Caturday: Fur people, lights, and a fire

I awoke this Caturday to see news about a tragic and terrible fire in nearby Oakland. At this point there are 9 confirmed dead and approximately 25 missing. If there’s one thing I truly fear, it’s fire. Our hearts go out to the families of the victims as they wait for news.

animated-candle-2-sm

The fur people have been enjoying the windows more these days. The mulberry trees that gave us so much summer shade have been pruned heavily for winter. That makes the windows sunnier to the delight of the pointy eared people who soak up every sunbeam they can find.

I was playing bird sounds (black phoebe) while trying to ID some birds I couldn't see. Tito went to full alert.
I was playing bird sounds (black phoebe) while trying to ID some birds I couldn’t see. Tito went to full alert.
Jenny licking her chops at the thought of birds
Jenny licking her chops at the thought of birds
Titan giving me the I-know-those-aren't-real birds stinkeye.
Titan giving me the I-know-those-aren’t-real birds stinkeye.
Miss Pepi was sleeping and didn't care about the bird sounds.
Miss Pepi was sleeping and didn’t care about the bird sounds.

Our weather has turned rather cold (for us) and the heaters are working hard at night. No rain for a while, but soon we hope. We didn’t make any day trips this last week as other chores got in the way. However, Lastech has been taking a few pics here and there.

Starling and clouds
Starling and clouds
Lights
Lights
Clouds
Clouds
Pier after the rain. I love the colors
Pier after the rain. I love the colors
Lights on the Embarcadero
Lights on the Embarcadero
Christmas poo?
Christmas poo?

See ya next week


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Caturday: Death of a camera

Yes, my camera finally died, but all is well.

Before I get to that, we wish to extend our sincerest condelences, hugs, and head bonks to the woman we refer to as Auntie Grace. Last week she lost her beloved doggie, Louise. Louise lived an amazing 17 and a half years with an equally amazing pet mum. I’m sure that Louise has reunited with Jake, but her loss is deeply felt. More hugs and bonks from the entire household.

For Louise
For Louise

As to the camera, it gave up the ghost. I had taken well over 300,000 pictures with it. Along with the LCD screen going bad, the photo quality wasn’t good either. However, I now have a new camera and it blows the old one away. It takes great pics of the pointy eared people. Hopefully next week we’ll get outdoors and see what else it can do. I’ve been tired of only doing Caturday posts due to mostly cruddy pics. Lastech’s phone pics were better than the old camera. Of course, Lastech will still produce great pics as he has a great eye. The new camera works great in low light conditions, which is great for kitty and dog pics. For those curious, it’s a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ300. A DSLR was simply not in the budget and I’m not sure I want to lug a heavy camera with a hyper dog on a leash. This camera isn’t small, but it weighs less than the bigger DSLRs.

Now for the pointy eared people and the floppy eared one. For the record, these pics are straight out of the camera with no adjustments made. I may have cropped one, but that’s all.

Tito looking a bit like a Vermeer painting
Tito looking a bit like a Vermeer painting
The lovely Miss Jenny
The lovely Miss Jenny
Gasp! Dare I say it? Titanescu is looking almost cute.
Gasp! Dare I say it? Titanescu is looking almost cute.
Pepi taking a break from bird watching
Pepi taking a break from bird watching

Here’s a nice noisy mama kitty for you.


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Caturday: A sad day

It is with great sadness that we bid farewell to a man who gave voice to the Holocaust. I’ve read his books and “Night” was required reading in many schools. He will be greatly missed.

Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented ~ from Night by Elie Weisel (1928 – 2016)

Things are moving along over here in sunny Concord. It feels like summer, though the temps aren’t too bad this week. I’m able to turn off the A/C at night, which is nice. Our lovely stereo suddenly quit working. I don’t think it will be hard to fix, but I have to go pick up a tool in order to do the job. I’ll do that on Tuesday, when we have time. We’re also waiting on our latest, much needed item. We ordered a new mattress. The ones that come with most RVs are really crappy. We’re replacing it with a much better gel foam mattress. Hooray for comfort.

As for the beasties, they are snoozing all over the trailer today. It’s warm inside as I didn’t feel like turning on the A/C. It’s not too warm though, so they’re enjoying it.

Tito looking sweet and innocent. He had just finished his daily dinette shredding.
Tito looking sweet and innocent. He had just finished his daily dinette shredding.
Miss Jenny lounging in the corner
Miss Jenny lounging in the corner
Titanescu, master of the stinkeye
Titanescu, master of the stinkeye
Pepi napping near a sunbeam
Pepi napping near a sunbeam

Here’s a delightful kitty watching a scary movie


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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: The pointy eared people are sad

Titanescu is especially sad. His hero, Colonel Meow, has passed away. The Colonel was a rescue who was found abandoned by the side of the road. He was later adopted by Anna Marie Avey aka Slave Beast. His rise to power began when his pictures were posted to Instagram. From there, he extended his power to Facebook. On top of his rise to power, The Colonel also holds the Guinness World Record for the longest fur (9 inches). He accomplished much in his short time on this earth. We’re sure he’s finding new minions beyond the Rainbow Bridge and living by his motto:

Enjoying life, one scotch induced nap at a time.

Jarrett Bellini of CNN has written a wonderful and humorous obituary for The Colonel and you can find it here.

Colonel Meow will be missed greatly and we wish to extend our condolences to Anne Marie and ALL of his friends and minions. With much love from Titanescu, Tito, Miss Jenny Nightshade, Rudha-an and Lastech

Here are the pointy eared people.

Titanescu using Miss Jenny as a pillow
Titanescu using Miss Jenny as a pillow
Sleepy Tito
Sleepy Tito


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MEEEEEEEEEEOOOOOOOOOW!!!

We have joined up with a group of Facebook friends to participate in The Great Meow.

According to Venus BelaStar on FB:

In Remembrance of Those Departed
The Great Meow is a very old cat tradition passed down through generations. Our adopted dad, Shiva Dancing (who was a very wise and old soul) taught us about it.

The time will be 9PM in every time zone

At nine time throw your head back and let out the biggest MEOW ever for who you wish to honor…there is no limit to how many…PUT YOUR HEART INTO IT!!!

A few days later look for them in the late night sky…. The Perseid Meteor Shower will be passing us by…I don’t know about you, but I have some shooting stars to name!

We meow for The Boober (left) and Kitsy (right)
We meow for The Boober (left) and Kitsy (right)

We meow for Henry Hobson’s brother, Mr. Peabody. We are meowing for Nekoneko’s kitty, Goober and Sally’s sweet kitty, Sundance. We meow for Labwitchy’s two labs, Thordoggie and the Divine Miss D. We are also meowing for Abra’s sweet corgis, Terra and Justice. We meow for ALL of those who have passed over the Rainbow Bridge. All of them are missed greatly.

Tito
Tito
Jenny
Miss Jenny
Titan
Titanescu


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A somber week for First Responders and disaster victims

Since Lastech works odd hours and sleeps during the day, I sometimes plug earbuds into the laptop and listen to either the police scanner or EMS scanner online. I was listening to the EMS scanner when the call came in about the crash of Asiana flight 214 at SFO. For the next several hours I listened to emergency teams coordinate their response. I also heard the sirens of ambulances making trip after trip to the hospital with victims. You see, the airport is ten minutes South of us via Interstate 101, which itself runs right behind my building.

There were 307 souls on board that plane. 291 Passengers and 17 crew members. Two 16 year old Chinese students (girls) lost their lives. 182 were injured, 49 of them seriously. The only reason more were not lost is due to the airline crew and the other first responders.

That wasn’t all that happened this week.

Our neighbors to the north have suffered a huge loss. Lac-mégantic in Québec still doesn’t know what the death toll is and won’t for some time. Train cars carrying crude oil broke away from the engine and rolled back into town and derailed. Five of the cars exploded. The destruction is massive and the death toll (now at 5) is expected to climb. Many buildings have burned and the number of missing is fluctuating.

That still isn’t all.

One week ago today, 19 firefighters from Prescott Arizona lost their lives fighting a fire. They were members of a Hot Shot team and made up almost 20% of the Prescott Fire Department. It’s a huge loss for everyone.

This has truly been an awful week for first responders AND for victims. Our heart goes out to all of them. It has also been a week for our first responders to shine. We are proud of all them, here and everywhere.

For everyone
For everyone


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Caturday: drill, baby, drill…

Another late Caturday edition, this time dedicated to a topic we’ve touched on before, emergency preparedness…

SFFD Mobile Command 1
SFFD Mobile Command 1

Late, because we just returned from the annual San Francisco city-wide N.E.R.T. drill which took place this morning. A couple years ago, Rudha-an and I decided to try and create a family tradition by both getting certified as disaster workers and first responders. We did so by registering with the San Francisco Fire Department’s N.E.R.T. program, which they created in the ’90s following the Loma Prieta earthquake of 1989.

Scarred helmet
Scarred helmet

The program’s acronym stands for Neighborhood Emergency Response Team, and is comprised of citizen volunteers who will act as auxiliaries to the Fire Department in case of a major emergency.

That’s about it for that tidbit of history. More recent events which took place in Boston (MA), West (TX) , and Leshan (China) prompted us to pay tribute to victims, both civilians and first responders.

A tribute and reminder
A tribute and reminder

The San Francisco N.E.R.T. program includes training for animal rescue following disaster, appropriately called D.A.R.T. (Disaster Animal Rescue Team), which we both will likely undertake soon. Now, several of our blog’s friends have lived through or continue to deal with traumatic life experiences, and we would also like to dedicate this entry to them as well.

Long is the way, and hard...
Long is the way, and hard…

The media talks about how to help children deal with the scary news of the past few days, and we think frankly that having them take disaster preparedness classes can be of great help. A young girl at today’s drill graduated from N.E.R.T. training when she was 7 years old and she is now in her teens.

For adults, busy though we all may be, it’s also a good thing to consider doing, especially jointly with a partner or spouse. The trainers, professional first responders, are survivors and generally speaking, great folks. Their spirit, humor and skills rub off and the whole experience is both fun and enriching.

Tools of the trade
Tools of the trade

Whatever tools help us claw our way through life are worth considering. So that others may sleep soundly. 18 hours a day…

Kitties
From left to right: Tito, Titan, and Miss Jenny
Two dogs and a tortoise
From left to right: Midge (a very teeny dog), Dozer the tortoise, and Ginger the Golden Lab.

These are the two furballs and the tortoise from my inlaw’s home.


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Roger Ebert (1942 – 2013)

Yesterday, this great film critic lost his fight against cancer. I grew up watching this man and it’s because of him that I learned to love great movies. I have no words that can do him justice so please go read this wonderful tribute by Chicago Tribune.

Roger Ebert dead: Film critic had the soul of a poet

File:Chaz Hammel-Smith, Roger Ebert, and Nancy Kwan at the Hawaii International Film Festival in October 2010
Left to right: Chaz Hammel-Smith, Roger Ebert, and Nancy Kwan at the Hawaii International Film Festival in October 2010

Roger will be greatly missed. Our condolences to his other great love…his wife Chaz Hammel-Smith.


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Caturday: World AIDS Day

Today is World AIDS Day. Today is a day for people around the world to come together in the fight against AIDS. In that spirit, Tito and Miss Jenny are wearing their red ribbons and encourage their fellow felines the world over to join them in the fight. If you are able, please consider a donation to help the fight.

You can read about World Aids Day here.

Tito
Tito
Miss Jenny
Miss Jenny

Clicking on the photo below will take you to our post about the National AIDA Memorial Grove here in San Francisco. It’s a very beautiful place, but we hope for a day when no more names will need to be added to the list of those lost to this horrible disease.

National AIDS Memorial Grove
The Circle of Friends in the National AIDS Memorial Grove in Golden Gate Park


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