we are doomed to repeat it
- Plan for tomorrow and live for today
- If you love someone or something, let them go. If they return to you, cherish them forever
In Southern Indiana, I've been told it's a historic snowfall. Mom and Dad report 33 inches on the farm. The National Weather Service is officially reporting 14-29 inches in Southern Indiana, with some counties reporting 4 and 5 foot drifts. Eirene reported about 24 inches at their house this morning, and her boys were loving it. Eirene is taking pictures for me, and I will post them when I get them. And the temperatures up there? Damn cold. High of 7°F tomorrow, low of -8°F tomorrow night. Eirene's and Mom and Dad's cats all have absolutely no interest in going outside. Their attitude is, as Eirene so eloquently put it, "Fuck this shit!"
Wednesday, December 22, 2004
See, there's a reason I don't live in Indiana anymore. Mom, Dad, Eirene and family, enjoy your 18+ inches of snow. I'll see y'all Christmas morning, when it will be a brisk -1°F (-18°C). Dammit. And to our Canadian neighbors, my heart goes out to you. -13°F (-25°C) isn't any more fun.
I'll continue to sit here in Alabama and gripe about the cold whenever it approaches the freezing mark. :)
1. Clear large space on table for wrapping present.
2. Go to wardrobe and collect bag in which present is contained, and close door.
3. Open door and remove cat from wardrobe.
4. Go to cupboard and retrieve rolls of wrapping paper.
5. Go back and remove cat from cupboard.
6. Go to drawer and collect transparent sticky tape, ribbons, scissors, labels, etc.
7. Lay out present and wrapping materials on table, to enable wrapping strategy to be formed.
8. Go back to drawer to get string, remove cat that has been in the drawer since last visit, and collect string.
9. Remove present from bag.
10. Remove cat from bag.
11. Open box to check present, remove cat from box, replace present.
12. Lay out paper to enable cutting to size.
13. Cut the paper to size, trying to keep the cutting line straight.
14. Throw away first sheet because cat tried to chase the scissors and tore the paper.
15. Cut second sheet of paper to size by putting cat in the bag the present came out of.
16. Place present on cut-to-size paper.
17. Lift up edges of paper to seal in present, wonder why edges now don't reach, and find cat between present and paper. Remove cat and retry.
18. Place object on paper, to hold in place, while cutting transparent sticky tape.
19. Spend next 20 minutes carefully trying to remove transparent sticky tape from cat with pair of nail scissors.
20. Seal paper down with transparent sticky tape, making corners as neat as possible.
21. Look for roll of ribbon; chase cat down hall and retrieve ribbon.
22. Try to wrap present with ribbon in a two-directional turn.
23. Re-roll up ribbon and remove paper that is now torn, due to cat's enthusiasm in chasing ribbon end.
24. Repeat steps 12-22 until down to last sheet of paper.
25. Decide to skip steps 12-16 in order to save time and reduce risk of losing last sheet of paper. Retrieve old cardboard box that you know is right size for sheet of paper.
26. Put present in box, and tie down with string.
27. Remove string, open box and remove cat.
28. Put all packing materials in bag with present and head for lockable room.
29. Once inside room, lock door and start to re-lay out packing materials.
30. Remove cat from box, unlock door, put cat outside door, close door and re-lock.
31. Lay out last sheet of paper. (Admittedly this is difficult in the small area of the toilet, but try your best!)
32. Seal box, wrap with paper and start repairs by very carefully sealing down tears with transparent sticky tape. Now tie up with ribbon and decorate with bows to hide worst affected areas.
33. Label, then sit back and admire your handiwork, congratulating yourself on making good of a bad job.
34. Unlock door, and go to kitchen to make drink and feed cat.
35. Spend next 15 minutes looking for cat, before coming to obvious conclusion.
36. Unwrap present, untie box and remove cat.
37. Retrieve all discarded sheets of wrapping paper, feed cat and retire to lockable room for last attempt, making certain you are alone and the door is locked.
38. At time of handing over present, smile sweetly at receiver's face, as they try and hide their contempt at being handed such a badly wrapped present.
39. Swear to yourself that next year, you will get the store to wrap the darn thing for you.
Head over and check out things in the North. As much as we may complain about the cold here in Alabama, it could always be worse. It's going to be a high of -25°C (-13°F) Thursday in Winnipeg. That's the high, folks. Damn.
Tuesday, December 21, 2004
Feisty Lady won her beaver battle
Award OK'd in beaver dam suit
These are unrelated stories. It's not as if the properties are adjacent, and it's the same group of over-ambitious animals. If there are any other updates, I'll be sure to pass them on.
Monday, December 20, 2004
soft, warm, silky, smooth
my fingers weave through the fur
soft, fluffy, warm, purr
soft fur, soft paws, warm weight, bright eyes
she shifts and settles, stripes always moving, pattern changing
she sighs, she settles, she sleeps
soft, sleeping, warm on my lap
my fingers weave through her fur
Sunday, December 19, 2004
For my sister, I wanted a name that related to spring in some way. I found Eirene, Greek goddess of Peace and also of Spring. Eirene is one of the three daughters of the goddess Themis (Law) and Zeus in Greek mythology, called the Three Horai. Her sisters were Dika (Justice) and Eunomia (Order). My roommate is just as much of a CSI nut as I am, so Dika seemed very appropriate. Eumonia is very much like myself, organized chaos is a good description for my organizing system. "Don't move anything, I know exactly where everything is! No, really, I do."
Where does my name come into everything? If you are a regular reader, you've noticed the slight schitzophrenia with switching between Cetus and Mira. Mira has won out as my name in the blogosphere, simply because I like the sound of it better. Both are from astronomy. Cetus, the Whale, is a constellation, and Mira is a star in Cetus. Well, a variable binary star system, a white dwarf orbiting a red giant. Read more on Mira at Wikipedia.
For anyone who I have not given an alias and would like one, let me know. Pick one, I'll pick one, whichever. Use it for posting comments or to sign posts if/when I decide to have guest bloggers.
The constellation Orion, the Hunter.
The top "star" in the sword of Orion, the reflection nebulae NCG 1973-75-77.
The middle "star" in Orion's sword. Messier 42 is the large pink nebula in the center, M43 is the small nebula just above M42.
The Pleiades, M45, was another object that was easily viewed from the city this morning. With the naked eye, I could resolve 4-5 stars of the cluster. With the binoculars, I was able to see about 9 stars, the main named stars of the cluster, which were distinctly bluish. I am not able to say for certain I could see any of the reflection nebula around the cluster. I was not able to hold my hand steady enough to get a clear view of that type of detail.
Photograph of the Pleiades and the nebulosity. Image with the names of the major stars.
Quick overview on nebulae and the colors. Red/pink nebulae, called Emission Nebulae, are from hydrogen ions being excited by energy from stars in the nebula, causing the hydrogen to emit the red/pink light we see in photograph. Blue nebulae, Reflection Nebulae, are caused by dust around stars scattering the light. This is the same thing that happens with smoke, which is why it appears bluish, and the Earth's atmosphere scatters light from the sun, causing the sky to appear blue. Wikipedia has a good article on nebulae, if you want a more detailed explanation of the colors.
Friday, December 17, 2004
McCullough trying to ignore the world. "I'm not paying any attention to you..."
Today is McCullough's story, who is also known as McCully, Cullough, Fur-ball, SnuggleBunny, Dammit, and "You're not very bright, are you?"
McCullough was the resident apartment cat at the building my best friend Eunomia, where she, the cat, lived in the crawlspace under the building. Eunomia took pity on her as it became colder, took her to the vet, and adopted her. Eunomia is very much like myself and Tom, never able to say no to a cat in need of a home, so she already had Cleo, Soleil, and Little Boy (a monster of a kitty I think I could put a saddle on and ride) living in her apartment. What's one more, right? Well, Soliel hated McCullough with a passion. McCullough ended up living under the kitchen sink, and would sneak out to use the litter pan when Soliel was asleep. Literally, she lived under the sink. Time didn't help the two tolerate each other either, McCullough stayed under the sink.
So, when it became apparent that the situation was hopeless, McCullough came over to stay with her "cousins" for a little while. Amon pretty much ignored her. Noah was happy to have a younger cat he could play with, and tried to be friendly. McCullough wasn't too thrilled about a new apartment and new cats, and unfortunately took Noah's attempts at play as attacks. Noah would walk over to her, then slowly reach out with his paw toward her. He would hold it there, then quickly and lightly tap her. "I'm not touching you.... I'm not touching you... I'mmmmmm noooooot tooooouchinggggg youuuuuu.... TAG - YOU'RE IT!" He'd then prepare for her to attack him, which didn't happen. McCullough was so used to being actually attacked, and not played with by another cat, that she would take off running. So, Noah would take off after her, thinking she had changed the rules of the game or something. After a few weeks of this, McCullough settled down and became relaxed enough where she would "attack" in return. She always gave Amon plenty of respect, and never did quite know what to think when he actually wanted to play with her. Noah is the trouble-maker who would attack Amon and not care if Amon being a grump.
After Eep came along, McCullough still didn't get any respect. Once Eep was cleared from her quarantine, she had already developed a pretty disagreeable attitude. McCullough is not a cat that handles agression from other cats well. Over the past couple of years, I have noticed a "bite me" attitude start to appear regarding Eep. It's hilarious to see Eep grump and growl at McCullough, and McCullough give her a look and body language that clearly says "bite my ass, fluffball".
McCullough is a sweetheart that loves to snuggle and cuddle. She's very much Tom's cat, and has always liked men better than women. Not that she'll turn down any lap or nap partner, but she definitely has her preferences. With the weather getting colder, she especially wants a lap and wants it yesterday. She is also a very good bed kitty, loving a good warm bed. This cat loves to snuggle so much, that when she gets into either Tom's or my lap, she tries to get as close as physically possible. If she got any closer, she'd have to be surgically removed.
Alas, poor McCully isn't the sharpest tool in the shed. I swear, most days the only thing between her ears is air. It's especially bad when she gets the moments when looking at her face, one can hear the wind whistling in her head, she has this look on her face "What? What you looking at? Umm, I'm fuzzy."
Come skritch me. Even better, I need a lap for my nap.
The Friday Ark is up at Modulator. There should be plenty of kitties and other critters.
Sunday's Carnival of the Cats will be over at Sharp as a Marble. Of course, most of you know that, since that's probably how you found my site. :)
Thursday, December 16, 2004
Nothing showed up on CT scan or X-ray. Ok, stuff showed up, like 2 kidneys, a bladder, other organs, and a skeleton. No stones or other stuff that's not supposed to be there. So, either I passed the offending stone before the scan, or the whole problem was a kidney infection. Either way, I'm not having any problems now, which is all I care about.
Wednesday, December 15, 2004
Controversial issue of fetal homicide arises in Laci Peterson case
At this point I'm probably the only person on the web who hasn't registered an opinion on this case, so I'm going to fix that.
Since I did not sit on the jury and have the benefit of seeing all the evidence in the case that those present in the court did see, I will trust the judgment of the jury. The jury found him guilty of one count of first-degree murder and one count of second-degree murder, and recommended the death sentence. Rot in hell, motherfucker.
The part of this case that bothers me is the fetal homicide law that was used to make it a double murder case. At what point is an unborn child considered an independent legal entity, which can be murdered? After a live birth? At conception, the zygote stage? At first movement in the womb, or "quickening"? When the embryo has developed into a fetus, about 7 weeks?
The problem I have with fetal homicide laws is the potential there is for using them to weaken abortion rights laws, or at the very least, to influence the public's perception of abortion rights. Most people are going to hear/read about fetal homicide laws, and know that it's against the law to kill a fetus. The general public isn't going to be bothered with learning or caring about the exclusions for legal abortions. In turn, physicians, nurses, and others who work in clinics which offer abortion services will face even more negative public opinion. Too many health-care workers have been killed and maimed in this country for performing a legal medical procedure that some people don't agree with. With the publicity surrounding the Peterson trial, I'm concerned that there will be more of a backlash against such health-care workers, simply because of public ignorance.
Of course, without the fetal homicide law in California, the prosecution would have only been able to prosecute for a single case of first-degree murder, which in California is not a capital offense. By using the fetal homicide law, the prosecution was able to get a conviction for one case of first-degree murder and one case of second-degree murder. Committing a first-degree murder while committing a second-degree murder is a capital offense in California. The prosecution gets what they want, the death penalty for a high-profile and gruesome case.
There's no easy answer. In this country, there is a tendency to be very reactionary in lawmaking, to pass laws as a result of high-profile cases, and appease the public. There are other legal devices to prosecute someone for harming/killing a fetus without considering it a separate legal entity. North Carolina has laws providing punishment for harming a fetus, in one case the defendant was found guilty of "using an instrument with intent to destroy an unborn child". Lawmakers just need to actually think about what they're trying to do, be proactive and not reactive.
(Mira slaps herself)
Got a little idealistic there, I forgot well how Congress and the state legislatures get bogged down with getting themselves re-elected. "You mean we're supposed to actually create and pass laws while we're here?"
Sunday, December 12, 2004
Saturday, December 11, 2004
Friday, December 10, 2004
Noah looking out the window from his kitty bed, after having tucked himself in.
Noah became very spoiled very quickly. As a part of Noah going on trips, he learned to wear a harness and leash. He never would walk on it and go where I wanted him to. He would go where he wanted, and not play "dead cat" and refuse to move.
A few months after Noah entered my life, Amon wandered in. He and Noah eventually became buddies and playmates, Noah needed another cat to play with. Amon, who was no youngster when he entered my life, needed to play just as much. At the time Tom and I lived in a 2 story townhouse apartment, so one of the cats' favorite games was "herd of stampeeding wildebeests". This involved running hell-for-leather, up the stairs, in the bedroom, across the bed, out the bedroom, back down the stairs, through the living room/dining room, back up the stairs...usually at 3am.
Besides being a very sweet companion, who is always more than ready to cuddle, Noah has a mischevious streak. This is not helped by the fact he knows what thumbs are, he sees myself and Tom using ours for all sorts of neat things, and desperately wants a pair himself. He knows how to use doorknobs, but can't get enough of a grip on them to open doors. Unless he is really hungry, he picks up his food with his paw, brings it up to his mouth, and eats it piece by piece. He has also demonstrated he knows that if he is on one side of a door he has to puch it open, and if he's on the other, he has to pull it open. I'm not claiming that Noah is any smarter than the average cat; most just don't show off so they can get their human to do what they want. He would be truly dangerous with a pair of thumbs.
Noah in his stacking crate cubbyhole. His cubbyhole was about 4 feet above the floor; he would climb up the fromt of the crates like a ladder.
From and early age, Noah also took an interest in my art supplies. He was constantly fascinated by the little sticks I held in my hand that would make all sorts of strange marks on paper. For some reason, his mommy got very upset with him whenever he tried to "help" and make some marks of his own. Every onec in a while, I would get careless with a project, and end up turning in a drawing with a few paw prints that I didn't intend. I had to be careful when I worked in ink, Noah decided for some reason that he liked black India ink. Liked, as in liked the taste. He would dip his paw in the jar of water I used to rinse my brushes in, and lick his paw dry, since he couldn't reach the water with his mouth. He would repeat this as long as I would let him. I didn't get upset, since I purposely bought non-t0xic ink. It was just too funny, to this day I joke he was trying to make himself completly black. (He has about 10 white hairs on his chest) Now that he is older, and some of the kittenish mischief is gone, he is content to sit on my work table, or nap by my chair. Even when I work in oils, Noah is right there, watching or napping. For those who are not familiar with oil paints, the fumes are very strong, so with cats' very acute sense of smell, I'm suprised the fumes don't bother him.
There are 7 years worth of tales I could tell, which will be the subject of future, short posts. This ends my introduction of Noah. I hope you enjoyed it.
Looking out the window from the couch.
Be sure to check out the Friday Ark at The Modulator.
Also, Sunday's Carnival of the Cats is at Cathcoll.net.
Wednesday, December 08, 2004
Saturday, December 04, 2004
I adopted Noah from a local no-kill animal shelter in 1997. He was born on May 2 of that year, according to the shelter's records. My then boyfriend Tom and I went looking for a kitten, to, among other things, keep me company during the day when I was home alone. My Crohn's Disease was acting up at the time, so I was taking a very light load of classes at college. Tom was taking more classes, and working, so I spent quite a bit of time alone. We went to the shelter to find a kitten.
The cats were all at a pet shop specializing in cats. Cats and kittens everywhere, having free run of the shop. We were looking for a kitten, so we ended up in the kitten room. A small room full of little balls of fluff. As soon as I walked in and sat down on the couch, a little black kitten came up to me wanting to be held. He was adorable. We wanted to look at the other kittens, not choose one without checking out several, so we held, skritched, and played with the other kittens. That little black kitten didn't want to go away. Well, we ended up adopting that little kitten, who was thrilled to have a home.
Noah became my buddy and my shadow. He was constantly by my side, and slept with me at night. Whenever Tom and I went on a trip to visit either of our families, Noah went with us, and learned to enjoy riding in cars. Wherever he went, Tom's family or mine, there were other kitties at the end to play with. He would either lay in the back window and watch the world go by and sleep, or curl up on my lap and sleep. Even if I was driving, he would curl up and sleep, not cause any problems. If he wanted to look out, he would simply get up and walk on the console to the back seat to look outside.
Noah has been my buddy now for 7 years, and should be for many more. Stay tuned for more of Noah's story. It's time for me to get some rest now. Noah agrees.
Update - Noah's Story, part 2
Update on the kidney stone, or more accurately, lack of one. No stone on x-ray or CT scan. So either I passed it one of the days I was having pain before the scan and x-rays, or it was, you guessed it, and infection. Either way, it hasn't bothered me in 2 weeks, so I'm not going to worry about it.
Friday, November 26, 2004
Three out of four narcoleptic kittens agree, the Oubliette could use some more material. To hell with 3 out of 4 narcoleptic kittens, what do they know about content?
This site was brought to my attention, and it's a great place to get a kitten fix. I've seen quite a few of the photos before, in various sites around the web. All the photos are obviously professional and by the same photographer. Regardless of who took the photos, they are still adorable, so enjoy the massive amounts of cuteness. If you have a slow connection, i.e. dial-up, this site will take a while to load, most of the pictures are 600 x 400 and all on one page. Fair warning.
I'm flying... at a very low altitude. Whee!
Nope, no pics of my own kitties this week's edition. Noah's and McCullough's Stories will be posted in the next couple of weeks. Maybe I'll get around to doing a little field reporting later, from the family farm. Stay tuned...
The Friday Ark is up over at Modulator.
Wednesday, November 24, 2004
Cartoon by Mike Lester, Rome News Tribune, Rome, Georgia. Cartoon dated 9/03/2004. You can find an archive of Mike's other editorial/political cartoons here, along with many others.
Having grown up on a farm, we always had plenty of cats. "Mom! Look what I found them in the road. Can we keep them?... These guys can't be more than a couple of weeks old, are they even weaned yet? No, we (my sister and I) didn't find a momma cat."
I knew something was very wrong last week when I suddenly was in so much back/side pain I couldn't move. A stone (or stones) is probably what the problem is, but I haven't gotten the CT scan results to confirm that yet, which will also show how many and how large they are. Then the doctor gets to decide the best way to get rid of them. I just know this is going to be so much freakin' fun...
Tuesday, November 16, 2004
I still haven't decided if I like CSI:NY as much as the other two or not. It has a much darker, moodier feel that the others don't. Vegas and Miami have such a glamour over what can be just as dark of an underworld, especially in the drug world of Miami. While NY has some of the glamour, it's also a more sophisticated glamour, not the in-your-face lights of Vegas or the beautiful bodies and beaches of Miami. It seems CSI:NY is mirroring the feeling of the city, darker, moodier, more sophisticated. I think CSY:NY will grow on me, once I become more familiar with the characters and the feel of the show itself, and not keep expecting it to be a carbon copy of the first two slapped into NY.
Thursday, November 11, 2004
Sunday, November 07, 2004
Friday, November 05, 2004
I was on my way to a meeting from the main office of my employer to a customer when I saw this little ball of fluff tumble into the gutter on the side of the busiest streets in the city. I flipped around at the next safe opportunity and commenced a cat rescue. I found a 4 week kitten sitting in the brush between some public housing and the street, with what looked like a broken jaw. As I approached, the kitten dropped a dried-out rats foot, and cautiously approached. Good, no broken jaw. I scooped her up, put her in my satchel I had rapidly emptied, made a quick call to the client from my cell phone saying I would be a few minutes late and hurried home to my apartment. I rushed in the door, suprising my husband who expected me to be at work, and handed him this tiny ball of fluff. "Here. I found her. I gotta go." I got a I-thought-I-said-no-more-cats look as I went back out the door.
When I got home I found Tom asleep in the recliner, a little fluffy ball asleep on his chest. He tried to feed her, but she was too young for chunky canned food still. She was very thin, understandably so, if the best she could do was dried rat foot. So we went to the pet store and got her some powdered kitten milk, which is apparently pure kitty heroin.
We didn't take Eep to the vet immediately, since we really couldn't afford it, and she was too young to get vaccinated. We'd had her for 2-3 weeks when we finally were able to take her to the vet at the same time we took the others for their yearly trip. The vet had some bad news for us, her blood test came back FIV positive, and it was possible that she had exposed the others while playing with them. We couldn't know for sure on the others for 6 weeks since it takes that long for the virus to show up after initial exposure. In 6 weeks we would take the other 3 back and see if their test were still negative. We had to decide if we wanted to put Eep down immediately, or keep her in isolation. No shelter in town would take a FIV + kitten. We decided to keep her, since she was healthy at the time. We would have to keep Eep separated from Noah, Amon, and McCullough forever. This was interesting in a 2 bedroom apartment.
That night was the worst for me. I was kicking my self for not getting her tested immediately, before letting her be in contact with the others at all. I knew better, and I had maybe taken years off the lives of the others. In saving one life, I had maybe shortened the lives of my three cats.
Eep ended up living in the master suite, bedroom and bathroom. She had one window she could look out. The other three had the rest of the apartment normally. Each day, we would put the others in the other bedroom/bathroom for a while and let Eep run around the living room and kitchen. Six weeks came and passed, we took Noah, Amon, and McCullough back to be re-tested and they were all negative. That was a great relief. We kept up the separation for about 4 months, until we moved to a 3 bedroom apartment. Overall the apartment was twice as big, which we all appreciated. Eep once again had the master suite, so she wouldn't be lonely at night, and was given run of the main area for a few hours while the others were confined to the other 2 bedrooms/1 bathroom.
About the time Eep was 8 months old, and she was going to be fixed, I read an article discussing the FIV test in kittens. Basically, in kittens less than 6 months old, the test is not accurate. The kittens can have the antibodies for the virus, which is what the test reacts positive to, and not the virus itself. The kittens get the antibodies from their mother through nursing, if the mother has the FIV virus. After 6 months of age, the antibodies disappear if the kittens do not have the virus. When we took Eep to be tested, I asked the vet about this, and said that it was true. The information had not been available when Eep was tested the first time, the study was that recent. So Eep was re-tested, and she was NEGATIVE! The vet said we shoud do another test to confirm the results in 6 weeks, and if it also came back negative, then she was. Six more weeks, and it too was negative. Eep could rejoin the group.
Of course, now she's spoiled and somewhat antisocial toward the other cats. She spent most of her kittenhood alone, only Tom and myself as her companions. Her only contact with the other cats was sniffs under the doors. Let's just say she never learned how to learn to play nice with others, or how to share. She's been slowly learning to adjust over the past 3 years, although I don't think she wants to learn to share. Stubborn little cat.
So Eep's story does have a happy ending. Despite the scare all the cats were fine. I know it could have been very different, and should have known better then. I shudder to think of what could have happened...
On a lighter note, here's a RFOAC to skritch and play with. Move your cursor over and around the kitty, you don't have to click anything.
Also check out the Friday Ark.
Thursday, November 04, 2004
What I want to know is did he strip before or after climbing over the barbed wire fence? Ouch.
Naked Man Hides in Plane Wheel Well
LOS ANGELES, Nov. 4 (AP) - A man was charged with trespassing after he stripped naked, scaled a airport fence, ran across the tarmac and climbed into a plane's wheel well before firefighters talked him out, officials said.
The man had earlier tried to buy a ticket for a Qantas Airways flight to Australia with only a credit card receipt. He told authorities at Los Angeles International Airport that he stripped off his clothes Monday to protest the airline's decision to deny him the ticket, airport spokeswoman Nancy Castles said.
The man, Neil Melly, 31, of Canada, suffers from bipolar disorder (also called manic-depressive illness) and had been listed as a missing person in Canada, Castles said. He was booked on a tresspassing charge, and was released from custody Tuesday.
Baggage handlers saw the man climb an 8-foot, barbed-wire fence that separates public and private areas of the airport and run to a departing plane as it backed from the gate. He climbed into a wheel well before the plane stopped.
He ignored police officers' commands to come out, but complied when city firefighters arrived. The Boeing 747, bound for Melbourne, Austrialia, departed an hour late.
Airport authorities will look into improving the fence, said Paul Haney, a spokesman for the agency that operates the airport.
Wednesday, November 03, 2004
Now comes the little bug that's eating away at my brain. Maine and Nebraska both award the electoral votes individually, based on Congressional District, not winner take all for the state. Maine has 4 electoral votes. Canidate A could win in 3 Districts in while Canidate B could win in the 4th District. Or 2 and 2. So, if all 538 electoral votes were allocated in the same way, by individual Congressional District and not winner take all for the entire state, how different would the results be? (Here's the artist talking) How different would the map look with votes painted by district, not by state? I know this is a purely academic question, but hell, I love this kind of puzzle.
Argh. This is going to nag at my brain until I find out.
Sunday, October 31, 2004
Saturday, October 30, 2004
Friday, October 29, 2004
This is Amon, a.k.a. Grump, Lard-Butt, or Old Man as he was most often called. Amon wandered into my life in 1997, shortly after my husband and I got Noah. He was a stray, but had been someone's pet since he was neutered and declawed. No one in the apartment complex claimed him, so he decided to own us, and teach that brat kitten already living there a thing or two. He was not a young kitty then, at least 7 by the vet's best estimate.
Amon disappeared from my soon-to-be-ex-husband's house about 6 months ago after getting into a fight with a neighborhood cat. All we found was wads of his fur, which was common after he wrestled with Noah. He was the only one of the 4 cats we couldn't keep inside. He'd been a stray/indoor/outdoor cat for so long that he was intolerable if he didn't get to go outside for a little bit each day. I prefer to keep cats indoors, however, Amon would cry, scatch, and try to sneak out a door when we tried on multiple occasions to make him a pure indoor cat. We weren't able to break so many years of habit.
Amon would have been 14+ on Halloween; that's close to when he adopted us and his "birthday". He wandered into our lives and wandered out again. Whether he adopted someone else or passed on, i hope he is at rest. So much for a happy post for today.
Wednesday, October 27, 2004
NASA's site on the eclipse - complete with start and end times, adusted for each time zone. Also contains links to webcasts of tonight's eclipse.
update - Friday, October 29, 2004 - 08:30
It did clear off here by the time the beginning of the eclipse was visible, about 2030 CDT. I was able to take some high resolution digital pictures of the event, some of which will be in the album later today or tomorrow. I took pictures about every 1-5 minutes during the partial eclipse and about every minute during the total eclipse. I haven't pulled the pictures off the camera yet, so I don't know how well the shots of the total eclipse turned out. The camera was having difficulties "seeing" the moon because it was so dark. Also, my hand wasn't the steadiest at all times, even when using a vehicle or anyting else to steady the camera on.
As much as I'll make fun of little bio-engineered terrors, this is the kitty I'd seriously consider getting cloned. Noah is my personal little terror, has been my buddy for 8 years now, and is a very special kitty.
Monday, October 25, 2004
Which explains my taste in music. I'll create playlist or custom CD that invariably tends to be on the depressing side. Who Wants to Live Forever by Queen, Iris by The Goo Goo Dolls, or Bring Me to Life by Evanescence are not the most uplifting songs in the world. They are good examples of what I listen to. That type of song is definitely not fluff, which is all too often produced.
This reminds me of a comment about a custom CD of mine along the lines of 'that selection makes you want to go ahead and shoot yourself.' So, being the smartass I am, I got a Sharpie and wrote on my newly burned CD "Just Go Ahead and Shoot Yourself" for the title.
Gratuitous picture, just because I can.
William Blake Archive
Selected Poetry of Lord Byron
Thursday, October 21, 2004
You preferred Bush's statements 33% of the time
You preferred Kerry's statements 67% of the time
Voting purely on the issues you should vote Kerry
Who would you vote for if you voted on the issues?
Find out now!
Of course, every 4 years I find myself looking at the candiates, shaking my head, and saying "This is what we have to choose from? This country is so screwed."
Prison inmates are getting vaccinated while those who are elderly and sick can't find any. I just hope those inmates getting it are at very high risk of death. I understand not wanting an outbreak in a confined population, like a prison. There's an easy way to prevent it. Isolation. Keep the prisoners isolated as much as possible during this flu season to prevent the spread of the disease.
I'm considered to be at high-risk of developing complications from the flu because I'm 1. a health-care worker, 2. have a chronic illness (which I will not get into right now), and 3. have a weakened immune system from medications. Ya know what, I'm NOT getting a flu shot this year because while I'll probably get the flu, and may develop some complications, it's highly unlikely that I'll die from it. Elderly people on home/portable oxygen are a whole lot more likely to die than I am, so I'll let someone else have mine, like my grandmother. That's what it boils down to. I'd rather be sick, hate life for a week or two, maybe even develop pneumonia and have to take antibiotics than have my grandmother with emphysema die from the flu. We're both high risk, we both should get vaccinated, and neither of us can get the nasal spray vaccine. I'll take my chances.
Monday, October 18, 2004
Or else he wants some kitty treats.
So, here are all 3 of the world's cloned kittens. Hmmm...kittens from the same litter can also look the same, maybe I need to get some "clones" of my own and make lots of $$.
I can't believe that hussy of a Persian would stoop so low to win.
Read the Story
Thursday, October 14, 2004
That's 48 million Americans who won't get the vaccination this year. Hell, there's a good chance not everybody who's at high risk for complications (like oh, say, death) will be able to get it, much less the average relatively healthy person. If you've never had the pleasure of experiencing the flu, count your blessings.
Oh, how to tell the difference between a cold and the flu?
Cold: Sniffle, sniffle, cough, cough. Ya know, I don't feel so great.
The Flu: Hack, wheeze, hack, wheeze. Somebody, please shoot me now.
Wednesday, October 13, 2004
Sunday, October 10, 2004
Friday, October 01, 2004
Edit, 8/1/06 - Updated version here.
- I live in the general vicinity of Huntsville, in Northern Alabama
- I was born in Seymour, Indiana, John Cougar Mellencamp's "Small Town"
- I'm 6 feet 1 inch tall, and weigh, well, a little more than I should, but not much
- I have greenish-hazel eyes
- My hair is shoulder length, wavy, and light brown/red/blonde, depending on the light and how much it's bleached out by the sun
- I have a wonderful husband, who is more understanding of me than anyone in this world, including myself
- We were separated for 18 months when we stopped being friends, and I didn't think he was so wonderful
- I didn't think I was so wonderful during that time, either
- I have a little sister, 2 1/2 years younger than I, who lives in Indiana, with her husband and their two boys
- My parents live on the family farm, in Indiana
- My closest relatives, aside from my husband, are 300 miles away, in Indiana
- I have only a few close friends, who mean more to me than they know
- I have 3 cats living in my house
- My parents have my other cat
- There is also a squirrel and a fish living here
- And my brother-in-law (husband's brother), and his 2 cats
- I have a degree in studio art
- Graphic design is the best way to have an art degree and still be able to eat
- I tend to hand-code websites, rather than let a WYSIWYG editor screw up the code
- I'm not happy unless the code looks good, too
- I've had my degree for 4 years now
- I've been an EMT for 10 years
- I'm specially trained in vehicle extrication - using the "Jaws of Life"TM
- I've been doing that for 9 years
- I can't remember how many people I've seen die
- The one that haunts me to this day is the 14 year old boy who looked into my eyes and then died on the stretcher in front of me, and there was nothing I could do. That was 7 years ago
- There really wasn't anything anyone could have done for him. His injuries from the vehicle wreck were too severe
- Insomnia sucks
- I love the rain
- Storms are one of nature's most beautiful and powerful events, which I respect for their destructive, but not fear
- I am a National Weather Service trained storm spotter, which gives me an excuse to admire the beauty of a storm, while serving the greater good, should it turn severe
- I believe in helping people for the sake of helping
- I don't do it because The Church tells me I have to
- I believe that everyone perceives the Divine differently, and cultures give him/her/it different names - God, Jehovah, Allah, Shiva, Budda, The Great Spirit. All beliefs are valid, and everyone should be allowed to worship in his or her own way, with certain restrictions, without fear of repercussion
- Those restrictions include no cruelty to animals or humans; nothing that endangers a minor (handling of dangerous animals, consumption of drugs); displays of public lewdness; other things that are currently covered by U.S. law
- I believe civil unions between homosexuals should be allowed
- I think there are abilities that some people have that cannot be explained by science. Call it psychic powers, magick, or whatever you want, it does exist.
- My favorite colors are green and purple
- I love to bum around the house in my pajamas
- I've worn my pajamas to the store
- Memory foam matress toppers are wonderful
- I have Crohn's Disease and Ankylosing Spondylitis, both of which are autoimmune disorders
- I've learned to adapt to both, since I've had the CD for 19 years and the AS probably for about 14 years - AS is harder to diagnose, so it was misdiagnosed for several years as simple arthritis
- I take a metric assload of drugs to keep both under control. In EMS we refer to folks like me as taking the WFP
- I have a twisted sense of humor
- It's taken me about 17 years to accept that I can't do everything I want, that I have limits, and to allow myself to be taken care of when I need to be
- I'm a better patient for the doctors and nurses at the office or hospital than I am to my family or friends who are healthcare workers
- My regular physician is also a part-time ER doc, so he tells me to stop being a patient, and to stop bringing him patients
- I am an INTP
- I am a genius, and could join MENSA, if I really wanted to
- I do know some rocket science
- I often get so involved in what I'm doing that I forget about my own physical needs - eating, drinking, sleeping
- I'm glad breathing is automatic because of that
- I do loose track of time, not just hours but days at a time
- I grew up on a 80+ acre farm
- I can knit, crochet, cross-stitch, embroider, sew, spin, and weave
- I also can grow a sucessful vegetable garden, and I am able to can, dehydrate, and pickle foods I grow
- I can milk a cow, sheep, or goat, make butter, butcher meat, make sausages, bake bread, make pasta, and do about anything else in the kitchen, completely from scratch
- I choose not to usually, because it's so much faster to use partially prepared foods
- Unless I'm bored, then baking is a great way to pass a few hours, and exercise my arms
- I'm mostly of German descent, with some Swiss and Scotch-Irish thrown in for good measure
- One of my ultimate comfort foods is chicken and spatzle
- Latkes and sour cream is another, which I don't make often enough, from scratch
- My other ultimate comfort food is mac and cheese
- I'm addicted to sushi
- I will try almost anything once
- I thoroughly enjoy a cup of fresh brewed coffee made from just-ground beans, with just a touch of cream
- Coffee gives me migraines
- I can't speak or write German, and can read only a little bit of it
- Ditto with Latin, Italian, and Greek
- I do read, write, and speak French
- If I try to speak Spanish, it comes out this weird concoction of French-Italian-Latin-Spanglish
- I learned to read Latin, Italian, and Greek from studying Art History
- I speak feline fluently, and cats know this
- Dogs aren't my favorite animal, but I won't turn away one in need of help either
- I really don't like heights
- I can grit my teeth and work at heights, if necessary, and have had to do so as an EMT
- Painting is something that helps me stay focused on what is important in life
- I don't paint nearly often enough
- You're still reading this? You must be more bored than I am
- My favorite place in the entire world is the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
- That is the one place where I can always feel at peace, regardless of what is going on in my life
- I came very close to saying "fuck it all" one weekend, quitting my job, and staying in Tennessee, just so I could be in the mountains every day. It didn't matter that it meant I would have been living out of my tent in the campground for a few weeks until I got another job, apartment, etc.
- I had actually looked for places that would hire me in the area that weekend, including the National Park Service
- I get destructive when I get depressed, which is why I love vehicle rescue - I can tear a car to pieces and still help a patient
- I really need to get back to the mountains, 6 months is too long to be away
- I enjoy camping, being close to nature
- I will camp during any season, in a tent
- I have camped anytime from late February through late October, and ridden out severe and tornadic thunderstorms in my tent
- The one time I left the campground, my tent was blown over during the storm. Everything inside remained dry. I really like that tent.
- I love reading sci-fi and fantasy stories, including J. R. R. Tolkien, Frank Herbert's Dune series, Anne McCaffery's Pern series and The Ship Who... series, Sharon Shinn, Stephen Lawhead, and Orson Scott Card's Tales of Alvin Maker (it's set in magical frontier Indiana, describing places I grew up near) to name a few
- Some of my favorite movies include the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Hannibal Lecter trilogy, Moulin Rouge, Harry Potter, The Princess Bride, Labrynth, The Dark Crystal
- CSI, CSI Miami, CSI NY, MI-5, Rescue Me, Stargate SG-1, Stargate Atlantis, and Farscape are the only TV shows I watch. Well, and the Weather Channel.
- Have I mentioned insomnia sucks?
- Some of my favorite singers/songwriters are Peter Gabriel, Billy Joel, Elton John, Evanescence, U2, Queen, and Sisters of Mercy
- I like to write poetry, and sometimes I even think it's pretty good, so it gets posted here, where I inflict it upon the world at large
- I am my worst critic
- I need to not over-analyize my artwork as much, and just create it, accept not everything will be a masterpiece
- My email signature, which has been one of my favorite quotes for quite a long time.
All that is gold does not glitter
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither
Deep roots are not reached by the frost
- Gandalf the Grey
Fellowship of the Ring, J. R. R. Tolkien
- I really should be asleep right now, but of course, the insomnia has kicked in again.