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Yes, my niece is a little bit of a diva and doesn't want to share the spotlight...

I'm posting because I totally forgot to mention how utterly fascinating she is as she develops! She is becoming more and more aware of the world around her and is realizing she has some sort of an effect on it. She loves her parents, and is a bit of a "Daddy's girl," in that she will crane her neck around to see where Scott is going if he's moving around like he was last night getting condiments from the kitchen and so on. But she actively tracks people as they move around if someone has her attention.

She's trying to communicate, too. She's been cooing regularly, and there are times when she acts like she wants to make a noise, but isn't sure what noise to make, and you see the frustration build up on her face, and there's some sort of ! or ;*A! Or %ug&. We encourage this by telling her to tell us all about it, and she continues to coo and make noises and such.

And she smiles at people. She's also teething, so, she'll latch on to hands and just start sucking...



At least, we think she's teething, and isn't going to grow up all Hannibal Lechter on us...

She's getting more coordination with her hands and is starting to make motions like waving. Oh, and she's imitating. She watched me eat some corn on the cob, and she brought her hands up to her face. Then she watched Rich eating something, and the hand gestures were like she was putting food in her mouth.

On a final note and on a slightly different track... Yoda remains quite chatty. He still favors asking questions, largely because he gets an answer, which, psychologically, is interaction, and as a flock animal, he craves interaction. Now, his predecessor, Nemo, "waved" at us. He fluffed his wings in response to people waving at him. Guess what Yoda's starting to do? Fluff his feathers when people wave at him.

Then there's Rocky. Earlier today, Mom was out in the garage moving some things around, and she left the door to the house open. Rocky, being curious, went out there to see what she was doing. But because there's chemicals and such out there, I...really don;t want him out there. So, I stood in the doorway and calmly said, "Rocky, I really don't want you out here. Come back inside please." He turned around and came back in the house. No argument, no nothing. Just, "Okay," and turned around and came back in. I didn't have to raise my voice or go chasing after him. I...don't know how I ended up with a cat that responds to voice commands, though, he pretty much only responds to me. But, I'll take it. I think it's a sign of trust and mutual respect. I also think it's evidence, albeit anecdotal, that these little furballs understand a lot more than most people give them credit for understanding.

Cats, birds, and babies... Makes me happy I have a degree in psychology and can appreciate their cognitive abilities. And the three specific examples cited above... Yeah, they're smart. And Yoda and Rocky? Terrifyingly smart. Dani? Dani has opposable thumbs, and I think she'll give us a real run for the money when she gets older, and especially when she starts to read.

Anyway, just wanted to get all that out there before I forget. To say that life is interesting around here is an understatement...

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Well, I was a bit ill this morning. I woke up with a particularly nasty headache, the result of the drastic change in weather around here. I managed to take some ibuprofen, then ate something so as to not anger the esophagus monster, then went back to bed. Anyway, I haven't gotten too much done today, but I did try out my new hair clippers and gave myself a hair cut! It came out not too bad. The only thing I'm not entirely happy with was how I did around my ears, but that was with my regular razor. Yes, the kit I got has ear tapering blade-combs, but, I needed a little more. I also had to use a regular razor for my neck. But for the bulk of my head? Yup, it turned out okay! Took a little longer than I thought it would, but that's because I was a bit timid at first. I mean, I knew already that I was going to use the 2 blade for the sides and the three for the top, but still... Once I got over my fear of, "Oh gods I'm gonna screw this up and look like an idiot and have to go to a barber to have my head shorn correctly and people are going to laugh..." I was good.

The Onion has America pegged with respect to the fallout from yesterday's tragedy in Colorado.

Real quick, with regards to the whole thing about how many people are killed by guns and safety and such... You know, I have one and am licensed and so on. I try to be safe with it. Yet so many people are killed by them every day. Sometimes, they're nuts, under the influence, or just plain angry, and they then use it to kill someone, sometimes intentionally, sometimes unintentionally. People obtain them legally and illegally. They use them with and without a license. I personally think it should be much harder to get one, or get a license for one, considering all the accidents and lost lives that could have been prevented if we had tougher laws. Yes, people, I'm talking about my car.

People break laws all the time. Hell, we elect people who break laws all the time. We revere sports heroes who break laws all the time.

More importantly, the guy, Holmes, was nuts. Sadly, people think that means he must have been stupid. This reminds me of a tale Papa Cardillo once told me. A guy driving along hits a nail and gets a flat just outside the insane asylum. In the process of changing the tire, he manages to trip and drop all the lug nuts from the wheel down the storm sewer. Stymied, he just stares, wondering how he's going to attach the spare tire without any lug nuts, when he hears a voice calling him from the asylum. He looks up and sees one of the inmates looking down, watching him.
"Little bit of trouble there, huh?" the inmate asks.
Scared, the guy says, "Uh, yeah."
"Take a lug nut off the other three tires, and you'll have three lug nuts for the spare tire. That should work to get you to a service station."
Amazed, the motorist says, "That's a really good idea! Thanks."
"Of course it's a good idea," the inmate says. "I'm crazy, not stupid."

This, I think, is one of several major flaws made by so-called profilers and, indeed, the public in general. They underestimate the intelligence of the perpetrator.

But I've been seeing more and more cases of police profilers saying, in press conferences, that Holmes was a special case in that he had no online presence, didn't live in his mom's basement, and didn't engage in other behaviors of antisocial geeky outcasts. You know, it's a bit upsetting to me that what these profilers describe as being the type to just up and snap...describe me. I live with my mother, don't have a girlfriend, don't really have many friends, and kind of keep to myself. Oh, and I'm weird and actively non-conformist. The only thing not quite fitting their profiles is that I have a stable job. I've worked at the UD library for almost 13 years, with more than five and a half of those as a full-time employee. And I'm president of the Library Staff Association. I ballroom dance, but have been on hiatus for about two years now. Oh, and I'm not much of a gamer, and suck at gaming when I do game.

The only other thing I have that separates me from the psychos is...pets. A soft spot for cats down on their luck. Still missing and mourning TomTom. Playing with Rocky and Minerva, watching DVDs and cartoons with Yoda. Alas, it still falls into "weird and non-conforming, especially with what society says for guys not liking cats" and other crap.

However, despite how weird I am, how deranged my sense of humor is, I know I'm not going to go ballistic. Because I have this whole compassion thing. As much as I loathe elements of society and have lost faith in humanity, I haven't gotten to the point where I feel like decreeing that society is too sick to survive (Ghostbusters reference). I still smile at little kids, make sure old people don't trip and fall, and share my Boston Market chicken with the cats. The only caveat is that if you hurt me an mine, I swear by my pretty little bonnet, I will end you. I almost typed that that would be the case of most people, but, sadly, looking at the state of the world, I feel that such protectiveness is becoming more of an exception than the rule. Of course, "me an mine" includes the furkids since, well, they're my kids. Thankfully, I know several of you on here are of like mind on this issue.

Of the fans they interviewed on the way to see The Dark Knight Rises yesterday, there was one I happened to catch, and it happened to be a guy with some sense. The reporter incredulously asked him why he wasn't scared or uneasy to be going to a late night show. The guy replied that if he worried about dying all the time, he'd never leave the house and live. I think the only reason that aired is because the news agency in question was hoping to show how "out of touch with reality" us nerds are. Oh well.

I also have to say that over the last few days, starting even before the tragedy happened, and perhaps slightly influenced by reading William Gibson's "Blue Ant" books, I've been more aware of certain undercurrents of shows for what is supposed to be "normal." I've seen more of how advertising tries to target people. I've seen how the news has become more and more biased and become a tool in encouraging conformity. Although, this is more for mainstream media (ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC). When we get to Animal Planet, Discovery Channel, and Cartoon Network/adult_swim, it's not nearly so bad. Unfortunately, those are all "nerd" channels, so...yeah.

Wow...this entry has turned out to be a lot longer than I thought it would be...

Anyway, because I'd prefer to end on a positive note...




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HAPPY BIRFDAY [personal profile] awallens!!!



Feeling a little drained at the moment. Today was my appointment at the blood bank. Alas, I wasn't able to do the ALYX donation, since my hemoglobin was too low. It was great for whole blood donation, but not for them taking twice as many RBCs away. It could be allergies, or it could be asthma. In any event, I may try ALYX later. Maybe even over winter. In the meantime, whole blood donation is still pretty damn good, and I'll be donating again in July.

Since then, I've been getting some weekend chore stuff done and napping. Really feeling drained this time around. Probably still a little out of it from the severe GERD bout the other night. On the bright side, this is a lite chore weekend, so, hopefully, it'll be a nice, relaxing, recharging, restful weekend for me. Then again, the stepgoggies are here.

On a semi-related note... I'm reading Jackson Galaxy's book Cat Daddy. I've tried the "I Love You" blink with TomTom, but, so far, there's no reaction. Then again, he's pretty secure anyway, so... Yeah. Last night, he was sleeping on my head, as usual, and I touched his paw. In response, the purring went from "idling lawnmower" to "Saturn V rocket" and he insisted on licking my face. Not really a problem, except for the really bad fishy cat food breath. Oh well. Both Rocky and TomTom like that contact thing... Many times, I wake up and one of them has a paw resting lightly on my face or my hand.

My sister's cat, MiMi, used to crawl under the covers so she could snuggle under my chin. I still miss her, but, at least she opened a place in my sister's life for Lily.

You know... I really think the side project memoir of all the furkids I've had might stand a good chance for publication, all things considered. Gods know I have enough amusing stories of all the cats, dogs, and parrots, not to mention stories of their interactions together, from Yoda liking to ride on Boomer's head, to Nemo making Sugar psychotic with respect to squeaky toys, and back to Yoda for trying to teach the cats to say his name. Then I think about the times I lay on the couch and Yoda asks, "You okay there, bud?" Like he's going to do anything if I'm not okay. And the time TomTom and Rocky got me when Mom couldn't get up after her hip replacement. Or Rocky waking me up earlier this week when the house had no power, I had no alarm clock, and I needed to get to work.

When I hear stories of other peoples' pets performing similar intelligent acts of helpfulness and loyalty, I have to wonder if Human arrogance isn't actually a hindrance in our evaluation of these creatures' intelligence and awareness. One popular test they do on animals in general to disprove their self-awareness is to put them in front of a mirror and watch the animal either react to the image as a threat or whatever, but to not give any evidence that they recognize the image as themselves. And yet...four weeks ago, Bridgett and Brandon were on the steps, which have a mirror at the bottom, and they were at eye level of the mirror. They saw me coming in the mirror, then looked at me. Then they saw other movement and turned around to see TomTom at the top of the steps. In short, they were reacting to the reflection and understood that they saw the reflections of other actions and looked at the appropriate areas. I'm not sure if this has been replicated in a laboratory setting. Now, this doesn't quite go with the whole "mark them with lipstick and see if they try to wipe it off" thing, though (1) I see humans at Rocky Horror who don't remove the lipstick... Maybe these animals think that they're being marked in some sort of initiation like the kids going to RHPS. Maybe (2), given their lesser acuity, they don't really see the lipstick or they aren't familiar enough with their own reflection to know that something's different. I mean, honestly, we tend not to see certain zits right away or notice the formation of certain scars. In conclusion, I think the animals are fucking with us. Intentionally. So that they get spoiled with toys, food, and have the supposedly superior race fetch food for them, clean up their poop, pay for their food and health care, and show them off to their friends. A bit of an oversimplification? Perhaps. But the intelligence of cooperation, adaptability, routine, and so on is still there and higher than what people in general are aware of. Then again, I'm still convinced that the average person is an idiot.

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January 2015

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