Friday Links: Snow Art and Snatched Crowns Edition

snow penis
Nobody said this was a family-friendly blog.
  • Airline workers kill time by drawing a giant dick next to one of their planes. This actually sums up perfectly how I feel about winter. Plus it reminds me of the infamous “Below Deck” episode where the chief steward made blanket art in the shape of a penis but insisted it was a misinterpreted rocket ship. Man, I miss that show.
  • But guess what IS coming back!! Get your sweet tea iced and set your Tivo’s for March 9 for a preview episode, and March 16 for the full “Southern Charm” assault on the senses, y’all.
  • The Chief Jefe of Poe Communications and Mattress Merchandising Inc., and my personal-boss-for-life XFE has always wanted to stay at an ice hotel. I prefer not to sleep with my teeth chattering throughout the night. So just for him and his thwarted dreams, here’s a roundup of ice hotels by OMGFacts.
  • It’s hard to drag yourself out of bed when it’s 6 a.m. and 17 degrees. It’s even harder when you’re bed is heavenly. The ladies at Cardigans and Couture know: It’s all about the bed. We actually have the same mattress (Westin’s Heavenly mattress) and it is pretty awesome.
  • Following up on the Christmas break wine heist at the French Laundry, Central Texas has a brisket bandit on the loose. No word on if they prefer the “packer” or the “flat” cut.
  • Required reading for our cat, Petunia: Neurotic people probably make pretty great pet owners, according to a new study on overbearing pet parents. Now get over here and let me smother you with hugs and kisses.
  • My favorite story of the week: A Brazilian beauty pageant runner-up snatched the crown right off the winner’s head. (Oh yes, there’s a video. Things get catty around the 1:50 mark. The crowd goes wild). And she’s not sorry about it at all, as you can tell by this amazingly awesome quote in a Brazilian newspaper: “What I did was not on impulse, [it] was to show Manaus, Brazil and the world, that money cannot buy everything. I didn’t do it for me but for other candidates … She didn’t deserve the title.”

Friday Links: Old Pets with Norwegian Passports Flying in Restricted Airspaces Edition

Ellen and Portia spoof Kim

Norway's new passport is purty.

Friday Linkage: Big Cats Find Love on Metro

  • crowdWant to get even closer to the sweaty intern swaying next to you on the packed Blue line this summer? Now there’s a dating website for DC metro riders. Giving new meaning to “weekend track work.” (I have no idea what I was insinuating there. Doesn’t really work, does it? Look! Something shiny!)

big cat

  • Speaking of metro, I saw the above advertisement on the way home the other night. Apparently, big cats are roaming the wilds of DC and disrupting public safety. Maybe I should alert them about this beastie.

Petunia Garbo

 

  • My super helpful friend Emilia (who’s killing me with her Instagrams of her vacation in Cinque Terre right now) sent me this list of shark-infested waters a couple of week’s ago, with a note: “I bet you’re in the midst of planning your next vacation. Be sure to pass this along to XFE so he can consider one of these & please his loving girlfriend.” Nice. Don’t fall off any cliffs, Emilia.

 

  • It’s only a month till our trip to Croatia and I have not started my packing matrix! Just kidding. Of course I have. And I incorporated a few tips from this packing tutorial on Refinery 29, even though I will obviously NOT be trying to live out of a carry on.

 

  • Life is full of difficult choices. But deciding, NAY, knowing when to drink beer in the shower is no longer one of them, thanks to this handy infographic. Have a great holiday weekend!
Should I Drink a Beer in the Shower?

 

We Need Some Rules Around this House

Petunia P. Cat better get her act together.

Toons

(The ‘P’ is for Poe, obv. She’s actually got a hyphenated last name, but XFE doesn’t want his last name blasted out all over the blog. I think it’s because he’s worried he might get Catfished, or something.

Sidenote to above sidenote: OBSESSED with that MTV show by the way. And the Manti Te’o story as well. Basically, any story about how shady seemingly normal people can be, grabs my attention. Along with the whole fall-from-grace thing. I’m looking at you Lance Armstrong. I read the entire 186 page report. SHAD. EE.)

What was I saying? Oh yeah. Toons. She apparently is falling down on her cat duties.

For example, she has never tried to help me escape from a Brazilian prison by smuggling in a cellphone, drills, small saws and other contraband taped to her ample body.

Poor kitty. That's actually quite mean.
Poor kitty. That’s actually quite mean.

I’ve seen her carry mouthfuls of cat kibble from her feed bowl and drop them in her water dish, but I’ve never once seen use those chipmunk cheeks to do any good for humanity.

prison break

Nor, has she ever brought me any gifts of leaves, sticks, twigs, plastic cups or paper towels. And I seriously doubt that she’ll keep a vigil at my grave like this 3-year old Italian cat named Toldo. He has apparently been visiting the grave of his former owner every day for the past year and leaving small presents at the grave.

With Petunia, presents are a strictly one-way street and she’s on the receiving end of that cul de sac. For example: last weekend, we were worried that she might be getting a little bored. It’s understandable: she’s an only cat, left alone for hours a day. And she’d been tearing around the house from room-to-room in the middle of the night. It seemed like she had a lot of pent up energy and not enough stimuli.

So, being good little cat parents, we went out and bought her some elaborate jungle gym. Which she has since ignored. She did show some moderate interest in the box it came in, however.

It's exactly like this except without the arch thingy.
It’s exactly like this except without the arch thingy.

Also: she has been singularly unhelpful when it comes to household chores, such as the laundry.

 

She used to at least supervise the ironing, but nowadays she’s not even really doing that. She does still like to lay on folded clothes though, so there’s that.

ironing

Yep, Petunia better get with on that jungle gym, build up her core strength and start bringing me some damn twigs, or there’s going to be a lot less of this going on.

They Don’t Call It Toons-a-Ween, That’s For Sure

Good thing I had all that Sandy-cation time off this week. It gave me time to work on a Halloween costume for Petunia.

There were some strong contenders.

My friend Taylor recommended this scuba cat, since my assistant seamstress XFE and I are into scuba diving.

By the way, did you hear about this chic? She’s my hero. Karate chopping sharks is pretty badass. Next year, I’m going to dress up as her for Halloween and make Petunia wear a shark costume.

This lobster one is pretty cute. But Toons wouldn’t fit in the pot, so we had to nix that one.

In a similar vein, I thought Petunia had the right expression for this spider cat costume. That is totally Petunia’s twin.

I was really gunning for a Honey Boo Boo costume and I figured with Petunia’s big belly, she had it down, but again, she was not feeling very cooperative.

In the end, she decided to go as an angry house pet. Talk about typecasting.

Some takeaways from last night’s festivities.

  • Halloween buckets have morphed from little plastic orange pumpkins into full-on, large reusable Marshall’s bags.
  • Some of these children appeared a bit old. And honestly, a bit lazy with the costumes. Pretty sure the “cheerleader” I saw was a high school girl wearing her cheerleading uniform.
  • Lots of ninjas. Far and away the most popular costume option. Also: We saw two Mario’s, as in, Mario Brothers. My favorite though was when XFE had to answer the door while I was heating up some leftovers for dinner. I excitedly asked him what our little visitors were dressed as and he said one of them was pushing an empty stroller and appeared to be dressed up as some exhausted suburban mom. Classic.
  • When you run out of candy, children do not like to be offered a Viactiv calcium chew, even if it is chocolate flavored. That whole bone density thing is definitely going to come back and bite them later, I promise you.
  • Petunia does not like trick-or-treaters. Every time she came down to eat and the doorbell would ring, she made like a skedaddle cat and tore up the stairs like a calico cyclone.

Let’s Play a Little Game of Outwit the Cat (She’s Winning)

I (tentatively) promise that this will be the last cat-drama update. In fact, I’m working on a post for tomorrow and it has absolutely nothing to do with sick cats at all.

When last we left this little saga, Petunia was using her litter box as a place to be alone with her very deep thoughts and little else. No pee. No poop. By Friday, after a day or two on the antibiotics, she was peeing, but still unproductive in the other area, so back to the vet she went. This entailed much hissing and spitting on her part, and more tears on mine. And a saint-like amount of patience on XFE’s part overall.

When we arrived at the vet, there was a bit of a miscommunication misfire. I had specifically called to make sure that Petunia would be taken in to be treated immediately, but the vet, I was told, was still in surgery and might very well be there for at least another 45 minutes. XFE and I abruptly turned into Tiger Mothers and basically threatened to tear apart the whole practice unless someone took care of our cat immediately.

A vet tech we’d previously dealt with was called out of assisting surgery to come out and assure us that (1) it wasn’t likely that it would be 45 minutes, and (2) our princess would be kept in her carrier until her procedure and NOT put into one of the holding cages. This was particularly important to me because she was impossible to get out when they put her in there last time.

We reluctantly left her and went home to work (remotely) and wait. Finally, they called and said we could come get her and leave a good portion of our paychecks for the privilege.

The upshot is she’s mostly fine and there isn’t anything wrong with her other than just a confluence of bad luck. One ailment (UTI discomfort) led to another (not wanting to go to the bathroom at all) until we arrived to Lack-of-Poop-Topolis (population 0.)

The vet gave us a whole bunch of stuff, including more antiobiotics and some gel that’s supposed to help expel/move hairballs. This led to this weekend’s primary preoccupation: Mind Games with a Cat.

First, there are the antibiotics, which, of course, she will not take willingly. We spent the entire weekend figuring out ways to trick the cat into taking her pills, only to have her one up us at every turn.

The vet gave us this stuff called Greenies, which I thought were the cleverest invention ever (at first). They’re little treats with holes in them that you can put a pill in. To further trick the cat, we cut the pills in half and squished them deep into the holes of two treats, and then mixed them into a little mountain with her regular treats.

This worked exactly one time. The next time we tried this tactic, she ate all her regular treats but left the imposters. So we took away her normal food and left just the drug-treat fakes. Reluctantly, she ate it.

Next we come to the hairball gel, which purports to be “tuna-flavored,” but it is apparently laced with Satan’s spit because Petunia won’t have anything to do with it. In fact, she overreacts completely when we try (unsuccessfully) to give it to her.

We were told by the vet that if she doesn’t eat it on her own, we should put it on her paw where she will lick it off. This is a total lie. The first night I sidled up to her with it, she sprinted away. XFE was sure I had gotten a tiny fleck on her, which we did not see later. I looked at my gel-covered finger and saw only failure (I really don’t think I even made contact).

Then she almost went into cardiac arrest last night when I daubed the tiniest little spot on her paw. Obviously, she did not lick it off and in fact ran repeatedly through the house with it still on her paw before hiding behind my toilet. When I caved in and tried to wipe it off with a damp towel, she snarled and wiggled away from me. And now, there it sits, a streak of dried brown, supposedly tuna-flavored gel, just making her angrier and angrier.

So now we’re back to the complete and utter distrust stage in our house. Well, that’s not entirely true. XFE has made some headway. He hid some of yesterday’s antibiotics in a spoonful of wet cat food, which she suspiciously ate, right out of the spoon. He held that stupid spoon in front of her for about a full three minutes. I thought his knees were going to go out from squatting in front of the cat for so long.

 

Silence of the Cat Lambs

My precious little angel face is sick. No, not XFE. Our cat, Petunia.

That’s not really a good angle for her.

(OK, so you’ve been warned: this post is all about me whining about my sick cat. I get that this is not for everyone. If this isn’t your cup of crazy-cat-lady tea, you can skip this. We’ll still be friends tomorrow.)

I know this makes me an incredibly bad cat parent, but I had not taken Petunia to a vet in about 10 years. I took her to the vet at six weeks old, after I had found her under a car meowing her little head off. They cleaned her up, gave her some shots, and sent me on my way. I took her back for her boosters a couple of times, and, of course, took her to get spayed. But that’s been pretty much it.

I always figured she’s a completely indoor cat, with no exposure to any other animals, no parasites, no weird plants. She eats a diet consisting solely of dried cat food – I never give her people food or wet food or milk or anything other than the same dry food I’ve been shoveling into her bowl twice a day for the last 10 years.

That’s better.

And, for the last 10 years, she’s been completely healthy. She’s playful and frisky, she always, ALWAYS uses her litter box (no matter how negligent I’ve been on the cleaning front. She literally has never gone to the bathroom anywhere else), and hardly ever even meows. Her teeth are clean and in good shape, and other than being a bit chubby (ok, a lot), she’s healthy.

Continue reading Silence of the Cat Lambs

Petunia’s Future as a Flying Feline

Sometimes, I’m given to bouts of melancholy. The blues, if you will. Pity party, table for one.

This is particularly true when I think about life without my sweet Princess Petunia Potpie. I know cats don’t last forever. Particularly overweight, lazy cats like my little Toons. And when I think about it, I get quite sad and teary eyed.

Then, I read stuff like this: “Cats away! Artist turns his dead pet into flying helicopter after it is killed by a car.” And well, I’m filled with hope. There are alternatives to losing your best friend forever.

Apparently, Dutch artist Bart Jansen turned his deceased pet into a work of art. He had him stuffed (taxidermied?) and then teamed up with a radio control air craft expert to turn the dead cat into a helicopter.

At first I thought, how stupid. The cat was killed by a car, so why not turn him into a car? That would be truly ironic justice.

But then, I saw the dead kitty’s name: Orville. He was named after famous aviator Orville Wright. So of course the cat was meant to fly. As the Orvillecopter.

All I can say is that Orville was a lot sleeker than Petunia. I don’t think four propellers would work for my little tons-o-fun. The Petuniacopter would need a jet engine to get off the ground. She’d be more like a Petunia-bus. Probably a 787, no less.

Dreaming of being airborne, Toonies?

Jansen also has future plans for his furry flier:

“He added that Orville will soon be ‘flying with the birds’ stating: ‘Oh how he loved birds. He will receive more powerful engines and larger props for his birthday. So this hopping will soon change into steady flight.’”

OK, I love my cat a lot, but we do not give her birthday gifts. I’m not even sure when her birthday is. She was a stray. Her one and only birthday was the damn lucky day when I found her tiny, screeching furball self.

I Googled the Dutch artist, but surprisingly, couldn’t find anything else by him, just story after story about the Orvillecopter. Nothing on a price either.

I predict a run on taxidermists everywhere from people wanting to take their stuffed pets to the next level. As it turns out, there are a lot of websites promising “pet preservation.” The fine folks at Perpetual Pets promise a Loving and Lasting alternative to cremation or taxidermy. Nothing on the website suggests they can make a pet airborne.

I think this cat got caught in a propeller.

Xtreme Taxidermy sounds like it would offer XTREME pet preservation, maybe something along the lines of schnauzers on snowboards, or a Siamese on a skateboard, but while they promise: “Your pet will look very natural and even close up it will be difficult to tell any difference at all except for the lack of movement.” Not good enough. I’m looking for lots of movement. Preferably aloft on wind currents.

The impressively named World Fauna Pets Forever has been featured on National Geographic Explorer, but nothing on motorizing your pet. They do, however, list their prices, which further guarantees Petunia might not get to be immortalized posthumously: Cats (all breeds) Minimum Up to 10 LBS…….$800.00 (plus $10.00 per pound over 10 LBS). At that rate, getting Petunia stuffed would cost about $1,000.

That’s too bad because those pictures of that flying cat really crack me up.

Look at all these dead animals co-existing (er, not really existing per se) peacefully.

Maybe Petunia Can Get Some Sexy Tips from Luc Carl

I was going to blog about this pet photo contest going on over at Kimpton Hotels and ask everyone to vote for my petite princess Petunia Potpie, but since there’s this cheating dog wearing bunny ears named Ice who basically racked up an impossible 250 votes in less than six hours, I’m not going to even waste mine or Petunia’s time.

Petunia got a respectable 18 votes in that same time period, but I don’t think she can catch up, even in a two week voting period. Considering that the winners of the last two rounds garnered a two-week total of 514 and 495 respectively, I smell shenanigans. Pet contest cheating shenanigans. Unless this Ice dog is some sort of celebrity or something, I just don’t see how this is possible.

HOWEVER, if you support freedom and democracy and want to vote for the super-adorableness that is Petunia, she’s on the last page (which is technically the first page, since the pictures load in reverse order of when they were uploaded. Whatever.)  So scroll past all the other really cute and adorable pictures until you find the little beastie below. Then, all you have to do is hit “like.”  :

This is the photo you're looking for. Most of the other pets are awake, so that should help you identify the Toons.

So, instead, boys and girls, pupils in my virtual classroom, did you all complete your assignments from a couple of weeks ago?

What assignment, you may ask with a lump of panic in your collective throats? Well, that would be reading the fine tome by one Luc Carl (where the hell is the umlaut on this keyboard?), former boyfriend of one Stefani Germonatta, aka Lady Gaga.

The book, you may remember, is called “The Drunk Diet: How I Lost 40 Pounds…Wasted.”  On the cover, a photo of our erstwhile hero, looking for all the world like a young Richie Sambora.

Inside, Carl details how he came to love rock-and-roll, along with cigarettes, booze and the bar life, aka: eating poorly very late at night. Not surprisingly, our long-haired author got a tiny bit chubby. Not a lot, in fact, one of the real weaknesses of the book is the fact that Luc Carl doesn’t seem like he was that fat. Certainly not if the photos in the book are any indication. And, he mentions at one point that he used to wear a size 11 girls jeans (yeah, he wears girls jeans. Weird) and now he wears a size 5 girls jeans. Personally, I think both of those sizes are pretty small, and hardly indicative of a serious chubster.

I mean, he's not svelte, but he's not that bad.

Regardless, Luc Carl decided to get healthy, and boy did he ever. The book doesn’t tell you stuff you don’t already know (don’t eat carbs late at night, heck, don’t eat carbs at all if you can avoid it; you have to work out a lot; you have to learn to love vegetables over fries; don’t be afraid to ask for help at the gym).

But he does present it in an appealing everyman sort of way. Plus a whole lot of cussing.  In fact, thanks to Luc Carl, I have a new running mantra. My running mantra used to be stuff like “just one foot in front of the other,” or “you can do it. Just a little farther than we’ll walk.” Now, my running mantra has become “F*$@k walking. Walking is lame. F*$@k that hill. Hills are stupid.”  A whole lot of cussing these days, but it seems to work. Somehow, getting all belligerent about running conditions seems to be effective, oddly enough.

What’s really impressive is Carl’s willpower. He’s a bit extreme for me (no way in hell I’m ever cutting dairy out of my diet), but I’m in awe of his mental stamina. This guy changed his mindset in a way that’s almost Jedi-like. He has a lot of self-control.

One of my favorite things is how Carl keeps his focus on being the sexiest he can be. It’s not even about losing weight, necessarily, he just frames everything as a necessary step to becoming sexy. Pretty funny to hear a guy talking like that.

I'm so embarrassed I'm wearing girl pants right now.

He also has a huge ego, no doubt about it. Everything he does, he does to the full extent and believes he does it better than just about anybody has ever done it.  Some example text along these lines:

“Of course, all that effort is really worth it when I walk into a nightclub with the boys, find a table, sit down, take off my leather jacket and watch all the girls in the room turn to me with a sparkle in their eyes.”

OK, gag.

He provides a few good tips on weight lifting and working out in general (including some good stuff on pushups and other core-building exercises). He’s pretty detailed about what he eats, and that’s also helpful. One of the most helpful tidbits is the whole “drunk” part in the drunk diet. Basically, he explains how he weaned himself off of his first love, beer, and switched over to drinking vodka and soda, which he also waters down to a 1-to-3 ratio, further cutting down on his alcohol consumption and calories.

The back of the book has a few recipes, which is a cute touch; and an index, which is pretty funny reading on its own.

And for those who are curious, he does mention an ex-girlfriend “who’s career was blossoming,” without mentioning her by name.

“I couldn’t even drink the pain away in my own home—like a normal guy—because there she was taking over the world right in front of my face. Even if I was just trying to buy beer, I’d have to listen to her sing about how great life is on the radio at the goddamn grocery store. If I went to the gym, she’d be on the TV doing a talk show or receiving an award for Most Amazing Person Ever.”

It was getting dumped by this ex-girlfriend, by the way, that jumpstarted his transformation.

“Something happened that pushed me over the edge: my girlfriend left me. She said she couldn’t sit around watching me be miserable anymore, so she packed her shit and moved out West to pursue her dreams.”

I actually thought for the most part that he treated the whole Gaga thing with a lot of class and didn’t mention her but twice in the whole book and never by name.

It’s an entertaining book and an easy read. Took me about a week of metro reading (metro reading for the uninitiated is the 20-25 minute window of reading you have available while commuting in the morning and evening. In between reading Facebook and Twitter, of course.)

I’d probably buy Luc Carl a beer if I saw him somewhere. And maybe pick up some pushup tips.

The Many Faces of Toonces

Petunia, for those who have not met her, is kinda bipolar.

She hasn’t been diagnosed or anything, but she’s definitely very two-faced.

Are you there God? It's me, Petunia.

There are basically two Petunia’s – there’s Princess Petunia Potpie, the sweet little calico who follows me around all morning, twirling around my ankles, rubbing her face against mine while I’m trying to sleep.

I'm dreaming of more Poe.

Then there’s the Petunia that my co-pet-parenting significant other XFE knows – a snarling, hissing she-beast who runs whenever he enters the room and scowls at him from between the banisters of the stairs.

I'm about to show you the meaning of 'cat scratch fever.'

It’s hard for me to reconcile the two.

I found Petunia at about six weeks old, hiding under a car while I was living on the East side of Austin. It was April and already warm, but being a poor college student, I wasn’t quite ready to turn the air conditioner on, so I had the windows of my studio apartment open.  I kept hearing a noise that I thought was an annoying baby bird chirping. After about a day and a half of hearing the noise, I became convinced it was actually a scared and lonely cat mewing somewhere.

Baby Petunia was a fraction of the size of this current beast. But still very cute.

After several frustrating hours on my stomach in the asphalt parking lot and lots of sweat and tears, I finally coaxed out a tiny furball covered in grease and fleas.

She’s been my precious little Petunia blossom ever since. How do I know this?

  • She comes running downstairs when I get home in the evening.
  • She sits in the window and sadly watches me leave for work every morning.
  • Don't leave me!
  • She sits on the toilet enjoying a steam facial while I shower every morning (I like my showers SCALDING).
  • She sleeps with me in the winter and when XFE is out of town.
  • She watches me while I iron on Sundays.
  • She lays on the computer or a book if I’m reading and not paying attention to her.
  • She shares the couch with me every night while we watch TV.
  • She lets me pick her up and rub my face all over her exposed belly.
  • She lets (and actually loves it) if I pet her while she eats. Most animals are weird and protective about their food, but she purrs away and eats faster.

But she’s a very divisive figure in our household. XFE started off not really liking cats. In fact, he said he was allergic to cats. But, he’s warmed up to her over the years. He’s seen the special relationship Petunia and I share, the affectionate cuddles, and well, he wants a piece of the action. He wants to, oddly enough, pet the cat once in a while.

This, however, is not meant to be.

Sorry I'm not sorry that I'm saving all my love for Poe.

XFE, Petunia and I have lived together for about six years.  And even after all that time, she’s never warmed up to XFE. This despite the fact that (a) he’s very cuddly; and (b) he’s never been anything but gentle and nice to her. However:

  • When he tries to pet her, she leans away.
  • When he actually succeeds in making contact, she actually looks like she’s in physical pain.
  • If I’m holding her in my arms like a wiggly captive so XFE can pet her, she flinches every time he touches her. Flinches. Her skin and fur actually shirks away.
  • She will swipe at him (but to be fair, she’ll swipe at me too when she’s over it).
  • She’ll hiss at him (again, to be fair, she also apparently hissed at Amy when she was pet sitting for us and Amy is just about the sweetest, most gentle person on the planet.)
  • She’ll growl at him.

And in her latest passive-aggressive (or should I say, just aggressive-aggressive) move, Petunia has taken to sitting in XFE’s chair whenever he’s not in it. So if he makes the mistake of getting up to get something to drink, or go to the bathroom, she flies (not an easy feat for such a large cat) down the stairs and across the dining room and jumps in his chair. Where she will then start furious licking her privates. And glare at you if you come near her.

I just want to be left alone.

Petunia will, however, let XFE pet her, grudgingly, if he gives her treats.  She’s angry, not stupid.  Her affection can be bought with treats. Maybe we should put some anti-bipolar meds in those treats.