Friday, February 29, 2008

Doubly Fortunate

The bad news is that I had to go to yet another lecture at work today. The good news is twofold: this lecturer actually spoke decent English (unlike the Tuesday at 4pm lecturer, who absolutely did NOT), and the department bought the attendees lunch from Doc Shey's - yummmmmmmm. My lunch came with a fortune cookie that happened to contain two fortunes. Not a bad thing, I say.

The first said that I should remember this date (hard to forget on Leap Day) because in "exactly three months" I can expect something wonderful to happen. The second said to expect a terrific vacation soon. I can't help but think that on May 29 (which happens to be my birthday), PDM is going to give me a kick-ass vacation as a present. Cool!

Thursday, February 28, 2008


Ahhh, cat naps. Some of what I hope to do this weekend. Zima has had nearly 14 years of practice and she is very good at it.

There is still a lot of real life stuff going down that is not the greatest. Some of it downright sucks. I will write about it later, but for now prefer to keep it private. We will be fine and it is not anything that was unexpected. Just sad. More to come...

Monday, February 25, 2008

Wild, Wild Life

When life gets a little too exciting, it is nice to chill out and commune with nature. And sometimes there is no better place to do that than from your own yard. (There is a lot of stuff going on lately that I haven't disclosed in the blog. Maybe later, or maybe never. Some family stuff and lots of drama at work, among other things. Thus, the lack of posts other than photoblogging lately.)

I spent some time outside in my yard at dusk this evening after a draining day at work. Moxy was entertaining as she hunted squirrels from tree to tree. Zima followed me around as we watched Moxy's exploits. Moxy's becoming quite the climber. Getting back down is still the hardest part, but eventually she figures out that she can't go down head first and it all works out.

Standing at the edge of the woods with the cats, I heard a familiar call - "Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you-all?" It was a barred owl (strix varia), perched in a nearby tree. The owl was watching Moxy, too. I fetched my binoculars for a better look and the owl obliged by sticking around for a while. It was too dark to get a decent photograph, but not too dark to observe the owl with binocs. There are a pair of them who have claimed our neighborhood as their territory. These owls are frequent visitors to our yard, which has lots of hardwood trees and a creek running through the back. We hear them more often than we see them, but both owls made appearances tonight. If we are lucky, there will be some owlets to watch later in the spring and early summer.

If you find owls as fascinating as I do, you may enjoy exploring the OwlCam website. Some folks in Eastern Massachusetts built an owl house, and a pair of barred owls took residence and raised families there over multiple years. They have a lot of information and some spectacular photo and video footage of the owls and owlets, as the owl house was wired for audio and video. There is a nifty library of owl sounds, so you can figure out if the hoots in your own yard are from barred owls.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

In Case You Missed It...

Here is what the eclipse looked like from my neck of the woods. The clouds kindly dispersed right when things got interesting. We had a great view of the red moon at totality. Regulus and Saturn are also visible in the first photo.

I held my little digital camera up to the eyepiece of my binoculars to get this next shot. I was unable to hold the combo very steady for the long exposure, so I posted the least blurry of the bunch.

A Blood Red Moon

Don't miss tonight's total eclipse of the moon!

Partial Eclipse Begins 8:43 pm EST
Total Eclipse Begins 10:00 pm EST
Mid-Eclipse 10:26 pm EST
Total Eclipse Ends 10:52 pm EST
Partial Eclipse Ends 12:09 am EST

Sunday, February 17, 2008


It was another "fun filled" weekend of home repairs not going as planned in the Cosmic Cat household. But you knew that already... because if things had gone smoothly I wouldn't be writing a blog post bitching about it.

It was a simple enough repair - fix a leaky tub faucet. It doesn't get much more mundane than that. Except when you get your vintage 1965 plumbing halfway taken apart and find out that it is a not a standard size. After going to the big hardware store that has every tool known to man, PDM found out that they no longer make the tool he needs in the size he needs. That scuttled the repair.

We (mostly PDM) are still fixing the damaged wallboard in the half bath. This was the project that I started in October, and was going to take two weekends to complete. Yeah, right. We're coming up on four months and those walls are still not ready to paint.

Old houses tend to be more solidly built than newer ones. But the tradeoff is that more stuff will fail due to age, and fixing it can be terribly frustrating. The non-standard size thing crops up all over the house - not just the plumbing. The new front door was also a special order due to a non-standard opening.

Some days we like our home better than others...

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Playboy Bun-Cat?

Happy Valentine's Day from Silvio. This is him doing his best imitation of the iconic playboy bunny logo. He's got the ear position just right. All he needs is a tiny bow tie.

I shudder to think what this post is gonna do to my search terms...

Monday, February 11, 2008

Border Wars and Wounded Pride

Georgia's state legislature has been hard at work this session, fighting injustice and righting new and old wrongs. (This is the kind of thing that Dave usually covers, but I see he has posted about other news today.) Just what does this very important work entail? Mostly they seem focused on protecting the wounded pride of UGA fans, but they've also had time to put forth some really ridiculous solutions to the water crisis.

Last month they voted 151-9 to enact a resolution calling on the NCAA to replace the BCS with a playoff system. Because this is clearly pressing business that the state of Georgia has control over... NOT.

They're barking mad over the new "Florida Gator" license plates that just gained approval by the Georgia DMV. Several other colleges from neighboring states have special Georgia plates as well. Some legislators have introduced a bill that would require reciprocity, or the out of state schools will not get their tags renewed. I think all this hoopla is because the Gators really get under UGA fans' skins. They didn't get too worked up when Georgia Tech rival Clemson got a plate. But U of F? That's going too far and cannot be tolerated.

Just when you thought it couldn't get any sillier, I present to you SR822. This bill seeks to correct a surveying error that occurred in 1818, when the Georgia-Tennessee border was incorrectly moved about a mile south of the 35th parallel, which remains the official border. This error, while seemingly water under the bridge for almost two hundred years, has the unfortunate consequence of placing the Tennessee River out of Georgia's reach in a time of historic drought. We're already in a longstanding fight with Alabama and Florida over water - sure, why not pick a little border fight with Tennessee while we're at it! Because that will be so helpful. I thought this was a joke when I first heard about it, but apparently it is serious.

What the legislature will not consider, even though a majority of Georgians are in favor of it, are Sunday sales of alcohol. It is an election year, so that topic is DOA.

So there you go. The legislative priorities this year are set. We'll rekindle the Civil War - this time with Tennessee - and make sure that the University of Georgia fans get everything they want. I can't decide if I am mad that the legislature is wasting time with crap like this, or happy that it is keeping them occupied and out of trouble (can't make a mess out of real problem solving if you are busy with this kind of stuff).

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Goodbye to all that.

Shredding is cathartic. This is a little piece of 2001, all ready to be recycled into better things.

2001 was the end of the bad stuff. The very last days of that year were when things started to turn around.

I also shredded 1998 - 2000 today. Goodbye to all that.

Friday, February 08, 2008

The Tail's Tale

UPDATED Saturday morning, February 9 - see below.

Zima, being stealth cat.

The droopy tail? Turns out to be soreness caused by a cat bite! It is a tossup whether it was Silvio or the neighborhood bully that did it. She'll be OK.

Update! Zima's dramatic tail has another chapter. This morning she was sitting on the pile of newspapers to recycle, minding her own business, when Silvio attacked her and she backed up... right into a gas burner on our stovetop. A burner that was on high at the time. I pulled her away before her tail actually caught on fire, but there was some smoke and the strong scent of burnt hair is permeating the kitchen. Zima has a big patch of singed fur on the underside of her tail now.

I wish I could tell you that this is the first time she's nearly set her tail on fire. It's not. There have been several unfortunate incidents involving her tail and candles over the years. I know from experience that within an hour, Zima will have cleaned up the burnt area so well you wouldn't even know it was there. She never seems to realize how close she comes to actual, painful physical damage and/or burning down our house.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Multitasking Exhaustion, Dark Evenings, Droopy Tails, and Signing Day

I multi-tasked my butt off at work today. It was mentally exhausting. We've had a lot of people out this week - some due to business travel and some due to illness - and the rest of us have to pull up the slack. What we do is too important to risk sleepwalking through it, or not paying attention. I went through the day feeling like a juggler with 2-3 balls constantly in the air. When I got home, I immediately flopped down on the couch for a long winter's nap. Then we went to a local mom 'n pop Italian restaurant, because neither of us felt like cooking. Chicken piccata... mmmmmmm. And as an added bonus, there are plenty of leftovers for lunch tomorrow.

How long until daylight savings time kicks in? Another month? Can't be soon enough. I'm tired of dark evenings. For me, it isn't about energy savings (there really isn't any savings - it is a wash). It is about having more daylight in the evening when I get home from work and could make use of the time to do outside stuff. Or just not feel like it is later than it is...

In the bad news department, when he got home from work PDM noticed that Zima cannot lift her tail. The part nearest her body lifts up, but the rest of it just sags and drags. No visible damage other than the droopiness, but it is very sensitive to touch judging from her reaction. Not sure what happened or exactly when, but it looks like I will be calling the vet tomorrow morning to get her checked out.

Last but not least, today was Signing Day for college football. This is a Big Deal here in the south, where college football is at least as important as religion or politics. Unlike the pro draft, where the worst teams get a shot at the best players, in college football the best teams generally get the best players. Sure, there are a lot of NCAA rules about how it's done, but the bottom line is that all is fair in love and recruiting, and there is usually some drama right up until everyone turns in their letters of intent. In our case, Duke stole back a recruit that we stole from them. C'est la vie. (Aside - why on earth would anyone want to play football for Duke?!?) In spite of both a coaching change and a major change in the type of offense we will run (switching from pro-style to the spread option), Georgia Tech managed to pick up twenty new Yellow Jackets. All in all, we exceeded my meager expectations. I don't get too excited about individual recruits until I see them on the field. Put up or shut up. But I'm already looking forward to August. Go Jackets! THWUGA!

Tuesday, February 05, 2008


Super Tuesday is finally upon us. It is a warm springlike day here in Georgia. Nearly 250,000 people (including me) have already voted in early and absentee voting. We're headed for a record turnout. This is the first time in my 24 years of voting history that (a)the contest hasn't been locked up by the time I get to vote in the primary, and (b)I'm actually excited about a candidate. Both parties have a chance to transcend the "same ol' same old". The Republicans appear to be poised to do just that. I have high hopes for the Democrats to do the same. This is our chance to say NO! to the same old bullshit, divisive, polarizing politics that we've had to endure for too many years. Most of us are somewhere in the middle. I suggest our politicians look for us there, instead of out on the fringes.

"There is not a liberal America and a conservative America - there is the United States of America. There is not a black America and a white America and latino America and asian America - there's the United States of America." - Barack Obama

I was surprised by how I felt after the New Hampshire results came in. I was happy for John McCain, but really unsettled by Clinton's win. That is when it crystallized for me and I knew what I wanted. I had been pondering the candidates logically and was trying to keep an open mind. Apparently, I'd heard enough. My gut made it very clear where my head was really at. And watching the ugliness surrounding the South Carolina primary only made my preference stronger.

This independent voter voted for Barack Obama in the Georgia Democratic primary. I sincerely hope that I will get the chance to vote for him to be the President of the United States in November. I want that bad enough to put my money where my mouth is - I was one of those 170,000 new donors who contributed to Obama's campaign in January. I've never donated money to a politician before, but I believe in this one, and it is time to make a change.


Sunday, February 03, 2008

2 Quarts Will Drive You Kooky

Looking up the "Keep On Truckin'" logo for the last post made me think of wacky packages, another of my 1970s childhood memories. These were trading cards that had parodies of common product logos on them. Not sure why that particular memory should surface, but I had a Kook-Aid tee shirt that was a favorite. I didn't realize that Topps started making wacky packages again a few years ago. If you remember the 70s editions fondly, they are set to release a series of "Flashback" wacky packs this month. Hmmm, maybe I'll have to get a new Kook-Aid tee shirt...

Friday, February 01, 2008

Moxy Keeps On Truckin'

Title courtesy of MW, who commented on this photo via my Flickr page. He said it reminded him of those "Keep On Truckin'" posters from the 70s. It was taken on the same evening as the copy cats photo. It was fun to skew perspective a bit by positioning the camera very close to her paws.