Pass the Caffeine… and the Tylenol… and a Watergun…

So, yesterday morning I was watering the plants in the front yard when a neighbor cat came up to me. She was young, maybe a year old, and in good health and care. Obviously someone’s pet, although equally obviously an outdoor cat. She was very friendly to me, but seemed particularly interested in d’Artagnan.

Now, I’ve had cats for my entire life, and I know SOP regarding strange cats on the front porch. The intruder cat parades around in full view of the house cat, teasing it, while the house cat hisses, yowls, and makes futile attacks through the glass. No love is lost.

Apparently d’Artagnan never got the memo. He sat there in the window, entranced, and not at all unfriendly. And when the interloper discovered the screen door and stood up so that she could see into the house, d’Art ran over and stood up on the other side of the door. They made quiet little mewing noises at one another and touched noses through the mesh. It was devastatingly cute, and terribly uncatlike.

I, of course, teased d’Artagnan mercilessly about his girlfriend, and thought little else of it beyond telling my parents what a weird cat I had. That is, until…

the morning that would live in infamy!

This morning, I intended to get into work at 8:45 so that I could call my boss, remind him that he had a 10 AM appointment, and be here to make sure said appointment went smoothly. At 8, my alarm went off, and I hit the snooze button.

Of course, when I say “snooze button,” I really mean “the on/off switch.”

At about 9:30, d’Artagnan (who had been banished because he was walking on my face) broke into the bedroom somehow and woke me up. (He’s a good kitty.) I panicked, called into the office, and got someone else to cover my butt. She told me not to worry/hurry, so I got ready for work at a slightly less than breakneck pace. This pace was significantly slowed by my right eye’s utter refusal to get with the program. By the time I got my contacts to cooperate, I was already late enough that I figured I could go ahead and do my usual morning “chores.”

I went to feed CJ (the goldfish) only to find a massive puddle of water on his table. Seven paper towels later, I’ve determined two things. One: the finish on my grandmother’s end table (which was just on loan from my parents anyway) is ruined. Two: the fishtank apparently has a leak.

There doesn’t seem to be any immediate danger on the fishtank front, so I went outside to get the water bottle so I can water the plants.

As I’m inside filling the bottle, I hear d’Artagnan meow. There he is… standing up at the screen door, touching noses with the girl next door again. (“Awwww… kitty love!” says Ryan. I’m more of the impression that it’s “awwww… kitty in heat looking for male attention of the sort that d’Art is categorically unable to provide”).

I go outside to water the plants, and Miss Kitty lovebombs me. She seems really upset about something (not really in the squalling sexual frustration sort of way, just in a sad sort of way) and really seems to want me to let her into the house, so I begin to wonder if maybe she’s lost and hungry. Finally, I kneel down and scratch her ears – a pretense so that I can read her nametag. It turns out her name is Suki (not Suri, as I originally told Ryan… damn TomKat) and that she lives right across the street. Given that she’s twenty feet from home, I rule out the possibility that she’s starving to death and hopelessly astray.

So, yeah. I’m watering the plants. Water, water, water. Now, remember the carpet of tree droppings? They’re sticking in thick, squishy mats to the bottoms of my shoes, and I’ve unwittingly tracked them into the house. With a sigh of… well, you can’t be too frustrated when you’re not at work, so maybe resignation… I go back into the house to find the push broom.

As I step back out the front door to clean the stuff off of the sidewalks, Suki lets herself into the house!

Hilarity ensues.

Fortunately for Suki, d’Artagnan, and most importantly my household belongings, I am a certifiable Cat Whisperer and was able to calmly persuade one, but not both, cats to leave the house without destroying (or mating with) anything.

The end result of all this fun is that I was about two hours late to work and have already got a late-afternoon headache. But it was fun, and it was time spent outside of the office, so I’m content.

The question is… if Suki insists on returning every day and upsetting my kitty, do I do anything about it? I mean, planting catnip in my front yard is definitely out at this point…

Ever Have a Friendship Dissolve?

Our latest Book Arts project was to create a book – on any topic, in any format – out of Dissolvo. The “any topic” part is a bit misleading; if you submit a dissolving book on monkeys, frinstance, there’d better be some very good reason that you chose to use Dissolvo. The content has to match the materials, you see.

It’s also important to recall that my professor hates many things, books-in-boxes and “cute” little books among them.

Enter my book.

My book is called best friends. It is housed in an abandoned metal tin that I lined with pink sparkle-paper. I made a pink ribbon “belt” to hold it closed. Around the edges is paper with childish handwriting saying “will you be my friend? yes/no” with check boxes.

The bottom of the tin is also printed with the paper.

Open the box and voila! You see the actual book. The title is “written” using pink letter stickers.

If you hadn’t noticed before, here’s a picture that makes the format of the book pretty obvious. It’s a best friend’s necklace!

You rotate the pages to read it. This is the lefthand half of the book which, if you read it alone, tells a story of cute sweet friendship straight out of a 1950s childhood.

However, if you put both halves together, and read it then, you get an entirely different perspective on this friendship.

If you can’t read the words above, I’ll tell you what it reads.

One half: “You always finish my sentences. People laugh because you know me so well.”

Both halves: “You always interrupt and finish my sentences with snide comments. People laugh behind my back because you are so clever – you know me so well that it hurts.”

The other two pages say something along the lines of the following (I don’t have the exact wording written down right now). I’ll put the lefthand side in bold so you can see how the wording breaks up.

I can not tell you anything anymore. You keep my secrets posted on MySpace and would never miss a chance to betray me or my trust.

We are like spoiled peas and carrots – not even remotely the same but better off apart than together anymore.

That’s not the exact text but pretty close.

Anyway, he gave me an A-/B+ because I failed to write “made out of dissolving paper, der der der” so I’m going to take it home (once he gives it back) and write that on the copyright page, then turn it back in for an improved grade.

Ever Have a Friendship Dissolve?

Our latest Book Arts project was to create a book – on any topic, in any format – out of Dissolvo. The “any topic” part is a bit misleading; if you submit a dissolving book on monkeys, frinstance, there’d better be some very good reason that you chose to use Dissolvo. The content has to match the materials, you see.

It’s also important to recall that my professor hates many things, books-in-boxes and “cute” little books among them.

Enter my book.

My book is called best friends. It is housed in an abandoned metal tin that I lined with pink sparkle-paper. I made a pink ribbon “belt” to hold it closed. Around the edges is paper with childish handwriting saying “will you be my friend? yes/no” with check boxes.

The bottom of the tin is also printed with the paper.

Open the box and voila! You see the actual book. The title is “written” using pink letter stickers.

If you hadn’t noticed before, here’s a picture that makes the format of the book pretty obvious. It’s a best friend’s necklace!

You rotate the pages to read it. This is the lefthand half of the book which, if you read it alone, tells a story of cute sweet friendship straight out of a 1950s childhood.

However, if you put both halves together, and read it then, you get an entirely different perspective on this friendship.

If you can’t read the words above, I’ll tell you what it reads.

One half: “You always finish my sentences. People laugh because you know me so well.”

Both halves: “You always interrupt and finish my sentences with snide comments. People laugh behind my back because you are so clever – you know me so well that it hurts.”

The other two pages say something along the lines of the following (I don’t have the exact wording written down right now). I’ll put the lefthand side in bold so you can see how the wording breaks up.

I can not tell you anything anymore. You keep my secrets posted on MySpace and would never miss a chance to betray me or my trust.

We are like spoiled peas and carrots – not even remotely the same but better off apart than together anymore.

That’s not the exact text but pretty close.

Anyway, he gave me an A-/B+ because I failed to write “made out of dissolving paper, der der der” so I’m going to take it home (once he gives it back) and write that on the copyright page, then turn it back in for an improved grade.

Vacation Blog

I suppose I need to do the obligatory vacation post, huh. I think I shall spice it up with the liberal application of photos. Coo? Coo.

The Boise-to-SLC leg of the flight was on an itty bitty ghetto jet. You know, the kind that’s no bigger than a Greyhound with wings.

Once in Ontario, we met up with Ryan’s sister, Bryn, who drove us up to her flat (I just wanted to say “flat” to confuse random visitors who think I’m in the UK) near Hollywood. It was a very cute studio apartment, done very nicely. This picture was at some point during the week when we were all relaxing. The office is more or less in the kitchen, and the sofa is more or less in the bedroom.

Despite having been to the LA area many times, I had never been to Hollywood. This, obviously, could not stand. Soon I found myself amongst dozens of costumed freaks (including a multi-pierced Snow White) in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. We commenced with the goofy touristism.

Ryan tried to fill John Wayne’s shoes and actually found that he rather overflowed them. I looked for someone whose shoes I’d like to fill, but came up empty… footed…?

Later, Bryn took us to her restaurant. (Not her restaurant, but the one at which she is employed.) Here we all are in the booth. Yay, booth. The food was fantastic.

Okay, so the guy behind the bar? Far right? I know it’s hard to tell, but that’s Peter Abbay. He’s the banker on “Deal or No Deal,” which I don’t watch, but whatever. He tends bar with Bryn as a night job (hobby? I dunno) and came to talk with us. He’s really very cool and nice… and my Hollywood celebrity encounter of the trip.

There are strange signs and stores in California. I think this is supposed to be a wigmaker, but seriously, folks. You have to admit that’s hiliarious.

The next day, Ryan and I went to the Happiest Place On Earth (where, incidentally, many kids seemed distinctly unhappy). We stopped for breakfast at a little bakery place inside (yeah, I know, but outside Disney was just as expensive) and were delighted to find that we had been granted access to the behind-the-scenes of said bakery!

It’s the 50th anniversary, and so the traditional Mickey (you’re so fine you blow my mind) ears were available in gold. We tried them on, which apparently terrified me. Man, I take some fabulously unflattering photos these days!

Here’s another less-than-totally-great photo of me. My upper lip wrinkle makes it look like I’ve got a mustache. Sigh.

Our first ride was the renovated Space Mountain. It was great. Faster, smoother, less rinkydink. Didn’t spend the entire time worrying I was going to be decapitated by a support beam. Much good.

This is us. On Space Mountain. Again with the terrified look from me, although this time it was deliberate. Ryan did not fulfill his “pose like we’re on a scary roller coaster” duties.

A good look for Ryan, I think… although, in a way, isn’t this a monstrous asshat?

Ended the day with the coolest fireworks show ever. It wasn’t super big or long, but amazingly choreographed. There was even a real live person dressed as Tinkerbell flying on a suspension cord, glowing, and doing the whole “tap the castle” thing.

The following day, we reluctantly ended the vacation part of our vacation and headed back to Ontario for the Western District Convention. Yes, I know… WDC is fun. But after a certain number of years, it loses its luster. Ryan dug out his WDC punch card because you get the tenth one free. Anyway, as 2/3 of the WDJAA e-board present, we had a few duties to fulfill. We quickly met up with Stixen and went to the friendly neighborhood CostCo to purchase scores of “cool beverages.” (Lance, if you’re reading this… you should be careful when you ask alumni to provide “cool beverages” lest you end up with entirely the wrong sort of thing.) They seemed to be a big hit after rit.

Also taking place Friday was my presentation on the trends and issues I’d discovered from my ethnomusicology research. Somehow I managed to give my presentation a title that seemed more appropriate for something for which you’d receive academic credit, and I was scared no one would show. They did show, however, and I only partially bored them to death. I wasn’t as prepared as I would have liked to have been, partly because I procrastinated and partly because I was thinking my presentation was going to be Saturday. I think I did an okay job of faking it, though.

Unfortunately, the powers-that-be put us in a room that was only incompletely divided between my presentation and Dawn’s. The other presentation was on the untold stories of being a band teacher, and was much louder and more fun sounding… hence making it difficult to hear over on my side of the room. Nevertheless, I had fun and got a gift of coffee, which was most wonderful.

An interesting development at this WDC was the discovery of not one but two children of the late William Scroggs, KKPsi’s most founderly of the founders. Bill Jr. and Susan came to convention, were made honorary members, and gave a little talk about their father. It caused quite a buzz. They both seemed like very nice people. In this picture, they also seem like very fuzzy people. I was having trouble with the flash. There are probably better pics of them on this roll (ha ha, digital pictures don’t have rolls), but I grabbed these pretty quickly.

A funny thing about conventions, and about people, is the Drama Factor. It’s a given that there will be drama at WDCs. Some people hate the drama and avoid it at all costs. Others claim to hate the drama, but really thrive on it and will even (unconsciously?) cause it. And still others… like my Ryan… love them some drama. Provided is a picture of Ryan expressing righteous anger at a craptacular situation. We were amused that he doesn’t even bother to get up and pace any more — he’s that much of a veteran of the convention drama scene. (Convention drama is something like convention booty, but in the end somewhat less likely to result in STDs.) 

At some point it became time for banquet, and so I became one with my formal and posed for the traditional pre-banquet photograph. Note the terrific shoes with the terrifying lack of pedicure.

Ryan, Stixen, and I, at banquet. Lambda Alphans were kind enough to share their table with us. The food was surprisingly good for hotel fare, and the decorating was nice.

After banquet, the talent show commenced. Iota Kappa did a human pyramid. Iota Iota (I think) made me feel like throwing up, and Iota Pi did a dancy dance that was not as good as last year’s, but which still netted them the trophy. There was also a dance after that, but I don’t seem to have those photos handy tonight.

The Mackeys brought their little one, Anna, to convention again. I see her every year, and it’s remarkable to see her change and grow. She’s 3 and a half, and adorable, now. We played “steal your nose” and she was completely okay with it — understood that her nose was not, in fact, actually going anywhere — but when I turned her nose upside down she wigged out and had to have her dad fix it for her. It was so cute.

Paperclips were present.

I bought the coolest belt ever. I’m quite enamored. Can you tell that I’m getting tired of this entry yet? Is anyone still even looking at it? Anyone? Bueller?

Ooo, this is marginally interesting! I made and took three angels with me last week. One, Kellan, was custom made for Stixen. She often sends me little goodies and gifts, and I’d been wanting to give her something in return for some time. At some point I came up with this idea for an angel, and knew immediately that I should make it for her. I had all of the packing stuff ready to send it, but then realized that I could just take it in person. It turned out pretty well, I think. I used that eyelashy yarn for hair (pain in the butt, but beautiful) and some terrific silver paper for the metal bits. The black parts of the shield are this nifty corrugated black paper. There are jeweled brads for ornamentation, and the sword reads “REGARD NOTHING AS IMPOSSIBLE.”

The other angels I made were for a silent auction. They were The Spirit of Brotherhood and The Spirit of Sisterhood, and make up a matched set that ultimately got separated. I was hoping that people would bid higher since proceeds were going to the colonies, and I was half hoping that someone (an honorary of both, perhaps, or a cross-organizational couple) would bid and win both… but it was not to be. In the end, Brotherhood went home with an Iota Pian, and Sisterhood went home with an Eta Omegan. They went for enough to cover materials (assuming I was trying to reimburse myself, which I wasn’t) plus some extra… disappointing, but still nice.

I did the wings differently, using a double layer of vellum (one navy, one gold-flecked) with a wing pattern printed on the upper layer. The haloy bit is this awesome holographic paper that glows from every angle, and the appropriate Greek letters are emblazoned on their heads with gold jewels. Brotherhood wears a blue velvet toga with white drape, and Sisterhood wears a white velvet toga with blue drape. Their belts and hem are lines of music, and each clasps a treble clef. (People who make such things apparently don’t like bass clefs. I should learn how to make such things.) A cord of sparkly blue, white, and gold thread binds the two together.

Sunday night, we were kept up pretty late by the noisy Gamma people next door, and then had to get up at 3 to take the shuttle to the airport for a 6 AM flight. The Ontario airport, check-in wise, is the worst airport ever. Ye gourds. We arrived in Boise exhausted, happy to be home, but having enjoyed our week very much. I guess it doesn’t really come across that way in this post, necessarily, but that’s just because I’m tired right now.

Oh… by the way… in case you have somehow not heard yet… we dissolved WDJAA, and are pushing for the creation of smaller LAAs. Also, next year’s convention will be hosted in part by Iota Kappa, and will take place in Vegas. This is apparently a controversial location.