Our two cats, Cuddles and Jasper, are reluctant housemates. At best they tolerate each other’s company when it’s absolutely necessary. Such as in the morning when breakfast is served in side-by-side dishes or when the sun is shining through the doorwall making for excellent solar recharging opportunities or even when there is a noise outside and the front window is the only good spot to investigate it. Otherwise they don’t like to share things. Cuddles, for example, has laid claim to our king size bed. If he’s on it then Jasper will generally demur and go elsewhere.
The basement tends to be Jasper’s domain and when I’m on the computer he can often be found curled up in the kitty bed sleeping. Cuddles used to dominate my computer time back when we were in the apartment and my setup was in the second bedroom and he often looks put out when he comes downstairs and sees that Jasper has claimed the kitty bed. Every now and then, though, he gets an opportunity to hang out with me and claim the bed for his own. Jasper, being a master of logic and reason, will sometimes have to convince Cuddles that it’s Jasper’s turn to sleep in the kitty bed. Here is how he accomplishes that goal:
There is little need to resort to (much) violence when you have a well-reasoned argument in favor of your position. We could all learn a lesson or two from this.
Hey look! It’s my annual clean-the-work-desk-off day. Once a year around about this time I clean up my desks and you can tell that they are, in fact, desks. I’ve had no end of comments from coworkers passing by of the “Hey! You really DO have a desk under there!” variety.
This year’s motivation is the pending arrival of auditors from China next week. I’m not expecting to interact with them directly, but there was some desire expressed to have a more “professional” looking work environment in place. The truth is there was plenty of stuff I’d been meaning to get to sorting through to figure out what needed to be recycled and what needed to be put into the storage room and this was a good excuse to take the time to do it. I also went through all the boxes on top of my cubicle to see what they had in them and they were all empty save for one that held all the old wireless access points we replaced awhile back.
I should be able to keep things relatively clutter free through the holidays (the fact that I’m taking my usual 3 week vacation in December will help) and then in January I’ll get started on junking them back up again so I can clean them off again next November.
I haven’t posted anything in awhile so I thought I’d at least throw up a small entry hoping everyone has a safe and enjoyable July 4th celebration. That’s for my fellow Americans, obviously. You folks in other lands probably don’t join in on this most gratuitous excuse to light off tons of sky explosives. Or maybe you do. I’m always up for a good excuse to set off explosives.
I’m on vacation and Anne and I just got back from a couple of days up at Mackinac Island. I’d not been there since my early teens and she, despite being a life-long Michigander, had never been so we decided to head up and stay at a very expensive hotel on the island proper: The Stonecliffe. We got a package deal that included round trip ferry tickets, one round trip horse-drawn shuttle to and from the hotel, complimentary breakfasts, and the room itself which had a very nice view of the Mackinac Bridge from our third floor window. We were supposed to take a boat tour of local lighthouses when we got to Mackinaw City, but it was canceled due to high winds. Which, considering how green around the gills Anne was looking after the very bumpy ferry ride over, is probably for the best. It was akin to riding a good log flume and Anne had forgotten her Dramamine.
Just a few of the zillion or so bikes moving through downtown at any given time. Click to embiggen.
The island is interesting in part because there are no automobiles allowed other than a handful for emergency services (fire, ambulance, etc.). If you want to get around the island you either walk, employ a horse of some fashion, or ride a bicycle. Anne and I are still working on getting into the habit of walking and our hotel was a couple of miles further into the island from the downtown area near the shore so we took the hotel shuttle back and forth rather than trying to walk it as we didn’t want to be unable to walk once we got there. I’d guess the stretch of shops and attractions is at least a mile or so long and we walked up and down it a couple of times over the day and a half we were there so we definitely got our exercise in.
It was fascinating seeing all the horse drawn carriages and flatbed service vehicles. The island’s UPS person had his own wagon that he pulled around with the items he had to deliver, but he was still dressed in his traditional brown uniform. It definitely gives you a good idea of a time period before cars became ubiquitous and how much slower life was as a result. The trip to and from the hotel into town was 25 to 35 minutes depending on how many folks the horses had to haul. It was much quicker if you used a bicycle.
Random tourists and more bikes outside of Doud’s Market. Click to embiggen!
Speaking of which, this island would be paradise for bike enthusiasts like George Wiman. The number of people on bicycles is just amazing once you get into mid-morning and beyond. The amount of horeshit all over the place is pretty amazing too, though the teams of people who clean it up do a surprisingly good job at it. Still, if we ever have to go back to a car-less society, I vote we stick to bicycles and not horses. You can bring your own bike to the island (we saw a number of folks in far better shape than we doing just that) or you can rent them from any of a dozen vendors at fairly reasonable prices. The island is quite hilly so you’ll want something with at least three gears to make going up those hills a bit easier. They had every kind of bike you can imagine for rent including tandems and those third-wheel extensions that allowed a child to sit behind an adult and contribute to the effort. We didn’t rent bikes this time out, but we’re planning on going back and doing so next time.
So that’s a small update on what I’ve been doing over the past few days. Needless to say, my legs are very sore from all the walking. Not to mention being on the third floor of the mansion/hotel we stayed in that doesn’t have an elevator. We had a good time and if you’ve never been to Mackinac Island then I would highly recommend it. One thing I was fascinated with is the idea of living there year-round which there’s about 500 people who do just that. They had a DVD on sale about living there during the winter which made it seem very idyllic, but the handful of folks we talked to said it could be pretty rough. There’s a period of time where there’s too much ice for the ferries to make the trip, but the ice bridge hasn’t quite formed yet so unless you fly out (there’s a small airport on the island) you’re pretty isolated. Oh, but what a place to be stranded! The homes are amazing and the view is wonderful.
Here’s a few more photos to close this entry out:
Fort Mackinac site of many historical reenactments.
One of the many hotels that started off as big houses. This one is continued in the next pic.
Yeah, it’s a lot bigger than you think.
Another hotel and the ever present roaming bike ganges.
This mini-Statue of Liberty was given to the island as a thank you for helping with the refurbishment of the real statue.
The Grand Hotel. Not where we stayed. Very expensive, but damned impressive.
A private residence we passed on the way to the Stonecliffe Inn.
The Yankee Rebel, one of the restaurants we ate at.
The Mustang Tavern. Probably the most reasonably priced food we could find.
We stayed here at The Stonecliffe Inn. A converted mansion that was a sight to behold.
Anne is gracious enough to make me my lunch every morning. This is always a time of great anticipation and excitement for the cats. In this pic Jasper is being way more patient than usual as he often will stand on his hind legs next to Anne to try and see what’s going on. Cuddles, on the other hand, always sits in the same spot and is very patient in his wait to see if perhaps Anne might leave a bit of sliced ham or turkey in their food dishes.
My cubemate has been sitting at the same desk for the past 4 years. Today while reaching for something under his desk his hand brushed up against a flat magnet adhered to the side up near the center drawer. It’s been there the entire time and he had no idea. It’s one of those magnets that usually contain some form of uplifting message that you slap on a fridge or a filing cabinet.
The message written on this one is… interesting.
For the record, he says that if that’s what it takes then knock yourself out.
I had a vacation day yesterday and we decided we should go up to see my folks because we didn’t get a chance to do so over Thanksgiving. As I’m sitting on the couch putting my shoes on to leave I head a rustling in the Christmas tree next to me. We had set it up last weekend and gotten the lights on it, but still haven’t put the ornaments on. This hasn’t stopped the official SEB cats from falling in love with it as the tree skirt is apparently very comfortable. Jasper, in particular, loves playing with the fake berries and pine cones that decorate some of the lower branches. So I looked over to see what they were doing in case one of them was chewing on a branch which they know they’re not supposed to do and I didn’t see any cats under the tree.
Then I looked up:
What the hell?
Jasper is only a year and a half or so old and in that time he shot up from a kitten I could literally hold in the palm of my hand to a 15 pound adult cat. He’s bigger than Cuddles who has at least a year on him in age. Last year when he first experienced the Christmas tree he climbed it several times. Apparently he doesn’t realize he’s not a little kitten anymore.
It was pretty clear he was having an “oh shit” moment where he realized he not only was in trouble, but he had no idea how to get down without breaking his neck. It took both Anne and I to extract him from the tree.
On the one hand I’m glad my laziness kept there from being any ornaments on the tree for him to break, on the other I’m hoping he’s had enough tree climbing adventure that he won’t feel the need to do it once we do put the ornaments on. Still, it makes for a great picture.
Here at “The Automotive Supplier™” where I work there are several charity events put on by various departments throughout the year. The next one takes place on February 29th and is being set up and run by the IT department in my building (a whole whopping three people including myself). My pseudo-boss — in that he’s technically not my boss but he keeps an eye on me — is a golfer and he’s leading the charge on the event so he went with what he knows. Thus we are doing a mini-golf event with “holes” laid out throughout the cubicals and hallways of the building to raise funds for the Michigan Humane Society.
Of course we can’t dig actual holes into the floor for this event so we had to come up with some clever way of providing a target that would determine a successful putt. Being IT we of course had to come up with the most overtly geeky targets we could manage. Thus I give to you The Mouse Holes:
The paw flags read: Help us help them.
Yes, 18 crappy old mice have sacrificed their tails in order to provide a suitable way to determine a successful putt. They’ll be sitting on a sheet of paper with a circle on it so that if the ball hits the “hole” hard enough to knock it out of the circle it’ll be considered to have “popped” out of the hole putting a bit of finesse back into the game.
Now I’m a pretty big geek, but it would never have occurred to me to turn old mice into “holes” for a mini-golf game. Looking at the end result I feel a little more normal than usual. That’s some damned geeky shit.