Patience

Those don’t look like Rufus’ toes…
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It appears that somebody has staged an invasion. But who would be so dastardly?

Silly question.
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Who but Mr. Thugbutt would be so evil as to take over Rufus’ mushroom? Nobody, of course.

To be fair, it’s not really Rufus‘ mushroom. After all, the mushroom not only predates his arrival in the household, it’s been here longer than Sachiko.

But since it’s in the room Rufus considers his, the mushroom must also be his. (Which means Rufus also owns a computer, a printer, and several thousand books. None of which he’s ever shown any interest in, fortunately.)

No, of course Rufus didn’t fight for the mushroom. He’s a Mellow Fellow, and a pacifist of almost Gandhian proportions.

He knows ‘Nuki will vacate the ‘shroom eventually. And until then?
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What cat can resist a sun-warmed spot on a comfortable cushion in front of the window? Certainly not Rufus.

Stuffed

Rufus has a new hangout.
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Well, okay, it’s actually an old one. Just about the first place he went when we started letting him explore the space outside his transitional cage.

But we’ve recently rearranged the room and made the mushroom more accessible, and he’s taking full advantage.

And yes, we realize it’s probably supposed to be a tree stump, but really, with that domed cap, it looks more like a mushroom.

And besides, mushrooms are funnier. Especially when they’re cat-stuffed mushrooms.

Anyway, that dubious look is rather atypical for the normally mellow Mr. Alexander. But at the time I took the picture, he’d just finished a round of territorial negotiation with ‘Nuki, so any unusual activity was cause for suspicion.

Normally, Rufus is considerably more relaxed when acting as mushroom filler.
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Yes, he was snoring. And the mushroom acts as a resonator. I won’t say the walls were shaking–but they may have quivered a bit.

Sleeping Arrangements

Surprisingly, our feline crew have orderly minds.

Granted, cats generally have a strong preference for tradition and regular routines, but ours even carry it over into their sleeping arrangements.

Right triangles are popular.
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Though equilateral triangles are almost as common.
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And the straight line is evergreen.
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(The line is straighter than it appears in this photo. Kokoro and Rhubarb were lying on my legs, preventing me from aligning the camera properly.)

Having said all that, I should clarify that such geometric specificity applies only at the interfeline level. Individual cats are always free to be as goofy as they wish in their pursuit of teh kyoot.

And they do.  Take a closer look at Watanuki in that last photo:
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Note the paw over the nose, the brilliantly pink toe beans, and, most important of all, the tail carefully curled around the end of the rear leg.

Chomp

Maggie recently brought home a new feline torture device. Sort of the equivalent of a hair shirt. And if you don’t think a hair shirt over fur is a torture device, well, our crew invite you to give it a try.

Anyway, given Sachiko’s sometimes sharkly behavior…

…we decided she was the logical first victim.

She carried it off very well:

Very “searching for something to rend to bloody bits”.

Somehow, though, she seemed less than appreciative of the opportunity.

In fact, that was almost two weeks ago, and she’s still giving us suspicious looks when we come into the kitchen together.

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Not Insomniac

“Cats are rather delicate creatures and they are subject to a good many ailments, but I never heard of one who suffered from insomnia.” ― Joseph Wood Krutch

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Proper sleep habits are, of course, of vital importance in the feline world. Mind you, the rules of proper sleep can be summarized as “There’s no such thing as too much sleep” without losing any important details.

Kokoro is the most dedicated sleeper in the house. Perhaps it’s natural inclination, or maybe just that, being the oldest, she’s had more time to develop her sleep skills. Certainly, a proper nose-tuck takes both natural talent and dedicated practice.

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‘Nuki, on the other paw, is rather careless about how he sleeps. He frequently leaves body parts dangling.

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Much, it should be noted, to Rufus’ complete lack of interest. “Not my problem if he wakes up with his tail all pins and needles.”

But the results can be entertaining to other onlookers.

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In this household, though, uninterrupted sleep is a rare luxury. And ‘Nuki, bless his thuggish little heart, is often the cause of others’ rude awakenings.

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Clever Fellow

Turns out Lefty is an unusually clever fellow.

He’s a bit of a slob when it comes to eating his gooshy fud. That’s not uncommon. However, unlike most cats, who would slop it onto the floor and then lick it up from there, he just drizzles it down the side of the bowl.

And then he does this:

Kokoro is his match intellectually–she figured out how to keep can lids from sliding across the floor by holding them in place with a paw while she licks them–but it’s a level of sophistication most cats never match.

Mostly, he’s a dignified fellow. But he’s quite taken with his magic lemon. Shortly after this video was taken, he carried it into his Fortress of Solitude (the carrier visible at the far left) so he can love on it in comfortable seclusion.

We catch occasional glimpses of the lemon. It’s slowly being ripped to shreds and losing its stuffing. We may have to get him a new one in the near future. Or offer him a magic banana.

The Most Happening Spot…

Fashions in feline hangouts come and go, just as with any other sort of fad. But some places are evergreen.

Everyone finds the bed convenient lurking territory, as Sachiko demonstrates.
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It’s also the most popular spot for sleeping, whether alone…
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(Yes, that is Sachiko. She has grown considerably, but this shot wasn’t taken from the most slimming of angles.)

…or in company.
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Watanuki likes the bed, too. In addition to lurking and sleeping, it’s a perfect platform for…uh…

Dancing. Yeah, dancing. Let’s go with that.

Lefty Update

Lefty paid his first visit to our regular vet earlier this week. He’s now up to date on his vaccinations, and aside from one issue, has a clean bill of health.

Somehow he did a number on one of his hind feet, possibly snagging his toenail in something, and tore the foot slightly. It doesn’t seem too serious, but he’s taking a course of antibiotics, and we’ll need to keep an eye on him. Of course, we would anyway, but we might not have tried to figure out how to look at his feet. Still working on that…

Anyway, in honor of his good behavior, enjoy this brief video of him hanging out, looking very cool and elegant.

I’m particularly enamored of the tail curled gracefully around his toes. Gotta keep them warm, after all. Interestingly, unlike so many of the cats in the neighborhood, he doesn’t cock his hind legs outward when he sits in the bowling pin pose.

Makes you want to poke his turbo button, doesn’t it?

Check It Out

I was going to call this a minor note, but I know several of you will consider it more important than the main post.

Agent Extraordinaire Janet Reid is taking a vacation. Unlike me, she makes sure to leave some content for her blog readers. And so, today’s hiatus post features the very handsome Rufus. Drop by and say hello.

(And if you have any interest in the business side of writing novels–or long-form non-fiction–you really should be reading her blog.)

Plug over. (But if you don’t care about the business of writing, you may want to skip the rest of this post.)

Tor Books–one of the big name publishers in Science Fiction and Fantasy is taking a lot of heat in the publishing world over what they’re calling an experiment.

According to their press release, Tor–or possibly their parent company, Macmillan–believes making e-books available through public libraries lowers retail sales. Consequently, they’ve decided to hold all e-books out of libraries until four months after publication.

They’ve released no specific information to back up their claim, so it’s impossible to know what they’re thinking. Are they of the opinion that libraries are a bigger source of piracy than booksellers? Do they think libraries are buying one copy and lending it to multiple clients at once? We don’t know, and we may never know. But either way, it’s a pretty nonsensical call.

I don’t know about the library vendor who handles Tor’s e-books, but the ones I’m familiar with have interfaces to the libraries’ circulation system and only allow simultaneous check-outs up to the number of copies the library has purchased. My local library, for example, outsources their e-books to Overdrive, and I’ve had to wait for check-outs often enough to be sure they don’t lend more simultaneous copies than the library bought.

And libraries as a source of pirate copies? It is to laugh. As I’ve noted in the past, pirate copies often show up the day books are released, sometimes even before. In order to do that through a library, your hypothetical pirate would have to be first on the reserve list, not just for one book, but for every title they intend to steal. To get, say, six books on release day, User OX* would probably have to check several out, remove the copy protection, and check them back in before he could grab the next batch. Because most library e-book vendors limit the number of books users can check out simultaneously.

* That’s supposed to be a skull and cross-bones. Thus we see the limits of my ASCII art skills.

Maybe OX’s library won’t notice he has a habit of checking multiple books out for five minutes, but you better believe the vendors are watching for that sort of pattern.

So what’s Tor thinking?

Several articles suggest they may be hoping to beef up their First Day sales numbers, potentially helping their position on various best-seller lists. Which is, I suppose, a possibility, but it strikes me as unlikely.

Or maybe Phase Two is introducing a higher cost to libraries, “for expedited access”. Remember, we have no data to support Tor’s claims. If they come back in a few months and say, “Hey, sales did go up, so if libraries want books on Launch Day, they can damn well pay us for the income we’ll lose,” nobody can contradict them.

In any case, the embargo began with Tor’s July titles. It’ll be interesting to see what happens come December, when those titles are due to reach libraries. Will libraries bother to buy them, four months after their clients have presumably either bought the e-books themselves or borrowed the paper editions?

And, let’s not forget that libraries make their buying decisions when books are reviewed in library-oriented journals. That can be six months or more before publication. For well-known authors, the decision may even be made when the book is announced, and that can be a year or more before publication. So we may not see the effect on library purchases until late 2019.

Interesting times we live in, folks.

HBM

Hard to believe Sachiko is four years old (more or less–we don’t really know when she was born).

But she can be quite the elegant lady when she wants to.
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Such a serious, sober expression she has, don’t you think?

It’s all a sham, though.

Just wait a few seconds and she’ll revert to the behavior that led us to nickname her “Her Batshit Majesty, Princess Pointy-Bits”.

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Isn’t it nice to know some people never change?