Serpentinite and Cat

Sorry, folks.  The week got away from me, and I haven’t got a Dojo post ready. Besides, Karen wants pics of that delightful chunk of probable serpentinite.

Alas, I missed my chance Sunday. It was baking hot on the porch, I had Aunty Flow’s typical “hi, I’m here!” agony going on, and the weather folks assured me that all would be sweetness and light aside from scattered thunderstorms on Monday. “No problem,” thought I. “Scattered t-storms we can live with. Plenty o’ sunbreaks, I’m sure!”

What the weather folks apparently meant but didn’t state explicitly was, “Thunderstorms scattered through solid gray clouds that will not allow so much as a single stray sunbeam to alight upon your porch. No, not even for a second.”

Argh.

So we’re going to have to go on with two pics I shot that include the cat, and that do not in any way do justice to the glory that is my chunk of serpentinite, but can be seen as a teaser.



There she is, lying on top of the bits of the glacial erratic I picked off the ground so that I could take them home and break them open and attempt to identify what it’s made of. The rocks from Carkeek are laid out neatly drying. I suppose she believes she’s helping. The serpentinite is that chunk o’ yum right behind her head.



Here she is lying beside my great and glorious chunk of serpentinite, out on the porch. Could’ve gotten a much better shot if I’d been in any condition to crouch, but at this time of the month, movement is severely restricted. Still, you can tell it is beautiful.

The light today is so severely filtered by clouds that the truly magnificent greens and blues of this thing aren’t properly displayed, but I can’t just leave you with mere glimpses. Here’s one taken near the window, with what little light we’ve got:



How amazing is that? Just imagine what actual sunlight does to it!

A macro:



Really, as much as I love my schist, I almost think I love this more. Once the sun comes back at a time when I can take full advantage, we’ll have some truly good pics and a proper write-up on what serpentinite’s all about. As long as this is serpentinite. If anybody suspects it’s not, now would be an excellent time to say so.

And, because I can’t resist:



How happy does she look, eh? Shot that with the zoom from inside the house, so as not to wake her up. In the summer, she spends a fair amount of her time out on the porch, basking in the sun. At least she’s lazy and doesn’t try to climb up on the roof like the neighbor’s cat. I can leave the door open and leave her to do whatever without worrying I’ll have to call in a ladder truck later. True, we get flies, but it’s a small price to pay for such a happy kitteh.

No Lounge Chair Shall Prevail

We’ve had occasional moments of summer, which means I’m forced to leave the sliding glass door open so that my felid can play Queen o’ the Porch.  So last weekend, there I was, trying to concentrate on me work, and I hears this clunk.

I looked outside in alarm, and in the next moment dove for the camera, because hilarity was about to ensue.



The important thing about leverage is, when you’re on one end of a very long lounge chair, and there’s nothing anchoring the other end, the end you’re on goes clunk.

I waited for the freakout.



Wobbly moment there, but back on terra firma, with all legs back where they belong.  However, this end of the lounge chair appears not to have met her strict standards.



For a while, there, it seemed she meant to tip it the other way.  But, on second thought….



It is apparently no fun courting disaster when mommy has the camera ready.  Note the “Do you really think I’m going to do anything humiliating with you watching?” expression.



Aaand success.  Humiliation averted, sunbeam acquired, smug expression firmly plastered. 

Now if only summer would come back…

My Cat the Geology Fan

A few of us on Twitter were recently discussing the feasibility of sticking cats in washes in order to create some geology lolcats.  This is the closest my cat will ever come to a dry wash.  She’s not what you might call a fan of the great outdoors.  But, apparently, she likes pop geo books just fine:



If you’re inspired to caption, knock yourselves out.  I’d love to see the result!

I wish I could believe she really was interested in geology, but I think she was just trying to impress the neighbor, who was visiting us for the first time.  She’s more of a Doctor Who fan at heart.  Here’s yet another bit of evidence:



Note how she’s shifted them so they form a nice, comfy arc along her back.  And she’s dragged her green tissue paper closer so she can have all of her great loves in one place.  This is why I will never be able to clear my living room floor of Doctor Who DVDs, a tattered old piece of cardboard from an Amazon shipment, and that stupid piece of tissue paper: she’d kill me if I tried.  All right, granted, she attempts to kill me anyway, but only as an afterthought.  She’d be motivated to murder if I ever put things away.

If blogging ever suddenly ceases, at least you’ll know what happened to me.

Overdose of Cute, Plus Snow!

Some of you like cute kitteh photos.  Well, this post is for you.

My cat, who is spawn of Satan at the best of times and something Satan would flee from at the worst, has been overplaying the cute card over the past few weeks.  I believe she’s plotting something.  Or perhaps she’s just saying thanks for giving her a big ol’ sheet o’ paper for Xmas:



Nah.  Plot.

More disgusting cute after the fold, plus a rare glimpse of Seattle snow.

When I was busy researching ice caves, she decided to “help.”



Yes, that is me trying to take notes on a notepad held vertically against my chest.  It was that or get my hand chewed off.

You know, it was tough doing this with the old computer.  With the new one, it’s impossible to get anything done when she wishes to snuggle.  I’m going to have to invest in one of those extra-wide recliners someday, preferably one with a laptop desk attached to the side.

Usually, though, she’s sacked out on the couch.  She’s got her preferred spot, and she finds a myriad of ever-more-adorable positions to lie in, trying to tempt me away from my work.  And she succeeds.  I end up spending too much time fiddling with the camera, trying to determine if I can get supreme cute results from handheld twilight mode:



Or mebbe the flash:



More experiments will have to be conducted.

And, finally, snow!  When it snowed overnight, I decided to see if handheld twilight could capture the dark, snowbound scene:



Yup.  Although I should’ve fiddled with the white balance more.  It’s hard to do, since the stupid outdoor lights always choose to either go on or off right after I’ve set up the shot and then pressed the shutter.  Argh.  Still.  Snow.  In the dead of night.  Pretty awesome, that was, especially since it started raining early that morning and all went away before I had to worry about venturing out.  That’s how I like snow!

Wish I’d caught the Little Hell Beast when she was doing her “What’s this white shit all over my porch?” routine, but she lost interest before I could aim.

So there you are.  Your overdose of cute for the week.  If I suddenly stop blogging, you’ll know that there was a plot, and it involved grievous bodily harm.  But I doubt she’ll do anything to me before summer.  She knows other people will feed her, but only mommy risks death and dismemberment to cuddle her on cold nights.

So Much for Substance

I got the other half of Connie Willis’s two-part book today.  I’m about to go devour it, much like egg-eating snakes devour their dinner.  Alas, my darlings, this means you should expect no posts of substance from me for at least 24 hours.

Instead, you’re being subjected to a grab-bag of kitteh stuff.  Why?  Because I can, and because it’s funny.  And at times heartwarming, such as this rescue reported by Jerry Coyne.  Moral: do not let your toddlers get their hands on kittens small enough to flush.  And Aussie firemen are awesome.

Lockwood found two items aptly demonstrating a writer’s life with a cat:





Lotsa other funny stuff there both having and not having to do with cats, so if you haven’t read his Sunday Funnies yet, what the hell are you waiting for?

Callan Bentley demonstrates that cats have no appreciation for the artist’s workspace, either:



Well, actually, they appreciate it quite a lot, I suppose.  Just not in the way we might wish.

Bora tweeted a helpful guide to petting a cat.  Here’s a taste:



Click for the rest.  Even if you’re not a feline aficionado, you may still require these skills someday.  Think of the rich, cat crazy relative you may need to placate, who knows you’re not allergic.

There.  Something fun for ye.  Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to WWII London.  Laters!

Jerry Coyne’s Traveling Cats

Love cats, love science, really love a scientist who loves cats!  Jerry Coyne’s had a felid road show this week.  We’re talking about a man who carries a box of cat food around with him for teh kittehs.  He’s got lots of travel photos with kittehs!

U can see dem in Greece:



And Istanbul:



And on teh way to a glacier:



Dey r in Guatemala:



And dere are kittehs in teh biology lab doin science:



Dere r moar kittehs at teh linkz!

Scenes From the Cat-Servant Life

I had ambition today.  I promise, I did.  Aaalll sorts of things planned.  Wasn’t gonna be like the cat, doing nothing but lazing round in sunbeams:



Yeah, well.  Long day o’ work later, Rocko on me teevee, cat on me arm…



And yes, it’s really damned hard to snap photos of the cat with only one arm free.  I asked her to move, and this is all the movement I got:



My cat is my inspiration… to crawl into bed with a good book, stretch out my toeses, and be all the lazy I can be.

Substantive content tomorrow, my darlings.  Promise.  Unless the cat suggests otherwise…

Bookstore Kittehs!

We haven’t had enough of the cute and furry round here lately.  Happily, thanks to Brian Switek and Brian Romans, that sad situation is remedied:

When they aren’t trashing the occasional pricey manuscript with their teeth and claws, cats – in all their blissful sloth – serve as wonderfully calming (if sometimes haughty) hosts: Have a seat, take it easy, get lost in a book. A bookstore cat is a shop’s mascot and keeper, equally adept at charming customers and, when the lights go out, chasing away rodents.

I do not believe it to be a coincidence that as I was squealing over the slideshow of adorable bookstore kittehs, my very own little hell beast went and posed prettily against our own bookshelves.  Alas, the camera was out of reach, and I made the mistake of mentioning that if she really was a bookstore kitteh, she’d have to put up with children wanting to pet her, so she stopped playing bookstore kitteh before the camera could be retrieved.  There’s only one thing she hates more than humans, and that’s small humans.

So no, she’d never make it in a bookstore, but the other kittehs profiled love their job.  So do go enjoy their company.

Cunning Kittehs

My cat will sometimes sit somewhere just out of view and howl and yowl like she’s trapped, mortally wounded, or otherwise in dire straits.  She does it to see how fast she can make me get up.  She especially loves doing it just as I’m drifting off to sleep.  Apparently, the sight of a frantic, half-asleep human tumbling out of bed amuses her.

Now I see where she gets it from:

Many people see dogs as open, loving, and honest, and cats as duplicitous, cunning, and sly (Fig. 1).  This gross misconception will be reinforced by a paper in the new (but dated July 2009) issue of Neotropical Primates, which you can download for free. The authors, Fabiano de Olivera Calleia, Fabio Rohe, and Marcelo Gordo, show that a wild cat imitates the sounds of baby monkeys  to lure its prey within reach.

And I think she may be related to the cat Jerry Coyne encountered:

Margay babies are sometimes tamed by the locals. I once got to hold a (relatively) tame margay that belonged to a bar in Costa Rica; it let me pet it but then sank its teeth into my silver ring, leaving a sizeable dent. 

That’s her favorite trick, too: sucker in the human by being all cute and cuddly so that the flesh is made more vulnerable.  When visiting my house, body armor is a good idea if you plan on getting acquainted with the cat.

The next time she attempts to lure me out of bed by pretending injury, I’ll think of a margay somewhere deep in the rainforest luring dinner with baby monkey cries, and go back to sleep.