Tuesday, April 23, 2013


A year ago today, an obviously unimpressed and scared cat moved in with me. You can read about my adoption of Louis the Maine Coon mix in a previous post. As I type this he is hanging out behind me, as is his habit when I'm on the computer.

(Apparently he knows I'm typing about him; he just trundled over and made a "pet me" noise.)

The last year has seen slow but steady changes in Louis. He's still nervous of strangers, and on the rare occasions when someone rings my obnoxiously-loud doorbell, Louis scuttles to his safe place under the bed. The combination of his fluffy coat and the low-riding gait used in such circumstances always reminds me of an over-sized guinea pig riding a tiny tandem.

Three months ago we moved apartments. Louis didn't enjoy this at all, and the first few days in the new place saw him firmly camped under the bed until I'd turned in. Apparently the cover of darkness made him more confident and I'd hear him investigating and sniffing his new environment. He has now come to appreciate the better location and view, and is particularly fond of watching SouthWest 737s on final approach into McCarran.

When I chose to adopt a traumatized cat, I realized it would take a while for trust and affection to develop. It's an ongoing process, but a rewarding one. Over the last year Louis has incrementally become calmer and more desirous of interaction with me.

Fortunately he seems to approve of my late schedule. I usually wake up mid-afternoon. As I'm making coffee, Lou emerges from under the bed. After a yawn and a stretch he hops onto the bed to be petted and sometimes brushed. Then he waddles off for breakfast.

On days that I'm home he tends to hang out wherever I am, except during his many naps that he prefers to take under the bed. He has an arsenal of toys, but in accordance with YouTube tradition he is obsessed with chasing the Red Dot.

If I leave the apartment to work, he's invariably waiting for me when I get home. As I walk through the front door his usual greeting is to poke his head around the wall of the short corridor to the bedroom, presumably to make sure it's me. He then dictates the proceedings by either running to the bedroom and onto the bed for petting, or towards his food-bowl for dinner.

Around 4 a.m. he gets restless. Time for bed. I usually read for an hour while he curls up next to me purring. He'll stay with me for a while after lights out, but then he has to fulfill his role as a cat and tear around the apartment as fast as he can, stopping only to play with his favorite toy, the Turbo Scratcher.

So wouldn't it be more fun to have adopted a kitten? Or perhaps a "normal" cat without Louis' traumatic past and resulting nervousness?

Well... kittens are fun, sure. I've had the pleasure of adopting several over the years, developing a remarkable bond with them. And, yes, an adult cat with a calmer past would likely sit on my lap within the first week of adoption and not require this long process of earning trust.

But adopting a "special needs" cat like Louis brings special rewards. He needed a quiet environment where he could feel safe, and a human with patience who would let him define the boundaries of the human-cat relationship, free of prejudices about how a cat is "supposed" to behave and interact.

Louis is always going to be a little different. I imagine that he'll do his guinea-pig-on-a-tandem routine whenever a sudden noise or strange voice startles him. But as I look at him now a couple of feet behind me, laying on his back with all four paws pointing at the ceiling, I am convinced that Louis is pretty pleased with the way things have turned out. And so am I.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

2013 Formula 1 Predictions

Red Bull. To enhance aerodynamic efficiency, Newey replaces mini-KERS with four AAA batteries. Webber's inexplicably fail. Marko issues statement claiming problem a result of Webber being "too Australian" and is later discovered with boomerang lodged between shoulder blades. Scandal nearly wipes smug grin off Horner's face.

Ferrari. Luca di Montezemelo petitions FIA for reduction in number of tires allocated for each race. F1 community puzzled until Adam Cooper finally gets a story right, reporting Ferrari needs more space for Alonso's new throne. Massa spends summer break in Australia learning to throw boomerang.

McLaren. Out-qualified 10-0 by Perez, Button quits team mid-season to pursue musical career. "I've got no front grip," tops Billboard and iTunes charts, sparking "Whine Rock" revolution. Ron Dennis demotes Whitmarsh to assistant gravel washer.

Lotus. Kimi arrives in Melbourne seventeen minutes before FP1 wearing battered Napoleon hat on top of traffic cone. When quizzed by Will Buxton, replies: "YeahwellyouknowIwassomewhereorotherandthisandthatleavemealoneIcollectwalnuts." Grosjean relieved to have attention drawn away from new Buddy Holly spectacles.

Mercedes. Pre-season additions to technical team include Flavio Briatore, Eddie Jordan, Murray Walker, AJ Foyt, Harry Redknapp, Vladimir Putin, and Beyonce. Hamilton denies rumors of talks with Sauber, Force India and Caterham. Autosport posts video of Lauda dressed as Napoleon minus the hat being spanked by Max Mosley's hookers.

Sauber. Monisha Kaltenborn hailed as first woman in F1 to be Monisha Kaltenborn. Adam Cooper refuses to mention her on grounds he cannot spell her name. Hulkenberg admits he cannot spell Esteban Gutierrez's name. Gutierrez admits he has a shitload of money.

Force India. In an attempt to calm fears team is facing severe financial problems, Vijay Mallya hides behind cardboard cut-out of himself at all official functions.

Williams. Team narrowly survives attempt by Mercedes to hire entire technical, catering and laundry departments. Adam Cooper notches up 29th season as a fuckwit firmly believing Pastor Maldonado is a clergyman.

Torro Rosso. STR8 breaks new ground with inclusion of proximity detectors. FIA scrutineers determine detectors linked to brakes and steering and take car swiftly off racing line when approached from behind by a Red Bull.

Caterham/Marussia. Assimilated by Mercedes Borg collective.