Caturday: Jenny the housekeeper

Rudha-an here. Before we get to the more lighthearted fare involving Miss Jenny and her housekeeping skills, I have something to say. This last week has been an eye opener and not in a good way. Oh, I knew things were bad, but I had hoped for better. It appears that America’s effing Nazis have been given a voice. We need to drown them out by shouting louder than they can. I don’t endorse violence, except in self defense. We cannot ignore them either.

Many people advocate just ignoring them and they’ll go away. They won’t go away. Bullies never go away until they’re forced into it. Stand up and shout. Shout for your neighbors and your friends. Do not be silent. I leave you with these two quotes.

Throughout history it has been the inaction of those who could have acted; the indifference of those who should have known better; the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most; that has made it possible for evil to triumph. ~Haile Salassie~

In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends. ~Martin Luther King~

I now return you to Lastech and his story about Miss Jenny’s housekeeping.

Miss Jenny’s housekeeping skills may lean more towards Mrs. Doubtfire than Mary Poppins, but she deserves an A for charming mayhem. After I’d gotten home from work, I unwrapped and balled up the bandage off my foot and left it on my side of the bed before passing out.

Some hours later, still in the dark, I woke up to scratching and thumping. I reached out blindly and touched soft fur and a rather solid body, which triggered some heavy purring. Miss Jenny. Whaaa…? She was batting at something until she picked it up and dropped it on the bed, waiting. Since I’m so well trained by Tito, I half-consciously picked it up and tossed it across the bedroom. She leapt after it and brought it back a few times until I returned to sleep in short order.

Some time later, scratch-scratch-scratch… “Baby no, what are you doing?” Purr-purr… I covered my head with a pillow and went back to sleep. I vaguely remember her stepping and farting around my head, crop dusting as I petted her… Amazing what you get used to, really.

Miss Jenny looking satisfied with her housekeeping

Living with the furry ones, I’m well aware of the need to watch where I step, and that includes checking my slippers before putting them on, a good idea that morning, since cat logic dictates that’s where writing implements belong… I should mention that the balled up bandage vaguely resembled a potato and Jenny loves potatoes.

Miss Jenny very carefully placed the pens in my slippers. The alignment was almost perfect.

And now for the rest of the fur butts

Titanescu with his sleepy stinkeye
Tito looking like he’s about to start chirping
Pepi: Whaaaaaaaaaat! I was sleeping!
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Midnight Movie Madness: “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets”

“Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets” – (2017, France, 2hrs 17mins – PG13)

Luc Besson takes us on a trip through Space and Time with personal meaning. Those unfamiliar with the “Valerian & Laureline” series of comic books, and other materials referenced in this film, might hopefully find it to be good escapist fare. Good offerings in the Space Opera genre are too rare and having grown up reading them I am just as fond of “Valerian & Laureline” as the director, Luc Besson.

A disclaimer: although I read the comics the film is based on,  I read them between 35 to 45 years ago, and my review is based largely on personal recollection.

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Caturday: is it Tuesday yet? and what is that racket?

Is it Tuesday? It must have been when the doc prescribed Cipro to counter Rudha-an’s (aka Julie-the-nose) sinus infection. I was nodding off in the waiting room, since I’m now back to working nights, drifting off to a scene of the doc plunging swabs painfully up nostrils, expressing a professional opinion summed up as “ewwww!” and listening to faint gurglings and wheezings from whence he plunged his apparatus.

“Is that you?”, he asked her. I’m not sure what he expected. Amoxycillin’s for amateur night, we were talking New York City in 2020, on Tuesday, Soylent Green day, when there’s no damn Soylent Green to be had.

Up that nose, the crushing masses of microbes (the most common first name for male microbes is Mike, Becky for females, as in Bacteria) could not even get out of the swab’s way. In truth, some were already dead, but those sinuses being standing room only, who would know? In came the swabs, like the sanitation trucks brought in by the riot Police, punching through starving crowds of Mikes and Beckys in the sweltering heat.

Cipro might be our only hope, our “Charlton Heston for the truth” shooting Mikes with his .38. Swabs… No wonder Joseph Cotten (no pun intended) couldn’t take the guilt….

Tito enjoying a bit of sun
Miss Jenny looking beautiful, as usual
The stoic Titanescu
Pepi having a run at the arboretum

Rudha-an here. Lastech is currently sleeping, so I’m going to add the bonus bits. He’s on graveyard shift, but he had to go in early on Thursday. On his walk from the train station to work, he came across a bunch of people taking pictures of a tree.

Just some birds in a tree

When he got a closer look, this is what he saw.

Make that some parrots in a tree
slightly blurry closeup

Yes, it was a whole bunch of parrots. While both of us have seen the parrots, it’s only been in very small numbers. I’m envious of his luck in seeing so many at once. For anyone who doesn’t know, back in 2003, there was a documentary and book released called The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill. The author of the book agrees that the title is a misnomer as the parrots range as far away as Brisbane. Still, the bulk of them hang around Telegraph Hill where Coit Tower is located. No one is quite certain how they came to be there. As for the type of parrot? This is what KQED (our local PBS station) had to say.

The wild parrots in and around San Francisco are called cherry-headed conures. At one point, a mitred conure joined the flock and bred with the cherry heads. Now the flock is dotted with hybrids.

Here is a video he took that afternoon and you’ll notice that in the middle of the vid, one of those parrots told him to FECK OFF!

This is a vid he took the next morning. It’s mostly to show how many there are and how loud they can be. All those dark spots high in the trees are parrots.

This is the trailer for the documentary. I recommend it if you get a chance.


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Caturday: Fear and loathing

Fear and loathing of garbage bags, check. Fear and loathing of hollow tree trunks, check.

Pepi’s fear and loathing…hackles
Fear and loathing…of tree trunks. Go figure

Pepi’s neuroses are her own, just as Titanescu’s taste for water from a dish placed in the tub is his own. He will not drink from the communal bowl, he will have his own dish, and he needs it available whether a human is in the bathroom or not. Maybe especially if a human’s in there.

Titanescu’s empty dish stinkeye

After this latest round of rains, the temperature has dropped to near freezing. Tonight, we sleep in cats. The furrbutts will be clawing to get under covers and fight epic battles for territory in there. In her crate, Pepi will burrow under her blankets with her squeaky chicken toy. At some point, Tito is bound to go apeshit and run all over the furniture, although hopefully not because a turd is chasing him. He and Jenny might fight over real estate at the foot of the bed, but Jenny’ll find a spot to curl up. It’s gonna be so cold, I’d almost wish she’d fart to warm things up.
Meanwhile, Titan will sleep undisturbed. Or else.

Tito on his corner of the bed.
Miss Jenny napping in a warm spot on the bed
Miss Pepi says the answer is 42

Rudha-an here: Lastech and I (but mostly Lastech) managed to get some pretty pics of the colors at the arboretum.

Photo by Lastech
Woodpecker by Lastech
Photo by Lastech
don’t believe in trouble
I don’t believe in pain
I don’t believe there’s nothing left
but running here again
I believe! I believe!
Photo by Lastech
Photo by Rudha-an
Photo by Rudha-an
Photo by Rudha-an

When you can’t wake em, join em


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Caturday: dingle balls, shake it all the way…

Dingle balls, also known as dingle berries, thankfully are not our daily bread, else we’d all go fruitcake. But two instances this past week’s a bit much. First, during our walk through the autumnal glory of the Markham arboretum, Pepi indulged in her ritual pee and poo, in that order. Given that she hoovers anything she can*, I’m surprised she doesn’t ingest the occasional long hair more often.

Anyway, after she was done burying an elf, she began darting and squatting, darting and squatting. On closer inspection, I noticed a broken off turd swinging off her chocolate starfish like Tarzan at the end of his vine (“I COMING, JANE!”). Did we ever mention I’m borderline OCD when it comes to such matters? I went to my happy place, a German pop tune from ’82 playing in a loop somewhere.

Naturally, Rudha-an remained functional, retrieving a paper napkin from the car and proceeded to remove that attacking nugget from Pepi’s butt. That’s what we get for having opposable thumbs, I guess. “Oh. I ate another of your hairs. Take care of it, won’t you, Jeeves?”

Pepita’s s–t eating grin

By the way, not pointing fingers, but I’m bald as a cue-ball.

Later this same week, at oh-dark-whatever, a ruckus. It sounded like furniture crashing. Pepi was in her crate, Jenny and Titan were both on the bed… Even in the fog of sleep I suspected something horrendous, involving crap. Not puke, they do that on the low-low. But Tito has priors when it comes to ingesting and “passing” human hair (“that ain’t no mine..!”). Jenny’s half his age, so perhaps she’ll catch up in time, but there she was brutally awakened on the bed like the rest of us.

Miss Jenny’s what just happened? look

The fracas lasted maybe five seconds, then silence. We didn’t speak, it wasn’t necessary to spell out what we already sensed. As Tito dropped butt burritos in the litter box (which Pepi would treat as a buffet if we let her), the worst “knock-knock” joke played out against his arse. “Bad touch! Bad touch!” And Tito went-a-racing with the stranger-danger tethered to his poop chute until escape velocity threw the turd back near the litter box.

This is how Titanescu laughs. Really

Or so we think. That is where Rudha-an’s forensic exploration located the morsel, but there’s no telling where that thing had been. Tito raced from the box to the dinette, down to the floor, through the kitchen, into the bedroom where he bounced against the wall before running across the bed and back to the rear of the Endurance where the litter box is.

Tito: it’s behind me, isn’t it?

Da-da-da..!
Ich liebe dich nicht, do liebst mich nicht
Da-Da-Da..!
Ye gods.

  • Heard this morning,during Pepi’s early pee walk: “Pepi stop licking the car!?!”

And here’s a kitten being the dingle ball.


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Sunday with kitties, the arboretum and Diablo

… Enough with my brains, we have more rain this week! We started with an excursion to the top of Mount Diablo Monday to watch clouds go by. We now finish it with another system moving through, giving everything a good soak. The hills and island have returned to a beautiful green and the Force is strong with the Galindo creek running through Markham arboretum.

View from Diablo looking South
View from Diablo looking South
The hills are turning green again
The hills are turning green again

We’ve really been regular Stormtroopers, hiking our butts off (and Pepita’s).

Markham Arboretum is turning green again (the grass at any rate)
Markham Arboretum is turning green again (the grass at any rate)
Looks like fall in the arboretum
Looks like fall in the arboretum
Galindo Creek is flowing again
Galindo Creek is flowing again

A couple days ago, Rudha-an had a Mexican stand off with Titanescu after he slapped miss Jenny, who walked too close. Danger close.. Rudha-an had her hand up ready to shield Jenny, which Titanescu took as a threat. Did he move, of course not. He raised his paw, waiving it a bit, ready to hit anything that moved.

When he realized it wasn’t anything serious (we were giggling) he finally settled down.

But he was still serious as a heart attack.

Titanescu looking intense, as usual
Titanescu looking intense, as usual
Miss Jenny
Miss Jenny
Tito!
Tito!
Miss Pepi in her bed
Miss Pepi in her bed

With luck, we’ll get out again this week.


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Caturday: Halloween and rotten brains

Yes, rotten brains… As in Abby Normal. This past week had a definite Halloween theme, with my waking up from dreams of epileptic sheep in the back of an ambulance early Monday morning, my brain not firing on all cylinders. All day at work on Sunday, I’d complained of a headache. Got home, wolfed down a cheeseburger, still felt weird, popped a couple glucose tablets and the lights went out before I finished the second one. We got home at 4:20 a.m., I emailed work to let them know I would need a few days off.

Rudha-an here: The fur people will have their moment before Lastech continues with his story. I’m going to add though, that it scared the living crap out of me. Lucky for me, my friend came and hauled me to the hospital and “held my hand” as it were. And now for the furry stars of the show…

Tito watching the neighbors
Tito watching the neighbors
Miss Jenny in the window
Miss Jenny in the window
Titanescu watching the birdies
Titanescu watching the birdies
Pepi with her chicken toy
Pepi with her chicken toy
I did some rearranging and shortened the cat tower. Then I put it in the window on the dinette seat. They seem to like that much better. They have bird watching marathons now.
I did some rearranging and shortened the cat tower. Then I put it in the window on the dinette seat. They seem to like that much better. They have bird watching marathons now.

Now back to Lastech’s Halloween story

It’s at times like these you find reasons to feel fortunate, strange as it may seem. For instance, I learned the reason why someone working in my department has been out for the past two weeks: seizures revealed a tumor, which returned after surgery. Stage 3 brain cancer. Then one of the kids we newly hired had to take emergency bereavement leave after his father committed suicide.

So I’m thankful my passing out pales by comparison, even with a 6 months driving license suspension due to the risk of recurrence.
Also, thanks to modern technology, I now have this nice photo of my rotten brain showing dead tissue from 40 years ago. They had to take a drill and relieve the pressure after a nasty motorcycle crash, and it must have been a little like this: NSFW

As for that rotten brain? Here ya go

Yep, it's my brain
Yep, it’s my brain

Rudha-an here: Lastech goes back for more tests on Monday. We’ll keep you posted.


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Caturday: Rock City, Ceiling Cat’s litterbox?

Rudha-an here. Caturday was delayed. Blame Titanescu. I was attempting to update WordPress, but he insisted on walking on the laptop as usual. Today, he’s leaving me alone, but that will change in a couple of hours. 🙂

For now, here are the pointy eared people and the droopy eared one.

Tito was keeping me company
Tito was keeping me company
Miss Jenny was bird watching
Miss Jenny was bird watching
Titanescu was being a poophead and standing on my mouse pad. The battle is real.
Titanescu was being a poophead and standing on my mouse pad. The battle is real.
Pepi enjoying the porch. We made her day and got her a new farting hedgehog toy. It's her third one.
Pepi enjoying the porch. We made her day and got her a new farting hedgehog toy. It’s her third one.

This last week, we escaped and went adventuring. Lastech will tell you about that, but I’m going to do a bit of an intro. As I’ve mentioned before, California is on fire, making the air quality unpleasant, to say the least. Here are two pics I took during out outing that show the problem.

Looking to the North, you can see the smoke layer from the Clayton fire in Lake County. This same area had horrible fires last year. This one was arson.
Looking to the North, you can see the smoke layer from the Clayton fire in Lake County. This same area had horrible fires last year. This one was arson.
Looking to the South, you can see the smoke from the Soberanes fire in Monterey County.
Looking to the South, you can see the smoke from the Soberanes fire in Monterey County.

Lucky for us, our outing took us above the smoke so it was nice out. The critters all stayed home in the air conditioning. Pepi didn’t get to go this time as doggies aren’t permitted on the trails. She had a good run at the park before we went though, so she wasn’t deprived.

Rock City is a group of sandstone caves carved by the winds. It’s located on the SSW side of Mt. Diablo.

And now for adventure…in Lastech’s words.

As familiarity breeds contempt, proximity to “civilization” brings its blemishes. In the case of Rock City, this means carvings in the sandstone, some mundane, some obscene. There’s spray painting as well, although, in fairness, this becomes scarce the further along the trails you go. Driving up from the North Gate, you come to a fork in the road, about 3000 feet up, and turn right at the Ranger station. A short drive later, you pull off the road into one of the lots and choose your trail, easy-peasy.

On the way from the North Gate entrance.
On the way from the North Gate entrance.

Even though you know it is there, sandstone holds some fascination in sight and touch. In sunlight, much of it looks like granite, gray with some black specks (soot from older fires?), but on the ground, the color is tan, and in places, the stone looks ‘pleated’, like windswept sand dunes. You cannot help but touch it to feel its texture, and it appears slightly porous, though firm. And in the heat of an afternoon, it is hard to imagine it could ever be cold to the touch.

Rock City
Rock City
Sandstone caves of Rock City
Sandstone caves of Rock City

Sound travels differently as you walk around the stone formations: there are no echoes, voices sound slightly muffled. It is a quiet place, where you mostly hear birds, and we did see and hear a few woodpeckers.

Manzanita
Manzanita

As sunlight reflects off the lip of a hole in the stone, it paints the inside of the gaping maw in goldish-tan hues,as you can see on some of our photos.
Walking further up the trail, we came to a couple spots where I could take panoramic shots of the area, all the way to the horizon, and lo! carved into the ground was the symbol, universal: a spiral, or maelstrom.

Panorama looking to the West
Panorama looking to the West
Wind caves
Wind caves

Could this be where Ceiling Cat comes to bury His turds..?

Here is a slide show of the rest of the pics

Rudha-an here again. I normally avoid politics on the blog unless it pertains to equality (for women and my LGBTQ brothers and sisters). This time, I couldn’t resist. First, I found this…

At only a couple of inches across, I immediately wondered if I had found the birthplace of Trump's hair.
At only a couple of inches across, I immediately wondered if I had found the birthplace of Trump’s hair.

Then Lastech found this. 🙂

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Caturday: a return to normal…

Things are returning to normal on board the Endurance, and Titanescu’s internal clock is working just fine. For the four days Rudha-an was house sitting, there was peace.

Yes, I had peace. The cats were quiet. The cats didn’t claw at me at ungodly hours. They were quiet. Their routine normally includes walking on us, hitting the wall (loudly) and any other racket-making habit they may think of. But while Rudha-an was gone, nothing… Then, after her return, Bam! Whiz! Bang! Miss Jenny became the Midnight Growler again at the window and Titanescu started playing the drums on the old TV box, same as it ever was.

Welcome home, Mommy.

Her first night back, at exactly 4:20. Tap. TAP! TAP! TAP! TAP! TAP! TAP! We checked the time, 4:20 am. Not 4:19, not 4:21. And each morning since then, as before. Like a promise.

Rudha-an here. Everything returned to normal until it didn’t. I would say that Titanescu pulled a fast one, but it really wasn’t fast at all. Lastech came home with groceries last night. As he made his way in the door, Titanescu decided that he wanted to see the outside. He sauntered out the door before Lastech could get it closed. Yes, sauntered. The only reason he made it out the door was because Lastech’s hands were full. Lastech followed him out the door. In a rush, I grabbed a can of cat food and the flashlight (It was 1 am). The cat food didn’t work because the stupid pull tap broke. %$@#&! In spite of all that, Lastech was able to scoop him up at the fence line. Picking up Titanescu takes much bravery. It worked out ok. Lastech got the tyrant back in where he belongs and managed to NOT get shredded in the process. In fact, Titanescu had a disgustingly smug look on his face. We will do things differently when we come home with groceries from now on as we will be properly paranoid.

Oh yeah. I keep complaining about heatwaves. I won’t do that anymore as each one is hotter than the last. It hit 109 when I was off house sitting. I won’t complain. I don’t want the next heatwave to be worse. 109? pffffft. It was nothing. NOTHING!

Tito
Tito
The lovely Miss Jenny
The lovely Miss Jenny
Titanescu the tyrant
Titanescu the tyrant
Pepi aka Titanescu's punching bag. Poor dog.
Pepi aka Titanescu’s punching bag. Poor dog.

And now for some dancing birdies


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Caturday: a measure of evil

Titan:
[Tahyt-n]
a person or thing of enormous size, strength, power, influence, etc.
one that is gigantic in size or power, one that stands out for greatness of achievement.
See also: a unit of measure in Hell.

The dog knows to give him a wide berth as he ambles past, but sometimes not quick enough. Pepita instinctively avoids any kind of eye contact, even as he stops to stare at her, trying to decide whether to expend the energy to whap her. In contrast, Tito has the patience of a saint, even as she pokes her nose at him roughly, the little brute.

Pepita can not only be a little rough, she is uncouth: she farted on me as I petted her to calm her down and makes gruesome slurping noises as she licks my toes on my way to the bathroom. I wish it were easier to get up early in the morning to let her run off-leash at the arboretum, but I’m usually dead asleep until 10 am… So she has a lot of pent up energy, which is only reined in by her fear of you-know-who. Aside from cabin fever, she requires a few minutes of greeting when I  come home from work which, if cut a little short, will make Pepi nip at me. Her version of grabbing.  “Come here, you!”

Jenny spends much of her time on our bed these days, a very welcome change from our days in the City. And so does Tito, who spends most night at the foot of the bed sound asleep. Two things will make Jenny growl at the window: the neighbor coming home and the groundskeepers’ cherry picker.

Calm and patient Tito
Calm and patient Tito
Miss Jenny only moments after snarling at the neighbor
Miss Jenny only moments after snarling at the neighbor
Titanescu perfecting his aura of evilness.
Titanescu perfecting his aura of evilness.
Pepi knows that Titanescu is walking by and she won't look
Pepi knows that Titanescu is walking by and she won’t look

And now for something different


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