Friday, June 27, 2008

On the altitude of cats

Do you happen to recall the windowsill I mentioned in my post regarding a wasp? Well, of course you do, and if not, you can easily check my archives.

Said windowsill is rather high up. We had believed until recently that it was, in fact, beyond the range of cats, despite our petite black huntress Sheba often gazing wistfully upwards.

Well, she proved us wrong. She decided to make the attempt, and proved her athleticism - she made the jump from the TV stand. That was approximately a four-foot leap, or the rough equivalent of the LA or I leaping from the ground to our balcony; we're on the first floor (British style) or second floor (USA style). She then inspected things, for a while (meaning that my cat has seen something I never have) and started looking for a way down.

By this stage, we had finally managed to remove the threaded rod from the top of the tall cat tree, making it far less of a "spear the cat" effort, and had placed it by the window. However, Sheba didn't want the help, and also decided she wanted to stay up there. Fortunately, it was by this stage dinnertime, and so we could bribe her down with wet food.

She initially wanted to come down the way she'd gone up, but we couldn't allow that, as there was not a cat-sized area on the TV stand without photo frames. While she was down, we cleared such an area, and placed a blanket there for cushioning of landings. This turned out to be a mistake, as she decided to land beside the blanket on her next descent. We've now got a designated landing area, and Sheba has decided that she likes the high windowsill. It provides her with a good view, a chance to taunt the cats across the pond, and a definite advantage over Graham in the search for altitude.

In the social dynamics of cats, status is strongly linked to altitude. Graham simply cannot reach the height Sheba can.

Sadly, nor can the LA, and nor can I. It seems we're outranked by a cat...

Monday, June 23, 2008

On the occasion of his passing...

I would like to say a few words to honour the memory of George Carlin.

Seven words, in fact. You all know which ones.

Shit. Piss. Fuck. Cunt. Cocksucker. Motherfucker. Tits.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled FCC rules violations...

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

On baking

I'm trying out something new to me: following a recipe. Normally, I'm completely incapable of this task, but an intuitive understanding of What Works (thanks, Mum!) saves me from producing inedible messes. Today, though, it's baking, which is more science than art, as opposed to cooking, which is more art than science.

I have taken the recipe in question from my sister, who let me have it by request. I did need to make some substitutions: I don't have self-raising flour (which can be worked around by a standard method, and I did so), I don't have whole milk, just skimmed (that's an unknown), and I don't have mustard powder (so I added a similar quantity of paprika). The method is easy, and the scones are just about to come out of the oven.

And here they are, fresh as can be. Yes, that ninth one is a little scruffy; I'll put it out of its misery as soon as it's dropped below "scorchingly hot". They're actually octagonal, since I also lack a cutter; I used a drinking glass, and the ones which are the right size are octagonal. I like the effect.

Now, if I were to do it again purely for myself, I'd make one slight change: I'd add chopped onion or shallot on top. The LA wouldn't like that, though, so it's not been done this time. I expect them to be lovely without, though.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

On the Security of Societies

Or, How Things Are Different.

UK: Social Security office full of people who have great difficulty speaking English or forming a coherent thought, but who feel they're entitled to something.
US: Social Security office full of people who can actually think, and who mainly feel vaguely ashamed to be there.

UK: SSO with constant smell of s**t thanks to idiots changing their babies' nappies in public and just dumping them in the trash
US: conspicuous lack of kids.

UK: SSO staff generally inefficient and want to find ways in which they can prevent you succeeding
US: courtesy, efficiency, and apparently a desire to help.

My Social Security card will be with me in two weeks.

Friday, June 13, 2008

On insects and instability

I have hurt myself. Not seriously, merely bruising, and that mostly to my pride, but I have hurt myself.

Some of you may have been aware that a wasp was building a nest within the holy place contained between our patio door and the screen door without. (Speaks volumes for the quality of said screen; it's supposed to keep insects out!) That wasp was killed when I destroyed the nest with chemical warfare. However, today I saw a new wasp of the same type.

It was in the living room.

As you can imagine, this was far from ideal, especially as neither cat wished to help in the destroying of it. Now, to set the scene... at the Eastern end of our living room, the LA and I have a large (almost 5 feet by six feet) picture window, immediately adjacent to which is the big entertainment centre in which the TV sits, and above which by about 18 inches is the arch window. See, we have a so-called vaulted ceiling; this means that there's basically no attic space above the living room. The arch window is semicircular and the same width as the picture window; its sill is at a rough guess about nine feet up. The picture window's (narrow) sill is about 18 inches up.

The wasp was investigating the arched window for possibilities of exit. It was finding none. Yours truly, mildly freaked out by the wasp, went over and grabbed a magazine, rolled it in the approved wasp-killing manner, and then used the entertainment centre to climb onto the picture window's sill. Then I managed to grab the arched window's sill, and edged across (did I mention the was was at the far end?) until I could reach the wasp. Then, I had at it, and landed a stunning blow.

The wasp fell.

I shrieked a little and fell too, then immediately got up and hammered the wasp into nothingness with the magazine I was still gripping. Then I went and got a paper towel, gathered the fragments of wasp, and disposed of them. That was when the pain hit, and now I feel such a fool...

Neither cat wished to aid me once the wasp had fallen. I suppose if they'd moved I'd have seen that they were laughing...

However, the moral of the tale? When you have cats, the best insecticide is a rolled-up newspaper or magazine. Cats aren't harmed by the lingering effects of THAT when you use it to kill an insect!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

On receipt

USCIS sent me something unequivocal.

I can has job?

Also, I can has wedding registry. Four hours in Bed Bath & Beyond blew out my knee, though...

Thursday, June 5, 2008

On papers

USCIS sent me things, that got here today.

I *think* they're saying that I can now jet back to England and come back here. I'm not sure, though. Still, they have an instance of "APPROVED" on them. This is a happy word.

I'll be consulting the LA for some clarification on what the other words mean. She speaks legalese.