truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (Sidneyia inexpectans)
Underfoot Cat and I have conversations in the early morning. Catzilla and I have conversations at night, which generally go something like this:

ME: [reading in bed]
CATZILLA: [materializing out of freaking nowhere] Kitty is adorable.
ME: AUGH! Hi.
CATZILLA: Kitty is adorable.
ME: Kitty is walking on my book.
CATZILLA: Kitty is adorable.
ME: Kitty is walking on my hair.
CATZILLA: Kitty is adorable.
ME: Kitty is standing in my light.
CATZILLA. Kitty is adorable.
ME: Oh god, no. Not the tail-across-the face trick.
CATZILLA: Kitty. Is. Adorable.
ME: [through Catzilla's magnificent plumy tail, draped elegantly across my face] Mmmmhnmph.
CATZILLA: Admit it. Kitty is adorable.
ME: Yes, okay, okay! I give! Kitty is adorable!
CATZILLA: Le chat, c'est moi.
ME: [pets Catzilla]
truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (cats: problem)
ROUND 1
1st BIPED1: What the fuck?
UNDERFOOT CAT: Is new toy!
1st BIPED: ... that's a mouse.
GHOSTS OF RICHIE, BEN, EMMA, & MIRANDA*: Kill it! Kill it!
UNDERFOOT CAT: Is toy! See! [bats at mouse softly, no claws]
1st BIPED: Seriously?
GHOSTS OF RICHIE, BEN, EMMA, & MIRANDA: Kill it! Kill it!
UNDERFOOT CAT: Is awesome toy!
MOUSE: [escapes]
GHOSTS OF RICHIE, BEN, EMMA, & MIRANDA: D'oh!
1st BIPED: Where the fuck did it go?
UNDERFOOT CAT: I will find!
1st BIPED: I wish you wouldn't.
2nd BIPED3: [emerging belatedly from the study] Mouse?
1st BIPED: [brightly] Adventures with nature!

INTERLUDE, in which there is much peering under furniture by UNDERFOOT CAT and both 1st & 2nd BIPEDS

ROUND 2
2nd BIPED: [from under the piano] JESUS FUCKING CHRIST.
1st BIPED: [dryly] Did you find it?
2nd BIPED: It's on top of the radiator. I thought the cat was just on crack.
UNDERFOOT CAT: Toy! I has finded you!
GHOSTS OF RICHIE, BEN, EMMA, & MIRANDA: Kill it! Kill it!
1st BIPED: [advances with makeshift mouse-capturing device] Cat, you are as much use as a trapdoor in a canoe.
UNDERFOOT CAT: [being dragged away] But! Is toy!
1st BIPED: [captures mouse]
GHOSTS OF RICHIE, BEN, EMMA, & MIRANDA: Biped! No interfering!
2nd BIPED: [gets door]
1st BIPED: [advances to suitable mouse-release point and lifts makeshift lid of makeshift mouse-capturing device] Fuck, I don't have it.
2nd BIPED: [facepalm]

INTERLUDE, in which CATZILLA scoots anxiously through the living room & completely and utterly fails to notice the mouse

ROUND 3
UNDERFOOT CAT: Toy is in radiator! Make it come out!
2nd BIPED: [attempting to pry mouse away from the radiator with a dowel] You're a strong little bastard, I'll give you that much.
MOUSE: [escapes]
2nd BIPED: FUCK.
1st BIPED: It's over here! Gimme the--
GHOSTS OF RICHIE, BEN, EMMA, & MIRANDA: Kill it! Kill it!
UNDERFOOT CAT: Where is toy?
1st BIPED: HA! [captures mouse in makeshift mouse-capturing device]
GHOSTS OF RICHIE, BEN, EMMA, & MIRANDA: INTERFERENCE!
UNDERFOOT CAT: To-ooy! Where has you gone?
2nd BIPED: [gets door]
1st BIPED: [releases mouse at suitable mouse-release point]
2nd BIPED: This is not how I wanted to spend my Sunday morning.
1st BIPED: At least you're not the mouse.

CODA
UNDERFOOT CAT: [peering under bookcase] Toy? Is you under here?
2nd BIPED: Really, cat?
GHOSTS OF RICHIE, BEN, & MIRANDA: This is very embarrassing.
GHOST OF EMMA: Oh my god I can't even.
1st BIPED: I no longer wonder why he was found up a tree.
CATZILLA: ... Is something going on?


---
1Played by my lovely husband, [livejournal.com profile] mirrorthaw
2a.k.a. the Orange Creamsicle Dream Cat, the Elder Saucepan, and the First and Second Ninjas
3This would be me.
truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (writing: glass cat)
UNDERFOOT CAT: OH THANK GOD YOU'RE FINALLY UP.
ME: Good morning to you, too.
CATZILA: we are perishing of starvation
UNDERFOOT CAT: PERISHING UTTERLY.
ME: It's 5:30 in the morning. You have never once in your entire spoiled-rotten little lives been fed at 5:30 in the morning.
UNDERFOOT CAT: I'm sorry, did you not hear me? PERISHING. UTTERLY.
CATZILLA: besides it's lunch-time in Paris
ME: . . . Paris, France?
CATZILLA: le chat est adorable
UNDERFOOT CAT: Q.E.D., dude. Where's our breakfast?
truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (cats: nom de plume)
UNDERFOOT CAT: [on the bathroom sink] All right, where is it?
ME: [from the other side of the bathroom] It's not over there.
U.C.: Where the hell did it go?
ME: It's over here.
U.C.: Oh don't be ridiculous. How could it have gotten over there? It was right here.
ME: It's a bug. It has wings.
U.C.: [comes over to check] Wings?
ME: Which means you're not going to be able to catch it from the floor, either.
U.C.: [thoroughly put out] Wings is cheating.
(BUG: [from somewhere above our heads] Ha ha!)
truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (cats: problem)
ME: This is not a good time.
CATZILLA: [blankly] what are you talking about? every time is a good time for kitty
ME: Really. Not a good time.
CATZILLA: but kitty is adorable
ME: Kitty is in the way.
CATZILLA: kitty is adorable
ME: Kitty is standing on what I'm trying to type.
CATZILLA: kitty is adorable
ME: Did I mention this is not a good time?
CATZILLA: KITTY IS ADORABLE [sits down. pointedly.]
ME: ::sigh:: [pets kitty] . . . Kitty is adorable.
truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (cats: problem)
CAT A: OH MY GOD BIPED I AM STARVING
CAT B: ::sleeps::
CAT A: STARVING DID YOU HEAR ME
CAT B: ::sleeps::
CAT A: I AM ABOUT TO PERISH UTTERLY
CAT B: ::cracks one eye::
CAT A: UTTERLY
CAT B: ::goes back to sleep::
CAT A: ... utterly ...
ME: All right, all right, already.
[Cat A and I go downstairs and I put Cat A's food down]
CAT A: HALLELUJAH
[I leave the room for a minute to make a cup of tea and return]
CAT A: ::rampages merrily overhead::
CAT B: ::gives me a look and goes back to eating Cat A's food::
truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (writing: glass cat)
ME: Underfoot Cat, what are you doing?
UNDERFOOT CAT: I'm singin' in the rain, just singin'--
ME: Try again.
U.C.: Um. Your socks were lonely?
ME: My dirty and undoubtedly reeking socks that I just took off my feet after coming back from the barn?
U.C.: Yup! They're awesome!
ME: From the way you're treating them, you'd think I've been walking through the catnip mines.
U.C.: Um. I like horses?
ME: Have you ever seen a horse?
U.C.: . . . Maybe.
[UNDERFOOT CAT rubs his face lovingly against my argyle socks]
ME: You do realize this is not normal, don't you?
U.C.: It's not my fault! I was found up a tree! *
ME: Where all the horses wore argyle socks?
U.C.: It was an awesome tree.
---
*True.
truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (writing: glass cat)
CATZILLA: [loudly from about five inches away] MROWWL
ME: That's not a very nice thing to do to a person trying to do balasana.
CATZILLA: Y'know, I really think you're over-thinking this whole stretching thing. It just goes like this [stretches forward] [stretches aft] and then you're done, see?
ME: Screw you, you smug asshole.
CATZILLA: purrs
truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (writing: glass cat)
ME: Underfoot Cat, what have you done with my glasses?
UNDERFOOT CAT: What makes you think it was me?
ME: Well, there's only the three of us in the house, and it wasn't me and it wasn't Catzilla.
U.C.: How do you know there's only three of us in the house? You could have gremlins! Poltergeists! A secret cat!
ME: No, I couldn't. Besides which, you were sitting beside them on the counter just before they disappeared.
U.C.: That's nothing but circum . . . circumstitial . . .
ME: Circumstantial.
U.C.: I knew that. Circumstantial evidence. Doesn't prove a thing.
ME: And yet, here are my glasses, under the bathtub, and there are you, the only creature in the house who could have knocked them there.
U.C.: Um. I plead the Fifth?
ME: Even if you had Constitutional rights--which you don't--that wouldn't be one of them.
U.C.: All right! All right! I confess! I did it! I did it! I repent!
ME: . . . Your repentance looks an awful lot like rolling around on the floor and picking a fight with the bath mat. And losing.
U.C.: 'S not my fault if interpretive dance is the best of my limited options for communication.
ME: [giving up] Yes, let's both just pretend that's what that was. Try to remember that my glasses are not a toy.
U.C.: You say that about everything. [exits grumbling] It was all the Secret Cat's fault anyway.
ME: [after him] We don't have a secret cat!
truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (ws: hamlet)
ME: Underfoot Cat, why are you in the bathtub?
UNDERFOOT CAT: Because.
ME: What are you doing?
U.C.: Stuff.
ME: It looks to me like you're chasing your own tail.
U.C.: . . . Maybe.
ME: You realize this is a misappropriation of the bathtub.
U.C.: I can't hear you over the sound of how awesome I am.
ME: That's you purring.
U.C.: Same difference.
ME: I could turn the water on.
U.C.: You wouldn't.
ME: . . . Maybe.
truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (cats: nom de plume)
[tremendous, drawn-out, and clearly disastrous clattering noise]
Me: Oh my god, cat, what did you do?
Underfoot Cat: [looking innocent, if somewhat alarmed] I have no idea what you're talking about.
[I search the house with great and dour suspicion.]
Me: No, seriously, cat, WHAT DID YOU DO?
Underfoot Cat: This lack of trust wounds me greatly. Just for that, I'm not sayin'.
Me: AUGH!
truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (cats: problem)
Underfoot Cat: What are you doing?
Me: Taking a shower.
Underfoot Cat: Why?
Me: Personal hygiene.
Underfoot Cat: Wtf? Why don't you just use your tongue?
Me: Because reasons.
Underfoot Cat: ... You're not putting me on, are you?
Me: [getting out] No, really, this is how we--
Underfoot Cat: OH MY GOD YOU'RE MADE OF WET
truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (mfu: ik-geek)
Mateusz Skutnik has released Submachine 9. I am beside myself with glee.

(If you want more Submachine, the entire series is here.)


Gandalf checks his email. BEST PHOTO EVAR.


I believe Catzilla turned off the little Cthulhu machine this morning by walking on it. Proof (a) that the people who designed the damn thing have never lived with a cat and (b) that my cat is THE SPAWN OF THE DEVIL.


I had not known about EarlyWord until it was drawn to my attention that The Goblin Emperor got a nice shout-out on their GalleyChat summary for March 4.

There's also a very positive review from Justin Landon at Staffer's Book Review, who admits he went in prepared to hate the book and was won over anyway. I think that's the first time I've pulled that trick off.

(I know if you're reading this blog, you probably don't need to be persuaded to buy the book. Humor me.)


I finally have a day job that is both permanent and part-time (instead of working as a full-time temp, which is what I've been doing the past two and a half years). I am very happy with it; it has taught me that, oddly enough, I enjoy accounting, which is a piece of self-knowledge I wish I'd had in college. It satisfies the same part of my brain that likes Latin and calculus (and Submachine, come to think of it). And I totally get an endorphin cookie when my numbers balance.

Also, if anyone knows any good resources for DIY double-entry bookkeeping, please share! I took a Continuing Education Accounting Intro course, but the textbook, as it turned out, was not very reliable. And my employer is unlikely to be able to spring for accounting software any time soon, so it's just me and Excel.
truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (writing: airship)
ETA: Kirkus gives The Goblin Emperor a starred review. Please add exclamation points to taste.

My splendid editor, [livejournal.com profile] casacorona, has an equally splendid assistant, who today sent me the dust jacket for The Goblin Emperor.

Fig. 1: My lovely assistant Catzilla* will show it to you:

catzilla1

Fig. 2: What do you mean, that isn't what you wanted?

catzilla3

Fig. 3: For somebody we only keep around for your thumbs, you're AWFULLY picky.

catzilla4

Fig. 4: Is THIS better?

catzilla2

Perfect, Catzilla. Thank you.

---
*No, Catzilla isn't his real name. It's his internet handle.
truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (lionsmane)
1. This guy's art is AMAZING.

2. The thing I forgot to mention in my previous post is that I now have a little weather prediction center in my right ankle that FAITHFULLY lets me know when the weather is changing. You know, just like characters in books always do. I must tell you, however, that it is not actually as much fun as you might think.

3. I love this proof that cats have always been cats.

4. I have rubbed a raw spot inside my nose with my sleep apnea tentacles. DON'T ASK ME HOW I DON'T EVEN KNOW.

5. If you are in need of laughter today, this site made me laugh so hard I nearly ended up on the floor.
truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (porpentine: snow)
1. For anyone looking for verisimilitude, below about fifteen degrees Fahrenheit is too cold to ride. (Below zero is too cold for ANYTHING.)

2. Our Formerly Feral Ninja was well taught by her Feralista Mama. On Saturday I found her with a dead mouse (!) in our bedroom (ZOMG!!!11!1!). She hadn't eaten it yet, thank goodness (because the only thing worse than a dead mouse is a dead regurgitated mouse, don't ask me how I know), but she was definitely giving me the fix my toy, biped look. I did not oblige her.

3. My dear friend and frequent enabler, [livejournal.com profile] heresluck, gave [livejournal.com profile] mirrorthaw and me Season One of Elementary this holiday season. It took us a little more than a week to watch the whole thing, plus the special features (this is why it's a good thing I don't like many TV shows, because I am the opposite of will-power). I liked it a bunch. I liked the games it was playing with the source material; I adored Jonny Lee Miller, Lucy Liu, and Aidan Quinn (and Jon Michael Hall also!, although his character is not in the slightest canonical). In some ways I liked it more than Sherlock, in some less. I may make a longer post about it at some point, but the thing I actually wanted to note here is not directly related to the show; it's something I noticed in the special features, something I knew but that it's good to be reminded of. It is very difficult to give an interesting answer to a general question. The actors and writers were getting thrown these slow underhand lobs over and over (you could tell by the answers they were giving), and it just didn't give them anything interesting to say (especially because they had to avoid spoilers). There was nothing they could hit out of the park. The set designer and the prop guy and the editor and the composer, on the other hand, who could talk about very specific details, were awesome. The composer actually demonstrated the way he puts music to a scene, which was very cool, but the best bit for me was the prop guy, who said, "Every prop has a ghost." By which he meant that, once you've established a prop, an object with which an actor interacts, it's a visual cue that tells its own part of the story without anything needing to be said. It was a tiny interview, but it was brilliant.

But nobody asked Jonny Lee Miller, in these tiny special feature interviews, specific questions about the choices he was making as an actor. Nobody asked the writers to talk specifically about how they wrote a particular episode, or how they decided what they were going to do with the bits of canon they chose to interpolate. (And there are some very interesting and specific questions that could be asked.) And so they couldn't really get beyond platitudes, like the platitudes Crash makes Nuke rehearse in Bull Durham. And it's worth remembering as a rule of thumb: to get interesting answers, you have to ask specific questions.

4. Things are better with my little Cthulhu machine. We tied the tentacles to the headboard with twine, and I can now roll over without encoiling myself. I still hate the fucker, but that's a different problem.

5. The present given me by 2013, like a cold dead squirrel on my pillow, is migraines! I now get migraines as part of my PMS package. Did you know, there is nothing cool about migraines at all? Nothing works on them except specific drugs, and those specific drugs can cause heart attacks and strokes by the inherent nature of what they are. (The first one I tried also made me so light-headed and woozy that I was no better off than I'd been with the migraine and its wicked little nail gun.) And mine last for days.

They aren't bad migraines. Even without the drugs, I'm not incapacitated. I'm not nauseated. The pain is, comparatively, not as bad as my menstrual cramps even now (and not even in the same league as the menstrual cramps I had in college, which routinely hit too serious for numbers).

But dear freaking Jesus is it annoying.
truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (Default)
1. Happy Fourth of July! Also, belatedly, happy Canada Day!

2. I was very sad to discover that Edward Hardwicke died this May. He was my favorite Dr. Watson, and he was astonishingly excellent in Sir Ian McKellen's Richard III. It's obvious from reading what he says about Jeremy Brett, just on the IMDb page, and then reading what Brett had to say about him (and I am still sad, sixteen years on, that the world now lacks Jeremy Brett), that he was a lovely human being and that the friendship he and Brett show between Holmes and Watson was also part of their real-life relationship.

Rest in peace, Mr. Hardwicke. And thank you.

3. And a quote from Jeremy Brett on playing Sherlock Holmes: "I'm so miscast; I'm a romantic-heroic actor. So I was terribly aware that I had to hide an awful lot of me, and in so doing I think I look quite often brusque, or maybe sometimes even slightly rude. In fact Dame Jean Conan Doyle, Doyle's daughter, who's a great personal friend of mine, did once say to me, 'I don't think my father meant You-Know-Who to be quite so rude', and I said, 'I'm terribly sorry, Dame Jean, I'm just trying to hide me'."

4. So, after fifteen years of living in this piece of the Upper Midwest, [livejournal.com profile] mirrorthaw and I have finally started exploring its natural wonders, starting with the state parks. The bit of it I want to blog about is, in one of the state parks, there's a pine plantation--i.e., planted by someone who intended to harvest the trees for lumber. (The park information is very carefully passive voice, so it's hard to tell quite how we ended up with a pine plantation in a state park.) Walking from the mostly oak forest into the pine plantation was one of the more eerie experiences I've had recently. Because, you see, the thing about pine plantations is that they kill all the other vegetation. No smaller trees, no bushes. No Virginia creeper, no grape vines, no mayflowers or ferns. No animals. No birds. Just these tall, straight trees, and a carpet of dead pine needles. And the mosquitoes who followed us in.

It'll probably get into a story eventually, but in the meantime, it's this odd lump of experience like an inclusion in quartz.

5. There's nothing like disgusting humid sweltering heat to make Catzilla feel snuggly.
truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (horse: fd-milo)
Someone should have been out at the barn with a camera today. June the Barn Cat jumped on my shoulder while I was grooming Milo, resulting in a three-species karmic chi love thing: June purring like a maniac while Milo whuffled her ear and then mine.
truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (horse: fd-milo)
The take-home lesson from 2010 is: don't break your ankle.

Other than that, I'n not doing any kind of Year in Review post. Instead:

my horse in a nutshell )

and some pictures of four-cat bed detente )

Happy New Year! Here's to 2011!
truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (horse: fd-milo)
1. written my third Ellery Queen post for tor-dot-com. There is, of course, no one currently at Tor to care, and won't be until 2011, but it's the check-mark on the to do list that counts.
2. filled out paperwork for invoicing tor-dot-com for the two posts that went up in December.
3. fought with Wells Fargo's voicemail system and emerged confused but triumphant with the information [livejournal.com profile] mirrorthaw wants.
4. written a functional transition (i.e., it's good enough for the first draft) into the next supernatural manifestation in Thirdhop Scarp. The plot may finally start thickening.
5. scheduled a riding lesson tomorrow and one on Saturday. (YAY!)
6. called the vet about two necessary questions I've been failing to ask all week (nothing alarming--just the Elder Saucepan's pain meds and arthritis supplements).
7. AND committed us to bringing the First Ninja in on Monday for an ultrasound so we can maybe figure out wtf are up with her kidneys. (She's making sure the household cats meet their mysteriousness quota, all by herself.)

That looks like a lot more accomplishment than it felt like. Go team me!

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truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (Default)
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