Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Cats in the Sauna and Boiling Water Tricks

The dogs are enjoying the cold. (Except for last night, when the thermometer in the kitchen that measures the temperature outside dropped as far as minus 20.6F, which is minus 29C, before announcing that it had taken itself offline.)

I tried the magic boiling water trick late last night: boil a kettle, pour the water into a cup, walk outside at minus 20F and throw the boiling water into the air, where it turns instantly to powdery snowy dust. I did it. It worked. I'd pressed the wrong button on the phone and had failed to record it for posterity. I decided I wasn't going to do it again, because there are lots of people doing it on YouTube already (and even some respected institutions). Nor was I going to sit outside in the cold looking at meteors. Instead I went back down to the bottom of the garden and wrote.)

The weird thing is that, once we get into the depths of winter, -20 will be a temperature I look forward to. It's -40 I don't like. (And once we get to -40, which is the same in F or C, I do not care about things like windchill.)

I read once that at minus 70 F, there is a gentle tinkling noise that your breath makes as it freezes and falls to the ground, but I am happy not to put this to the test.


The Dogs are enjoying the weather.

The Cats are not. The cats have more or less taken up residence in the sauna...

There used to be seven cats in this house. There were always seven cats. As one died off or went walkabout, never to return, another would turn up at the back door. But two large white dogs sort of put an end to that, alas. So as the older cats have died off, the house cat numbers have diminished.

Coconut, who was once Maddy's kitten, is the youngest. He's a very amiable, easygoing sort of a cat.

And then there's Princess, who is not amiable, and is only easygoing in the sense that the mad old lady who lives down the road and glares at you when you walk past her house is easygoing if you don't disturb her. Princess is the oldest cat we have. She arrived here on June the 26th 1994, Holly's 9th birthday, but I'd glimpsed her at a distance, a feral ghost living wild in the woods for a good year before that. She's feisty and grumpy and likes making people do their trick for her, which is turning on the tap so a trickle of water comes out, and then waiting while she drinks a little.

She glares at you if you turn the tap off before she's done.

She also likes making visitors pet her. In the old days she would let you know she was done with being stroked by viciously sinking her teeth into you, deep and hard, but she's too old for that nonsense now. I used to have to muzzle her before I could trim her nails or remove knotted balls of fur. Now she'll submit to anything. Beneath the fur she weighs nothing at all...

And I just discovered that she has a lump on her left cheek. I'll get her to the vet... I hope it's not something big and bad. I've grown so used to having a bad-tempered but beautiful cat that I need to warn visitors about. She's outlasted all the cats I loved and all the cats I bonded with.

And I think she's grown very used to me.

When Zoe died, it was really easy to explain to people how much you could miss a sweet, gentle cat who was nothing but a ball of utter love. I'm going to have a much harder time one day, months or even years from now, explaining why I miss the meanest, grumpiest and most dangerous cat I've ever encountered.



Back to work. Let me point you at this eBay auction for the CBLDF.

You can buy Frank Miller's drawing chair, the one he did Dark Knight and Sin City and 300 at (careful! if you buy it you may find yourself with drawing abilities you did not previously possess, but you may also start covering your face with bandaids after being beaten up by problematic dames and crooked cops, and the next thing you know you'll be coming out of retirement and fighting crime grittily in a wrinkled costume*).

Or buy someone the final copies of the Tony Harris illustrated "In Reilig Oran", a poem I wrote that we did a limited edition of earlier this year for the Chicago Comic Con. It's signed by me and Tony. (These are BUY NOW, so you can buy one and still get it in time for Xmas. Hurrah.)

And if you're wondering why to support the CBLDF or take out a membership... well, they are currently actively fighting things like this. (I know. It's very vague. At the point where things move on a bit it will be less vague and announcements will be made..)

*This statement is not approved by the CBLDF. Or the FDA. Or anybody who approves statements.

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