Mini-Review: Star Trek Cats by Jenny Parks (2017)

Friday, July 7th, 2017

Apawximately as cute as it sounds.

four out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free copy of this book for review through Library Thing’s Early Reviewers program.)

A general rule of thumb: you can make just about anything better by adding cats, and Star Trek is no exception.

2017-06-14 - Star Trek Cats - 0001 [flickr]

In Star Trek Cats, illustrator Jenny Parks recreates famous scenes from the original run of the show using cats. (I’m not a huge fan, but my dad is and he recognized most of the scenes. Plus there’s a handy little cheat sheet in the back of the book.)

Kirk is an orange tabby, Chekov is a Russian Blue (could possibly be the distant cousin of Lemmy, my British Shorthair), Scotty is a Scottish Fold, and so on.

2017-06-14 - Star Trek Cats - 0009 [flickr]

Really the only negative about this book is that there’s not more of it! It’s pretty tiny at 6 3/4″ x 6 3/4″ and 64 pages. I’d love to see an entire episode reimagined this way (though copyright issues probably make it a non-starter; still, it’s nice to dream).

On the positive side, there are Tribbles!

And Uhura being her typical BAMF feminist self!

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And a unicorn dog!

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Really, what more is there to say? Answer: nothing. There is nothing left to say after “unicorn dog.” I AM SOLD.

(This review is also available on Amazon, Library Thing, and Goodreads. Please click through and vote it helpful if you’re so inclined!)

much merries from the @furkids

Sunday, December 25th, 2016

2016 X-mas Card, Final

Since Jayne passed away in July, we’ve been down to “just” three dogs (not counting the fosters, of which we’ve thankfully had four since. They keep me busy and distracted, okay.) I know that three is still more than most households have, but we haven’t had such a critical low number since we adopted Kaylee and Jayne (dogs #4 and 5) in 2006 – so basically a decade! Not coincidentally, 2005 was also the last year I was able to squeeze all our dogs into a single photo. I gave it ye ole college try in 2006, but it was a hot mess.

Anyway, I took a bunch of pictures of Rennie, Mags, and Finnick, both individually and as a group, and the result is what you see above. This wasn’t my favorite shot, but it begged the best captions, so there you go.

I kind of stumbled when it came to the message on the back of the card. 2016 was a dumpster fire from beginning to end, and 2017 is looking even worse. Not much to celebrate, you know?

2016 message label

That’s David Bowie’s Rochester mug shot in the background. I chose it both because I’m from Rochester, and it matched the picture I made for the address labels, which was a montage of photos of Bowie, Prince, and Gwen Ifill, run through the charcoal filter in Photoshop so they’d be all nice and matchy. It took awhile to find a good one of Prince (his face always tends to be turned and in shadow more often than not), but I think it came out pretty neat.

2016 address label montage

For the return label, I just went with a simple pawprint and heart design.

2016 return label

These dogs are my world and they each carry a slice my heart with them. Some days this arrangement works out better than others. Sigh.

Yeah, I’m feeling pretty melancholy today. The fog and thunderstorms aren’t helping, but at least there’s a Golden Girls marathon on TVLand, and plenty of cookies and chocolates in the fridge. (Yes, there will be pictures and recipes in the new year!)

After the jump are a few of my favorite pics. Look out for each other, people. Be compassionate and RESIST.

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The Christmas Post: Better Late Than Never

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2016

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The title pretty much says it all. I’ve been meaning to write this post for a month now, but what it lacks in timeliness, it makes up for with cute doggy pics.

Shane and I didn’t do much for Christmas, on account of being in mourning and all, but I did spoil the dogs with a ton of gifts. Buying dog toys is a bit of a gamble, since they can be kind of random with their preferences. That’s okay, though; if my dogs don’t like a certain toy, sooner or later a foster will come along who does. (ALWAYS send the fosters home with a gift basket!)

Rennie does have one weak spot: BALLS. She was big on tennis balls for awhile, but once she lost most of her teefies, she switched to plush balls. Her all-time favorite is the medium Skins ball made by Aspen/Booda. Made, past tense: while I was doing my holiday shopping, I discovered that they discontinued it. I was so bummed, you guys! I imagine this is how parents feel when, rushing around on x-mas eve, they spot the very last Barbie Saddle ‘N Ride Horse on the shelf, only to have some stranger beat them to it by a millisecond. I SHOULD HAVE FILLED A WAREHOUSE WHEN I HAD THE CHANCE.

So I did what any good mom would do, and I bought every single other kind of plush ball I could find. Something like 48 of them, when all was said and done. Rather than wrap them all individually, I put them all in one box and dumped it over Rennie’s head. The video was not as dramatic as I’d hoped.

But she loves her new balls and really that’s all I could ask for. Still, she has not abandoned her six original Booda balls, which are scrappy with saliva yet in surprisingly good shape considering how much she uses them. I guess she treats them with extra loving care. Most of her balls look like swiss cheese or fluffy amoebas after just a few days.

Sadly, Rennie was more or less alone in unwrapping gifts this year; Peedee was the only other dog who was super-into it. Jayne helped, a little – but she was more interested in eating the paper than playing with the gifts inside.

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Mags and Finnick want nothing to do with our human nonsense. I even tried wrapping a few treats for them – like I did for Peedee’s birthday – but even that wasn’t enough to pique their interest. They just are not accustomed to working for their meals. (Mags has trained me to feed her by hand, yo! Diva much?)

After the jump you’ll find some more x-mas pics, mostly of Rennie since she’s the only one who really performed for us. Most of the presents were for her, so…fair’s fair I guess.

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Book Review: The Merman, Carl-Johan Vallgren (2015)

Monday, December 7th, 2015

“Fairy tales with tragic endings.”

three out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free electronic ARC for review through Edelweiss. Trigger warning for violence, including bullying, sexual violence, and animal abuse, as well as offensive language.)

There is no beginning, and no ending. I know that now. For others, perhaps, there are stories that lead somewhere, but not for me. It’s like they go round in circles, and sometimes not even that: they just stand still in one place. And I wonder: what are you supposed to do with a story that repeats itself?

“There’s not much that’s been written about mermaids, you see. Mainly fairy tales with tragic endings.”

Petronella’s life is a lot like a fairy tale. Not the ending, when the lowly peasant girl has found her prince, the heroine has slayed the dragon, and everyone is free to live happily ever after for the rest of their days. Rather, Nella is the beginning; the nightmare that comes before the daydream. The raw truth that lurks under the Disneyfied facade, fangs and claws bared.

Nella’s is a family of three, occasionally four. She and her younger brother Robert live with their mother Marika in a maisonette (apartment) on Liljevägen in Falkenberg, Sweden; her housing is largely regarded as “a sort of slum where social service cases live.” An unemployed alcoholic, Marika is a neglectful mother at best. Her mom is more likely to spend the family’s public assistance funds on booze than food, forcing Nella into shoplifting to make up the difference. Sometimes the free lunch at school is the only meal Nella and Robert will see in a day; oftentimes it’s the one and only reason they bother to show up at all. That, and to get out of the house: no matter how much Nella tidies up, it’s not long before hurricane Marika sweeps through, leaving mess of dishes and vomit in her wake.

(More below the fold…)

The Rat Terrier Review: Paul Blart Edition!

Thursday, May 28th, 2015

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Last night we ticked another item off Peedee’s to-do list: the drive-in! I’m happy to report that, while it was not an unqualified success – I spent much of the night in a state of hyper-awareness vis-a-vis his big damn mouth – the trip went much better than expected.

Way back when it was just three dogs, we tried taking Ralphie, Peedee, and O-Ren in various combinations – it’s hard now to remember the exact configurations – but all three were such big barkers that we quickly gave up. (I have vague memories of slinging blankets over their crates to keep them quiet, like birds.)

And then I fell in love with Kaylee, and she became a regular. She was happy just to be near me; the popcorn was a bonus. Needless to say, Kaylee was not a big barker; she saved her voice strictly for communicating her demands. Kaylee and Rennie grew so close that we eventually decided to give her a second chance and – surprise! – Rennie was much improved. After Kaylee passed, we handed her spot over to Mags, who was equally well-behaved.

So. Last night I’m loading the van up: blankets, pillows, crate, water, food. Mags and Rennie, both well-versed in the routine, work themselves into the usual excited frenzy: WE’RE GOING OUT! MOVIES AND TREATS AND A WHOLE NIGHT ALONE WITH MOM AND DAD! WALKS AND STRANGE SMELLS AND DISCARDED GREASY FOOD EVERYWHERE!

I can’t bring myself to look Mags in the eye, because it’s her spot Peedee’s taking.

Like, I seriously cannot describe how bad I felt: here she is, just two days off crate rest, and Mom and Dad and her BFF O-Ren are ditching her for the evening. Possibly other evenings to come. And she looked so happy, you guys! OVER-FUCKING-JOYED.

But we didn’t know if we’d be able to handle three dogs, especially when one of them was wild card Peedee.

Shane offhandedly joked that we should just bring her. And so it was decided.

2015-05-27 - Five for Paul Blart! - 0009 [flickr]

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A Very Canine Christmas, Redux

Wednesday, December 31st, 2014

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I had a blast spoiling the dogs last x-mas, so I decided to carry the tradition over to another year, even though they’re not exactly hurting for toys. Ditto: crates, bedding, games, clothing, costumes, or treats. (Even if they’d rather do without some of these items.) As my mom would happily point out, my dogs have more toys than she did as a kid. But seeing as I tend to send all our fosters home with a toy or two or three, we have enough turnover to justify at least a small pile of goodies under the tree.

Our current foster, Tiny Terror, threw a wrench into the plans on Christmas Day, just as I knew she would. (See: her nickname.) She tends to rush, bark, and sometimes nip at the other dogs whenever they do anything that so much as hints at signs of life: bark, whine, chase toys, run from one room to another, jump down from the couch, and/or attempt to enter or leave the house. Or make noise of any sort, whether intentionally or not. This behavior represents a huge improvement over her first days with us, when she’d try to pick fights constantly, and at random. (I use the term “fight” liberally; they resemble Peedee and Finnick’s slap and tickle fights more than anything else.)

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As per usual, Mags is not amused.
——————————

Anyway, the gift giving went just as I predicted: Tiny Terror was completely disinterested in the shiny presents, preferring instead to bum rush the dogs who were excited about it (so basically Rennie and Peedee; Jayne and Mags are only interested in eating the paper, and Finnick just wants to be with his dad). Eventually it got so bad that I put her in the bedroom for a little time out. But by this point everyone was so exhausted that we only got to half the presents. So I guess we get to do it again…tonight? (Yay?) In any case, it won’t be the first time we’ve carried a few presents over to a second holiday.

(More below the fold…)

Book Nerd Problem #323

Monday, September 15th, 2014

We’re getting a foster kitty tonight – our very first! Up until now we’ve only fostered dogs.

The last time we introduced two cats, it ended with Ozzy peeing on several bottom bookshelves’ worth of books. (I was still finding ruined books as recently as two months ago. At least he gave us something to remember him by?)

This time around, I decided to take some precautions.

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Better safe than sorry, right?

File this also under “Reasons why ebooks are superior to ‘real’ books.”

Book Review: The Tell-Tail Heart: A Cat Cozy, Monica Shaughnessy (2014)

Monday, May 26th, 2014

A Cat of Letters

four out of five stars

“There are no coincidences, only cats with impeccable timing.”

Philadelphia, 1842. A series of most unusual and gruesome murders has left the city on edge. In a fortnight, the bodies of two women have been discovered: each with their throats slashed – and their expensive, prosthetic glass eyes stolen right out of their sockets. Speculation runs the gamut: could “The Glass Eye Killer” be building an automaton, one stolen body part at a time? Maybe he’s making a patchwork doll? Or perhaps it’s something about these fake eyes (both pale blue) that triggers the madman to kill? Either way, with little to go on, it appears that the local police won’t soon unmask the killer or his depraved motives.

Little Cattarina – “Catters” to her Eddie – is thrust into the middle of this human mystery when she stumbles upon a wayward glass eye while prowling the floors of Shakey House, a local pub. Much to her surprise and delight, the pilfered eye drags Eddie (as in Edgar Allen Poe) out of his funk. The Glass Eye Killer inspires him to begin a new story, which will eventually be known as “The Tell-Tale Heart.”

(More below the fold…)

A Very Canine Christmas

Saturday, December 28th, 2013

2013-12-24 - Testing the New Camera - 0013 [flickr 1]

So I may have went a little overboard with the dogs’ presents this year.

Usually I get them a little something – and if I don’t my mom sure does (this year it was a box stuffed with Halloween outfits!) – but it’s been awhile since I put together a whole basket filled to overflowing with gifts. 2005 to be exact, the year we adopted Rennie. They have enough toys as it is, but really the gift-giving was as much for me as it was them: I have so much fun watching them tear open the packages, destroying plush toys and devouring wrapping paper as they go. It’s, uh, quite a spectacle. And if the time stamps on my photos are accurate, the mayhem lasted nearly three hours this time around!

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I had to stash the basket of gifts on the freezer in the weeks leading up to x-mas, since I was afraid that the dogs would run off with the packages if I left them somewhere accessible, like under the tree. (Our presents? Perched carefully out of the way on the spare desk. I don’t need Jayne destroying more of my books, mkay.) Right before we were to start opening presents Christmas morning, I arranged them neatly around the tree so that I could take a few before shots

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and, within ten minutes, Rennie was rooting around the basket, flinging all the things across the office floor. She went straight for this rubber puzzle thingie, in the middle of which sits a nice, shiny new tennis ball. There’s only one space where the opening of the cube is big enough to allow the tennis ball through, so it’s a bit of a brain teaser. Normally O-Ren is not much for brain teasers, but I was hoping that the tennis ball would provide some extra motivation. Anyway, she must have smelled the ball, because she dove straight for that one package. She liked it well enough, but the plush ball and mini lady hedgehog (Shane: “How do you know she’s a lady?” BECAUSE SHE HAS PINK TOENAILS AND RU PAUL EYELASHES, DUH! Could. Not. Resist.) proved her favorites. Peedee liked all the things that squeaked and, as per usual, Jayne was only interested in the wrapping paper. (Yum!)

This is Mags and Finnick’s first time unwrapping presents, and they seemed both confused by and not a little irritated with the whole affair: the noisy fuss generated by Rennie and Peedee was bad enough, but the kicker? Not enough attention from mom and dad, respectively. Mags was downright put off. I did manage to get her interested in a stuffed rabbit, and she’s been attacking the rope toy with some abandon since, so I think it all worked out okay.

After the jump: some self-indulgent pics of the dogs on x-mas. Plus some photos of our decorations, just because. (We added some of our Halloween decorations to the mix, a stroke of genius of which I am particularly proud. Scarved skeletons swooning? Priceless.)

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So this is Christmas…

Tuesday, December 24th, 2013

I almost didn’t bother decorating this year – I was just feeling too damn depressed. But then I figured that I’d be even more bummed without all the shiny happy tinsels and ribbons and be-pirated stuffed animals brightening up the bleak winter landscape. (There’s a reason I leave the decorations up through February, people!) Plus I knew I’d regret skipping the holiday cards further down the line; some of my favorite pictures of the dogs are from our x-mas photo sessions (see, e.g., Kaylee in her shindig dress and Ralphie the pizza poo). So X-Mas came to the Garbato-Brady household after all!

fsmas card 2013 - tis the season

For this year’s cards, I decided to keep it simple: instead of complicated outfits, I opted for ribbons taped to dog collars. My original idea was to photograph everyone in pairs and, long story short, I have no freaking clue how I was able to get Ralphie, Peedee, and Rennie to sit still (AT THE SAME TIME!!!) for our very first card. No one was having it, and I think the treats meant as bribery actually made things worse – everyone seemed to be competing with their partners for the noms. The good news is that everyone made it on the card – even Lemmy, who spent most of his photo time chewing on the ribbon strings.

Ralphie and Kaylee were even represented on the back of the card…though only those who know us will pick up the meaning.

2013 message label

I still couldn’t help but make a second card with the paired pictures, though. At first it was just for my own benefit, but I decided to print them up and mail them out as well. Actually I think everyone looks okay save for Jayne and Lemmy. Those two did NOT want to have anything to do with each other.

fsmas card 2013 - silent night

And then of course we have the individual “outtake” cards. I didn’t have a theme to speak of, so I just went with Supernatural quotes. Totally irrelevant, but totally hilarious.

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Pumpkin Spice Banana Ice Cream

Friday, February 15th, 2013

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Despite the chilly weather, Shane’s been super-into banana ice cream lately – which can only mean one thing for me: experimentation time! I’ve been meaning to try this one since Thanksgiving-ish, though the version I had in mind was slightly more unhealthy. Maybe with some tiny chunks of spiced cream cheese mixed in? But that kind of negates the whole point of banana ice cream, don’t you think?

Anyway, you can dress it up by adding some toasted pecans or raisins along with the spices, or sprinkling them on top of the ice cream before you serve it. So healthy you can eat it for breakfast.

Pumpkin Spice Banana Ice Cream

(Makes about a quart of ice cream.)

Ingredients

4-5 overripe bananas, peeled, sliced and frozen
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ginger
a dash allspice
maple syrup or another vegan sweetener, if needed
a splash of non-dairy milk or creamer, if needed

Directions

1. Combine the bananas and pumpkin in the food processor and pulse until smoothly blended. Most likely you’ll need to stir them by hand several times, as the frozen chunks tend to gather and become “stuck” on one side of the bowl. If necessary, add a splash of non-dairy milk or creamer to get things moving!

Alternately, you can allow the bananas to defrost on the counter top for 30 to 60 minutes beforehand, so that they’re easier to work with. Before putting them in the food processor, break them up into smaller chunks with a butter knife.

Note: Since introducing extra liquids (such as non-dairy milk) into the mix results in a slightly icier finished product, I prefer defrosting to non-dairy milk. If you’re in a hurry, pop the bananas in the microwave for 20 to 45 seconds instead.

2. If the bananas aren’t sweet enough for your taste (sometimes this happens if you freeze them before they’re sufficiently ripe), add a bit of sugar to taste. Any sugar works fine – white, brown, etc. – but maple syrup is perfect here.

3. Add the spices and pulse until blended. Sample the batter and add extra spices to taste.

4. Transfer the ice cream to an airtight container. Enjoy immediately as soft serve, or pop the ice cream in the freezer for an hour+ for a firmer dessert. Store any leftovers in the freezer in an airtight container. If the frozen banana ice cream proves too hard to scoop, microwave it for ten seconds to help loosen it up (or let the container sit on the counter for ten to thirty minutes prior to eating, depending on room temp).

5. Serve topped with vegan whipped cream, a bit o’ maple syrup, raisins or pecans, or pumpkin flavored granola. (Recipe for that last coming soon!)

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Lemmy wants some!
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Oh, Mr. Sun, Sun, Mr. Golden Sun*

Sunday, February 3rd, 2013

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This has been the scene come four o’clock the past few days. I’ve been getting in more reading when time allows, and this is pretty much the perfect reading spot in the house most afternoons. As the sun makes its way west, it travels from the left side of the office to right, until it’s slowly warming the spare couch. Drag the ottoman and some blankets over there, and there’s room enough for everyone. Still, at least one dog always ends up on my person. Everyone has to be closest to mommy!

The sun often sends me off into dreamland along with the dogs, usually in the most ridiculous and uncomfortable positions. (I’ve turned into my own mother; I can fall asleep anytime, anywhere. She once dozed off on a class trip she was chaperoning, to one of those old-timey schoolhouses. Drooling on a log table!) It’s not super-obvious in the photo, but Rennie’s draped atop my legs, length-wise, and my body’s bent sideways at the waist at a 45 degree angle. I have no idea how I drifted off like this, but I sure felt it a half hour later. Gonna pay for that in yoga tomorrow.

Only six of the seven dogs are represented here. Jayne started off with us but after five minutes of too much closeness, she retreated to the dog beds on the other side of the office. Lemmy’s over there too, sunning himself on his new cardboard scratching lounge thingie.

Thanks to Shane for taking this pic – one can never have too many photos of oneself sleeping, don’t you know!; at first sight of the camera, Fin fled to my side of the couch, where he promptly stole my pillow. Back to my book, I guess?

(More below the fold…)

"That it will never come again / Is what makes life so sweet." *

Tuesday, December 25th, 2012

After last year’s elaborate space pirates fsmas theme – complete with canine Firefly cosplay and a tree full of handmade pirate ornaments – I decided to take it easy(ier) this time around. (At least with the decorating. The baking is another story!) So this year’s fsmas card theme was a little rushed and last-minute, but awesome just the same: Carl Sagan. More specifically, Carl Sagan quotes.

Truthfully I just really, really wanted to use the starstuff quote on a holiday card. It’s my favorite and I get choked up and leak strange, salty liquid from my eyes every time I think of it. To think that our bodies – hearts, hands, heads – are constructed of the remnants of long-dead alien stars. Such a strange and beautiful and wondrous idea. Yay science! (Adam’s rib or fallen stars? No contest!)

This year, Mags served as our coverdog, both because she’s never been and, perhaps more importantly, her pictures came out quite nicely. This main card is the one I sent to friends and family but, as per usual, I made “alternates” for each of the dogs (and Lemmy too!). I can’t stand to leave anyone out and besides, I welcome the thinnest of justifications for spending the day with Photoshop. For each of the animals, I chose a different Sagan quote – mainly for consistency, but also because he’s an eminently quotable guy.

As much as I love how the main card came out, I think Kaylee’s is my favorite of the bunch. There’s just something about her face and the way she’s addressing the camera. And the apples and the apron! It’s all just too perfect. Like she’s ready to bake a motherfucking apple pie and you’d better get the hell out of her way. NOW PASS THE EARTH BALANCE PLEASE! and thankyouverymuch.

Finnick was surprisingly well-behaved during the photo-taking; turns out his fear of the camera almost dissipates when there’s food around. We dressed him in a pirate tie that we originally bought for the cat (OH THE SHAME!); it was the only piece of clothing we thought he’d tolerate. And he did! I might make him wear it 24/7 now, just for my own amusement. His look is reminiscent of Cartman the fetus salesman, I think.

And for Lemmy, I couldn’t help but make an extra-snarky version of his card, just because. (By which I mean, just because he’s been snacking on the garland and batting my ornaments off the tree all month. CATS.)

Unfortunately, I forgot to include each dog’s name on the card (doh! me) – but if you hover over the image or click through to flickr, they’re right there in the file names. Easy peasy!

 

2012 Holiday Card - Mags (Main)

“The nitrogen in our DNA,
The calcium in our teeth,
The iron in our blood,
The carbon in our apple pies
Were made in the interiors
Of collapsing stars.
We are made of starstuff.”
——————————

2012 Message Label

(Against the backdrop of the aurora borealis:)

May your star shine bright this holiday season!
Best wishes from all of us in the Garbato-Brady Pack:
Kelly, Shane, Ralphie, Peedee, O-Ren Ishii, Kaylee, Jayne,
Mags, Finnick, and Lemmy (otherwise known as “The Cat”).

I printed these out on 4×6″ sticky labels and affixed them to the back of the main card.
Way easier than handwriting on 50+ cards!
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Shiny Happy Spaghetti (It’s FSMas decorating time!)

Monday, December 24th, 2012

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For several years now I’ve been meaning to do a “31 Days of FSMas” series, with tips and tutorials for giving your holiday festivities a flying spaghetti monster flair. (Two words: pasta and pirates!) Between Vegan MoFo and real life holiday chores, I always run out of time. Sigh. Maybe next year? (Famous last words.)

Instead of a series, a big old roundup featuring pictures of this year’s decorations. I didn’t go all out with a theme like last year, when I made all the holiday tree ornaments by hand (to match Kaylee and Jayne’s Firefly-inspired costumes) – but luckily I had enough existing decorations to deck the house in swag just the same. (…is the understatement of the year.) Lots of sparkle, but not much organization. Just glitter. EVERYWHERE.

So here are my principles of FSMas decorating, in no particular order:

 

1. You can never have too many flying spaghetti monsters.

2012-12-21 - FSMas Decorations - 0074

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Deck the Casbah

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

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Enjoying a bowl of Casbah brand lemon spinach couscous in between my fsmas decorating. It’s been sitting in my cupboard forever, which is a mystery – it’s pretty tasty, and impossible to screw up, too. I’m well known ’round these parts for leaving things unattended to burn on the stove. But this? Just boil some water, add the contents of the box, bring to a boil again, and then remove from the heat and let sit, covered for five minutes. So easy my 24-year-old brother could do it! (Maybe.)

In other news, my house now looks like Santa Claus and a Bedazzler got hammered and threw up on all the things. The tree is up and strung with pasta, the counters are littered with gold coins, and every surface is sparkly with glitter. I can’t wait to see what the cat does with/to my decorations this year.

 

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The penne garland has already taken quite a hit.

You want a physicist to speak at your funeral.*

Saturday, June 23rd, 2012

You want a physicist to speak at your funeral. You want the physicist to talk to your grieving family about the conservation of energy, so they will understand that your energy has not died. You want the physicist to remind your sobbing mother about the first law of thermodynamics; that no energy gets created in the universe, and none is destroyed. You want your mother to know that all your energy, every vibration, every Btu of heat, every wave of every particle that was her beloved child remains with her in this world. You want the physicist to tell your weeping father that amid energies of the cosmos, you gave as good as you got.

And at one point you’d hope that the physicist would step down from the pulpit and walk to your brokenhearted spouse there in the pew and tell him that all the photons that ever bounced off your face, all the particles whose paths were interrupted by your smile, by the touch of your hair, hundreds of trillions of particles, have raced off like children, their ways forever changed by you. And as your widow rocks in the arms of a loving family, may the physicist let her know that all the photons that bounced from you were gathered in the particle detectors that are her eyes, that those photons created within her constellations of electromagnetically charged neurons whose energy will go on forever.

And the physicist will remind the congregation of how much of all our energy is given off as heat. There may be a few fanning themselves with their programs as he says it. And he will tell them that the warmth that flowed through you in life is still here, still part of all that we are, even as we who mourn continue the heat of our own lives.

And you’ll want the physicist to explain to those who loved you that they need not have faith; indeed, they should not have faith. Let them know that they can measure, that scientists have measured precisely the conservation of energy and found it accurate, verifiable and consistent across space and time. You can hope your family will examine the evidence and satisfy themselves that the science is sound and that they’ll be comforted to know your energy’s still around. According to the law of the conservation of energy, not a bit of you is gone; you’re just less orderly. Amen.

– Aaron Freeman, “You want a physicist to speak at your funeral.” (via NPR)

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…and there were zero fucks given that day.

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

Yesterday morning after breakfast, Kaylee wandered into the office, threw up everything she’d just eaten, and then proceeded to eat it all a second time. At first I started to yell at her to stop, and even took a step toward her, as if to snatch her away, and then realized – you know what? I should just let her eat it, then I won’t have to clean it up. Let her take care of her own mess and be happy doing it.

null

Welcome to my life.

Filed alongside: “silently watching Lemmy rub his balls on the kitchen counter” and “leaving Mags’s pee puddles sit until morning.”

"I got heathens aplenty right here!"* Merry CriFSMas from our crew to yours!

Saturday, December 24th, 2011

2011 FSMas Card MAIN

May your holiday be bright and shiny,
and your ‘verse, filled with shindigs and thrilling heroics.
– Kaylee and Jayne
——————————

Happy holidays, y’all! As I said the other day, I’ve been dying to do some holiday cosplay with Kaylee and Jayne ever since we adopted them five years ago, and this year I finally got to it! I decorated the entire tree with pirates in their honor (The crew of Serenity? Space pirates! Totally relevant to Pastafarianism, since doctrine holds that the decline in pirates is correlated with global warming – and thus in order to avert the apocalypse, we have to bring back piracy. Check and mate.), which was no small feat seeing as I made most of the ornaments by hand over a two-month period. I also hired someone to custom-make Kaylee Frye and Jayne Cobb outfits way back in August. Oh, the planning that went into this holiday card!

Unfortunately, my seamstress totally flaked (Updated to add: full story here!), leaving me to cobble together costumes from off-the-rack pieces at the last minute. Instead of a green mechanic’s jumpsuit and floral blouse, Kaylee is wearing her shindig dress – that is, a Cotton Candy Dog Dress by East Side Collection. And while Jayne isn’t sporting a trademark brown Jayne Cobb ringer tee, she does look pretty badass in a green army jacket – really an Army Green Utility Jacket by Zack & Zoey.

Of course, the Jayne hat is the star of the ensemble; I actually had three custom-made for me by two different etsians: Sam’s Crochet (that would be the adorably floppy, Rasta-style hat Jayne and Peedee are wearing) and Whitaker Knits (the smaller hats with the orange tie, as seen on Ralphie and O-Ren, below). Rounding out Jayne’s look is a Browncoats logo pin I scored on Amazon. (It’s on her chest and not clearly visible in all the photos.) I also picked up some cute ID badges on eBay, but couldn’t find a place for them in the final outfits. Instead, they became ornaments for the tree.

Here’s a little character collage I put together for my family, who are not Firefly fans (THE HORRA!) and thus didn’t get the reference. Side-by-side comparison time! How do you think I did?

2011 FSMas Card - Kaylee-Jayne Comparison Collage

All’s shiny that ends shiny, I say.

Outtakes and extras after the jump!

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Goodbye, but not forever.

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011

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But before they could begin, a voice cried out, as loudly as a whisper could cry. It was the ghost of a thin man with an angry, passionate face, and he cried:

“What will happen? When we leave the world of the dead, will we live again? Or will we vanish as our daemons did? Brothers, sisters, we shouldn’t follow this child anywhere till we know what’s going to happen to us!”

Others took up the question: “Yes, tell us where we’re going! Tell us what to expect! We won’t go unless we know what’ll happen to us!”

Lyra turned to Will in despair, but he said, “Tell them the truth. Ask the alethiometer, and tell them what it says.”

“All right,” she said.

She took out the golden instrument. The answer came at once. She put it away and stood up.

“This is what’ll happen,” she said, “and it’s true, perfectly true. When you go out of here, all the particles that make you up will loosen and float apart, just like your daemons did. If you’ve seen people dying, you know what that looks like. But your daemons en’t just nothing now; they’re part of everything. All the atoms that were them, they’ve gone into the air and the wind and the trees and the earth and all the living things. They’ll never vanish. They’re just part of everything. And that’s exactly what’ll happen to you, I swear to you, I promise on my honor. You’ll drift apart, it’s true, but you’ll be out in the open, part of everything alive again.”

No one spoke. Those who had seen how daemons dissolved were remembering it, and those who hadn’t were imagining it, and no one spoke until a young woman came forward. She had died as a martyr centuries before. She looked around and said to the other ghosts:

“When we were alive, they told us that when we died we’d go to Heaven. And they said that Heaven was a place of joy and glory and we would spend eternity in the company of saints and angels praising the Almighty, in a state of bliss. That’s what they said. And that’s what led some of us to give our lives, and others to spend years in solitary prayer, while all the joy of life was going to waste around us and we never knew.

“Because the land of the dead isn’t a place of reward or a place of punishment. It’s a place of nothing. The good come here as well as the wicked, and all of us languish in this gloom forever, with no hope of freedom, or joy, or sleep, or rest, or peace.

“But now this child has come offering us a way out and I’m going to follow her. Even if it means oblivion, friends, I’ll welcome it, because it won’t be nothing. We’ll be alive again in a thousand blades of grass, and a million leaves; we’ll be falling in the raindrops and blowing in the fresh breeze; we’ll be glittering in the dew under the stars and the moon out there in the physical world, which is our true home and always was.

“So I urge you: come with the child out to the sky!”

But her ghost was thrust aside by the ghost of a man who looked like a monk: thin and pale, with dark, zealous eyes even in his death. He crossed himself and murmured a prayer, and then he said:

“This is a bitter message, a sad and cruel joke. Can’t you see the truth? This is not a child. This is an agent of the Evil One himself! The world we lived in was a vale of corruption and tears. Nothing there could satisfy us. But the Almighty has granted us this blessed place for all eternity, this paradise, which to the fallen soul seems bleak and barren, but which the eyes of faith see as it is, overflowing with milk and honey and resounding with the sweet hymns of the angels. This is Heaven, truly! What this evil girl promises is nothing but lies. She wants to lead you to Hell! Go with her at your peril. My companions and I of the true faith will remain here in our blessed paradise, and spend eternity singing the praises of the Almighty, who has given us the judgment to tell the false from the true.”

Once again he crossed himself, and then he and his companions turned away in horror and loathing.

Lyra felt bewildered. Was she wrong? Was she making some great mistake? She looked around: gloom and desolation on every side. But she’d been wrong before about the appearance of things, trusting Mrs. Coulter because of her beautiful smile and her sweet-scented glamour. It was so easy to get things wrong; and without her daemon to guide her, maybe she was wrong about this, too.

But Will was shaking her arm. Then he put his hands to her face and held it roughly.

“You know that’s not true,” he said, “just as well as you can feel this. Take no notice! They can all see he’s lying, too. And they’re depending on us. Come on, let’s make a start.”

She nodded. She had to trust her body and the truth of what her senses told her; she knew Pan would have.

So they set off, and the numberless millions of ghosts began to follow them. Behind them, too far back for the children to see, other inhabitants of the world of the dead had heard what was happening and were coming to join the great march. Tialys and Salmakia flew back to look and were overjoyed to see their own people there, and every other kind of conscious being who had ever been punished by the Authority with exile and death. Among them were beings who didn’t look human at all, beings like the mulefa, whom Mary Malone would have recognized, and stranger ghosts as well. But Will and Lyra had no strength to look back; all they could do was move on after the harpies, and hope.

…..

Will and Lyra exchanged a look. Then he cut a window, and it was the sweetest thing they had ever seen.

The night air filled their lungs, fresh and clean and cool; their eyes took in a canopy of dazzling stars, and the shine of water somewhere below, and here and there groves of great trees, as high as castles, dotting the wide savanna.

Will enlarged the window as wide as he could, moving across the grass to left and right, making it big enough for six, seven, eight to walk through abreast, out of the land of the dead.

The first ghosts trembled with hope, and their excitement passed back like a ripple over the long line behind them, young children and aged parents alike looking up and ahead with delight and wonder as the first stars they had seen for centuries shone through into their poor starved eyes.

The first ghost to leave the world of the dead was Roger. He took a step forward, and turned to look back at Lyra, and laughed in surprise as he found himself turning into the night, the starlight, the air…and then he was gone, leaving behind such a vivid little burst of happiness that Will was reminded of the bubbles in a glass of champagne.

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furkid friday: WANT.

Friday, May 27th, 2011

In which Jayne comes face-to-face with her great white whale, known to the humans as “Lemmy.”

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Actually, some days they spend hours this way, scoping out one another from their respective sides of the dog/cat boundary line. Lemmy knows enough to stay away from Jayne when there’s not an insurmountable obstacle preventing her from mauling him – but from his side of the glass, he becomes quite the provocateur: taking swipes at her, rolling around playfully (and occasionally right off the desk he uses for a perch), yawning and showing off his kitten belly and general lack of fear. And all she can do is quiver! High comedy, I tell you what. The two should star in a buddy film together.