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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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.

Eternal Verity

In trying times like these, when everything seems unsettled, it’s a good idea to take a step back and remind yourself that some things don’t change.

A sleeping cat is, by definition, cute.
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Yuki needs a pillow to sleep soundly, and Rhubarb needs to be used as a pillow before he can doze off.
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Synergy!

So when you’re stressed, when you need a break from the insanity, go pat a cat.

Better yet, take a nap with one. Your psyche will thank you.

Rufus Beans

And so we come at last to the final stop on our tour of the local toe beans. It might have been longer, but MM adamantly declined to participate.

So, instead of ending as we began, with a feral foot, we’ll close it out with a formerly-feral foot.

Rufus is of the single-color school. But he eschews plebeian pinks and blacks. His handsome silver-gray coat demands something a little out of the ordinary for proper contrast.

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Note the subtle, yet elegant, lavender tones, which elevate Sir Rufus’ toe beans to a realm most cats can only dream of attaining.

Nesting

Rufus has a new nest.
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Actually, he’s been zonking out on the bathmat intermittently since we first started letting him explore the house without supervision.

And why not? It’s certainly no less comfortable than the grass he slept on for many years. It’s in a room that stays at a comfortable temperature, even when the rest of upstairs is too hot or too cold. There’s a water bowl a few steps away. And ‘Nuki hardly ever goes in there.

The only downside is that his nest gets too wet to be comfortable when the bipeds use the shower. Fortunately, there’s no shortage of alternative sleeping nooks.

SAST 10: Feline Edition

It’s been a busy week in the feline world, so we’ll hit the highlights in a Very Special Edition of Short Attention Span Theater.

20-1For those among us who love toe beans, there are fewer cuter than ‘Nuki’s. They’re amazingly soft and delicate looking; quite the contrast to his thuggish personality.

20-2Kokoro and Sachiko are far from the closest of friends, but when the weather turns unexpectedly cold, they manage to share a heat vent in relative tranquility. Note that Sachiko is kind enough to place a paw on the dome to ensure it doesn’t slip out of place. Kokoro, as is her wont, returns the favor by not alerting her junior to the fact that it’s warmer in front of the dome than behind it.

20-3Rufus has been in one of his exploratory moods this week. And he’s slowly getting more comfortable being around the other cats. Except ‘Nuki, of course. The Two Roos spent an hour or so hanging out on the stairs together–a definite first.

20-4And there’s action outside as well. Only a meezer would choose to sleep on a piece of old school, hard plastic Astroturf. Maybe MM was guarding the water bowl. Maybe she just didn’t want to get dirt on her fur. Regardless, it’s more proof–not that any was needed–that meezers are weird.

Ups and Downs

Lately we’ve been experiencing double-decker cats.
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Which is not to say Rufus and ‘Nuki are getting along. There’s still a lot of wariness and the occasional verbal disagreement. Not much in the way of actual combat, however, much to our relief.

My apologies for the lousy picture. Let me move in closer and see if I can get a better–
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Thanks a lot, Buddy.

Anyway, we tend to think of cats as being creatures of habit. We expect them to stake out some turf, and return to it over and over again.

Oddly, that’s not the case with these sleeping tubes. Twenty-four hours later, I got this shot.
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Rufus upstairs, Watanuki down below. Not that you can see much more of the latter than those glowing, yellow eyes. Let me–
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Oh, come on, Rufus!

You know what? Screw it.

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Sachiko’s quite the cutey, isn’t she?

Feline Fragments

It’s nothing to be ashamed of. We all have our little fetishes. That’s just part of being human. Not just sexually, either.

“Such beautiful eyes.”

“I could watch the waves forever.”

“Give me chocolate, and I’ll follow you anywhere.”

And, of course, we all have our own reasons for appreciating our furry fellow-beings.

I’ve imposed on our crew to bring you a selection of feline fragments suitable for seven different fetishes. Regrettably, Kaja declined to participate, but ‘Nuki was kind enough to cover for her. Camera shy isn’t in his vocabulary.

Let’s begin with Rhubarb’s eye, exquisite in gold and black.
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Wild and untamed, Watanuki’s whiskers mirror his soul.
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Yuki’s ear, black and floofy as befits the handsome soot sprite.
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We’re fairly sure Sachiko is an invading alien. Her antennae are a dead giveaway, after all.
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The most elegantly curled tail of Her Majesty, Kokoro.
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Watanuki’s toe beans are the only flaw in his dapper exterior.
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And, finally, Rufus’s startlingly brick-pink nose.
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Now!

Baseball is upon us and everyone around here is getting in the mood.

They’re coming out of hiding.
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Checking to be sure they’ve got all their gear.
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Come to think of it, this may explain a lot about the relationship between ‘Nuki and Rufus. NL vs. AL. Both teams with storied pasts–though, granted, the Giants is a heck of a lot longer and holds more stories–trying to return to the glory. And yet, at the end of the playoffs, there can be only one. Very Highlander.

But I digress.

They’re making sure everything still fits.
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Even if they’re a little unclear on some of the concepts.
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Never mind. Play ball!
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New Hangout

Rufus has a new cave.
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Well, okay, new to him, anyway.

He’s been hanging out in Maggie’s office lately. He likes it in there. It’s usually warmer than the rest of the house. His chief antagonist, Watanuki, isn’t allowed in there. And it’s got the cave.

Mind you, the room does have its downside from his perspective.
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Kaja lives in Maggie’s office, thanks to irreconcilable personality differences.

And, by and large, Kaja doesn’t much care for intruders on her turf. She tolerates Maggie, thanks to frequent pettings. She’ll put up with Kokoro in recognition of her status as eldest female and queen of the crew.

But boys?
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There are many wary looks. Peeking, peerings, and porings over. Glares, glowers, and gawkings.

Occasionally relations break down into hissing.

But for the most part, Kaja seems to recognize that Rufus is an amiable fellow.

And so the room remains largely at peace, and Rufus can enjoy his new cave. At least until Kokoro comes in and wants it back.