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October 15th, 2016

07:47 pm: The Cat, the Devil, and Lee Fontana
Picked this novel up yesterday in a Dollarama, a hardcover with book jacket that must have come to them as a remaindered book.

It turned out to be enjoyable, if odd -- imagine a combination of The Shawshank Redemption, Raimi's American Gothic tv series, and novel-and-upcoming-movie A Dog's Purpose, except with an endlessly reincarnating cat named Misto who in 1947, as a ghost cat floating between lives, is trying to keep recently-paroled old-time train robber Lee Fontana from giving in the the temptations of the Devil, who has been trying to for generations to destroy his family.

Note that Misto has no particular problem with Lee returning to robbery (the old man loves the thrill of planning and carrying out heists, and the cat has no particular regard for human laws); but the Devil wants Lee to do worse things: kill bystanders, or set up his best friend for the crime.

Meanwhile in Georgia, another family (or are they long-lost relations?), with a psychic nine-year-old daughter, are threatened by a vengeful psychopath.

Also, the authors (Shirley Rousseau Murphy and Pat J. Murphy) seem kind of fixated on Levi's jeans. Maybe that part was just my imagination, maybe the spelling (Levi's) looked weird to me, maybe it was the mention of two adult female characters wearing them in an otherwise fairly believable 1947 (the little girl I could understand), but after a while I began to wonder if it was product placement for denim.

Apparently Shirley Rousseau Murphy normally writes mystery novels featuring a talking cat detective (and "has raised the stakes for the feline sleuth genre") and her fans here appear divided on her venture into more supernatural themes (also, CW, prison rape).

For myself, I was kind of enjoying it. And then, after 314 pages, the book ends with no story resolution and a sequel hook. Argh. I shall now have to go looking for The Cat, the Devil, the Last Escape.


September 26th, 2016

10:37 am: Crunch time at work, and somewhat miffed because on top of everything else, one of my bosses has instructed me to contact the mill and change the design I called "Eyes" to "Tribal Print." While I admit "Eyes" may not have been the catchiest name, I was trying to avoid using the word "Tribal" because I'm not really comfortable tossing it around in a context where it basically means "looks vaguely like something the "native" extras in an old Western would wear."

Also, leaving all that aside, I really wish she could have said something a month or so back when she approved the order, rather than now once they've already printed up the labels at the Mille.

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September 18th, 2016

04:34 pm: Not Again!
Earlier today, Andrew rewatched the ST:TOS episode 'The Naked Time.'

Looking up online discussions of the episode, I learned that (a) this was the fourth episode, and the space illness lowering everyone's inhibitions is thus a clever way to bring out the characters' personalities and backstories; and (b) the sparkly, ineffective hazmat suits that appear in the opening scene were made from shower curtains (extremely glam shower curtains, even for the era).

Things I did not learn: why the hazmat suits are even there -- from Kirk's opening narration, the crew should be expecting a routine pickup of a science team and their luggage, yet Spock and Doomed Crewmember beam down into the science base wearing more protective gear than they usually wear to land outdoors on an unknown planet. I can only infer that in a missing scene Uhura hailed the scientists, got worried when there was no response and no signs of life or life support on the base, and advised the away team to take precautions. She should have added "and remember while you're down there not to take off your gloves and touch stuff and then touch your face."


September 12th, 2016

01:15 pm: Possible Yuletide Request
Watched Richard III (1995) on the weekend. This time out, looking at all the BBC-period-drama trappings that probably came from the same costume houses that outfitted a thousand Agatha Christie adaptations, I found myself wondering what Poirot would do in that universe -- well, dodge assassination attempts most likely, once Richard noticed him as a potential nuisance. Who would Poirot even be, in a Shakespeare-1930s setting? Court emissary from Flanders?

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September 3rd, 2016

07:40 pm: I was finally able to read another Reggie Fortune anthology, Mr. Fortune Wonders, thanks to sovay and the internet. It just took a while for the copy to come available (even as an e-book, apparently only one reader is allowed to borrow at once.) Some time has evidently passed since the first stories -- Reggie is now married to Joan, and has a black Persian cat named Darius. He still has no particular qualms about bending the rules to protect the innocent, etc. The series' theme of "children/young women in peril" really picks up in this one -- these stories are Wodehouse on the surface, Gothic underneath.

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September 2nd, 2016

09:02 pm: Ulthar L. Carter, 1999-2016
I think we have the only cats in Toronto who actually like the CNE air show. Every year when they hear the fighter jets, they go sit in the window and watch, fascinated by the big flying things. They don't seem to be frightened by the noise. Andrew tells me Carter spent his last afternoon in this way, and then dozed in the sun by the window for a couple of hours. He perked up enough to stare at Nana, who swatted him, but he took it well, under the circumstances. We took him to the clinic at six o'clock. It was very quick.

Nana likes us, but hasn't quite warmed up to Narly yet. He's curious, and tries to approach, but whenever he does she growls at a remarkable volume for such a tiny creature, and being gentler than the late Carter, he backs off. I hope she accepts him soon. Right now she's sitting next to me on the arm of the chair, which I've slip-covered against scratching.


August 31st, 2016

06:46 pm: Carter's final appointment isn't until Friday, and kitten-quest was successful earlier than expected -- we're going to pick her up tonight if all goes well. So I expect the rest of this week to be an emotional cat-juggling roller coaster.

ETA -- New kitten is settling in well already. She is smol and black with a white streak on her chest, and someone previously named her Banana, which we have modified to B. Nana, with the B standing for "Belit, Queen of the Black Coast."

The fosterers told us she was picked up when someone called the Toronto Cat Rescue hotline to let them know there had been kittens living in his backyard for several days, with no sign of a mother, and that when TCR came to pick them up, they kept finding more and more, about thirteen in all. It wasn't until I got into bed last night that I thought "What if they busted a coven meeting?"

Anyway, Nana has a tiny squeaky meow that sounds like the stuck wheel on a shopping cart and was jumping into our laps for cuddles within an hour of our bringing her home. She's taking a little longer to warm up to Narly, but I think it'll be all right. She and Carter seem to ignore each other, even when he's awake. I think they're on different tracks at this point.

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August 29th, 2016

04:46 pm: It lies in wait after Sunday night
Andrew bought a recliner on Kijiji last night. The chair is only about $60. Transporting it from Brampton is going to cost at least $200 in cab fair. Still reasonable for a recliner I guess.

Carter, our 17.5-year-old cat, is at this point made of bones and fur, and the latest test results from the vet suggest he has some form of cancer. We've agreed it's time to euthanize him. We'd been expecting this for so long I'd thought it would feel like more of a relief, but it doesn't just now.

Andrew managed to do something stupid on the internet last night and insult one of his friends. I feel partly to blame for not having reacted the moment he mentioned posting a picture of Max Von Sydow in space-yellowface as Ming the Merciless, to a thread about George Takei in Alliance, but for some reason I didn't fully register what he was saying until it was far too late. He's apologized, but I'm trying to arrange for him to apologize properly by PM.

It has been the Mondayest of Mondays.

ETA -- Chairquest achieved! It is in fact a very nice chair -- it looks like a wingback, but it unfolds into a recliner.

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August 28th, 2016

08:39 am: Dream Report
I'm not sure where my subconscious was last night, but one of my dreams was a Dr. Who Christmas special in which P.M. Justin Trudeau (a) guest-starred as himself, and (b) made out with Ralph Fiennes. Under a bed. With about six other people. In the 1920s.

I actually spent the rest of the dream telling people about this, so even in my sleep it must have struck me as unusual.

What the hell?


August 27th, 2016

02:15 pm: After watching the trailer for Arrival last week, I went and read the source work, Ted Chiang's 'Story of Your Life.' I've been wondering ever if they'll be able to translate such a intimate, quietly tragic story into a feature-length movie as-is. I think, from hints in the trailer, they may have constructed a third act, perhaps one in which the heroine has to make a Terrible Choice -- which would at least be a choice.

I don't know if it's possible to say any of this without spoilers. sovay, have you read the short story? It strikes me as your sort of thing, given that it's about learning another language and as a result being forced to confront the idea of immutable fate.

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