When Good Cats Behave Badly

Annoyed kitty, touchy kitty 
Grouchy ball of fur 
Moody kitty, grumpy kitty, 
Grr, grr, grr.*

Our return home was marred by one tiny detail: Moonlight, our beloved 18+ year old cat, had developed an infection in our absence and started using the dining room carpet instead of her litter box. Ugh. Our stalwart housesitter, being new to animal care, knew something was wrong but didn’t know what (not that she could have done much about it, anyway). So we walked in, put our bags down, sniffed the air, and within half an hour were preparing to tear up carpet. We had to throw out about half the carpet in the room. Fortunately, it was a patchwork carpet—pieces of different colors laid down artistically by yours truly. That at least made it easier to take up.

Now—great quantities of Nature’s Miracle, vinegar, and peroxide later—we are engaged in medical treatment and retraining, per excellent advice found on the net.

Just in time to go away again. Jayce and I are off to Miami to help my brother Chuck celebrate his 70th birthday. How can that be possible? We aren’t that long out of school, really! Allysen’s mom is having some medical issues, unfortunately, so Allysen is staying behind this time. And Lexi? She’s in Norway!

*From a GrumpyCats.com t-shirt owned by my daughter.

Some of Us Are Really Smart!

I think we all knew it, deep down inside: Those of us with desks that look like cyclone hits, who swear “too much,” whatever that is, and who stay up way too late and get up late, too… yeah, we’re smarter than you neatnik clock-watching do-gooders. Arwa Mahdawi says so in The Guardian, and why wouldn’t you trust her?

“I’m very intelligent. I’m also extremely creative and have a vocabulary that could be described as voluminous, venerable or very large. But don’t just take my word for it: science says so…” [read more]

Here’s proof of my own smartness. (I neatened it up some.)

And here’s the inevitable kibitzer:

“Aren’t you supposed to be working?”

Downward Dog—Arf!

Our new favorite comedy is Downward Dog, the story of a dog named Martin and his human, Nan, as narrated by the dog. In a voice that’s somehow a blend of surfer dude and NPR’s This American Life, Martin waxes philosophical about his life with Nan. His philosophy isn’t terrible stable, so his day tends to be filled with insights that contradict his last insight. The writing is witty and funny, the acting is great, and the dog is an adorable rescue mutt adopted from a shelter by the producers. No dog lover should miss this show. On ABC, free on-demand, or streaming.

 

How Can You Not Like Tardigrades?

I have just finished our taxes, and in celebration I am toasting the tardigrade! This hardy little critter can survive the vacuum of space, the cold of near absolute zero, and temperatures up to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. These little extremophiles are tough! All it asks is some moss to suck on. How can you not admire the tardigrade, who is sort of cute, in the same way certain breeds of dogs are cute.

You’ll like this short video about them on Curiosity.com. (I couldn’t find a way to embed it here.)

Are tardigrades the secret to panspermia, the seeding of life through the universe? I wonder.

 

Cat Dances on Keyboard, Author Gets Last Word

The perp. Goes by the moniker Moonlight.

I’m sure every writer has either had this happen, or had nightmares of it happening: You finish up a nice bit of work and walk away from the computer. Do you think about the havoc your cat can wreak on your work? No, you do not. And when you return, hours later, having forgotten all about it, you find gibberish on the screen in place of your finely turned prose.

Yeah, it just happened to me. Look at Moonlight. Doesn’t she look innocent and cuddly? Well, cuddly she is, but innocent she is not. No, this kitty tried to rewrite my chapter for me. Bad kitty! Seriously, she’s a terrible writer. Here’s a sample: [[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[… What kind of writing is that?

Yes, of course I had saved my work. (How stupid do you think I am? No, on second thought…) I saved, and furthermore, it was backed up automatically to Dropbox. What I failed to do, though, was to close Scrivener before I walked away. Scrivener auto-saves anything you write. So your cat dances on your keyboard (or parks her fuzzy butt on it for warmth), and Scrivener obligingly saves all her new work for you. And the new work gets saved to Dropbox!

That’s what I found when I came back to my laptop, hours later.

What to do? Dropbox’s “deleted versions” to the rescue! I went online to my Dropbox account and looked for the mostly recently changed file in my Scrivener folder. (That took a little while, owing to the spaghettified file structure of my book, but never mind that.) Scrivener saves each chapter as a little rtf file, and sure enough, the last-saved file was time-stamped half an hour after I left the house! Caught you, you little scalawag!

Dropbox saves a number of older versions. It’s not even remotely obvious how to find them, but I eventually discovered if you click on the file you want, then click the little icon with three dots at the top, it offers to show you the version history. And there’s where you find your pre-cat-dancing version, and restore it to its rightful place.

Hah! Show you, you little furball!

Critterpix

Time for an animal pic. I caught our two, Moonlight and Captain Jack, here with dog-in-law Septima Lady MacDuff, known to me as MacDuff the Crime Dog (bottom).


3 critters

And here’s the crime dog, acting as if she’s never seen a Roomba before. Comin’ through! Make a hole!

MacDuff, Jack, and a Roomba

 

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