Scenes from Snowpocalyse 2012

This bird’s arse illustrates how I feel about yesterday:

We’re snowed in. I took the day off, and spoke to various relatives regarding deceased and mentally disabled relatives, and prepared to put out a few brush fires which I shall tell you about when we know whether they’re truly out or liable to erupt into a crown fire. Then I snapped this picture of a bird’s arse through the window, because I am cooped up inside and getting bored. It turned around a moment later and presented a more suitable angle for photography:

Cujo has a rather more flattering portrait of a similar bird. They were adorable. They were also the only entertainment on offer.

Relations spoken to, equipment in readiness for some firefighting on the morrow (now today), I found myself no longer amused by bird butts, and bundled up to walk to Staples. I’ve been deprived of bookstores due to snowstorms since Sunday. I’m out of the turn-of-the-century detective literature I’m craving. So, I thought, I’d get myself a tablet. That way, I could sneer at the weather and just download whatever the fuck I pleased, thus thumbing my nose at the weather whilst still being able to comfortably read in bed.

Staples, however, had closed due to weather. Bastards. How dare they care for their employees’ well-being when I’m literature-deprived? And then, having denied me the chance at a tablet, make me applaud them for their good sense and kindness in allowing their employees to head home while there was still a chance of making it there alive?

There was nothing left to do but drop by my friend Starspider’s apartment and help torture her cat.

This is Galahad, learning that outside is made of cold, wet and pain. We did this to him because he thought outside was made of birds and rainbows and fun, and threatened to run out into traffic. We think he’s been disabused of these tendencies.

This is Galahad considering whether or not to murder his mother. He decided if he did, the chances of the door being opened were minimal, so he refrained.

We tortured the cat until we’d finished our cigarettes, then relented. He still loves us. I’m not sure why. And before you have too much sympathy for him, remember he’s a long-haired cat who never even got damp, and it was ultimately for his own good. He has not, as yet, asked to go back outside, so the experiment so far seems successful.

This experiment will not be repeated with my cat. I value my life.

The snow’s lingering. Next course on the weather menu is a bit more snow and possibly some freezing rain, followed by a rapid warming, which will mean flooding and possible landslides. Fun and more fun. At least it doesn’t do this often.

I took some good images of my outdoor rocks dusted with snow. In our next edition of Scenes from Snowpocalyse 2012, I’ll find some clever things to say about them. Either that, or I’ll just post them without comment, chuck my cat into a snowdrift as a distraction, and flee. Or I could take the safe route and direct you toward Starspider’s post on bitters. For now, it’s time for another dose of Rex Stout. I believe I’ll filch Archie Goodwin’s personality for dealing with counselors, lawyers and snow today. It could come in useful, especially as a tool for retaining my sanity.

Interlude with Cat: Le Miewse

Yes, that’s the best title I can come up with. It’s late, Aunty Flow’s here, I’m on a variety of OTC painkillers, I’ve been reading for Los Links and also reading a rather mind-bending book by Oliver Sacks, and I think my brain has quietly slipped out the back door and legged it down an ally to freedom.

So it’s time for pictures full o’ mindless cute. And hideous puns.

pensive cat

The cat pretending she's pondering whilst monopolizing my lap

I’ve spent the last little while writing in bed. It’s easier to jockey a notebook in there – easier, at least, until the cat decides the rest of the bed isn’t good enough, and she must lie atop Mom in about the place where the notebook goes. This is exhausting work for a felid. Luckily, there’s a nice paper pillow nearby.

sleepy kitteh

The cat pillows her head on the notes for my magnum opus.

Do you know how hard it is to write with a cat’s noggin in the way? And she snores. And she’s cute. It’s terribly distracting. I’ve begun to wonder why writers are so often associated with cats. We don’t actually get as much writing done in their presence as one might think.

kitteh with pillow

The cat takes over the second pillow.

When she’s tired of getting bonked in the head with the ever-shifting notebook, she’ll sometimes make her way off to the side, where her pillow is. Yes, that’s her pillow. It lies flat, so that she can curl up on it and bask under the lamp. She’s spoiled rotten, that cat.

There are times, when she’s cuddled up with me like this, that I just put the notebook down and look in to her eyes. She’s got remarkable eyes, green with hints of blue and gold. She’s got a very patrician stare. Most of the time, she looks upon me as a serving wench, staring as if from a great height no matter how high above her I tower. But at times, those green-gold-blue eyes stare into mine with the purest adoration, and she purrs so loudly the whole bed seems to hum, and stretches her little white-capped paws out on me with vast contentment, and sighs deeply, as if she’s sinking in to the rightness of the world. In those moments, I get a sense of the love parents must have for their children, that vast and unconditional and heart-wrenching affection the English language doesn’t have a proper word for.

We’ve been together a lot of years, that cat and I. I have no idea how many good ones we’ve got left. So sometimes, I do take the time to just stop and cuddle with her. Gather your cuddles while ye may…

She’s over on the back of the couch right now, snoring away. In a short little while, we’ll head for bed, where she’ll probably do her usual routine of using Mommy as a trampoline before settling down for the night. I may wake in the morning to a little feline face butting mine, and some pretty urgent meowing, if I forget to fill the food bowl. I may wake to a warm bundle of fur ready for a snuggle before the day starts. I never know what I’m getting from her, except this one thing: companionship.

I’m Unexpectedly Entertaining

Not like funny ha ha or dramatic or anything like that sort of entertaining, alas. A very dear friend from Oregon has arrived, and I haven’t got anything pre-written, so I’m afraid it’s the cat for you lot again.

I got her with her eyes open, for once:

It was a sunbeam sort of day. We haven’t had many of those. And she was annoyed because I’d had the audacity to make some sort of noise.

I’m afraid she finds me a failure as a personal assistant. Sigh.

Anyway, whilst I’m busy, do go entertain yourself watching Jen take on the Burzynski Clinic and leave nothing but scorched earth and perhaps a few melted syringes behind.

I’m Running Late. Have a Cat.

I’ve spent most of the day on the phone with various family members. The problem with getting in touch with people you haven’t spoken to in years is that you get caught up in catching up, and then all your cunning plans for finishing Los Links go right out the door. I could do it tonight, but I’m not gonna. Got fiction writing to do.

I’ll have them out sometime during the day. In the meantime, I shall distract you once again with my cute cat.

This is her idea of being an aid to the creative process. Isn’t she cute? You can even, if you look closely, spot the bright white spot on my arm where she bit me once. She is the reason I will never ever own a tiger or other wild cat. That temptation, never strong, ended the day we were playing and she nearly bit my arm in half during a moment of enthusiasm.

People wonder why I love such a violent little beast. But I mean, really, it’s hard not to love this face:

And she doesn’t bite nearly so hard as she used to. She’s merely quasi-evil now.

Interlude with Cat III: Winter Sunshine

Our server’s acting the idiot again, and I have to work on my usual day off, plus I’m needing to get some reading done for Los links, so I’m afraid there won’t be substantial posting today. Here. Have a kitty in the sunshine:

She’s enjoying one of those rare winter mornings where bouncing sunshine hurls itself against the windowpane, waking Mommy up despite heavy curtains. It’s now at an angle where it hits the bed early on, which means she doesn’t have to go through all the hard work of moving on to the floor to find a sunbeam.

Still, even the minimal effort required to find the perfect position from which to enjoy it exhausts the poor dear:

She then attempted to look too dignified for photos.

When this didn’t persuade me to stop, she attacked. I haven’t got pictures of that, because I was trying to prevent her from ripping my hands off. She’s evil. Beautiful, but evil. And when there are sunbeams, she forgets her mother is where warm laps and cat food comes from.

Dog people don’t understand why I can adore such a wee vicious evil beastie. They talk of devotion and unconditional love and affection. When I look at a dog, all I think of is barking, drooling, strange smells, and the necessity of taking the damned thing out in all weather to relieve itself. Dogs are find for them as likes ‘em, and I wouldn’t mind owning a nice German Shepherd again someday. But I do so love the strange personalities, aloofness, self-sufficiency, purring, and occasional moment of conditional love interspersed with the unpredictable mayhem that kittehs provide. Keeps me humble and on me toes, that.

Gimme a cat any day.

Interlude with Cat: The Assistant

I’m working on something which won’t have tremendous substance, but will have links to substance, and yummy photos. But it’s taking forever due to a few technical difficulties. Don’t talk to me about getting cats to pose with rocks, or getting enough light out of one bloody bulb, or trying to figure out why the computer won’t load the photos, or photo editing, or…

Anyway, here’s a cat. Helping me write. Enjoy that while you wait. Send it to PZ and tell him you’d like to see a cephalopod do that without suffocating in the open air or getting the paper wet.

Caturday Sunbeams

And I’m spent. Also very, very behind in this week’s blog reading, so if you lot want a nice, fat Los Links come Monday, I’m going to have to pawn you off with a little light (ah-ha-ha) entertainment.

The sun has forsaken us now, but last week, Seattle attempted to apologize for not giving us an actual summer. Lovely 80+ degree days with wonderfully cool nights, my favorite. I usually don’t open the curtains in the bedroom, because keeping the place a dark cave prevents it from getting warm, but over the last several sunny days, I took to letting the sunshine is for the poor kitteh, who wasn’t getting enough quality porch time.

This met with some approval.



About the second or third day (I know, consecutive sunny days in Seattle, unheard of!), she figured out the routine. She appeared at the window before I’d even gone to it and stood there, little nose poked out and eyes half-closed, awaiting that magical moment when Mommy would let Mr. Sunbeam in. And this continued to be her routine most days thereafter. I wish I’d had the camera handy, but the one time I did, she broke her streak. On purpose, I’m sure.

But she did allow me to catch this moment of bliss:



Doesn’t she just look smugly self-satisfied? You’d think she was responsible for the fine weather.

You may be wondering about the blue thingy. That’s her hair tie. She won’t play with cat toys, but for some reason, adores chasing hair ties. She’ll even play fetch with them sometimes. And when she’s not chewing on Mommy, she likes chewing on them:



Funniest moment ever was when she started dry-coughing due to a developing hairball, but wouldn’t let the hair tie go, so it was dangling from a tooth as she wheezed. She’s ridiculously cute sometimes. I try to explain this to friends who wonder why I’ve kept an animal with homicidal tendencies. They just do not understand the power of her Massive Cute.

During the day, her sunbeam would move, but she’d sleep through it. So when I was home, I’d go back to the bedroom every hour or so and drag her a few inches over. I probably shouldn’t have done – this just taught her she didn’t have to do a damned thing for herself. No matter. Once the sunbeams had well and truly moved on, she’d amble out through the living room and onto the porch for a nice lie-down in the sunshine with her favorite rocks. So she did get exercise. Of a sort.

I’m looking forward to the winter writing season, but I’ll miss these times.

Caturday Geocat: Hand Sample Analysis

My poor beautiful hand samples from our Oregon trip are just sitting forlorn on the porch, waiting for me to come up with a permanent home for them. I’m afraid I may never get to properly house them, however. My cat has taken a definite interest.



We have this little ritual when I come home for lunch. She usually spends the time outside on the porch, hanging out on her carpet square whilst I scarf some food and catch up on Twitter. Then she greets me at the door as I head outside for a smoke. She follows me over to the lounge chair, where I sit and enjoy the last moments of freedom before heading back for another four hours of soul-sucking drudgery agonizing boredom work. She consents to a scratch behind the ears, and then ambles over and starts inspecting the rocks.



Here she’s analyzing one of the platy volcanic bits (which may or may not be basalt or basaltic andesite, but that’s a story for another day). It’s one of the ones with dendrites on it. Once she gets done with those, she’ll establish ownership over the rhyolite by rubbing her cheeks all over every piece she can reach. I have to watch her on that – they’ve got some glassy textures and sharp edges.

She’ll look up occasionally, stare off into the distance like she’s considering what she’s just learned from her latest inspection.



Then she’ll go back to her favorite sample, a frothy bit of basalt or basaltic andesite with quartz in.



She loves that rock the best. She curls up with it every time we’re out there together. I’m surprised it’s not coated in cat hair, considering how much she snuggles with it.



It’ll be winter soon, and both rocks and kitteh will have to come in from the cold and rain. But for now, I think I’ll leave her hand samples just as they are. This time we have together, me and her and the rocks, is precious.

I’m lucky to live with a cat who shares my love of geology and Doctor Who. I can forgive the occasional homicidal rages. We all have our little quirks, after all.

You’ve had your Caturday dose of cute. Time for something of substance. Both Lockwood and Cujo have written up bits of our recent trip. Cujo explains why geology is important, and Lockwood’s done a more in-depth look at his teaser tweeting, a sexy take on the Pinnacles, and a dedication to the teacher who introduced him to many of the wonders we saw. Enjoy!

GeoKitteh Contemplates Hand Samples

All of my lovely rocks from our El Norte adventure are still on a towel in the living room, awaiting their final home. This is normally where teh kitteh’s paper and cardboard are. I thought she might be angry, but she found Mommy washing rocks to be fascinating. Then she decided they’d been placed there for her own entertainment.



Looks like a queen with her court, doesn’t she just?

She’s been busy inspecting the bounty.



And then she thinks about them for a moment.



If she makes some sort of profound discovery no one’s ever made before with your basic subduction zone rocks, I hope she learns English and shares her wisdom.