Caturday: The pointy eared people and traveling with children

As I type this, two hundred  searchers are looking for little nine-year-old Ida Rothschild who vanished yesterday while camping with her parents in Samuel P. Taylor Park. This is a heavily wooded area up in Marin County where searching is difficult. My heart goes out to her family and I hope they find her soon.

Update! When I started working on this post, little Ida had not been found. The news just came through that some cyclists found her about 2 and a half miles from the command post. Hooray! I’m thrilled with the happy ending. 🙂

The following is in no way a criticism of Ida’s parents. It was just a sobering reminder of what can happen when you travel with children. My father was a founding member of a desert search and rescue team. Lastech works in security at a site that’s always jammed packed with tourists. My advice comes from the experiences of both.

One of the most important pieces of advice is this: If you get lost STOP! Trying to find your way once you are lost may only make it worse. This applies to grownups AND children. If you’re on an ATV (or any vehicle) and run out of gas, stay with it. If in the forest, the youngsters to hug a tree and stay there, no matter how scared they are.

Camera or cellphone: Keep a current photo of their shoes, including the soles. Take one showing them in their clothes. You can delete and replace that one as necessary each day. Under extreme stress, it may be difficult to remember those details and it will certainly help the searchers. This should apply to the adults as well.

Get a whistle. Only permit them to carry it when it you are going someplace where they might get lost or wander off. The whistle can be heard much more easily than a voice. You can make it a big and special deal that they be careful to NOT blow it unnecessarily.Whistle

Important: When it comes to blowing the whistle, have them make two are three long toots. Then they should sing a favorite ditty and then blow it again. That way, if the searchers can hear it, they can respond and be heard. If the blowing is constant, it’s harder to locate or respond. The pauses give searchers time to zero in on where the sound is coming from. Since children tend to be impatient, singing a little song between whistle-blowing can help keep them calm and patient.

Clothing: Be sure to have them wear bright colors that can be seen from a distance. It just makes it easier for them to be seen.

Their fears: This is very important. Make sure they know that if they get lost, you will NOT be angry. Some children have hidden (and died) out of the fear of being in trouble with their parents or searchers. The harder part is dealing with “stranger danger”. They have to know when it’s ok to approach a stranger for help.

Time is of the essence: If you should suddenly find your child missing, don’t waste a lot of time searching. Get immediate help as every minute counts. If you know where they were last seen, protect that area to preserve any footprints that can be used by searchers. It’s far better to mobilize searchers only to find them in another section of the campground or park.

The city or large crowds: If you go to a ballgame, or any other place where you find crowds, get a pic of them AND the shoes. When a child is lost in a crowd, it’s easiest to start watching feet.

Getting help: Tell them if they get lost, to find someone in uniform. There will be security or park rangers in most places. The whistle should only be used in the case of a stranger trying to take them away. If they have a pocket, put a slip of paper with the name(s) , physical ,and clothing description of the parent(s). It will help.

Again, Time is of the essence: In this case, do NOT waste time hunting for them. Report it to security or rangers immediately so that many more people are looking.

Last, but not least: If you and your family are going out on a day trip to hike or drive, make sure someone knows where you are going and a check-in time so that they know when to report you missing. If you break down, stay with the vehicle. If you are on a road, an airplane will see the vehicle before they see you. Always carry plenty of water and if you’re in a place where it gets cold, keep extra blankets in the car.

Have a wonderful summer, but above all… be safe.

Now it’s time for the pointy eared people.

Tito's gaze
Tito’s gaze
Miss Jenny's profile
Miss Jenny’s profile
Titanescu: Накорми меня! Сейчас!
Titanescu: Накорми меня! Сейчас!

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Caturday: ridiculous faces of madness

Because it’s a usually fleeting thing, catching a glimpse of a cat about to go on its mad-hour romp can be difficult. One second they may be licking themselves, then the very next they dash off to explode out of corners at a dead run and jump on and off furniture.

This took a while to document, not just for one of the kittoons, but all three. The head rears back a bit, the eyes bug out, and there may even be a bit of a Marty Feldman look there.

Marty Feldman
Marty Feldman

The body goes from limp sack of cooked noodles to taut piano wire and boom, it’s on like Donkey Kong, claws out and losing traction as if in a ’70s car chase.

Naturally, Titanescu will do about three minutes before losing steam and plopping somewhere, while the others keep going and going.

This is the moment. On the cusp of lunacy. And it’s just goofy.

Miss Jenny
Miss Jenny

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Springing reflections: from the Strybing arboretum

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”

― Søren Kierkegaard

There’s a look on Titanescu’s face that sometimes brings to mind a tortured but not defeated soul. Perhaps a Russian writer after ten  winters in a gulag, lasting twelve months each.

The enigma of cats, who do not judge but reflect: a throw back without absorption, and a convoluted intro to three shots I took at the Strybing arboretum.  I really liked them, which is what I want to share…

Rippling leaves
Rippling leaves
Land and sky with water in between
Land and sky with water in between
Green, blue and black
Green, blue and black

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Caturday: the towering inferno

The cat tower is one place where the kittoons play with such abandon, things verge on disaster.
We’ve had to anchor the thing to the book case with tethers after they managed to topple it a few times, and since then they can race up and jump down the damn thing as hard as they please. And boy oh boy, do they play hard.
Which always begs the question, exactly what is going through their fevered brain..? Judging by the way they slam that thing against the wall, you’d think they’re re-enacting “Earthquake“. Or perhaps “the towering inferno“…

"It's out of control, and it's coming your way. You got about fifteen minutes."
“It’s out of control, and it’s coming your way. You got about fifteen minutes.”

Titan: “Ain’t nobody got time for that!
Tito: “Sigh… That’s not the line…”

The fire claims its first elderly victim
Gasp! It’s so hot in here!

The fire claims its first elderly victim…

Titan: “пожилых людей? Я раздавить тебя!

Okay, break everyone… The director of photography needs to point out that in order to get the “performers” in position, a laser pointer had to be used for their mark, and that even then, they would get distracted by the caw of a bird or the ludic possibilities of a speck of dust, because they have the attention span of a herd of gnats

I’m just saying, it’s frustrating…

"The sprinkler valve's stuck!"
“The sprinkler valve’s stuck!”
How are they gonna get explosives up there?
How are they gonna get explosives up there?

Tito: “Oh they’ll find some dumb son of a bitch to bring it up.”
Jenny: “Hey..!
Titan: “гогот! гогот! гогот!

That, unfortunately, is about as much thespian dedication the director could muster from all three, so let’s cut to the obligatory love scene at the end…

"Well, I always wanted to die in bed..."
“Well, I always wanted to die in bed…Purr… Purr…”

….Annnnd, CUT.

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… And speaking of play…

I know we’re maybe supposed to talk to the cats about catnip… But it’s too much fun and they’re all having a good time. Jenny in particular, likes to chew on her toys. Especially after I place them in the catnip jar and shake it…

Chew, hug and toss ’em. This last time, of course, she farted when I reached down to pet her…

Gimme some...
Gimme some…
Mousy! I LOVE Mousy!
Mousy! I LOVE Mousy!
Annnd... Mellowing out....
Annnd… Mellowing out….


Everything is illuminated
Everything is illuminated

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Caturday: Health edition

With Rudha-an suffering a sore (parched?) throat down in the desert where the wind sandpapers eyes and nose alike, and Miss Jenny getting (slowly) over her case of the unburied runs, Titanus Grumpicus continues to eat like a hog and rests his weary bones in the kitchen window soaking up the sun.

Note the chiseled features
Note the chiseled features of the proto-fascist

Manx kittoons being subject to arthritis, we suspect it partly explains his grumpiness…
What with their nubby tail, long legs and sometimes short spine, the poor bastards don’t always know whether to run or hop around. Although Titanescu doesn’t seem to be in a lot of pain, he looks uncomfortable when the petting hand wanders down his back, legs or neck. Then it’s “I CRUSH YOU” time.
I know the feeling: it takes me about ten minutes to “unkink” myself after I sit for about an hour…

Captain Kleenex
Captain Kleenex wants to play

None of that fazes Tito who thinks he’s got a handle on old coot. When he’s not sure whether he’s gone a bit too far with the auld cat, Tito looks over at us to gauge our reaction if any. Smart cat.
We’re not yet sure what to make of Jenny’s odd behavior of late.

Litter box' over there...
Litter box’ over there…

On two occasions, she has acted very scared, her pupils dilated, running at a crouch, “slinking” really, into the kitchen to hide in a cabinet. Combined with squirting melted Hershey bars which gross her out too much to bury, she bears watching. Well , not every Caturday can be about fun after all, but neither is it all drama…. Until next week!

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Catuesday morning in seven movements

As a follow-up to last Caturday, this is what went on this morning at 5 am…

Tito started with his monkey-boy routine of hanging upside down on the cat tower…

Don't you wish your girlfriend...
Don’t you wish your girlfriend…
... Was sexy like me?
… Was sexy like me?

Notice the rare evil glow in his eyes…


Although not everyone was impressed…

Oh, you want some?!?
Oh, you want some?!?

Someone was.

Can you make it? Here I'll toss you a rope...
Can you make it? Here I’ll toss you a rope…



Meanwhile the old coot didn’t even care what was on tee-vee…


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Caturday: The Good, The Mad, and The Bored

Another Caturday rolls around and life is beginning to smooth out a bit. Titan is still in his safe room but he’s adjusting well. We’re getting him started on kitty introductions. The day before yesterday, he saw Tito at the door (across the room) and he hissed. Yesterday, Tito was allowed to spend about 2 minutes exploring the room while Titan watched from the bed. He didn’t hiss. This morning, I cracked open the door and Titan came over and stopped about two feet away from Tito. He hissed once, but didn’t run away. He studied Tito for a moment and went back to his human pillow (aka Lastech). We’re advancing slowly. 🙂

As for the theme of today’s photos…

Tito and Miss Jenny
The Good
The Mad (as in stark raving)
Miss Jenny
The Mad… again
The Bored

And now for something completely different. WARNING!! Cute overdose is imminent!

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2012: JBoD’s year in review

Happy New Year!

Now is the time to take a minute and look back on this past year, and the ways it affected the JBoD microcosm.

We spent much of 2012 watching sunsets and wildlife (fins!) from local beaches, but in April, we chose to visit the neighboring hill known as Bernalwood where stunning California poppies in full bloom awaited. On another more recent trip, amazing clouds treated us to an ‘air show’…

California poppies on Bernal Hill
California poppies on Bernal Hill

In May, we finally managed a trip to see the California Academy of Sciences. The albino alligator named Claude is a real beauty.

Academy of Sciences
Claude on his warming rock. He’s quite a handsome devil. Photo by Ron DeCloux.

I took a lot of photos, so it’s in four parts. One, two, three and four.

In May, our glorious Golden Gate Bridge turned 75 years old. I’ve lived here for ten years and I never get tired of seeing her.

Golden Gate Bridge

In June, a contractor working a few doors down from our home base cut into a gas line, resulting in a gas explosion and fire. Purely by chance, prevailing winds minimized the spread of the damage, a very good thing considering how long it took to shut off the gas. The kind of scene best left in movies, not real life. The Pointy Eared people weren’t amused…

Gas fire and explosion on San Bruno Ave
Firefighters in action. The tan and brown building on the far left is where the construction was. The dentist office was in the white building.

Then in July, we lost our sweet, comical tyrannical food thief Kitsy to FIP. It was sudden and awful and I still haven’t been able to write a proper post for him. As for Lastech, he is still coming to terms with the possibility that the virus which took him might have been introduced by Miss Jenny. So little is known about FIP and no test being available, it remains a painful mystery.

Kitsy narrating LOL woman in black
“… Don’t go chasing shadows, Gigadoon…”

In August, we went to the park on a foggy morning and came across some wildlife with a pissy attitude.

Belligerent crayfish Hey stupid

In September, Miss Nightshade Jenny brought me a most bizarre gift.

Miss Nightshade Jenny
Don’t let those innocent blue peepers fool you

Later in September, we got to see the Space Shuttle Endeavor fly over the Golden Gate Bridge. Incredible!

Space Shuttle Endeavor by Lastech
Space Shuttle Endeavor by Lastech

In November, we went to the Japanese Tea Garden and Arboretum for a bit of zen. We wound up having a wonderful surprising encounter with a hawk.

The hawk was sitting in the tree just above eye level and only ten feet from the path.
The hawk was sitting in the tree just above eye level and only ten feet from the path.

A week or so later, we went exploring the Coastal Trail near the Golden Gate Bridge. We encountered another hawk, a couple of hummingbirds, a slug and a wonderful sunset.

Anna's hummingbird
Did I mention that hummingbirds like the pretty purple flowers?

We finished off the year by exploring the cliffs around Battery Mendell, a coastal battery that was built before WWI.

Battery Mendell
Photo by Rudha-an

That was our 2012 for the most part. Some was good and some was bad. Hopefully, 2013 will be an even better year.

Happy New Year from JBoD

Rudha-an, Lastech, Tito, and Miss Nightshade Jenny

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Happy Birthday to Dracula’s Creator

Irish writer Bram Stoker was born 165 years ago today on November 8, 1847. He is best known for his gothic horror novel, Dracula. There’s not a lot more to say as words would be wasted. This man gifted us with a wonderful genre of horror that inspires people to this day.

Bram Stoker 1906

When it comes to movies, my favorite one is the great silent film, Nosferatu (1922) directed by E.W. Murnau and starring Max Schreck. Since Murnau knew he would be sued by Stoker’s widow, he changed the ending and it became the first time that a vampire was killed by sunlight. That detail was NOT in Bram Stoker’s book. A good later movie about Murnau and Nosferatu is Shadow of the Vampire (2000) starting John Malkovich and Willem Dafoe. That one is based on the myth that Max Schreck was a real vampire.

Tito had to play the part of Dracula in this post as all the photos from the film are still under copyright in Germany.

My other favorite movie is Dracula (1979) starring Frank Langella. I’m fond of this one only because Langella made for a rather attractive vampire. Ok, I’ll admit it. He made me drool. He still does, come to think of it. Age hasn’t hurt him one bit.

As for cats inspired by Bram Stoker, please go see Adventures of a Naked Cat. It’s a blog written by Nofuratu, a hairless kitty. He has  brothers named Count von Count, Vampir, and Vladimir. He also has a wonderful Facebook page. He’s a great adventurer and fashionista.vampire cat