Friday, January 16, 2009

Clio blogs! Shhhhh...

Never mind what my shrimpy little sister says, I'm the top cat in this household. I'm in charge of everything, actually. My plot for world domination is all going according to plan. Callie is obsessed with FRESH CHICKEN; and I must admit, FRESH CHICKEN is extremely tasty. More important, however, are my ongoing efforts to bend my people to my will. They are undergoing my Pavlovian training without even knowing it; it is quite easy to fool humans, really. Today the Toy Lady is out to lunch, leaving the computer free. Like any megalomaniacal supervillain bent on world domination and on the cusp of success, I must therefore reveal my plans to the world so that they may admire my genius. The Toy Lady will never find out; besides possessing a heavenly beauty, I am also a master of camouflage, as you can see from this photo.

The goal of Pavlovian training is to induce an automatic response from the training subject, and I am confident I have achieved this goal. The instrument of training is the "toy" known as the Cat Dancer, a simple tool with which I control the Toy Lady's behavior. With just one movement and a simple command phrase, I induce the Toy Lady to pick up the toy and twirl it around like a crazy person. The method is simple: I lie on the floor, emphasizing my natural cuteness, and give a series of coded chirps. The Toy Lady picks up the Cat Dancer and I reward her by chasing it.

By now, she is so well trained that it does not matter what time of day I give her the signal; she will respond. Last night, for instance, I brought the "toy" outside her sleeping quarters and gave the signal. (I'll admit, I might have had to meow very loudly a couple times, but she is lazy and it is very difficult to wake her up at 2 am.) Still, several minutes' effort aroused her from her slothful slumber and brought her to me, where she picked up the "toy" and threw it down the stairs. AhHaHaHaHaHAHAHAHA! She is completely under my control, and soon will put into effect further plans to place the world under my dominion. Do not think I am foolish enough to reveal those plans; I've watched enough James Bond films to know I should keep some secrets.

Just in case you do not believe me, I offer proof that I am the one in total control (and that my sister is an idiot). If the Toy Lady should try to warn the world of my upcoming domination, no one will believe her. I am just an innocent kitty cat...

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Quilt Files, Episode 6

A couple years back, after I'd been quilting for a while, I realized I hadn't actually finished any quilts to be used in my own home. I'd finished a wall hanging or two, and given away a few baby quilts and a queen-sized as a wedding gift (subjects for future episodes), but I hadn't actually completed something for one of our bedrooms. Since I was in the middle of quilting a queen-sized project, and piecing a king-sized for my own bed, the choice was obvious: make a quilt for Boy. (Full-sized bed=obvious choice.)

The choice was probably spurred by an upcoming birthday, because birthdays mean discounts at my favorite fabric store, Viking Sewing Center. I borrowed a pattern from my mom, got color preferences from Boy, and headed over to browse their wonderful selection of Batiks. I found enough variations in three color groups that I could play around with the simple large square/skinny post/small square pattern. Through careful arrangement, I turned it into this:

(Oh no, I've revealed Boy's initial on the internetz! He will never forgive me!) This pattern was easy to piece together, and I stitched in the ditch in one of my first attempts at machine quilting. It didn't take long to finish, and I haven't had to buy a blanket for Boy since. I'm hoping he'll want to take it with him to college (if he's outgrown the anything-to-do-with-Mom-is-babyish stage by then), but if not, I'll enjoy the bright colors and pretty patterns.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

There's no pleasing some people....

It's January and football season is almost over {sob}, so of course I'm going to talk about baseball. I wouldn't call myself a rabid baseball fan, but I enjoy attending games and I usually keep up with what the Tigers are doing. The year of their last championship, 1984, I attended around a dozen games in person, and still remember watching Jack Morris throw a no-hitter on TV. I'm not obsessed with statistics, but I do like looking at numbers and thinking about historical debates. So I consider myself more than a casual fan, and thus just as qualified as any other internet geek to comment on the recent Hall of Fame induction of Rickey Henderson.

Now, as long as I can remember following baseball, I can remember Rickey Henderson. He began playing in 1979 and soon became known for his base-stealing ability. I liked watching him, not only for his amazing speed, but because he always looked like he was having fun out there. He played until he was 44 (he couldn't have needed the money, with over $40 mil in career salary), and even spent part of the 2001 season in the minors, hoping to come back to the Big Leagues. That year, when he was just a year younger than I am now, he played 123 games for the Padres and stole 25 bases.

If you look at his career statistics, they're amazing: #1 all-time in stolen bases (1,406) and runs scored (2,295). Second all-time in walks (2,190), 21st in hits (3,055); he had some power to go along with his speed, too, for his 297 home runs rank in the top 125 all-time. His 81 leadoff homers are baseball's all-time best, too. He was no slouch in the field, winning a Gold Glove, and won the AL MVP in 1990. He was a 10-time All-Star and, of course, holds the single-season records for stolen bases (130).

So it was no surprise that Henderson made it into the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility. He needed 75% of the vote from the Baseball Writers' Association of America, and got 94.8%, or 511 of 539 possible votes. Which made me wonder: what were those other 28 people thinking? Henderson was a bit outspoken (often confusingly so), but there's no taint of scandal surrounding him. If baseball's all-time leader in stolen bases and runs isn't a no-brainer for the Hall of Fame, what is? What else do they need to see?

"I'm sorry, Rickey, but I don't vote on the first date."
"I'm sorry, Rickey, but your teams only went 2-of-3 in the World Series."
"I'm sorry, Rickey, but you didn't prevent the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake."
"I'm sorry, Rickey, but I can't vote for anyone with an unnecessary 'e' in his name."

I guess some folks just can't be satisfied.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Photo of the Week--1/5/09

I'm too lazy to look up exactly where I took this picture along the Antarctic peninsula. I'll let the picture do the talking instead. We had a gorgeous, sunny, summer day, providing us with a beautiful blue backdrop for the pure white of the snow and clouds. It was warmer on that day (at least low 40s) than it is here in Michigan at the same time of year.