Tuesday, June 28, 2005

What cats do when you're not home.

And this apparently isn't all Mia does. It seems that she gets onto my computer and reads this blog, and took my Father's Day entry seriously. Well, as seriously as she takes anything I say.

So, one day last week, she teleported out of the house to the Hallmark card store, and bought a “Father's Day from the cat” card. She brought it home and signed it, and in a move I don't really understand, instead of just leaving the card out on the table (or, you know, on the floor) for me, she teleported out of the house again, this time going to upstate New York to mail it (after rifling through my pockets to get the 37 cents for the stamp).

There are times when I wished I spoke Cat, or the Mia spoke English. Learning how she does that teleportation trick could turn out to be quite lucrative, I bet.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Survey says:

In my copious free time, I've taken a survey of weblogs.

Take the MIT Weblog Survey

Well, it beats working.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Not just eBay madness, apparently.

Over on bid4assets.com, another auction site, someone is auctioning off "the original Watergate lock" - the lock assembly and key to the suite used by the Democratic National Committee, broken into by Nixon's burglars.

And if you read the supporting documentation, this appears to be the lock on the door to the stairwell that was taped to prevent it from latching and was discovered by the night watchman.

Kind of an interesting piece of history, and it's available to you. All you have to do is bid on it - and the minimum bid is a mere $100,000 (with minimum bidding increments of $10,000, in the event there are two people willing to bid on it).

(And as of this posting, no one has bid on it yet.)

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

eBay madness.

Someone at work bids a lot on stuff through eBay. (Not the guy who bought an engagement ring there; someone else. By the way, he sent it back.) And she’s often disappointed that she “just loses out” on some things, because “other people have sniping programs” and/or they have high-speed connections. And, you know, if she’d bid just one more time, she’d have gotten the object.

For some reason, I was picked to be the person she approached to talk to about eBay. Perhaps it’s my sincere, trusting face. Perhaps it’s my obvious high-tech expertise. Perhaps it’s that I’m the only one who doesn’t openly laugh at her.

“Do you buy things on eBay? Do you have a sniping program I could use? Or know where I can get one?” Well, yes I do, no I don’t, and no I don’t. I explained the concept of putting in as a high bid the highest amount that you’d be willing to pay for the item, and if someone else bids higher, then congratulations to them: they wanted to pay more for it than you did, and in fact, they did so. She just complained that if she’d only bid one dollar higher, then she’d have gotten it, instead. (Well, unless the other bidder wanted to go higher, too, which of course would never be the case.) I tried pointing out that bidding on eBay was not a contest whereby you become a “loser” if you’re outbid, and that failing to win an auction is not the equivalent of failure at life. She wasn’t buying it: to her, bidding on eBay is a competitive sport, and other people are somehow figuring out ways to cheat her out of the items that are rightfully hers. (You know, like by bidding higher.)

She even got in the last word: “And the sad thing is that I’ve never gotten a great deal on eBay. I’ve always ended up paying too much or buying things I really didn’t want.”

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Solar sails.

Long-used staples of science fiction, solar sails are about to be unfurled for real. Funded in part by the Planetary Society and part by a movie studio connected to Carl Sagan, the Cosmos 1 project will launch a satellite tomorrow which will test the solar sail concept. (NASA is working on a similar project to launch after 2010.)

It won't quite be the space-sailboat races from the Moon to Venus that I recall reading about in the '60s, but it's a start.

Happy Father's Day to me.

Well, step-father.

Well, step-father-ish.

Well, okay, not so much. But they don't make presidential proclamations to proclaim a day in honor of Takers-In-of-Pregnant-Stray-Cats, and even Hallmark doesn't make cards for such folk. So we make do with what we can.

Eight weeks old last Tuesday, and two of the kittens went to their new homes yesterday (including the one above), and one more has had "dibs" called on her and will go sometime within the next week, while the last is being "seriously considered" (which means that I haven't yet had the opportunity to put the kitten into the new owner's hands, because that will seal the deal). Mama Cat is still here with the two remaining kittens, and will be going to the vet later this week to be spayed. (Not "spaded" which I hear far too often, from people who should know better. That's what you do to your garden, for heaven's sake. Gah.) And then within the following week, she'll go to her new home (where one of the first kittens went).

I'm happy that they're going to good, loving homes, instead of trying to survive as kittens in the wild.

Monday, June 13, 2005

At what point does Star Wars jump the shark?

Quite possibly, it just did. They've announced the formation of the Star Wars Bowling League, complete with bowling balls that have scenes from the movies and a Darth Vader bowling ball bag.

So long as they don't force you to rent C3PO's feet to bowl in, maybe it'll be okay.

Mia, Drama Queen of All She Surveys.

"If you don't get rid of those Alien Cats right this very instant, I shall surely die!!"

And she's made it clear that she'll make sure to take care of me before she goes.

This morning around 5:30, the kittens were awake in the bedroom next door, and were loudly enjoying themselves. Running around, knocking things over, mewing, playing with their various jingle toys, and what sounded like moving furniture. Loud enough that it woke Mia up. Mia decided that if she had to be awake, then it was high time that I woke up, too, so she did so in classic passive-aggressive style: without doing anything to directly wake me up (such as jumping onto my chest, meowing in my ear, or batting at my eyelashes, all things that previous cats have been known to do), she walked up and down the length of the bed, and started jumping down to the floor and back up on the bed, right next to my head so that it would bounce as she landed. Down to the floor again, and back up. Down to my feet, swishing her tail to hit me (you know, by accident), and back up to my head.

Then she looks at my eyes and "discovers" that they're open. "Since you're awake anyway, why don't you get up and feed me? And get those things next door to shut up, while you're at it."

If Mia's not happy, ain't nobody gonna be happy.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

An interesting conversation is its own reward.

You might think that a roomful of attorneys whose intellectual capacities are not fully engaged by the work they are doing might have interesting, thought-provoking conversations. You might think that, but as a general proposition, you'd be wrong.

Today's conversation was about as close to interesting and thought-provoking of any in the past week, on the relationship between the novel "Dune" and the Unabomber. Still, that was a step or two up from yesterday's existential conversation, "Well, what are boogers?"


There's a reason why I jam my headphones on and listen to books-on-tape. (Today, a novel by Larry McMurtry, "By Sorrow's River.")

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

The family portrait.

The Outdoor Cat is on the right, one tabby-striped kitten is to the immediate left of her and two are at the left of the photo, and the tuxedo kitten is immediately below her. The kittens are seven weeks old today.

Speaking of baseball.

If it's June, it must be college playoff time again, leading to the College World Series. Once again, the Rice Owls are knocking on the door of the World Series, playing this weekend in one of the eight NCAA Super Regionals against Tulane. They won their NCAA Regional, beating host LSU in the final game, without losing any games in the Regional. (And, I am told by an LSU graduate, this is the first time that LSU has failed to win an NCAA Regional they hosted - in 17 such Regionals.)

Monday, June 06, 2005

First in war, first in peace.

And first in the division. The Washington Nationals are in first place. The last time that a Washington baseball team was in first place "this late in the season" - admittedly, back when leagues didn't have divisions - was in 1933.

It'll be fun while it lasts.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Mia, Protector of the Realm.
The other night, I had just gone to bed. Mia, as usual, was sprawled across my ankles. I was almost asleep when she bolted upright, pushed off hard and leapt off the bed, headed for the hallway outside the bedroom, and let loose with a long, low growl of a moan.

This sound gets me wide awake, because it's usually the precursor to the production of a hairball, and I know I've got about seven seconds to turn on the light, put on my glasses, find a newspaper or magazine, and thrust it under Mia's head, in hopes that it lands up on the paper instead of the rug. (As an aside, Mia's champion hairball was about nine inches long. Amazing what a long-haired cat can produce.)

When I turned the light on, to my surprise I saw that Mia wasn't in an imminent-hairball-production pose; she was crouched and ready for a fight. And she was staring down the Outdoor Cat, who had somehow gotten out of her bedroom and was innocently exploring the upstairs. Mia was controlling the situation, although I had the feeling that we were about eight seconds from full-scale hissing and twelve seconds from a scratching fight, which Mia would lose, much to her surprise (as she's been declawed and Outdoor Cat has not).

I got between them - at great risk to my legs - and picked up Outdoor Cat, and returned her to the bedroom/prison she shares with her kittens.

Mia got a reward - a piece of cheese - and slept very soundly, as her job was complete.

It's National Hug Your Cat Day. At least, according to no less an authority than MSN.com, and who could possibly be more authoritative than that?

Took the kittens into the office today, where they got socialized to a far greater extent than they do with just me around. I think they were happy to get back to their bedroom.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Horoscopes, hmmph!

Star Wars Horoscope for Sagittarius

You are superbly wise and have been known to spread your wisdom widely.
You are impatient and pushy when people take your teachings too lightly.
And your philosophical side always peeks through.

Star wars character you are most like: Yoda

Better wine news than the Supreme Court decision.

Reports out of California are that this year's Sonoma County grape crop could be the biggest ever.