Requiem for a car: Mercury dropping

Our Mercury Grand Marquis is finally being retired after six years of service and exploration. A mechanical vessel of a bygone era, a sturdy vehicle short on electronics but safe and comfortable. It’s been argued it was too big a vehicle for the dense, hostile environments of the San Francisco Bay Area, but smaller cars don’t fare any better.

The Mercury in better times
The Mercury in better times

While the Mercury was parked on the street, the driver side front marker light was hit. This was fixed. It happened again within 6 months. This time, we let it be and I patched up the damage with aluminum tape. One night, a hostile life-form (an angry homeless dude) ambled down the street kicking cars. The result: dented rear passenger side door. But the worst came after Saint Patrick’s day…

This lovely shot is brought to you by idiots that don't know how to parallel park.  This is round two for this part of the car.
This lovely shot is brought to you by idiots that don’t know how to parallel park. This is round two for this part of the car.
Right above the door handle is where the angry homeless guy kicked it. We got lucky. The other cars lost side mirrors to go with the dents.
Right above the door handle is where the angry homeless guy kicked it. We got lucky. The other cars lost side mirrors to go with the dents.

All holidays are just an occasion to get good and drunk, evidently. Aside from erratic drivers running red lights, swerving and speeding, even parking carries its own risks. About four blocks from our apartment, one street has a particularly odd parking configuration: perpendicular to the curb one side, parallel on the other. The Mercury was hit there on the past, which left a crease on the driver side front wheel well. But can lightning strike twice in the same place, really?

Since the crease was vertical, it was probably a small pickup that hit it.
Since the crease was vertical, it was probably a small pickup that hit it.

Well, I should have known better after what happened to the marker light. The drinking does not start on Saint Patrick’s day. It starts before, spikes during and slowly returns to usual levels of consumption after.

I found an impact on the front of the car that was bad enough to push the body  panels, right front fender and hood, out of alignment. I would need a pry bar to open the hood and then, I’d probably be unable to get it shut again.

The final hit. You can see that the corner of the hood is lifted off kilter.
The final hit. You can see that the corner of the hood is lifted off kilter.

This was three months before our move out of San Francisco, just as the Endurance program planning was ramping up. The check engine light was coming on intermittently because of a bad valve, the brake light was on permanently, probably because the rotors were not turned at the shop. Not dangerous but annoying.

Bear in mind, we had not yet really begun the search for the Endurance, nor the search for a place to dock it. We had a lot of ground to cover and a damaged vehicle to do it in. Would it last?

Of course, it did. It took us to the Central Valley looking for trailers, to the East Bay looking at RV parks and shuttled our belongings to and from storage once we found the Endurance. It continued commuting to work, It did everything. In better times, it took us from Pinnacles National Monument to Yosemite, from ocean beach to mountain ridge. Now it’s time for it to return to the Universe one last time, its metal and plastic separating to be reformed and perhaps see the road again. I hope so.

Farewell you good old car. Farewell
Farewell you good old car. Farewell

The Mercury carried the Catonauts to the Endurance, their new home. Without it… Well who knows?


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Caturday: Love rules the day

Rudha an: The post below was written by Lastech and I’m adding my bit up here. Yesterday was nothing short of amazing to me. Love certainly ruled the day. I spent the day watching my Facebook and Twitter feed and sniffling with happiness. Finally! It’s now just marriage. It’s not “same sex marriage” or “gay marriage”. It’s just marriage for all. Hooray! This is Pride weekend here and it has taken on a whole new meaning.

Castro flag

In addition, thanks to the confusion of our move, we neglected a very important celebration. On May 14th of last year, our friend Catgirl married the love of her life, Carolyn. We want to wish them all the happiness they can handle. Catgirl writes great reviews of horror films from around the world for her delightful blog, Nekoneko’s Movie Litterbox.

Lastech: As it turns out, living in a trailer with cats is like traveling through space with Klingons. They play, they fight while singing the songs of heir people and romp all over us , not so much at high speed for lack of room, but take flying leaps. By the way, this is how they demand to be fed. No tact.

The fabric covering the furniture seems pretty sturdy considering how often and how violently they claw at it. The window blinds are not so resilient. No matter, eventually they’ll have destroyed all of that and we’ll have to replace it.

They do enjoy watching the world outside the windows or the screen door, especially when there’s a ray of sunshine to lay upon. They are excited by the wind stirring through the leaves outside and lust for bloody murder as robins fly by on their way to the bird feeder. Speaking of birds, these flying piglets go through birdseed like there’s no tomorrow.

And if the catonauts had their way, there would be no tomorrow, just half digested feathers in the litter box… The best Tito could do yesterday was to pull a Renfield and gobble up a fly before we had time to get up and yell “gross!”
He did groom himself after that….

Tito staking out a spot by the window
Tito staking out a spot by the window
Miss Jenny making love to Rudha an's sandals
Miss Jenny making love to Rudha an’s sandals
Titanescu being lazy in the bunk
Titanescu being lazy in the bunk
Bird watching. They love it when the weather is cool enough to keep the door open.
Bird watching. They love it when the weather is cool enough to keep the door open.

Now for a little music showing how we feel this week. 🙂

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Caturday: Our friends have a birthday!

Our fur friend, Henry Hobson (left) and his littermate Chloe de Chanel (right) are celebrating their 7th birthday today. Henry gave us all a terrible scare last year when he managed to get out of the house. He was missing for days and days and was finally spotted wayyyyyyy up a tree. When he came down, his mom was finally able to coax him out of the bushes and take him home. He was a tad thin and skinned up from the tree, but otherwise he was ok. Now he spends his time indoors with his beloved toy, Mr. Snakels. Henry’s sister Chloe is a real beauty. Note to Henry’s mom: If you click on the photo, it will take you to the full size and you can copy it from there easily. Thank you for letting me play with their pics. 🙂

Happy Birthday to Henry Hobson and Chloe!
Happy Birthday to Henry Hobson and Chloe!

As for the pointy eared people, their pics have more of a Noir feel about them.

Titan without a stinkeye. Amazing.
Titan without a stinkeye. Amazing.
Miss Jenny in a calm moment
Miss Jenny in a calm moment
Tito looking downright silly
Tito looking downright silly

Now for something a bit absurd. Last July we wrote about the rare and elusive Golden Gate Bawk-Bawk in a post titled Cock up at the park. Given that there is a coyote den nearby, we didn’t think they would last long. We were wrong. In July there were two. Now there are four.

I couldn't get all four birds in the frame, but here are two of them
I couldn’t get all four birds in the frame, but here are two of them
Here's a closeup. They are remarkably healthy and roosting in the shrubbery.
Here’s a closeup. They are remarkably healthy and roosting in the shrubbery.

Sadly, I can’t read the word “shrubbery” with hearing the voice of the Knights who say Ni.

Final note: If you scroll down past this post, you will see some sunrise photos from earlier in the week.

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Caturday: Box cats and a birthday

I hope everyone had a great holiday season. Before we get to the pointy eared people, we want to wish our friend Miyuki a very happy birthday. She has a great blog called Nekoneko’s Movie Litterbox where she reviews horror films from around the world. If you enjoy horror films, her blog is the best.

Box Catgirl

Now it’s time for the pointy eared people to shine. Earlier in December, I received a nice sized box. I haven’t the heart to take it away from them, so it remains. They play in it and shred it too. The “artsy” effect is what happens when I need pics and none are particularly good. Actually, the original pic of Titan was great. I just tweaked it to fit with the others. 🙂

Tito is in the box
Tito is in the box
Jenny is in the box
Jenny is in the box
Titan is not in the box. He's trying to perfect his stinkeye instead.
Titan is not in the box. He’s trying to perfect his stinkeye instead.

Usually I try to post a funny cartoon or video. Not today. Today’s video is just beautiful and blue.

The lava isn’t blue, but the flames are blue because of the sulfer content


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Wow! Miss Jenny got presents!

July 21st was Miss Jenny’s birthday. Imagine her (and our) surprise when a big ole box arrived in the mail. It was a lovely box of goodies from her Auntie Grace. Talked about spoiled! Ms Grace is a wonderful friend and adored by all of us.

The quilted bed is beautiful and the toys and snacks are loved by all.
The quilted bed is beautiful and the toys and snacks are loved by all.
As you can see, Miss Jenny loves it!
As you can see, Miss Jenny loves it!

TY blue b copy

Seriously Grace, thank you from ALL of us. I’ve tucked the bed in the closet and she’s hiding in it as I type. 🙂


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Caturday: Number 5 plus, The tyrant is home and learning how to cat

Today is brought to you by the number 5.

Zippy 1b
Five years ago today, Lastech and I got sick and tired of being slaves to nicotine and so we smoked our last cigarette. We don’t miss it. More after the pointy eared people get their spot in the sun.

As an introduction to today’s Caturday, here is a comedy skit by Big Train. 🙂

Written by Lastech:

Grand Marshal Titanescu continues to surprise… It isn’t simply that I haven’t been hit, bit or hissed at in about two weeks, the Titan’s made some surprising progress socially. It might be a combination of stress from the construction next door, the Feliway working its magic, or simply gaining his trust at last. I’m not sure, but Titanescu’s become a Velcro kitty. He runs after me wherever I go, rubbing against my legs, rubbing his scent on me and even purring. Yes now we know he does purr. You can barely feel it when he’s on your lap, and certainly not hear it. But as he peels back his lips, rubbing on you, there’s no mistaking that low rumble. But wait. We’ve also been able to pick him up and move him without injury! Oh sure, he doesn’t move off a lap voluntarily, but he’ll submit to the relocation without retaliation.
Frankly, from a cat who hissed and hit us just for laughing, that is amazing!

The Great and Terrible Titanescu
The Great and Terrible Titanescu
The patient and amazing Tito
The patient and amazing Tito

Miss Nightshade Jenny had a birthday. Today a gift box arrived for her from her Auntie Grace. Tomorrow, she’ll get to see her gifts and I’ll be taking pictures of her, the boys and the goodies. Then we’ll be able to thank Grace properly.

Miss Jenny, the birthday girl looking smug
Miss Jenny, the birthday girl now flirts with the postman

Construction update: The kitties are NOT amused.

The big orange monster is working close to the building. The furry ones are hiding.
The big orange monster is working close to the building. The furry ones are hiding.

Now, back to our 5 year smoke free celebration…

It has allowed us to climb many stairs.

Point Reyes
Yes, you read that correctly. There are 308 of those things in addition to a steep ramped section.
They weren't kidding
They weren’t kidding
That is the Point Reyes Lighthouse. It's also the movie home of radio station KAB 1340 and Stevie Wayne. Can you remember the movie?
That is the Point Reyes Lighthouse. It’s also the movie home of radio station KAB 1340 and Stevie Wayne. Can you remember the movie?

You can see more of our Point Reyes pics here


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Happy Birthday to Miss Nightshade Jenny

Our lovely Miss Jenny is 3 years old today. She’s still a nervous wreck and even more so with the construction next door. Aside from that, she’s a happy kitty. She was adorable when she was small and she’s still adorable now. We adopted her from the SFSPCA in November of 2011. She was a scared baby and hid under the dresser for a couple of days and only coming out to eat.

This was right after we brought her home. You can see that she's scared
This was right after we brought her home. You can see that she’s scared

Her name at the shelter was Nightshade. We Named her Jenny after Pirate Jenny in the Three-Penny Opera. It took a couple of days before she got brave enough to come out from under the dresser. Soon, she was doing much better and after that she met the boys. The rest is history. She’s daddy’s girl all the way. She likes me but she adores him. It’s all good.

Still small and looking a tad crosseyed
Still small and looking a tad crosseyed
Daddy's girl
Daddy’s girl

Along the way she has picked up some odd habits. She’s a pen thief. If it’s not hidden, she’ll take it and hide it. She has also stolen potatoes. Yes, really. On top of all that, she poots. Her gaseous emanations can be vile. 🙂 She just fits right into the JBoD household and we love her.

Finding her voice
Finding her voice
Looking demure
Looking demure
She can be rude too
She can be rude too

Happy Birthday Miss Jenny!

While we have posted it before, it’s worth posting it again. This is the Pirate Jenny song that inspired her name. It’s NSFW (language). Marianne Faithfull’s version is the most accurate translation from the German.


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Caturday: Happy and sad

I’m sorry Caturday is up late. We switched from graveyard shift to day shift and back again so it got awkward. We spent yesterday afternoon attending a graduation party for the son of a friend. It was lovely.

Before we get to the pointy eared people, we want to take a moment to remember and honor constables Douglas James Larche, David Ross, and Fabrice Georges Gevaudan. These three members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police lost their lives much too soon. We’ll not dignify their killer by naming him. Why does it matter? Moncton, located in New Brunswick, Canada is only a wee bit bigger than my hometown and we have friends there. Those friends weren’t just there. They were in the lockdown area and much closer than we care to imagine. You can read about it here. We are happy that our friends are fine, but sad at the loss that their community must endure.

Douglas James Larche, David Ross, and Fabrice Georges Gevaudan will not be forgotten
Douglas James Larche, David Ross, and Fabrice Georges Gevaudan will not be forgotten

Now it’s time for the pointy eared people

Tito playing with one of his paper toys
Tito playing with one of his paper toys
Miss Jenny playing with a toy that was given to her by our friend Grace
Miss Jenny playing with a toy that was given to her by our friend Grace
...and now it's a boy toy
…and now it’s a boy toy
Titanescu resting on Lastech's lap
Titanescu resting on Lastech’s lap


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Wedding Bells!

On May 14, a friend married the love of her life. The road to get there wasn’t easy. While they were together and would remain that way, it took marriage equality to give them all the same rights and benefits that Lastech and I enjoy.

We are simply thrilled that they got to have their dream wedding. Finding your true love isn’t always easy, celebrating that true love should be.

Wedding b

Catgirl of Nekonecko’s Movie Litterbox and her love, Carolyn are the beautiful brides. While we weren’t there in person, our hearts were there for them. May the two of you celebrate many, many anniversaries. Pssst, as you can see, the furkids traded in their bat wings for something more appropriate. 🙂


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