thistlechaser: (Default)
Crossposting this by hand from LJ. Reminder, if you want to see my LJ posts on DW, you can follow this feed:


No matter how often she gently taps it, unlike people, the feeder just won't respond.

thistlechaser: (tree)
I used to think my cat sat in the bathroom with me while I got ready in the morning because she loved me. Nope! She was just using me for food.

I bought an automatic feeder to try to make her stop meowing for her food an hour ahead of time, and while it's working wonderfully for that, I think she loves it more than she loves me. If I weren't a warm thing to sleep on, I think she'd have no use left for me! Heh.

At least she hasn't started meowing at it yet. She does spend an hour sitting right next to it though, waiting for it to give her her food.


I don't watch movies all that often, but Arrival was both sci fi-y and starred Jeremy Renner, so I checked it out. Wow! I loved it so much!

Not to spoil anything, but it makes me sad that apparently the storyline confused people and was hard for some people to follow. One review of the movie called it "mentally taxing". Maybe people just need to read more sci fi, I guess.

Usually movies don't hold my interest at all, but I didn't even want to multitask during this one. Loved it to bits!
thistlechaser: (cat talking)
No, not some awful (and cheap) de-meowing process at the vet. I ordered her a timed feeding bowl. For ages she's been driving me insane with meowing nonstop for an hour or more before it's time to feed her. Literally nonstop meowing, over and over, for more than an hour. Hopefully, by putting it on a timer, it'll make her stop associating me with the feeding process and might stop her from meowing.

Unless she starts meowing at it...

Admittedly I have a lot less patience for the meowing right now, because I'm in pain. It's really tricky dealing with painkillers, when I know I have to drive to work and function at work all day. Last night I was in pain most of the night, and ended up getting up at 3 AM, since it was too late to take another painkiller.

At least the weekend is coming. Her bowl should arrive tomorrow, and I can take pills whenever I need.

The only downside to the timed bowl is that she won't be eating out of the maze bowl anymore. This one, with the center circle blocked off, since she (and I) can't get the kibble out of it:

That was fun to watch, and it slowed her down nicely.
thistlechaser: (Chi_Point and laugh)
Even though everything's packed so I have nothing left to give away, and I don't really want anyone's secondhand stuff, I still subscribe to Freecycle's mailing list just to see the interesting stuff people are offering/hoping to get. This morning had an offering posting that made me laugh:

California king mattress
20 years old, handles on side to flip.
You will need to carry it. We cannot help.

Good luck with someone wanting that...


I had such a worrying thing happen. For the first time since I adopted her, Ellie escaped my apartment. Usually I'm very careful when I open the door, but I had been on the phone and there was a knock at the door, so instead of hanging up and dealing with it, I told my mother to hold on a sec. It was an annoying Comcast person (they pretend to check how your service is, but really just want to try to upsell to you). If I hadn't been on the phone, I could have dealt with him easier, but with my attention divided between the two, I couldn't get rid of him. Standing there talking with the door open, Ellie just ran out. (The Comcast guy was actually the one who saw her escape.)

She took off, but luckily someone was walking their dog towards us, and the dog went crazy snarling and growling and snapping. She flattened herself against the walkway/sidewalk, and so I was able to grab her.

The Comcast guy apologized a lot, but I was still pissed off about it, and really really worried. Now that she's been out once, she seems to be eyeing the door a lot more.

Silly, silly Ellie, I don't keep you inside to be mean! The world is full of dangerous cat-eating dogs and cat-hitting cars and other cats who would kick your pampered butt! Stay inside, where it's safe.
thistlechaser: (Evil Ken (Digimon))
Poor Ellie New Cat. She now hates all of you who suggested I use a squirt bottle on her. (I, on the other hand, thank you.)

She adapted to non-water corrections too quickly. The first day, just hissing worked. Second day it stopped, so I ran at her while hissing. Third day she was ho-hum about that, so I added waving my arms over my head while running at her and hissing. Then that stopped working and she would just give me a "WTF are you doing?" sort of look.

I don't own a squirt bottle or water gun, and I don't want to buy anything new so close to moving, so I just put a little water in a cup. The problem is, that's too effective and has overwhelmed her poor kittybrain. She now thinks I'm trying to keep her away from her food bowl and won't go into the kitchen while I put her food down (and runs out if I walk into the kitchen while she's eating). However, the meowing problem is about 98% fixed in the evenings and 90% fixed in the mornings.

I'm really pleased at how quickly this issue has been corrected. It's time-intensive right now (I have to correct her every single time she meows no matter what else I'm doing at the time), but it's only been about four days and the issue is nearly corrected.

And people say cats can't be trained...
thistlechaser: (tree)
It's two weeks and two days until I move, and... I'm done. Everything is packed except last minute stuff that I'm still using. I've done nearly all the move-out cleaning that I can do with boxes in the way and me still living there. I'm all done, yet I still have two weeks to wait and do nothing.

On one hand, I should enjoy this time. I have AC, and I'm moving into a place without it. I'm in a pretty, nice complex, and I'm moving into a place that's more than 50% smaller and a whole lot less nice, so I should just enjoy the last of my time here. But I can't. Because I'm moving in two weeks.

It's actually better to have stuff to do because I feel like I'm accomplishing things and getting stuff done when I pack. Now I'm just sitting around, twiddling my thumbs, and stressing/worrying about all the what-ifs. I just want to get on with life -- get moved, get unpacked and settled, iron the bugs out of my new place.

The first day there is going to be interesting. All of the apartments are being moved in to at the same time. (They were all being renovated, the whole building.) I don't know how all the moving trucks are going to handle it -- there's so little parking, and people are going to be moving in all day. Hopefully it will be a little easier for my people, since I'm taking Thursday the 1st off for the move. Maybe more people will move in on Friday the 2nd or the weekend.

Ellie New Cat update: Her nonstop meowing begging for food is 90% corrected in the evenings, yet somehow only 20% corrected in the morning. (How do kittybrains work that she can't connect the two?) Whenever she meows, I run at her hissing and waving my hands over my head (just plain running at her stopped working after a while). It's a good thing I live alone, as I'm sure that would be amusing to watch. However, since she's improved so much in the evenings, I have hope that eventually the mornings will get corrected as well.

I no longer make her talk for a treat, as I think that would send mixed signals. Maybe not, maybe meowing on command might register differently in kittybrains, but I don't need to risk it.
thistlechaser: (Catlady)
Now and then, I'll teach an animal a trick that I know will later come back and bite me. (I taught a dog to open doors once. Worst. Idea. Ever.)

Because I got Ellie New Cat when she was young, I wanted to do things to keep her brain engaged with the world. (My previous cat was 18 when she died, so all she did was sleep and eat and maybe walk a few steps between the two.) One of the things I did with Ellie was teach her to do tricks. All well and good, even though she's not perfect about it (she tends to just run through all of her tricks until I give her the treat, instead of doing the right one the first time).

The problem is that one of the tricks I taught her was to "talk" (meow). Now, more than an hour before her meal times, she starts meowing. Nonstop. Loud. And when I say nonstop, I mean it, just MEEEEEOW MEEEEEOW MEEEEEOW MEEEEEOW with no pauses other than to inhale. For more than an hour straight. It's loud and demanding and drives me crazy.

I've tried a number of things to break her of this. Saying "NO" loudly doesn't work, nor does "QUIET". Hissing at her surprised her at first and made her pause while she eyed me, but that stopped working fast. As of last night, I think I might have hit on the solution: When she starts meowing, I hiss at her and chase her around the apartment. I'm a little worried about that, as it took me two years to get her to trust me, but it seems to be working (and more importantly, seems to have no lasting effects afterwards).

I figure chasing her might be the most "natural" way to fix this -- cats don't meow endlessly in the wild because, while they are predators, they're small ones and thus prey as well. They wouldn't want to attract attention and get chased/eaten by something.

I'm glad no one's around to see me, because I'm sure it would be comical to watch.

My 'crazy cat lady' icon seems fitting for this post...
thistlechaser: (Moon)
I did my taxes this morning. Usually I owe money, so there's never any drive to do it, and so most years it lurks over my head for months. I always say I'm going to do it, then never do until the last minute. It's always more dread and putting it off than work to actually get it done, so I kick myself for not just doing it. This year I did it nice and early.

Quite a nice surprise, this year I'm actually getting money back. Almost $900 from federal and state combined. Why? I have zero idea. Nothing has changed over the last couple years, yet usually I have to pay around $1,000, and this year the opposite. Such a mystery.

Also a mystery: Turbo Tax now charges nothing, no fees at all, to file federal or state. Their site makes it so easy to do, I have no idea how or why they now charge nothing at all. I've used them for many years, and I would have happily kept paying the $20 fee to use them.

Oh nice, as I'm typing this up, my state return was accepted. Wow, in less than 20 minutes! C'mon federal, you can do it too! (Edit: Woot, federal accepted within the first hour.)

In less related but cuter news, Ellie New Cat has decided my mouse pad is her new favorite bed.

The black and silver thing at her paws is my mouse. That makes gaming a challenge!

Yesterday I unfriended someone faster than I ever had before. She posted a GIANT close up illustration of a spread open vagina. Not LJ cut or linked, just displayed on her main page. Thankfully she posted it on a Saturday; if it had been on a weekday I would have had it on my screen at work...

I've always said everyone is free to post anything they like in their LJ, but it's everyone else's decision if they want to read or friend that LJ. If you post NWS stuff outside of a LJ cut, I'm going to have to remove you from my friends list.
thistlechaser: (Sick cat)
[ profile] diello wrote a post about never having seen Star Wars before, and her first time watching it. I've only seen it once, and I was so young and it was so long ago (its original release?) that I've as good as never seen it either. However, being part of the geek/nerd culture, of course I've picked up a ton about it.

I intended to rewatch it this weekend, but unfortunately it won't run smoothly with FFXIV running, so it's something of an issue. I watched the first 15 minutes or so. Initial impression:

1) Wow, Space Balls really hit it on the nose.
2) Why in the world do they wear such big helmets? It's so silly looking.
3) Why does Darth Vader wears a mask? Especially one that looks plastic? (The first part of that is likely answered somewhere in the series, I know.)

(Edit: Another 15 minutes tonight before bed, total of 30 minutes in. Can't say I like Luke much, dislike C-3P0 a lot. Love the settings, and the effects are quite amazing for a movie that's going on 40 years old.)

All in all, it looks quite watchable, based on that first bit. I'm going to try to get offline tomorrow enough to watch the rest of it. I'd hate to get my Geek Card taken away if there's ever a pop quiz on it...

Poor Ellie New Cat has ear infections. Both ears. She's been shaking her head for a while, and I finally got to look into one, and it was full of wet, brown gunk. I figured it was ear mites, so took her to the vet. Nope, infections in both ears.

Unfortunately the treatment for it is ear drops twice a day, and ear cleaning every other day, for 10 days. This is only day one, and she's so traumatized. Grabbing/carrying/holding her against her will sends her into such fear, it breaks my heart to have to do it. Even though this is only the first day, she's already running and hiding when I take the medicine out of the fridge.

This is going to be a long ten days for us...
thistlechaser: (Zombies)
Beware the zombie cows.

In semi-related news, I don't like Wendy's chili. I did successfully get in and out getting only a "plain" potato (yet they put butter and sour cream in the bag, sigh), chili, and a diet soda. Unfortunately the chili was full of beans, so I ate maybe a quarter to a third of it. The potato was meh, until I ended up using the butter ("butter", fake stuff) and the "lite" sour cream with it. I figured since I wasn't eating the chili, those would be fine. (40 cal for sour cream, 50 cal for the "butter spread" -- I'm surprised by that, I thought the sour cream would have been more, you got three times more of it than the spread.)

Still hating the CPAP machine. It wakes me up constantly. I haven't had a full, unbroken night's sleep yet in the two weeks I've had it. Blah.

Ellie New Cat has a new favorite place to sleep. It makes me snicker:
Semi-big picture. )

She puts just her head under the bed, the rest of her sticks out into the room. So silly!

I finally taught her a new trick, trick #3. The first one was high-5 (she has to tap my hand to get a treat), second was sit up and beg (like a dog does), and the third is 'wave'. It's almost a combo of the first two: the 'beg' position plus she lifts one paw (but doesn't make contact with my hand). She learned it really quickly, which isn't too surprising since it's so close to the others.

Cats with no other animals around get so little mental stimulation that I wanted to do something to keep her little kitty brain engaged. In my previous apartment, at least I had a bird feeder/endless birds for her to watch, but in my current apartment there's nothing but an occasional dog or kid outside the window, thus the tricks.

It's surprising how easily cats can be trained and how well they remember their tricks.

Dear cat...

Mar. 4th, 2014 09:42 am
thistlechaser: (Sleeping Ellie)
Dear Ellie New Cat,

I've written this letter to you before. You didn't read it then, and I don't hold much hope you'll read it now.

The apartment we share is almost all hardwood floors. Only the bedroom has carpet. Why, when you have to throw up, must you do it on the carpet? Also, 4:30 AM? Really? Late enough that I'll never get back to sleep after getting up to clean up your mess so it wouldn't stain the carpet.

Thanks for that,
(No, not really,)

thistlechaser: (Book with cat 1)
Captive Prince by C.S. Pacat/[ profile] freece.

It's nice when a great fanwriter is picked up by a big name publisher.

Captive Prince is a story about relationships -- relationships between nations, between a leader and his people, between two men, and between many people and power. After a war, a power struggle in the country that won resulted in a younger brother successfully plotting to overthrow his older brother, after their father the king was killed. The older brother was sent off as a slave to the country that lost the war.

The older brother/prince had to hide who he is, since that country hates his, while trying to deal with a culture that's polar opposite the one he grew up in (his country is straight forward, value privacy for personal things, and generally say what they mean; the other country everyone is plotting, words have multiple meanings, and power shifts endlessly).

This story wouldn't have worked nearly as well if the author hadn't been such a great writer. Every character felt real, every one had a unique voice, and it was great fun keeping track of all of the motives.

I was very happy to see that Penguin has picked up this book series. It had originally been offered as free fanfic online (I think I must have read it that way years back, it was vaguely familiar now). It looks like the ebook version I linked above is the self-published one, so you might snag it for $4 before Penguin raises it to $10. (It's worth the $10 price, but who can resist a discount!)

Next up: The Hunger Gays. (They finally sent me a copy, yay!) I suspect it's going to be amusingly bad.

Ellie New Cat: I've created a monster. One of the first tricks I taught her was High-5 (she taps my hand with her paw to get the treat). That was fine, but with the introduction of the bird laser pointer? Some kind of connection has been made in her kitty brain. She now thinks tapping is the solution to her every want and need. Hungry? She endlessly taps my mouse hand. Bored? Taps my foot/leg. It's not just one tap, she taps again and again (because hey, one tap sometimes doesn't make the bird laser work, right?). So far she hasn't been waking me up in the morning, but I worry that soon will come a tap...tap...tap to my cheek because she wants breakfast.

Edit: Know those videos where they take a normal looking woman and photoshop her into a supermodel? There's a new one out for this year:

Video is 100% work safe, but the display image is a woman in bikini bottoms and what looks like no top (nothing shown), so I'm putting it behind a cut just in case.

I wish there were a longer version, I'd like to see more of the details of how they did that (especially the part where the grid was over the whole body).
thistlechaser: (Book with cat: space)
Since [ profile] susandennis recommended this cat toy and uploaded a video of her cat playing with it, I thought I'd do the same. It's a Bella Laser Cat Toy. It's a hard plastic bird with a weighted bottom. You turn it on and then set it down. There's a laser light in it that is motion activated -- when your cat taps (or pounces or chews on) the bird, it turns the laser on. It moves a lot wilder than it does when I use a laser pointer, which makes Ellie love it even more.

For some reason I could only upload a minute long video, so I had to cut off the beginning. I turned the bird on (tiny switch under its tail), then set it down on the floor. Ellie came and tapped it. (She had already been playing with it a while by the time I filmed it, so I think she was getting tired out. Usually she goes crazy over it.)

It took her a couple hours (over two or three days) to figure out how it works. Other cats learn right away, some cats never learn, some cats might play stupid to get their human to come over and rock it for them. :P

Soda: Sodastream tests have all been failures, and I'm not using it much anymore. I got a vanilla syrup (like you'd use in coffee), but that didn't work at all. Even using a lot more than recommended, I couldn't taste it. (I had to buy store brand though, so maybe it was just not good quality?)

The other thing I tried was a long shot: Blueberry syrup (like you'd use on pancakes). Not only did it not work, but my goal with this machine is not to start drinking a lot of calories, so I'm sort of glad it didn't work.

I did buy a small container of milk to try sometime, but I keep balking at the idea of it.

Book: Breath of Bones: A Tale of the Golem by Dave Wachter (Author, Illustrator).
Book received free for review from Diamond Book Distributors/Dark Horse.

Amazon blurb:
A British plane crashes in a Jewish village, sparking a Nazi invasion. Using clay and mud from the river, the villagers bring to life a giant monster to battle for their freedom and future. Collects the entire miniseries.

I don't review many graphic novels because they have to be read on my computer and not on one of my e-reader devices, so it takes a special story to catch my eye and make me willing to read it that way. (I work on one all day and play on one all night, I like to do my reading elsewhere.)

I'm not sure why, but I've always liked stories about Jewish folklore golems (animated creatures made only of mud and earth). One of my favorite ones was on one of the Batman animated series (of all places!). Breath of Bones is right up there on my list of stories about them!

The drawing style is traditional/western, which gives it a nice familiar feeling. The story and art worked well together. So, if you enjoy stories set in WW2, or if you enjoy graphic novels, keep an eye open for this one!
thistlechaser: (Sleepy Ken)
I got my first smart phone on Monday. I haven't had much time to play around with it, but I ended up taking a video by mistake, which lead me to discover that function. So, as my first on-purpose video, I filmed Ellie New Cat doing the first trick I taught her. (I filmed it sideways by mistake, but Youtube fixed it on its own. Nice!)

It's only 17 seconds long, and a good part of it is the camera following my big, white hand to take a treat out of the bag. A cameraman I'll never be.

I'm usually very careful about keeping my personal information private, so it feels kind of strange to put a public video up with my voice.

On the moving front, today was books and give-things-away day.

I wouldn't have thought I could cull my physical book collection at all, but I cut it down by half. I was actually surprised at how well I did! The only ones I have left are meaningful ones and some old ones I enjoyed that aren't available in ebook format yet. Alas those latter ones are basically falling apart, so mostly they're going to just sit on the shelf.

Giving-things-away went well, too. Cat scratching post is back in my possession, waiting to be passed on to [ profile] tersa tomorrow. I packed up all my Pokemon stuff for [ profile] hamburger. It was so fun looking through it all again! I'm glad I can pass it along to someone who will enjoy it (and/or sell it and put the money to good use). :)

Freecycle: Worked out well today! My extra vacuum is now gone. The lady who responded said hers just died and they didn't have enough money to get a new one. Her and her husband both work, have to share a car, and are having a really hard time. So yay! (I always take these stories with a grain of salt, but she told me that after I agreed to give it to her, so I'm more inclined to believe it.)

Tomorrow's Freecycle will be my old TV/digital decoder thingie/rabbit ears. A pain in the ass to get down to the curb for someone to pick up, but easier that than moving it with me! It's not like I've used it even once in the last many years.

In general, Freecycle is a lot more work than donating things, but it's nice to hear personal stories about where the items are going. It feels more like I'm helping people than if I just dropped it off at a donation center.

I'm (semi-unwillingly) taking this evening off from packing. I feel like I finally made a dent in things, and I'm only three days in. My brain is just one big ball of NO to doing anything more tonight.
thistlechaser: (:P)
I understood my previous cat. It's not fair to compare the two, as Dax and I had lived together for twenty years, and Ellie New Cat has been here for two years and a couple months, but still. Ellie is just so odd.

Dax had had a whole lot of cat beds. I kept them around in hopes Ellie would eventually use them, but she never did, so last weekend I bagged them all up and threw them out (they were too well-worn to donate). Now Ellie sits in the spots the beds were and stares at me and meows. For hours. The exact spot where the beds were. Just sits there and stares at me.

This has gone on for a week now, so tonight I moved her favorite bed into one of the spots where Dax's bed had been. Now she sits next to the spot/her bed and stares at me and meows. So what is it? Missing the scent of the Other Cat? Were the beds somehow company to her? Or is it just that something is Different and she feels the need to let me know?

Ellie tale #2: For the first time in a long time, Ellie got scared. Not an all-out panic like she used to get into, but scared for sure. I was changing the sheets on my bed, and she was busy "helping" me and ended up under a sheet. SHEET MONSTER OH NO. I rescued poor wide-eyed her and she decided to let the sheets live/let me finish making the bed.

In other "#2" news... Today's Awkward Stock Photo is really, really... awkward. Tell me what advertisement or news story would need a stock photo like this? (I hope to never see that story in print, whatever it's about.)
thistlechaser: (Pride flag)
Ellie doesn't like fireworks. She also needs more practice at hiding.

(Confession time! That's not actually a current photo. I was worried she was too scared, so I was patting her and talking to her, I didn't think to take a picture until after she pulled her head out. She was hiding the exact same way as in that photo, just the other end of my bed.)

If you have Amazon Prime, check out the new(ish) feature you get access to: Free streaming of a ton of TV shows and movies! I've been gleefully rewatching Stargate: Universe, which might be my favorite show ever shown on TV. Better than Game of Thrones? Hell yeah. Better than BSG? In my opinion, yep! I'm so upset it was canceled in the middle of season two.

That distracted me from Netflix. I had been watching The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes -- a 52 ep cartoon series with great animation, really good voice acting, and wonderful story lines. I only got about twelve eps in, but I'm loving it.

But everything hasn't been all happy funtimes this vacation week. I had to do laundry. As I live in an apartment, sadly I share a laundry room with the rest of the complex. While this bugs me on a regular basis, this week it was worse: Someone washed a bunch of things that must have reeked of cologne. All of my clothing came out smelling so strongly of it, I had to leave it out on my front steps (fenced in, luckily). I had to wash it four more times before I got most of the smell out. (I hate any perfume, cologne, etc smells.) I really hope this was a one time occurrence...

Because of all the show-catching-up, my reading has slowed to nearly a halt. How can I not have enough time in my day when I'm not even going to work?
thistlechaser: (MY BONE!)
For this random post about random things, I shall use a random icon. *closes eyes, picks one* Ah ha! [ profile] ani_mama drew this one a while ago, one of those "five random people get free sketches!" things. I love it, I should use it more often. :D

The current book I'm reading is taking forever to get through, which is what's holding up my next post (seeing how I mostly post book reviews nowadays...). It's not a bad book, it has some issues (some of them serious), but all in all I'm enjoying it, which means I can't explain why I'm reading it so slowly.

I have three kids' books lined up to read and post about all in one day/post. Maybe tomorrow.

I'm off all this week, which is really nice! It's hotter than heck here, but I can happily hide inside with the AC blasting.

Ellie New Cat, on the other hand... I'm worried about her. While I'm home, she sleeps at the door, her nose nearly at the crack where it would first open if I opened it. I have no idea why she's doing it, other than she wants to get outside? I hope that's not the case, but I have no idea why else she'd spend so much time there.
thistlechaser: (Flames)
Meet the new pope, Francis:

While he looks depressing as hell, at least he doesn't look evil, like the previous one:

- In more cheerful, less evil news, poor Ellie New Cat needs a new diet. Two years ago she was 10 pounds. Last year she went up to 12 and we wanted to get her back down to 10. Somehow she went up to 15 instead. Eek!

The vet suggested putting her on prescription food, but that's a pain in the butt (20 minute trip to the vet each way to pick up more). So anything with more than 11% protein (in a wet food) would be an acceptable replacement. Over lunch I went to the pet store and peered at the backs of cans (I really need to start carrying a magnifying glass, the type is so tiny!). I found Core, which seems to be the best option. 12% protein (highest in the store, higher than the prescription's 11%) and check out the ingredients:

Chicken, Turkey, Chicken Broth, Chicken Liver, Chicken Meal, Turkey Liver, Dried Ground Potatoes, Natural Chicken Flavor, Guar Gum, Carrageenan, Cranberries, Ground Flaxseed, Salmon Oil, Taurine, Dried Kelp, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Chicory Root Extract, (everything else looked like vitamins and minerals).

Everything is either stuff we would eat, or stuff we eat and don't realize it (guar gum, carrageenan). Hopefully she'll like it.

The only downside is that it's darned expensive. $2 per can, and it should be fed one can per day per 6-8 pounds of weight. I'm probably going to give her one can per day with some dry to make up the extra two pounds to a 10 pound cat. (You're supposed to feed for goal weight instead of current weight.)

The funny part is a bunch of comments on Amazon talk about how eating this food cured cats of diabetes, so for the briefest moment I thought maybe I should try eating it. :P

- I'm still reading Kazan the Wolf Dog, and still coming across the wackiest of facts, Did you know otters and beavers are mortal enemies? That otters exist in the world to destroy beaver dams? That they drill through them using their heads? Also, beavers have a "scoop" in their chin that can hold up to 10 pounds of mud and concrete! Also, apparently concrete is naturally occurring and found in riverbeds.

On the third day the destructive instinct of the otter began its work. He began to examine the dam, close down to the foundation. It was not long before he found a weak spot to begin work on, and with his sharp teeth and small bullet-like head he commenced his drilling operations. Inch by inch he worked his way through the dam, burrowing and gnawing over and under the timbers, and always through the cement.

Also, when exposed to air for too long, beavers die.


Feb. 4th, 2013 01:02 pm
thistlechaser: (Happier than...)
Give a kitten a potato, make his day:

Could you imagine having a houseful of kittens? You'd never get any work done or any sleep, but it sure would be fun.

Speaking of cats, Ellie New Cat is such a bold little thief! If I wiggle a pen and then put it down right next to my hand and "ignore" it, she'll come stalking over and snatch it up and try to run off with it. Anything that's smaller than a pen is fair game for her to steal. It's very odd, but also very cute. Sometimes she tries for longer things (she tried to steal a wooden spoon once), but she can never get the balance right and ends up with her head tipped all the way to one side until she trips over it. I have no idea why she steals these things, but she'll steal the same thing over and over as many times as I take it from her and leave it out where she can get it. (Yet she ignores people food; I can leave my plate next to her while I go to another room and she has no interest in it.)

[ profile] tersa mentioned calendars, which made me want to comment on mine for this year. I bought an uncharacteristic one for me, Thich Nhat Hanh 2013 Wall Calendar: "Taoist symbols, ancient imagery and the gentle reflection of nature meet and merge in Nicholas Kirsten-Honshin's artwork. The Thich Nhat Hanh wall calendar combines Honshin's graceful paintings with the words of renowned Zen master, peace activist and author of over 60 books, Thich Nhat Hanh." I'm really, really liking it. While I think this month might not be popular with a lot of folks, it makes me so happy. I couldn't find an image of it alone online, but it's the lowest left image on the back cover. A bunch of scallions, held together by a simple band with a (Vietnamese? Chinese? Japanese?) symbol on it. Not only are the colors beautiful and the design simple but interesting, but it tickles me that it fits with IC things in my current RP as well. I said that Thistle was growing scallions before I saw it was featured in the calendar, and the oriental symbol on the band makes it a perfect match.

It's such a nice calendar. Simple, beautiful paintings, nice color schemes, and the quotes are peaceful and happy. If there's a 2014 version next year, I'll be buying it again for sure.
thistlechaser: (Book with cat 4)
I'm now up to five cat/book icons! :D I love this one.

But before we get to books! My brain is an odd thing. All this week, five days in a row, I woke up exactly one minute before my alarm went off. 4:59 on the nose for five days straight. I could never do that while awake! It's pretty darned impressive how well our brains can keep time.

Ellie New Cat might need a new name. She escaped my apartment last night! My apartment has a small area around it that's mine (maybe four paces by two paces, a sort of porch or yard with no grass), fenced in. She got out my front door but luckily didn't know where to go from there and I was able to herd her back inside. Her escaping is my biggest worries -- she used to be feral, she lived half her life outside, I really worry I won't ever be able to catch her again if she gets out and beyond my fence.

Book #2! Call of the Wild by Jack London. Technically this was a reread, but I read it as a kid and remembered less than you would find on the back cover, so I'm counting it as new.

Book summary: Buck, a southlands dog, is stolen and taken north to Alaska. He has to quickly learn how to become a sled dog and survive among the wild men, wilder dogs, and the deadly Wild.

There's a lot I'd like to say about this book, and I've been trying to organize it in my head for a few days now.

First: It was a good story. I enjoyed it. I loved the setting. I learned a lot of interesting things. I'd recommend the book to anyone. Also, while it was written in 1903, it was not dated; other than a few random words here and there, if I hadn't known better, I would have believed it was written recently. That's pretty darned impressive.

Those are the biggest, most important points. That being said, I had a number of issues with the book:

1) If Mary Sue and Gary Sue wanted a pet, it would be Buck (the main character/dog from this book). Near the end of the book I skimmed four pages straight describing just how perfect of an animal Buck was. Four pages straight! And that was hardly the first time. Nearly from the beginning of the book, it was nonstop talk about how Buck was the perfect animal, how perfect his muscles were, how perfect his coat was, how perfectly intelligent he was, etc.

2) This was a harder point for me to pin down. Part of it has to do with the Sue point above, but more complicated. Since the main character was a dog, it would have been harder to tell the story without Buck seeming to understand spoken word. The problem is, it felt like he knew too much. He seemed to understand English perfectly. He did understand that when money changed hands, something (usually him) was being sold. He seemed to understand how betting works. I think it wasn't exactly that though. More like we came out of his point of view so the reader could see more (follow spoken conversations, etc).

3) Related to the first two points, perhaps belying my last couple sentences in point two. Buck knew too much. Too many IMPOSSIBLE to know things. He saw clearly cave men his ancestors used to belong to. That part bothered me a lot. He watched the daily activities of his ancestors, which is impossible, no matter how perfect of a dog he is.

While those points did bug me, they were mostly small (#3 bugged me more, but not to the extent that I didn't enjoy the book or wouldn't recommend it). Mostly this was an entertaining story about interesting characters in an exciting setting.

Next up: White Fang. (Both books were packaged together.)


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April 2017

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