plonq: (Christmas Mood)
Both of our cats are puking. Merry started last night, and Belladonna started this morning. Last night we thought that it was likely a hairball, but now we're wondering if last night's dinner was a bit off, or one of them somehow managed to contract a bug and give it to the other.

Merry still isn't eating this today, but other than vomiting once this morning, she seems to be feeling much better. The fact that Belladonna vomited this morning might be coincidence - cats tend to vomit as part of their regular routine. Disgusting creatures.

They are both curled up together and convalescing on the couch, so we're going to head out for some shopping and leave them alone so that they can get some sleep.
Convalescing Cats
plonq: (Christmas Mood)
Spooky (unknown)
Chief (shot)
Hobo (disappeared)
Indie (run over)
The little tortoiseshell who died before we named her (distemper)
Smoky and Spaz (Leukaemia)
Pixil (cancer) and Bit (old age)
Jaws (old age)
Belladonna
Merry

When I look at the list of cats who have been in my life over the years, it becomes apparent that it is the years that I have not shared with one or more cats that are unusual.

I don't remember much about spooky, and I mostly know her through pictures. She was as black as coal, but by all accounts a very sweet cat who was good with kids.

Chief was a personable little cat who simply disappeared one day. I only learned years later that dad took him out in the woods and shot him because he was spraying around the house and we couldn't afford to have him fixed. I am still a little bitter about that.

Hobo was a cat that adopted us after our deadbeat neighbours moved out and left him behind. He was a really affectionate cat who took a liking to our guinea pigs. He would curl up in their box (much to their consternation) and then meticulously bathe them if they accidentally strayed too near (to their even greater consternation). Like all of our cats at the time, he was an outdoor cat. He vanished while we were down in Disneyland one year. My eldest brother had stayed home on that trip and was acting as the cat sitter. He let Hobo out one evening and he never returned. We like to think that he found another family to adopt, but we're pretty sure in our hearts that he got run over.

Indie was an adorable little cat who was like a less psychotic version of Belladonna. We kicked her out one night when she kept attacking the ornaments while we were trying to decorate the tree. Moments later she was hit by a car in front our house. Christmas sucked that year.

The little tortie was a kitten that we rescued from the pound in Victoria. She was bouncy and playful for the first couple of days, but she suddenly stopped eating and became very lethargic. We took her to the vet who diagnosed it as distemper, and gave her even odds even if he undertook expensive treatment. We had her put down.

Smoky and Spaz were a pair of brothers who we adopted from one of Dad's coworkers whose cat had popped out a litter of kittens. Unfortunately, they were also outdoor cats, and they both caught feline leukaemia and had to be put down. Fortunately they were both into their teens by that point, so we'd had a pretty good run with them. They were awesome cats.

Pixil and Bit were a brother and sister that we adopted from another of Dad's co-workers. After losing our previous two to a preventable disease, I put my foot down and declared that these two would be strictly indoor cats. Pixil had a number of issues over the years, but he developed intestinal cancer at around 14 and had to be put down. Bit lasted until 19. She developed a cancerous thyroid condition and arthritis and was on pills for her last three years of life before the medication effectively destroyed her kidneys.
Bit

Jaws was a wonderful, personable cat right up until the end in spite of being arthritic, deaf and at least somewhat senile. We estimate that she was about 20 when we had to have her put down because she started suffering traumatic seizures. Based on the sudden onset, and the results of the blood test, the vet suspected that she had a brain lesion and that anti-seizure medication would probably be ineffective.
Jaws

Belladonna and Merry are still with us.
plonq: (Dramatic Mood)
[livejournal.com profile] atara dropped Belladonna at the vet on her way in to work this morning for some teeth cleaning and, depending on the results of the cleaning, a possible extraction or two. Obviously we are worried since there are no guarantees when they put your cat under for any kind of surgery. She's been anesthetized before without any bad reactions, so I am optimistic.

In there was a recent local homicide where the victim had filed a protection order against the murderer. Naturally the local media have latched onto this story and are milking it for ratings. As I was driving in this morning, they were interviewing the sister of a woman who was killed in a similar situation out in Calgary. This woman is championing the cause for requiring mandatory tracking devices for anyone has a restraining, or protection order filed against them.

The host pointed out that the system is far from perfect, and even subject to abuse at times, and putting a tracking device on everyone who is the target of a restraining or protection order could result in innocent people being tracked.

The advocate's response was chilling and priceless. Innocent people should want to wear a tracking device so that they can prove their innocence.

That makes sense. By extension, innocent people should be happy to have their houses routinely searched, and be stopped and frisked in the street so that they can prove their continued innocence. Maybe we could tap their phones and monitor their online activities too.

This is the kind of fertile ground where bills like C51 find nourishment for their roots. Fortunately, they brought in a sane person once they were done with her and they wrapped up the segment with a refreshing bit of non-crazy.

Tea for two
plonq: (Comparatively Miffed Mood)
We went for a walk on the river today to celebrate the fact that it warmed up to negative single digits today. It seems that others had the same idea, because when we got to The Forks, we found it overrun.

Unrelated to today is this old picture I found of [livejournal.com profile] atara and Jaws. I have set myself on a mission lately to sift through some of my older pictures, looking for ones that I just uploaded to my computer and then never gave them a second look. I found this picture in an older folder of shots from 2004.
Jaws

If you want to keep your baby occupied, and your dog happy, put one of them in a sled and tie the other to the front. I don't know which part of this picture I like the best; the dog taking off like it was shot from a cannon, the kid shouting for his dad who is skating along just out of sigh to the right, or the look of disbelief on the woman who is coming the other way.

After they passed, the two of them stopped to express their disbelief at how a father could do that to his child. We assured them that the kid was fine, and that it was surely something he could take up with his therapist later in life if it left any permanent emotional scars.
Mush!
plonq: (Masturbatory Mood)
Lately there has been a lot of talk about being too sedentary, and how sitting still for too long can lead to everything from obesity to varicose veins, diabetes and cancer. It can also lead people to calling you lazy.

As I have learned, it also attracts cats.

"You may resume petting me now."
Merry
plonq: (Comparatively Miffed Mood)
I was washing dishes when Belladonna came bustling very purposefully through the kitchen and stopped at the top of the basement steps where she froze and stared intently down into the basement. I paused and watched as she cocked her head as if listening to something in the basement, and then began slowly creeping down the stairs. Curious, I wandered over to the top of the stairs and watched her slowly creep to the bottom, eyes fixed toward the dark depths of the basement to her right. She stopped at the bottom and hunkered there, staring intently into the darkness.

"Is there something down there, girl?" I asked from the top of the stairs. She glanced up at me, and then quickly turned her attention to the darkness again. My curiosity was piqued even more, so I slung the dish towel over my shoulder, turned on the basement light and tromped down the stairs to see what she was so focused on. As soon as I started down the stairs, she darted off into the nether reaches of the basement.

I followed her into the murk, and she dashed on ahead, tail in the air until the reached the door into our storage/server room. She waited for me outside the door, prancing in circles with her tail in the air and chirping when I got there. Ah. So she wanted into the forbidden room. She knows she's not allowed in there, but she is ever hopeful that I will open the door and then have a lapse of attention. There is lots of interesting stuff to climb over and explore in there.

I can't help but wonder if her caginess was just her way of luring me down there to try and convince me to let her into that room. She has pulled this kind of thing before when she wanted me to come down and clean her litter box. She is a frighteningly smart for a cat.
plonq: (Insane Mood)
It may look like I caught my cat in the middle of rolling over, but looks are deceiving. Merry was lying on her back, inviting me to come over and rub her belly.
Merry is a slug
It was not a trap; Merry loves belly rubs.

Eating Zen

Aug. 14th, 2014 07:35 am
plonq: (Flying cat)
As if feeding the cats was not already time consuming enough, now they are on different diets. Jaws is having issues with her aged kidneys, and we have put her on a low protein diet to which we have to add a couple of different supplements. Naturally she prefers the food that the other cats are getting.

While [livejournal.com profile] atara has taken on the bulk of the cat feeding duties, I will occasionally dish out their food if I happen to be in the kitchen at feeding time, or if she specifically asks me to handle it. I admit that I am avoiding the duty a bit because it has gone from a task that used to take seconds to a minute or two, to a task that takes 5+ minutes twice a day.

I am not sure why I avoid it, other than convincing myself that sitting behind my keyboard is somehow time better spent. The feeding ritual actually provides a nice counterbalance to the rest of my day. It is a simple task, with predefined steps, and a known end result. Being the intense focus of three hungry cats through the whole process also adds a certain degree of empowerment to it.

It also has nothing at all to do with Zen - I just felt like throwing that word randomly in my subject line.
plonq: (Flying cat)
Normally I do not end up with two cats curled up together under the desk lamp by my computer, but circumstances led to an unusual accumulation of felines.

Merry is lying in Belladonna's usual spot.

Bella was lying there, but she left to get a drink of water, and while she was away, Merry swooped in and stole the coveted spot right under the lamp. I put a soft pad on the desk when I discovered that the cats seemed to enjoy the warmth cast by the light.

Belladonna was not happy when she returned, and she stood for nearly 10 minutes, staring intently at the other cat who had taken her spot. I don't know if she was trying to intimidate Merry into moving (the latter was blithely ignoring her), or if her little brain was having trouble processing the change in her potential plan. Eventually she circled Merry a couple of times, assessing the situation further, before she finally wedged herself in between the phone and the lamp.

Naturally Merry was completely ignorant of the drama she had just caused, and when she noticed Bella there she responded with, 'OH HAI!"
20130327

"We're buddies, right?"
20130319
plonq: (Dashing  mood)
We don't exactly know how old Jaws is, but her appointed birthday is the Ides of March. By our estimate she is about 17, but doing very well for a cat of her advanced years. I saw her napping on the bed and looking cute, so I grabbed my camera and came back to get a quick shot of the birthday girl. When I returned, she was awake and wondering where I had gone. She was much more interested in pets and cuddles than she was in posing for the camera, but in spite of that I managed to get a pretty good shot.

If you look into her eyes, you can see me reflected in them, and the flash bouncing off the wall behind me.
20130317 - Happy Birthday Jaws

I put Belladonna up on the top shelf of our new Ikea storage unit to see what she would do, and she responded by being photogenic.
20130315 - Peek-A-Boo
In other news, we are in dire need of new curtains and drapes for this room. Once we finish with our shelving project and clear out the front, I think that may be the next item on our list.

I have become something of a monitor collector at work. I seem to pick up a new monitor with every second desk move I make. When I moved to my first desk in this new office, it came equipped with a new keyboard, and a slightly abused (but still serviceable) monitor. It had somebody else's name on it, but when I checked their desk, they had two new monitors, so I suspect this one was an orphan.
20130313 - need more monitor
I probably could have procured another monitor in the move from that desk to this one (yes, they moved me again after a couple of weeks), but I feared becoming one of those crazy monitor people.

The commute to the new office is a bit of a grind - though only compared to my commute to the old office. As commutes go, I doubt I would get much sympathy from those living in larger cities by complaining about my 130-minute (round-trip) daily commute. Besides, the bus trip gives me time to relax and mull over ways to kill my fellow passengers and make it look like an accident. Not all of them, just the ones who crank up their headphones really loud, eat noisily, fling their hair over the back of the seat in front of me into my lap... you know, the ones who deserve it.
plonq: (Cat-like Typing Mood)
It is going to take some time for the novelty to wear off of being able to shoot pictures of cats/people/kids/whatever without worrying about red-eye.

This is Merry being concerned that there is another cat on the bed with her. I think that she forgets that they exist as soon as they leave her field of vision because every time she sees one of the other cats, she acts like it is the first time in her life she has seen them. She obviously has very little processing power or storage capacity in that peanut-sized brain she houses.
Merry Is Concerned

If I was to go back and take this one again, I think I would try for a genuine close-up rather than cropping the picture like I did here. Belladonna is being a pest today. She is fascinated by the process of [livejournal.com profile] atara setting up her new computer, and she wants to get involved in every step.
Belladonna Close

This is the new flash in all its flashy goodness, showing that it knows how to trigger remotely. I had expected it to work on IR, or radio but instead the camera's built-in flash triggers it. When I have the flash set remotely, my camera's built-in unit flashes at its lowest setting and triggers the remote flash that way. That seems a little half-baked to me, but it seems to work well enough. On the down side, that means that the fastest I can sync it to remotely is 1/200 of a second because that is the fastest my internal flash will accept.

I think that most of its external use will probably be with the light box. The rest of the time it will probably just be attached to the camera.
Flash

Flash!

Dec. 26th, 2012 11:25 pm
plonq: (Twilight Sparkle Clapping Mood)
[livejournal.com profile] atara bought me a very nice, mid-range flash for my old DSLR for Christmas this year. It is something that has been on my "would like to get some day" list for a few years, but after playing around with it this evening, I am kicking myself for not getting a new flash ages ago.

We walked up to the camera store this afternoon when I was having trouble getting it to do its wireless sync with my camera. I asked if I would need a cable, or if I needed an additional attachment for my camera to signal the remote flash. The girl at the camera store assured me that it SHOULD work with my camera, and she emailed me some links to help sites and videos. They had great pointers on how to use the various settings on the flash, but none of them addressed the issue I was having.

Eventually I figured it out on my own and got it working, but I don't know how much I will be using it as a detached flash anyway. Just being able to aim it makes a marked difference, and has breathed new life into this old camera.

She thought I was serious when I joked about upgrading my camera to match the shiny new flash, and she chastised me saying that I other than a few bells and whistles on the newer models, I was unlikely to see any improvement in picture quality. To be honest, I was partly serious when I joked about it. It is getting harder to find compatible add-ons for this camera, and the newer sensors DO perform much better in low light than this one does. Still, with the results I am seeing with the new flash, I think I will be happy with this camera for a few more years if it keeps working reliably.

For the record, I took all of these pictures using the 35mm lens (not because it is the best lens for shots like these, but because it is the least ungainly). I had the ISO locked at 100, and took them at aperture priority, set to f/5.0. In retrospect, it looks like the shutter locked itself at 1/60 to sync with the flash, so I'd have been better off just shooting at 1/60 and letting the camera pick the aperture. That would explain why they both came out a bit on the dark side. I'll take a few more shots tomorrow with the P setting and see what it does with the pictures.

In some ways, Belladonna is the most independent of the three cats. That said, if we both end up in the same room for any reason, Belladonna invariably shows up a minute or two later. She likes to keep an eye on her people. This spot under [livejournal.com profile] atara's lamp has become one of her favourite camping places when we are both on our computers.
Belladonna Lamp

I have noticed that many of the pictures I have of Merry make her look angry, or concerned. Those pictures are a bit misleading, because she is anything but an angry or concerned cat - she is a big, dumb, happy girl. This shot captures her personality better than most. See how she is staring with placid, curious fascination at something that only she can see? This is the Merry that we know and love.
Merry Hall

Uh oh...

Dec. 16th, 2012 10:58 pm
plonq: (Wolfish Mood)
Uh oh.
Uh Oh

In the mean time, our weather has been doing this for the past couple of days:

This is one of the prettier winter phenomenon here.

Santa Lucia buns and cats trying to eat the same )
plonq: (Huggy Mood)
If Belladonna had ever read or watched enough Peanuts episodes, she would probably recognize this scenario. She is the Charlie Brown to the green laser football.

She has never caught it, but hope springs eternal.

20101028

Strawberry

Jan. 29th, 2010 02:47 pm
plonq: (Huggy Mood)
I brought my portable HD in to work to lend to [livejournal.com profile] pierrekrahn, but the bugger still hasn't called or emailed me about it so I plugged it in and I've been nosing through it off and on today, taking a pictorial stroll down memory lane. While I was sifting through it I stumbled onto an old backup of my Olympus folder. One of the folders was named "Strawberry" and I knew immediately what it contained.

Strawberry was one of the cats that we fostered when we were taking them in from the Humane Society. She was a remarkably nice little cat, with a very checkered past. The only cat who we fostered for longer than her was Leia (who was almost as sweet tempered a cat, but was also a serious trouble-maker. She's the only foster cat who managed to repeatedly escape from her foster room.)

In this picture, we had just brought Strawberry back from having some ear polyps removed. She was still thoroughly dopey from the anaesthetic, which you can see from her somewhat unfocused expression. Just looking at her eyes, you can tell that not all of the cylinders were firing properly yet. That didn't stop her from doing her uncoordinated best to play with her favourite toy; [livejournal.com profile] atara has a heartbreakingly funny video of it posted up somewhere.

I just hope she went to the good home that she deserved. I sometimes wonder how some of our ex foster-cats are faring.

Strawberry Cone

Something else I found was a folder of art I accumulated from SCFA and similar places sometime back around 1997. A lot of is is from artists who have long since moved on to other things, or in some cases apparently fallen through the Earth's crust and vanished entirely. For the ones who are still around, it is kind of fun looking at these pictures and comparing it to their style now.

And some have not changed a thing in over 10 years of drawing.

Given what happened to the SCFA/Yerf servers, it would not surprise me if at least some of these 700ish images are the only ones still in existence - at least I've never seen them up anywhere else. I imagine a lot of them are ones that the artists are probably happy enough to have them out of circulation. Apparently I also went all fanboi over Melskunk at one point, because nearly 100 of the pictures are hers.

Finally I found a bunch of pictures of Merry when she was still just a kitten that we were fostering.

She has changed a bit. )
plonq: (Oolong mood)
Don't let Merry fool you with her cute ways. As you can see in this picture, under the veneer of cuteness she nurses some serious attitude.

20100125

I picked up the new lens today, and I've been amusing myself by running around taking pictures of anything that will hold still long enough for shot.
A couple more cat pictures behind a cut. )
plonq: (Contemplative mood)
I was hoping to catch one of the cats napping in the sun, but the sight of a camera seems to make them restive. Here is Merry looking very orange in the sunlight reflecting off the carpet.

Merry_20071013
plonq: (Glompy Mood)
Something's in the bag!  Click for a larger version.
plonq: (Gnar Gnar)
Leia went back to the shelter last night (and took it about as badly as expected). Before she left though, she decided to make our day just a bit more surreal.

Cat Tongue - Click me for a larger version

When [livejournal.com profile] atara and I got home from work yesterday, the first thing we heard when we opened the back door was the mechanical "whirr" of a running vacuum cleaner. My first thought was, "Somebody has broken into the house! ... and they're cleaning it for us...?"

A more obvious explanation was that the cats were using the vacuum to clean up incriminating evidence of some sort. On further reflection that didn't make a lot of sense either, as cats usually don't care if you know what they've done. "I left a juicy hairball on your pillow, yo!"

Speculation aside, there was definitely a canister vacuum cleaner running in the basement and Jaws (who is deathly afraid of the same) was sauntering nonchalantly up the basement stairs as we came in the door. The fact that she was not the least bit disturbed by the vacuum suggested that it had been running for some time.

While I went downstairs to turn off (and unplug) the cleaner, [livejournal.com profile] atara discovered another important anomaly; the door to the foster cat's room was wide open, and the foster - who is normally an accomplished escape artist - was perched in her usual place on top of the wardrobe, greeting us with friendly chirps. Her food dishes were licked clean.

I suspect the sequence of events went something like this: Merry, who is a big, muscular, gentle giant of a cat, was playing with the foster cat under the door (as they were wont to do) when she accidentally pushed the door open. She has managed to do this once before. The foster cat then bolted out of the room to explore the house, while Merry wandered into the room and helped herself to every exposed scrap of food (Tis no cat, 'tis a remorseless eatin' machine!). At some point - possible after both Belladonna and Jaws took exception to her existence - she wandered downstairs to explore the basement. She probably tried to use the vacuum cleaner as a launch pad to jump onto the basement refrigerator, and accidentally hit the on switch in the process. Spooked by both the noise, and by a pair of angry cats who were stalking the house radiating dislike, she probably took refuge in "her" room again for the rest of the afternoon.
plonq: (Huggy Mood)
Here's another picture of the new leopard species. Like I said earlier, it is a very striking creature.

Mrowr!

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