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Posts Tagged ‘Cat’

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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Ventriloquism!

Posted by Dirck on 29 July, 2016

That’s what it’s called when a dummy speaks, right?

I thought, in lieu of the usual Friday Film Feature, I’d recount a tale by way of making up some of the entertainment-of-visitors deficit I’ve run up on this blog.  A tale of a lost pen.

A humorous tale of a lost pen, I should say; let the smelling salts stand where they are.

I had intended to use today’s pen on Tuesday, but it was not where I expected to find it.  This was slightly distressing, because one of the few habits I have that is reliable is returning a pen to the in-battery facility; a small correspondence box with a drawer for a half-dozen pens in its base, which itself rests in a profoundly rustic Welsh dresser which came to me through my parents’ protracted move.  Since this pen doesn’t sit comfortably in the drawer, it gets to sit on top of the inks which take up the space one is meant to stick letters in the box.

I didn’t even have to open the glass doors on the top of the dresser to establish that the pen wasn’t where it should have been.  But of course, one does, and roots around.  Did it get in behind? No.  Down the side?  Nope.  And that was it for the easy possibilities.  We then start the unhappy game of I put it down somewhere foolish.

Our house is… cluttered.  My son builds railways on all horizontal surfaces.  We haven’t yet finished the integration of crap from the parents’ house with our pre-existing crap.  We have to use plastic containers full of Lego, roughly shoe-box size, to keep the insane diabetic cat off items of furniture we don’t want her to mistake for a litter box (if we’re not sitting on it, then it’s a litter box).  Setting down a pen without attending to where one sets it, even a relatively large pen, makes for problems.

So, when not attending The Regular Job and not otherwise engaged in cooking, washing, or cleaning up after the flippin’ cat, I was peering under things and into corners, all to no avail.  I was becoming resigned to the idea that the pen would not be found until the slow campaign of making the house a place for living in (insane diabetic cats already with 14 birthdays on the clock can’t last forever…) removed whatever it was hidden by.  This wasn’t a devastating blow by any means, as (i) I’ve got plenty of other pens to fall back on and (ii) this one cost less than burger at McKing&W.  I wasn’t happy, as I’d hardly had any use out of the thing since its recent arrival, but I could cope.

Coping only had to struggle on until this morning, as it turned out.  It turns out that it was in the pocket of a shirt worn on Sunday.  Not much worn* either, which is why it got hung up rather that chucked in the laundry… unlike the shirt from Saturday, which I had roused out of the hamper and given a pat down, because my search was wide-ranging if unscientific.  Hooray!

Some minutes of pointless self-castigation then followed.

There was something to learn from this incident.  Not that I have all too human failings in the areas of retention and looking after my stuff– that has, alas, been well-known for a long time.  It is the simple and happy discovery that the cap seap on this pen is very good indeed; almost a week standing point-up, but not a moment of hesitation when I opened it up to start writing this morning.  Not bad for a pen that costs the same as a ride on a city bus.

Today’s inexpensive, elusive pen: Jinhao 159
Today’s ink: Herbin Éclat de Saphir

*”Not much worn” meaning duration of contact with me since last washing.  It is, in all honesty, profoundly worn and is a “Weekend when I don’t expect to interact with others” item of clothing.

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Apprehended Mourning

Posted by Dirck on 5 January, 2016

I had meant, contemplating the week ahead from the mellow perch of New Year’s Day, to stop in yesterday with a little bit of whimsy, but two things prevented me:

  1. The usual heap of metaphoric wet laundry The Regular Job offers at the start of a month;
  2. Lack of whimsicality in my mood, brought on by events arising on 2 January.

We have, as I think I have mentioned, a number of cats milling about the place.  One of them…

...yclept Augusta, for we don't go for cutesy in our cat names...

…yclept Augusta, as we don’t go for cutesy in our cat names…

…had a cough for a while, and some Christmassy largesse from my father (who is quite inconsistent in his pronouncements) meant that we could take her into the vet without forgoing meals.  It was, we suspected, asthma, which would mean an ongoing expense and likely reduction in meal sizes, but as my wife has asthma and knows the apprehension it induces in the sufferer we were willing to have that diagnosis delivered to us.

The seeker of silver linings would say at this point that we are saved from that ongoing expense.  The diagnosis was not asthma, but of a multitude of tumours which were pressing against the lungs.  Rather than go home with a prescription, we went home without a cat, because treatment was essentially impossible and far beyond our means.

This stung just that little extra bit, because of the four cats we ended last year with, Augusta was without doubt the best-natured and -behaved of the bunch.  No illicit shredding of things, no wrathful gnawing on the hands that feed, and the expression of unwelcome fluids was purely hairball-related, extremely infrequent, and usually on the impermeable kitchen floor.   She enjoyed cuddles more than the others, and was arguably the most decorative.  If you were to pull a Sophie’s choice on me as of this time last week, demand that I select one cat to remain in the house while the others were taken, I (almost certainly) would have singled her out.  The unfairness of life is once more underscored and rubricated.

Long-time readers of this screed will no doubt be experiencing a little déjà vu now, and with good cause.  In the course of documenting these slices of my life, I’ve mentioned the passing of three other cats, all from similar maladies (the completist ghoul may look here, here, and somewhat inconclusively here).  The last of those was almost certainly harbouring the disease by the time he came into the house, but even leaving Sam the Foundling out of the mix, that’s troublesome.  I should look into how much it costs to have one’s house checked for radon, the radioactive substance no house is entirely certain to be without.  Failing that– does anyone know if cats are uncommonly tumour-prone, an inversion of the legend regarding sharks?

On the matter of legends concerning animals, I’d like to explode the myth of cats are solitary, aloof and unconcerned.  The three remaining beasts spent much of yesterday lamenting Augusta’s absence.  I’m sure some would accuse me of anthropomorphization, but watching them seeking about the house and pausing occasionally to make noises far more chilling than the “Get off my tail, you lump!” occasionally heard in past is hard to otherwise attribute.  They certainly don’t understand the explanations.

Having got all that off my chest, I will appear tomorrow with the mostly-complete item I’d intended to run out into the light– it’s mostly complete because I’ve been working on it for the better part of a year.  How’s that for a teaser?

Today’s pen: Parker 75
Today’s ink: Quink Black

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Gospel

Posted by Dirck on 16 January, 2015

I had something else lined up of Friday Film, but the FPGeeks threw this at me and, since this is one of the people I describe as “That’s what I want to be when I grow up,” I thought this it the thing to share now.  Plus, National Geographic!

…and he’s got a cat!

Today’s pen (to which some of my own humble skills have been applied): Pelikan M20
Today’s ink: Chelpark Black

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Separation Anxiety

Posted by Dirck on 22 August, 2013

I’m a little distracted today, and I think I’ll fill in the time by explaining the distraction.  Warning: A rather dirty trick follows immediately.

My wife and I are separated, and she’s take the son with her.  None of us are pleased with this state of affairs.

Aren’t you glad I warned you?  That sounds like terrible news, and even with the warning I wager many people are right now thinking, “Oh, no!  How could this terrible thing happen?”

I blame the city’s works department for it.  They are the ones who paved the street in front of our house.

I… probably should have added a warning about that non sequitur as well, eh?  Enough shenanigans, then– I’ll explain properly.  That paving was done Tuesday morning.  Tuesday evening, two-thirds of the human compliment of our domestic arrangement were wheezing in various degrees from the wafting volatile organic compounds of the new tarmacadam, with a progression on the complaint which suggested that my wife would wheeze her last if she tried to sleep on the problem.  Providentially, my parents have just left on a vacation and their house is a mere two minutes away by auto, so the wheezers were transferred to the relative comfort of fully breathable air.  I remained at home to feed the cats and to prevent them getting at the matches.

My parents’ house also has an air conditioner, which would frequently be an added comfort at this time of year.  This past weekend was, generally speaking, sweltery.  Tuesday saw an odd dip in temperature, though, which persisted through yesterday, and so the air conditioner was moot.  Cool air resulted in a paradoxical extension of discomfort, as the fresh pavement did not cook off as it might usually when exposed to summer’s mighty effects.  Bringing everyone home in the evening turned into a mere flying visit to grab fresh clothes and a few toys; while I only detected the smell of a neighbour’s barbecue, my wife said even before stepping out of the car, “I taste road.”

We’ll try again tonight, as the heat came back on today.  As I said, none of us are quite enjoying this; even the cats are showing signs of worry (possibly because they know that I have access to the matches).  The to-and-fro, the difficulty of preparing meals in an unfamiliar kitchen (a large part of my current state orbits the question of tonight’s supper), the terrible sensation of discovering that thing you didn’t think you’d need is actually constantly required, the alteration in what was an excellent cuddle schedule (my son appears intent on taking up cuddling as a profession), all of it adds its individual grains to the pan of do-not-like.  Since there’s no telling just how long it will take for the source of the trouble to exhaust itself, not only is this an open-ended misery, it raises the ugly spectre of eventually rooting for the arrival of winter and its power to prevent hydrocarbons from getting airborne through reduced Brownian motion and layers of ice.

There are a couple of small advantages to this otherwise uncongenial separation.  The primary is, of course, the ongoing existence of my wife and son; they may be way over there, but “over there” isn’t a euphemism like “gone west” and it’s something I think we all view as a positive.  More selfishly… I’ve had the best night’s sleep since late June of 2008 out of it.

Today’s pen: Mabie, Todd & Co. Blackbird
Today’s ink: Pelikan Brilliant Brown

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