Thursday, January 27, 2011

In Which I Bitch Some More About My Cats

Aaargh. Apparently it's not Happiness attacking Mickey I have to worry about, it's Mickey attacking Happiness. He's taken to hissing at her, and today they got into a staring contest from two inches away, at the culmination of which he just flew at her. She managed to disengage and run away, and he followed her and leaped onto her back. It was not remotely playful. And then when I pulled him off, he started chewing on my arm.

It's all very upsetting, not least because I don't know what to do about it. It seems like a very different problem from "Oh, no, there's an interloper on my territory!", which at least is an issue I have a clue about. 90% of the time they ignore each other and are fine, but I cannot leave them unsupervised if they're going to keep fighting like this, and I can't leave Mickey cooped up in the spare bedroom for half the day forever. Again I say, aaaargh!

(And, yeah, yeah, I know, everyone but me is probably getting tired of hearing all about this, but I need somewhere to vent, and you, oh internet, are it.)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Because Certain People Continue To Encourage Me: Kitten Pic!

Here's Mickey relaxing after a hard day of terrorizing the other kitties:

His eyes look a little weird in this picture, but don't worry. That's due to glare, not injury.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Enough About Cats. Have Some Random Links.

Doctor Who Meets Star Wars Parody: OK, it's mostly just random Star Wars scenes with the Doctor inserted into them without any particular rhyme or reason, but it's nicely done, with some amusing bits.

6 awesomely geeky sci-fi snowmen: This is about as geeky as snow gets.

And, finally, two musical sentiments I can get behind: Never interrupt me me when I'm Reading a Book. Also, Call Me During Doctor Who and I'll Kill You!

Another Cat Socialization Update

Gawd, it's one step forward, two steps back with these animals. I've gotten to the point where I'm leaving Mickey out pretty much all day when I'm home and awake, and while Vir still has periods of growliness, they're able to be in the same room for longer and longer periods with no ill effects whatsoever. I think feeding Vir treats while Mickey's around was very helpful, if not exactly good for Vir's diet.

On the other hand, now Happiness is being all pissy and dangerous. Yesterday, she got into a hissing, tail-puffing confrontation with Vir, and then last night she and Mickey got into a full-fledged claws-out slap fight. Fortunately, neither of them was injured, but she got me pretty damned good when I leaped in to intervene. And then Mickey clawed me up a bit more in a panic to get down after I picked him up to put him back in his room for a cooling-down period. (Note: Conventional wisdom is that you should never get into the middle of a catfight. Conventional wisdom is sensible on this topic, and you should listen to it. I don't listen to it, but that's because where cats are concerned I'm kind of an idiot.)

And then today, apparently Mickey was sitting in a spot on the windowsill that Happiness wanted, so she jumped up there and knocked him off. The poor little thing was hanging by his front paws with his back feet scrabbling desperately against the wall. I had to go over and catch him. It was less cute than it sounds. Sigh. And here I used to wish Happiness would be more assertive with the other cats. I take it back!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Somehow, I Never Seem To Make My Own Travel Plans.

Apparently I just let my mother talk me into going to Hawaii with her in September. I really hope the cats are no longer trying to kill each other by then.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Oh, Mr. Nugent, You Always Know Just What To Say.

Playing on the radio while I was driving to the vet's to get Mickey a new tube of ointment: "Cat Scratch Fever." Thanks, DJ! I needed that laugh.

Also, it serves as a reminder that I need to make Mickey an appointment to be neutered in a couple of months.

More Aaargh

So, this morning I somehow managed to accidentally splooge out Mickey's entire tube of eye ointment, which was supposed to last a full week. And not into Mickey's eye, either. So now he's without his medicine until I can get back to the vet to get some more. Which I can't right now, because I'm stuck at work. Again. Which might not matter, anyway, because it's entirely possible the vet isn't open today.

And, thus, I find myself full of vague, annoying resentments. I resent having to work 32+ hours in the the space of less than three days. I resent people who have holidays off when I don't. I resent people who have other people at home to help them with crap like this. I resent my own overblown sense of responsibility which makes me do things like take in sick, stray kittens who have no one else and then freak out irrationally when I can't take care of them perfectly.

All of which is stupid, I know, because the kitten will almost certainly be fine, anyway, and because I'm still better off than 99.99% of the people in human history, and I really have no right to bitch. Still...

[ETA: Just called the vet. They are open. So I can go and get some more when I get off work. Well, that's something, anyway. Actually quite a relief, in fact.]

[ETA again: And, you see? There are so many reasons why it's a good thing I never had kids. The cats are more than stressful enough!]

Saturday, January 15, 2011

No Peace

Remember how I said things were perhaps looking hopeful and the cats were starting to get along better? Well, there was one small hissing altercation after that, but mostly relations did seem to be improving. At one point last night, Mickey and Nova were actually sort of playing together, in a vague and tentative way. I was feeling so hopeful, in fact, that I thought, you know, maybe this time I can leave Mickey out while I'm sleeping and trust them not to kill each other... an idea with particular appeal, since I still don't quite trust them when I'm not home, and I felt bad about having to keep Mickey locked up in the spare bedroom all weekend while I do 12-hour shifts.

Yeah. Not the best idea I've ever had. I was woken up at 5:30 AM to the sound of a yowling cat fight, and after I rushed out and broke it up, I discovered that Mickey had blood seeping out of the corner of his eye. Eeeeep!

Don't worry. He's OK. He has a scratched cornea, which I know from personal experience is painful, but heals fast. (Presumably he won't have the long-term problems I have, since I gather that's pretty uncommon, and I was just "lucky.") Also, he has now been shot full of antibiotics to prevent infection, as abscesses are the big thing they worry about with cat fights. But I feel kind of terrible. At least the vet -- not my usual one, but the only one that was open today -- was able to see him first thing, and I was only 45 minutes late for work. (And, man, do I owe the night shift guy big time for staying late to cover for me.) I really wish I could be home with him, though. Sigh.

Of course, the real question in all of this is: What the hell does Vir have against corneas?

Friday, January 14, 2011


There are currently four cats lounging around my living room. Right at this moment, none of them are hissing. Things may be looking hopeful.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Also, It Kind Of Made Me Sleepy

So, I tried to watch Inception, but after about an hour of watching DiCaprio act an annoying character in boring fashion and constantly muttering to myself "But dreams don't work that way" and contemplating the fact that my TV really is too small for movies that exist mainly to dazzle me with expensive special FX, I found myself getting distracted playing Scrabble on my phone, and half an hour later I gave up and turned it off. Possibly I was just not in the right mood. In fact, I'm sure I was not in the right mood. But, I dunno, mostly it just struck me much the same way The Matrix struck me when I first saw it. "Ooh, look how pretentious and full of myself I am about how clever and twisty and slick and original I am, when I'm really just serving up warmed-over Philip K. Dick!" Meh.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Well, January Seems To Be Flying By Fast...

Current clothes: Tan jeans. Gray t-shirt with a big round VLBA logo and little flags from all the states where we have antennas. Blue long-sleeve button-down shirt unbuttoned over that. White socks. Black sneakers.

Current mood: I feel a bit strange and out of it, in that way that happens when my sleeping patterns are even more messed up than usual. But now that the sun's up and I have some warm breakfast in my belly, it's improving a little.

Current music: Nothing recently, really. Well, more random songs I don't even remember.

Current annoyance: Bitchy, territorial cats.

Current thing: I just finished mainlining an entire season of Supernatural. To which my main reaction was, "For being kind of a not-very-good-show, that's actually a really good show." Yeah, it confuses me, too.

Current desktop picture: The TARDIS with a wreath on the door. Time to change that back, I guess. The holidays were sure over fast.

Current book: The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Presents Earth (The Book): A Visitor's Guide to the Human Race. Very smart, funny humor.

Current song in head: "Totem" by Rush. Also, a random medley of songs with the word "angel" in the title. Both of which are the legacy of having just mainlined aforementioned season of Supernatural.

Current DVD in player: Nothing, 'cause I finished the Supernatural. Next up from Netflix: Inception. Since I never did get around to seeing it in the theater, despite it being one of the few movies I was interested enough in to want to.

Current refreshment: Lukewarm coffee from Subway.

Current worry: These goddamn cats will never settle down and get along smoothly.

Current thought: I'm still kind of hungry.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Stupid Real Life.

Bah! I do not want to go in to work. This will be my 7th day -- excuse me, seventh night -- in a row, the end of what is effectively a 64-hour work week. Have I mentioned that my current schedule kind of sucks? I also do not want to deal with any more stressed out cats. What I want to do is to lie on the sofa and marathon episodes of Supernatural until my brain explodes. Possibly while eating ice cream.

Oh, well. Maybe that can be my plan for tomorrow.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Cat Socialization Update

So, I had this idea about leaving Mickey's door open with the gate in place for longer periods of time to help the other cats get used to him, occasionally rewarding them with treats if they behave themselves in his presence. Which seemed like it might be a promising approach, up until the point where Mickey finally figured out how to jump the gate. At which point, I kind of gave up, shrugged my shoulders and said, "OK, I guess we're at this stage now, ready or not," and let him wander around the house a little. Which provoked the following reactions in the other cats:

Nova: Hissed a little, but was easily distracted with a dollop of I Can't Believe It's Not Butter. (He loves that stuff. Don't ask me why.)

Vir: Growled and hissed a lot. Followed Mickey around a little bit to growl and hiss at him some more. But showed no inclination to actually attack him. Hey, at this point, I'll take it.

Happiness: Was asleep in the living room. Barely opened her eyes, even when Vir was right across the room growling. Because Happiness is too old to deal with young cat bullshit. Go, Happiness.

So, I guess that's where we are. I'll start letting him out more now when I'm home and able to keep an eye on him. And eventually Vir will have to learn to deal. Right?

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Partial Progress

So, Happiness and Nova are now at the stage where they seem perfectly capable of ignoring the fact that, hey, there's a kitten over there! when in the presence of lots of petting and artificial dairy products, respectively. Vir, meanwhile, is moping around the house in a royally pissy mood, and saying things like, "You've been touching a kitten! I can smell it on you! DON'T TOUCH ME!" in what really might just as well be English.

Sigh. He can't keep it up forever, can he? Because, OK, it's one thing if they don't get along. They won't be the first cats in this household to feel that way. But Vir is perfectly capable of lashing out quite badly if something really sets him off, and the possibility of him hurting the kitten is really not acceptable.

Yeah, yeah. Taking it very, very slowly...

2010: The Year In Books

That's right, it's time for the traditional New Year's book post! The complete list of my 2010 book reading can be found here, conveniently sorted by the order in which I read them. Total for this year was 171, which is pretty substantial even by my standards. I think it's actually the highest total since I've been keeping records. Go, me! Anyway, said reading is the usual eclectic mish-mash of stuff, although I was rather surprised to realize that while a lot of these books come under the general heading of "speculative fiction," there's actually comparatively little straight-ahead science fiction. And a fair percentage of the books that do qualify are either Doctor Who or Miles Vorkosigan novels. (I finally finished the latter series this year, by the way. Now I feel bereft.)

I did fulfill my stated goal of ending the year with fewer than 400 books on the To-Read Pile. Only by the skin of my teeth, though; if the mail service were any faster, I would have missed it. I ended up with 398 unread books, 30 fewer than I started with. Which is less impressive than it sounds, considering that 30 is also the number of books I pulled off the To-Read shelves and donated to the library. Oops.

Anyway, as has also become traditional, here is the my list of the best books I read in 2010, based on the ratings I gave them at the time I read them. It's a pleasantly long list this time, I think.


The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Locke and Key: Welcome to Lovecraft by Joe Hill
The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly
Komarr by Lois McMaster Bujold
The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
The Simpsons Futurama Crossover Crisis by Matt Goening and Bill Morrison
The World Inside by Robert Silverberg
Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare
A Civil Campaign by Lois McMaster Bujold
Iron Council by China Mieville
Voices by Ursula K. LeGuin
Powers by Ursula K. LeGuin
Ring for Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse
Jeeves and the Feudal Spirit by P.G. Wodehouse
Shadow Tag by Louise Erdrich
I Shall Wear Midnight by Terry Pratchett
Dear American Airlines by Jonathan Miles


Perfectly Reasonable Deviations From The Beaten Track: The Letters Of Richard P. Feynman by Richard P. Feynman, compiled by Michelle Feynman
The Magician's Book: A Skeptic's Adventures in Narnia by Laura Miller
The Unlikely Disciple: A Sinner's Semester at America's Holiest University by Kevin Roose
Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void by Mary Roach
Doubt: A History by Jennifer Michael Hecht
Prisoner of Trebekistan: A Decade in Jeopardy! by Bob Harris

I don't know why I had so much more high-rated fiction than non-fiction, though, considering that my overall reading was pretty close to a 50-50 split. Maybe my standards are just a bit higher for non-fiction.