Saturday, March 29, 2008

where are our kittens?

We've spent hours and hours since Wednesday afternoon trying to find kittens to adopt, exhausting almost all options. It's frustrating, but more than that it's becoming very upsetting to me.

I feel like adopting kittens is the last thing we can and should do for getting through Lancelot's terrible death. The adoption is inextricably connected in my mind with Lancelot's end. We're adopting kittens because Lancelot isn't with us any more. If he were, we wouldn't be thinking of it. For two months now, there's been a very obvious and definite hole in our lives and in our place, and it has never stopped hurting. I will always be hurt by the loss of that incredibly excellent cat, but it is time for there to be cats again.

It would be easier if we weren't in the kitten market. There are adult cats to be adopted probably everyplace in the US. We want kittens because we want to raise them to be used to things like having their claws trimmed and being brushed. And, well, you've seen kittens. What's better than a kitten?

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

spring breaking

The plan was, we'd drive down to LA on Friday, spend Easter weekend and a couple days down there, and bring back up with us Pico de Gato, the cat that showed up at our place late last summer, when Lancelot was still alive and kicking and his heart was still beating with hate for other cats. It wasn't tenable to keep Pico then, so we had him, in the euphemism, fixed, and brought him down to LA to Lauren's mom's place to live with (at current count) 5 cats and 5 dogs.

Last night, the plan changed.

I had misgivings all along, because I thought that Pico would have learned habits that I'd want him to unlearn, and that would be difficult: hanging around on countertops, tabletops, high shelves, and so forth; going in and out at will; pouncing on random four-legged passersby. I didn't realize until last night that Lauren's misgivings were as serious as they were: she wasn't sure she could have Pico around and not feel some reserved guilt about Lancelot.

So we remain, for the moment, catless. The plan now is to adopt two kittens, raise them from kittenhood, give them their human names, teach them the ways of the world, love the tar out of them, etc. After driving up from LA today, we tried to find kittens at the Stanislaus County animal shelter (a fairly miserable place, but they're better than they were a couple years ago) and a pet store in Turlock that used to have kittens for adoption. No dice, or in any case, no kittens. Just a lot of sad cat faces in cages in a smelly room in Modesto.

(For the record, I hate animal shelters. I can't stand being near them, let alone in them. To me they represent the worst of human behavior - our fantastic capacities to regard life as cheap; to disregard other beings, and especially their suffering; to hide, discard, deny, and ultimately dispose of the evidence of our worst failings; and to treat the world and everything in it as here for our momentary pleasure and consumption with no thought of the consequences.)

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

finally, some good news

Not about the economy, which is still, according to some reports, 78.3% likely to go foom.

No, the good news is that, what with the subprime mortgage market scandal being breathtakingly revealed, we may finally be free from the scourge of web ads featuring badly animated dancing cowboys, lizards, silhouetted chicks in skirts, and so on, trying to sell subprime loans. Thank Moose for that, because I always came close to smashing my laptop against the nearest wall when those appeared.

Besides that, my loveliest found a wonderful item on the Internets, through an online friend of hers. I am proud to bring you garfield minus garfield.

Sunday, March 16, 2008


New York Times article on Bear Stearns.

Two points: They deliberately inflated their market value to increase their stock price by way of simply bluffing. People on Wall Street bought it.

Okay, three points: The Fed, (i.e., US taxpayers) are bailing them all out.

Okay, okay, four points: As much as this "moral hazard" of bailing out the screwheads bugs the hell out of me, if the Feds didn't, the entire house of cards which is the US economy and the stock market would collapse, and that would hurt the innocent far more than the guilty.

hockey related things

It's been a while since I updated either this blog or my list of

Doc Nagel's Top 100 Things

32. Thrilling, close hockey games. I just love 'em.

A week ago Friday, we took in the Stockton Thunder game with our pals Christina and Guerin. The Thunder looked a little dazed in the first period, as Idaho ran up a 2-0 lead, outshooting the Thunder something like 12-6. It didn't look much better until midway through the second, when the Thunder got a short-handed goal, and in the third, absolutely took over the game. Superb pulling-together performance. Lots of hits, a couple fights, good passing (eventually) and brilliant puck-possession in the third by the Thunder. Good stuff.

31. Lopsided wins for my favorite hockey team. I just love 'em.

This morning I woke to the Pittsburgh Penguins beating the tar out of the brain-dead thugs who beat people up while wearing Philadelphia Flyers jerseys. My hatred for the Flyers, as has been documented here, is unspeakable, deep, abiding, and the cause of a great deal of cursing. Today I recognized the fatal flaw in the Flyers strategy was that, when a team like the Penguins forces them to try to play hockey, they really can't. Penguins, 7-1. Evgeni Malkin and Petr Sykora had 2 goals and 2 assists, each. Zappo.

30. Long winning streaks for one of my favorite hockey teams. I just love 'em.

San Jose Sharks, 11 in a row. Zowie.

Monday, March 10, 2008

another new song

'Tis the season, I suppose. Actually, the recording is a long time coming.

This one is called Try This At Home.

My righteous dude Jim "The Most Optimistic Man In America With a Soundclick Page" Williams has told me he thinks it's 1/3 too long. Dunno. On one hand, I see where he's coming from. On another hand, I like the way it gradually unfolds.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Thursday, March 06, 2008

new song

How about a new song, this one for my sister: It's Pam's Song!

a whole new meaning to being stoned

A new study by an Israeli psychologist suggests that the ancient Israelites were high as kites, which would explain the burning bush and blaring trumpets all right, but wouldn't it also explain a lot of what went on in Leviticus, too? Just a bit?

In any case, it's good to read that, like most other reputable world religions, Judaism apparently based some of its theological insights on hallucinations. Really, what better source of moral law could there possibly be?

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

just noticing

Since some time during the final phases of the Clinton administration, news media are less and less presenting unemployment and jobless statistics and federal budget data. During the Clinton administration, this may have been because of the economic good times: unemployment across the US was something under 4% for a while there (though, of course, in the San Joaquin valley it was still close to 10%), and the federal budget was in surplus.

But now, those data would seem to be important again as evidence for claims about the health or illness of the economy and the federal coffers. No? But what's the current jobless rate in the US? And how high is the budget deficit now?

I don't watch TV news, for a variety of reasons, so I don't have a complete picture of mainstream news media these days. I do, however, read newspapers (online, that is), and listen to NPR with some frequency. So on balance, I believe this is an accurate observation.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

things for the spring

It's spring here. Neener-neener-neener.

In any case, it's also the time of year when we celebrate a pair of

Doc Nagel's Top 100 Things

34. Lucrative tax returns. I just love 'em.

I deliberately have more than my share of income tax withdrawn from my pay, in part because I'm anxious about the specter of having to pay big bucks to the government at tax time, but mainly because I have no head whatsoever for any of this money stuff, and the tax return windfall feels like I've managed to do something fiscally prudent. (It's not, of course. The best way to swing this would be to calculate close to the precise amount you'll ultimately owe the government, and pocket/save/collect interest on the rest. I'm no good at that.)

We got about 4 grand back this year. We've filed, but haven't got our scratch yet. Last year we got about the same, and spent a grand or so on our delightful loveseat.

33. Storage solutions. I just love 'em.

This year we spent $300 on storage for visual media, of which we have a ton. We've got oodles of media, truth be told, and it's all over the place. Lauren built us some super-keen boho pine-board-n-cinder-block shelves to store the DVDs and VHS tapes, which we eventually covered with the rainbow peace-sign flag I got Lauren as a surprise a year ago or so.

[rainbow flag video shelves. keen.]

But the new solution is, if you'll pardon the expression, heap better. These are Ikea "Billy" bookcases, with doors and extra shelves. Images courtesy of the new camera, by the way.

[Ikea bookcase media storage. a little keener.]

... and, just because you've been good ...

almond blossoms!