Then and now. Me at the end of the decade.

So I saw something making the rounds on Twitter the other day where in honor of making it through yet another decade of life, folks are asking others to share pics of themselves from the start of this decade and now. I thought to myself, “Self, this would make an excellent blog post. We should do this.” And so that is what I am doing now.

Then, in my usual tendency to overthink things like this, I wondered if I should try to find more than two pics (the original meme only stipulated two) and if I should try to get them from around the same time of year or throughout the year or whatever. I’ve decided to go with the tried and true method of just winging it.

So, in the spirit of the original thingy, here’s two pics of me. One from July 2010 and one from November 12th. I went with July because I don’t have a lot of good pics of me from 2010.

Clearly the two biggest changes are the amount of grey in my beard and the number of wrinkles on my face. I was fat back then and I’m still fat now. One other big change is the first pic was taken in our townhouse apartment in Ann Arbor where we were living at the time and the other in the basement of my home in Westland. I honestly didn’t think I’d ever manage to purchase a house, but was finally able to stumble my way through the process just before I hit 50.

We lost Melvin in September 2012 and Cuddles graduated to Official SEB Cat with Jasper as the Emergency Backup Cat in the event that Cuddles was unable to fulfill the duties of the position. Today, at 9 and 8 years old, they are quite regal in stature and are doing well.

I don’t know that I’m any wiser than I was 10 years ago, but I’m definitely older and it shows. You can definitely tell that camera technology, particularly in cell phones, has increased significantly in the past decade. The portrait mode effect alone is an impressive development.

Not really sure how to wrap this up. I don’t have any great insights to offer other than “Hey, I’m still on the right side of the grass.” So I’ll wrap up with one last selfie that I took just this morning because I thought the early morning light in the car looked pretty nifty.

That trailer for the “Cats” movie is… unnerving.

What unholy hellspawn gave birth to this abomination?

Seriously, who the hell saw the final result from the CGI tests and said, “This! This is what we want! Something that looks like a mad scientist’s fever dream of human/cat hybrids gone horribly wrong.”

To be fair, I’m not a fan of the Broadway musical of the same name. I’m familiar with the songs because people I know and love really like the musical and own the soundtracks and have played them many times over the years in my presence, but all I’ve seen of the stage play is the clips they use in the advertisements when it’s in town. I thought the play’s costumes were a little funky, but they worked.

This? This lands solidly in the uncanny valley which is weird because those are real humans prancing about that look like someone forcibly inserted an animatronic tail in their assholes while injecting them with the world’s worst hair growth formula. They look vaguely cat-ish with realistic ears, but they have human eyes and teeth. And I thought the CGI hedgehog in the upcoming Sonic movie looked disturbing. This takes it to a whole other level. The oddest part is that they somehow seem even more naked than if they were actually naked.

I suppose if you’re a fan of the Broadway show this will do nothing to dissuade you from seeing the movie, but at the same time this does nothing to lure non-fans into the theater.

What has been seen cannot be unseen so my only relief was to share my pain.

My encounter with a Ghost Cat.

The other night as I was headed upstairs to go to bed in the dark I happened to glance out the kitchen window where I saw a fluffy grey cat sitting bolt upright in the corner of my garage door staring back at me through the window. I was so surprised to see a cat just sitting there that I stopped and stared at it. We spent a few moments staring at each other as I was trying to determine if the cat was looking for help because it was below freezing outside and it seemed to be trying to shelter from the wind. I finally decided to go out there and see if it was in distress.

As I stepped out the side door of the house, the very next thought that popped into my head was: “And that’s how he was murdered by a ghost cat. All his wife found the next day was his slippers in front of the garage door and he was never seen again.” Which is, of course, nonsense, but I’ve seen enough horror movies in my time for my brain to jump right to that scenario. So it was a little startling when I rounded the corner of the house and there was no sign of a cat. At all.

I took a couple steps to look down the side of the garage and out of the corner of my eye I saw a cat shaped blur run down the neighbor’s driveway. So, he/she was fine. When I got back inside, Cuddles came out from behind the blinds of the doorwall. Turns out they had been having a cat-off and I interrupted them. My bad.

Cat videos are always popular, right?

I’m not really counting this as a second vlog as it was originally just me testing out my new mic arm — yes I’ve already replaced the mic arm I’m using — as well as verifying that I’ve figured out how to get Windows 10’s camera app to ignore my webcam mic in favor of the Blue Yeti mic, but then cats happened. There’s really nothing else to this video. It’s just 4 minutes of Cuddles living up to his name.

I’m quite pleased that I’ve been able to get the Blue Yeti to work with the Windows camera app as this allows me to capture video at full 1080p at 30 frames per second directly to my PC instead of having to live stream through Google Hangouts. This also means that should I ever find video editing software that I can figure out and that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg that I could edit them before publishing.

It may take me a bit, but I’ll figure this shit out sooner or later.

Your cute cat pics for the day.

According to Google photos, Cuddles came to live with us around this day six years ago. Here’s a few pics from back then:

And here’s a couple from a few weeks ago:

He’s grown into quite the handsome cat and he still likes to curl up in my arms despite being considerably more than a handful these days. He’s my buddy and when I’m home he’s rarely far from my side and he’s always ready to play.

And, no, I have no idea why I look so stoned in a couple of these photos.

WTF: The “Licki Brush” for grooming your cats.

Apparently there’s a group of folks out there in the world who aren’t happy with using traditional pet grooming brushes on their cats. They want something more akin to what a mother cat would use. So someone has invented a tongue-brush you hold in your mouth so you can lick your cat.

No, I'm not fucking kidding.

No, I’m not fucking kidding.

I’m not sure I see the point in this. It doesn’t seem to me that a cat would get more out of this experience than they would from a traditional brush or even just your bare hand. If anything they’d probably be annoyed because now you’re breathing all over them through your nose, which most cats don’t really appreciate. It looks awkward as hell to use and I was pretty sure this had to be a joke, but their website claims they’ll be launching a Kickstarter to raise funding for it soon.

I can’t imagine this will be a big seller, but at least they can take comfort in knowing that they have at least one potential customer out there:

Yeesh. I love my cats, but I have my limits.

Cuddles finds the Christmas bows.

Our orange tabby cat, Cuddles, is very playful and surprisingly smart. He knows where we keep all his favorite toys and he’ll often seek them out to bring to us when he wants to play. One of his all-time favorite things to play with are the bows that go on gifts. Anne did some tidying up of the computer room yesterday and made the mistake of letting cuddles see where she put a few stray bows and ribbon.

This is the result:

Cuddles love of gift bows is so deep that we often find a ton of them under the couch when we move it to clean. In fact, when the movers picked up the couch to carry it out to the truck back when we moved at the end of May we found a ton of bows that Cuddles had shoved under it. Not only that, but there was a tear in the in fabric cover under the couch that had collected quite a few of the bows so as the guys carried the couch out the door and to the truck they left a trail of Christmas bows behind them like some weird variation on Hansel and Gretel. It was still dropping bows as they carried it into the new apartment. I don’t know if we managed to get all of them out of it.

We all need a little motivational pep talk now and then.

catmotivationalspeech

Cats can be stubborn.

balletcat

Jasper doesn’t appreciate your sniffles.

Our emergency backup cat, Jasper, gets really upset whenever someone sneezes in his presence. Normally he’s not very vocal, but he’ll bitch up a storm if you sneeze and he’ll grumble if you sniffle. I’ve been trying to catch this on video for some time now and I’ve finally got a little footage of it, though he’s much more subdued than usual in this clip.

He’s hard to hear in this, but you can see he’s vocalizing and getting annoyed with my sniffles. At the end he’s figured out that I’m faking my sneezes to get him to react.

There have been occasions where I’ve been in the basement and sneezed and he’s run down the stairs from the main floor just to bitch at me about sneezing. He also tends to get upset when I get frustrated with a video game and let a cuss word fly. It’s hard to catch it on video because by the time I realize I’m about to sneeze I’ve already done so and the moment has passed. I’ll try to get a better clip in the future.