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Posts Tagged ‘Cat’

An Unusually Content-packed Progress Report

Posted by Dirck on 1 August, 2019

It’s so colossal, it gets a title!

The first thing I want to do is direct your attention to a Kickstarter, which I will now steal some words from:

2019

The 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Lunar Mission.

The 40th anniversary of the classic horror film Alien.

One year after the proposal of the US Space Force.

How could we not create a collection of space themed horror?

What We Are Doing

Jason, the Leprechaun, even the Cenobites and the Critters ended up going into space. We decided it was time to give some other monsters that same chance.

Earlier this year we started accepting submissions for an anthology featuring classic monsters with the stories set in space. We have collected 16 stories and one poem that we think you are really going to enjoy.

And by enjoy we mean scare the space suit off of you.

I will declare my interest in this project– one of the sixteen stories contained in the collection is written by me, and I’m both proud of it and delighted at the prospect of its publication. So, If you’re interested in this sort of thing (and what sensible person isn’t?) take a moment to back that Kickstarter.

It’s not just an image, it’s also a link

…and now on with our regularly appearing material (but stay tuned– there’s cats lower down!).

Day What How Much Pen Ink
  • 22 July
  • 23 July
  • 24 July
  • 25 July
  • Second draft of “Those Whom Ambition Calls”
  • A trip to the dump†
  • 1,430 typed words.
  • 70 kilograms, according to the before/after weight of the van.

†I mentioned at the beginning of the month that we’d had a furniture collapse, and that dump trip was the disposal of the corpse of the old couch/futon object. The replacement is meeting with broad popular acceptance.

Kees is, as ever, mildly smug about his enjoyment of the new couch.

Bram is often tense, as is common in a hemi-demi-feral cat, but even he can relax into the luxury of our gracious new furniture item. That shred of paper near him was brought over by Kees, who is helpful that way.

Hercule, the last of our feline triumvirate, declined to initial the photo release form, but he apparently also thinks it’s nice. Happily, the three humans in the house also find it at least moderately comfortable.

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Posted by Dirck on 15 November, 2018

Day What How Much Pen Ink
  • 12 November
  • 13 November
  • 14 November
  • 15 November
  • First draft of “Heretics”†
  • 11 manuscript pages.

†While I technically began this one rather a while ago, this week saw a complete change in direction which we might as well call a do-over. For a change, I’m actually pleased with how it’s currently developing, despite the apparent slowness (Monday was a household chores day, enhanced by a horrible cat/plant interaction with much fallout).‡

…so Fate is shaping up to keep me from touching it again until next Tuesday, alas.

 

‡The cat is fine.

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Posted by Dirck on 11 October, 2018

Day What How Much Pen Ink
  • 8 October
  • 9 October
  • 10 October
  • 11 October
  • First draft of “Johnson’s Folly.”
  • 17 manuscript pages.

Contrary to usual policy, I’m being specific about what was done on the holiday Monday, which was Thanksgiving here in Canada and thus an actual lounging-around type of day. It’s… possible… that the installment of the writing was done on Sunday, while sitting in the stands at son’s gymnastics class (which, now that I think on it, is where the initial work of my “serious phase” of writing began).

Alas, I lost a day this week to a variety of family health issues– running the cat into the vet, and taking over as the Collector of Son from School office which my mother-in-law has been filling while we wait for my wife’s leg to be see to… because my father-in-law was told to come to a neighbouring city to get a new kidney. Alas, kidney proved non-viable when it and he got into the same place, so it was an excursion to no benefit.

The cat, because I know everyone is vitally interested, has been experiencing Horner’s Syndrome thanks to an ear infection. The ear infection is cleared up, but the eye is still somewhat occluded (doesn’t worry the vet) and his balance is off (worries the vet); we may, if we’re interested, spend half a month’s income on having his head scanned. I’m hoping he’ll improve without imagine, so this decision is being extemporized. We’ve already spent vast sums this month on plumbing and other unexpected unavoidables.

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The Curse of George Bailey

Posted by Dirck on 25 September, 2018

Yes, I know it’s only Tuesday. All will be explained presently.

Day What How Much Pen Ink
  • 24 September
  • 25 September
  • Second draft of “Kick a Cat…”
  • This thing you’re reading now.
  • 702 typed words.
  • Also roughly 700 words.

Before I explain, I will mention that the Pelikan Hub was a gas, for those who dig on fountain pens, and I strongly plan to attend next year; this means I will also be yelling at people from this pulpit and others to sign up in about ten months. I now have a lot of Pelikans with ink in them, but happily I really like Pelikans.

Now, on with the heart of the matter. On 9 September, while having the regular Sunday dinner with my parents, they asked if I would like to accompany my father to a reunion of his siblings; my mother usually rides shotgun for him, but some minor side-effects of the aging process disincline her to face the demands of travel.

I was slightly hesitant because apart from The Regular Job’s current state…

Yes, I do indeed like this GIF, and will use it too much. It’s evocative.

…I’m the only driver in the house; my wife doesn’t, by choice, and my son is still too young to be legally allowed in the front seat. But wife agreed, having her parents and my mother to rely on for transport and food deliveries, so I explained the situation to my masters at Regular Job, and was granted the necessary week’s leave.

Part of the reason I got asked to attend is because my brother has been to… a couple… of these family get-togethers in the current millenium, while I have not done such a thing since 1996. Why? Because there’s always some damn thing that crops up to prevent me going. It’s usually been work related (not so much a tyrannical denial as fearing starvation for lack of pay upon return), but not always. I have said aloud that I feel somewhat like George Bailey, the put-upon protagonist of It’s a Wonderful Life, who is forever being thwarted in his plans to have travel anywhere for any reason.

In so much as this thought even occurred to me at the time, I put it aside on the grounds that it’s not really a vacation. I saw my role as assistant and chauffeur as well as companion, and that’s sort of like work.

Apparently this view was not shared by the mysterious powers that run the universe.

I got home from work on 10 September to find that my wife was in gasping agony, she thought from an unusually pernicious cramp in her leg. This persisted the way a cramp does not, for days, and she got off to the doctor to get some insight. Consultation, x-rays, and eventually we get the news– through arthritic changes, my wife no longer has any cartilage in her knee, and her hip is looking rather suspect too. We await contact from the rheumatologist her doctor is calling in to advise (while not as bad as US politicians make out, there are some delays in the functioning of Canadian health-care; since I pay naught for it but a small yearly income tax, this inconvenience is balanced out).

So now I’m pinched between duties. I may be departing for thriving, populous Ontario tomorrow morning at about 5:00am, if my wife feels she will be able to look after our son and cats without my assistance in the evenings, and I will spend the following week in mild fit of worry.  The alternative is a week of sick guilt while my father is on his tod in a distant province full of traffic and maple trees, plus the lasting sensation of having caused the waste of money in the form of unused air fare. Unless my father decides he’s not going for want of a companion, in which case the guilt will derive more from knowing that he’s one of the youngest of his siblings, and he may be missing a last encounter with at least one of them.

We do not have any bridges I can offer to pitch myself off of, hopeful of inducing a cherubim in a hobo disguise to intervene.  Even if we did, Clarence’s assistance was more in the line of a feverish acid trip than a proper miracle, and to be honest a miraculous cure of my wife’s ailment is exactly what’s needed.

In any event, I’m incommunicado for the next week; either very far away and busy, or using that time off of work to attend to my wife as fully as I wish I had been doing the past two weeks. I’ll let you know how it came out at the regular progress report time in the first week of October.

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Posted by Dirck on 5 April, 2018

Day What How Much Duration Pen Ink
  • 2 April
  • 3 April
  • 4 April
  • 5 April
  • First draft of “Destroying the Abomination” (very much a working title).
  • Seven manuscript pages.
  • Six pages.
  • Six pages.
  • Eight pages.
  • 50 min.
  • 45 min.
  • 45 min.
  • 50 min.

Yes, it’s the return of the previous version of the progress report form.

I… don’t hear anyone cheering.  Fair enough.  I had meant to do something of more interest this week, but I’ve honestly had hardly a moment free at home, and I need several moments to get some necessary pictures out of my camera.  The coming weekend should offer a span of minutes I can grasp, although I fear my wife’s play director may insist upon more rehearsals at inconvenient times.

I was able, last Saturday, to take this happy snap:

This close, and no closer. So far. This too is progress….

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Posted by Dirck on 29 March, 2018

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Progress
  • 1,481 words typed.

Say, that wasn’t much of a week, was it? Oh, but it was busy. You see, this fellow…

The darling Hercule

…has been going increasingly mad from loneliness since the death of his closest and final chum, Oberon.  It’s not that we humans neglect him, but we do not speak his language well. Last weekend, we finally found him some companions.  We had been looking for either siblings or a cat that was very friendly to other cats.  We ended up finding two of the latter:

Names TBA. We’ve just met them. Also, someone else took this picture.

They are, as far as anyone knows, not related.  But they clearly get on well with other cats.  They were, in fact, required to be adopted together by the rescue group whence we got them.  The older one is great with cats, but shy with people, and thus was hard to adopt.  After he had provided support to the younger during a phase of convalescence from the illness which took his mother and litter-mates (which sounds like Victorian melodrama, but is all too true), the idea of separating them seemed monstrous.

Of course, when brought into our house, they vanished like a dew.  I spent part of Sunday convinced that the little fellow had been killed by some unknown hazard in our basement.  By last night, though, they were both at least visible, and the big guy has apparently convinced Hercule that no one is going to get eaten by anyone else.  Progress toward a happy household.

However… none of this has a lot of bearing on the low word-count.  What brings that about is the fact that one of the words typed this week was END, all by itself at the bottom of a page.  Very nearly 90,000 words, which is a great deal more than I thought the manuscript ran to and a pretty good number for a novel.

This years-ago version of my son is SO PROUD of his dad’s persistence!

This doesn’t mean I’m done, alas.  There’s a little polishing of the whole before it gets put in the hands of feedback providers, then reacting to that feedback, then hiring a professional editor to do some horrible things to my ego… at the end of which I will start sending query letters out.  If this seems a timid and over-baked approach… well, yeah, but since it’s the first novel (bar the ones I never even tried to publish) I’d like it as shiny as possible before pestering gate-keepers with it.

It is done enough that I can get on with some other projects, though.  Hoorah, hoorah!

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Posted by Dirck on 1 February, 2018

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Progress
  •  2,737 words typed.

You might think, with that relatively high word count, I’d be a happy fellow.

Hey, look, I’m using foreshadowing, like a writer.

It has, by most other metrics, been a fairly abominable week… and a bit.  I’m not going to share the whole sad yarn, but one form of woe which came to the house lately I will offer here, because it’s a kind which I have shared previously.  We have lost yet another cat.  This time, at least, it’s a loss which we saw coming, because unlike so many of the others, this chap lived to the sort of age we expect a cat to last to.  He was the child of she who passed from us eight years back (good heavens, but haven’t I been at this while?), and was creeping stealthily toward his nineteenth birthday.  Alas, like so many desirable prey will, it seems to have noticed him stalking it, and fled away.

He made a pretty good hunt of it, though.  Farewell to Oberon, then.

And because he was adopted by the wrong sort of people, his full name was Oberon Kenobi.

Our sole survivor, Hercule, is as bereft as you might expect from looking at this. Once we’ve cleaned up the place a little, we’ll be seeking new companions for him.

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The Wages of Immortality

Posted by Dirck on 1 May, 2017

I don’t believe I’m being original when I say that we are effectively immortal in the eyes of our pets, so long as we stick to relatively pedestrian companions.  A household Galapagos tortoise or even an African Grey parrot will have a different perspective.  As immortals, we change only slowly while the pet passes from one end of life to the other.  They experience continuity, barring horrible accidents.  We experience grief.

This is Cleopatra Harris, named because we are silly about connecting ancient Egypt and cats, and because her hair was reminiscent of Ron Glass’s in Firefly but Cleopatra Book didn’t have the right flow.  This morning she ceased to be, having passed from a kittenhood of nicotine addiction (not her choice, and not ours; she joined her litter mates at our house after a brief stay with someone else who had a SERIOUSLY rough patch in their life which eventually developed to “I can’t look after this poor cat, please take her”) to a seniority of incontinence and eventual diabetes.

Actually, the incontinence was a long-term thing.  This is the cat who, if you read back through the years when interesting things happened on this blog, I frequently swore at.  Part of the expense of owning her for the past couple of years has been buying puppy training pads in job lots, because she decided litter boxes should occupy half the floor-space of the house, and we had to very nearly carpet the place and largely upholster all our furniture with disposable absorbents… which she mostly didn’t miss.  She is the cat who, if I may be frank, was making a very good case for “let’s not have any more cats in the house” in the head of a guy who has loved cats since age 5.

Over the weekend, it became clear that her life had at last become even more a burden to her than it was to me.  This estimation was made by my wife, who was not as oppressed by the cat-based squalor as I, finding in her heart an adamantine core of affection which the misbehavior could not damage or even discolour (it’s not like the cat was actively trying to kill our son, after all), and her decision was based on that affection.  We thus prepared son for the impending loss as well as we could, gave Cleo one last taste of the great outdoors during which the above picture was taken, and committed the act of medically-assisted euthanasia this morning.  She may not look ill in the picture, but she was essentially nothing but a lot of hair around a collection of extremely sore joints.

And yes, I wept throughout the time in the vet’s office.  She was a filthy destroyer of the fabric of our house, a vast and constant drain on our scant finances, and occasionally bite-y.  But she was also beautiful, extremely willing to let son practice the humane treatment of animals upon her, and (when not actively ruining a carpet) a cuddly, loving beast who sought the affection her infirmities did so much to alienate.  I will not miss the messes, but I will miss the cat, because we all contain multitudes and there was good in her even I can appreciate, and what was bad was bad without intent.

We are, once a thorough cleaning has been undertaken, likely get yet another young cat that we can outlive and mourn.  If classical mythology teaches us anything, it’s that immortals are gluttons for self-inflicted punishment.  It’s the patches of delight between the bouts of grief that keep us going.

Today’s pen: Waterman Carène
Today’s ink: Quink washable blue (vintage)

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A Disputable Premise

Posted by Dirck on 3 March, 2017

This is a charming little film, and although it rests on a shaky foundation, I thought the tone of it is just what the current age calls for.

I know at least four households that defy the notion of cats and dogs not living together well.  And that’s not counting The Simpsons.

An aside– I published a little something on my fiction front just now, for those who care about such things.

Today’s pen: Parker 51
Today’s ink: Herbin Vert Empire

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Happy Place Time

Posted by Dirck on 3 February, 2017

OK, I said I’d trail off the political stuff.  I’ll go so far as to offer ten minutes of absolute denial, and use the internet for its original purpose– promulgation of cat videos.

I was considering one with a little more antics, but it had a “wacky” soundtrack.  You know, like you wish they were playing on the news these days to reassure you that none of it was happening.

Today’s pen: Sailor 102
Today’s ink: Herbin Bleu Nuit

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