Cats and Entropy

Today one of our kittens was climbing on the fridge and misjudged the distance she had to place her feet. A moment later I saw her hanging from the fridge door and I saved her with great haste. She was somewhat startled but otherwise ok. Our cats are strange little creatures, I love them both and every little annoyance they bestow upon me is met with lots of belly rubs [which does little to dissuade them from repeating the acts]. Of the various pets you could have in your home there is something very interesting, even peculiar, about cats. They seem absolutely determined to put all objects at their lowest energy state.

If you leave things up on a table they’ll push it off onto the floor. Once the items are on the floor they’ll begin pushing them around and disorganizing them. It is as if cats are addicted to entropy. They’ll unravel your clothing with precision tugs of their claws and unwind the fabric of your couch. They’ll sit on the keys of your keyboard completely obliterating any message you had carefully constructed. Their butts magically pushing the perfect button combination to wipe the system32 folder from your drive. Cats will even run in front of you as you approach stairs to help place your bones in disorder. Cats spend most of the time they aren’t sleeping undoing everything that has been done.

I don’t know why, I’m not sure what fascinates them so much about watching things fall. Then again I love watching things fall as well. Maybe cats are all little newtons that are lifelong experimenters? They keep dropping objects of different sizes to test the hypothesis that all things fall at the same rate. It wouldn’t surprise me to find out that cats are these nefarious geniuses, given that they have me cleaning up their poop.

While it is all but certain that cats are not an alien species that has taken to domesticating humans, I still can’t help but wonder it some times. When they look at me with those big round eyes, those precious little faces, and then proceed to push my 3DS off the table.

By | 2014-02-18T22:05:00+00:00 February 18th, 2014|Journal|Comments Off on Cats and Entropy

The Six Degrees of Separation ~ Part 2 (aka why you do (or do not) have any friends).

  One of my cats is laying beside my monitor, staring at me. Naturally I anthropomorphize the moment and imagine that she is judging me. Perhaps I don’t feed her enough, or pet her enough, or play with her enough. She has, like so many cats do, that angry resting face that I can’t help but interpret as meant for me.

  This is a natural part of being human. We are loss aversive and attach a negative connotation to all events that are impacting us unless we are certain that there is a better more neutral explanation. If you’ve ever been cut off on the road you’ve likely experienced this. Time for segue magic: if you are one of those people who lacks friends currently you are likely doing this when you think about it.

  The size and quality of your social circle is not as much tied to who you are as a person as you might think. That isn’t to say that some people aren’t just assholes. I was one for much of my life for one reason or another. But even the most charismatic black person would be in for hard times in the US during the 1700s…or 1800s…or a nice chunk of the 1900s. Similarly Jews in the late 30’s were likely not doing too well for social circles in Germany. There are dozens (hundreds?) of quick examples but I think the point is made. Your social circle is determined strongly by two major factors: who you are and where you are. The latter likely being way more important than you might think.

  Most of your friends will be people who geographically live very close to you. The person you marry (or get into a long term relationship with) will very likely be someone that was born or raised very close to where you were. This isn’t always the case but more often than not it will be. The further you move away from your center of life the weaker your ties with people become, think of your social life a bit like a blast radius.

  If you end up born into or moving into an area with pre-established social paradigms you are going to potentially find yourself entering into someone else’s friend circle. Think of this circle more like a branch. Basically it goes you, this primary friend connection, and then all the people they know. This is what happened to me as a kid, it happened to another kid who moved in many years later, and I’ve seen it happen to many people.

  It’s not a negative thing but it does bring with it some especially interesting baggage. Because if for some reason you lose contact with that connector you are likely to lose contact with all the nodes that they connected you to. Maybe not all that’s a bit strong, but the majority that were more friendships of convenience will pitter away over time. If you find yourself sitting somewhere now thinking about how many people you’ve known but how few people you know this back story likely sounds very familiar to you.

  Some people will be less impacted by this connector problem than others. Like nature/nurture, your personality decides how well you will capitalize on available connections and where you are both spatially and temporally will decide how many available connections you will be given and the network that connects them.

  This isn’t to justify your life or mine, but more a matter of explaining why you may be where you are now. Much like other facets of your life this has a large amount of luck based around it. You might be capable of burning bright but there is nothing saying you will be given fuel.

  The previous thought was inspired by Malcom Gladwell’s Tipping Point.

By | 2014-01-07T21:45:03+00:00 January 7th, 2014|Journal|Comments Off on The Six Degrees of Separation ~ Part 2 (aka why you do (or do not) have any friends).

The Holidays

  Naturally my major gift today is being lazy. I actually did end up working some today as I didn’t want to leave someone screwed. But I didn’t mind, I enjoy what I do and that makes it acceptable. As for my haul for gifts that will be two fold, first the gifts from my in-laws come today (shown below) and Saturday will be the gifts from my parents (which are equally awesome).


So many things!

  And though my wife would kill me if I posted any pictures of her, I’ll post a few of our cats instead. The first naturally comes in a moment of great pain for me today.

Moose brings the pain.

  Oh the agony!

Is tasty!

  Those are of Artemis (Moose) and then we have a few of Venus, the gentler of my two babies.

I like this paper bed. Thanks.

Her natural laying position.

  You can often find her sprawled out around the house. Good times. Anywho that’s it for me! I’m off to rest and try not be up too late! We’ll see how that pans out…

By | 2013-12-25T22:00:49+00:00 December 25th, 2013|Journal|Comments Off on The Holidays

Moose and the Darkness walk into a room…

  I wanted to write about something a little more lighthearted than I sometimes do here. This is something that I’m sure the internet needs more of, namely cats. What’s that? You’ve seen cats on the internet before? You must be a veteran.

Moose! (Artemis)

  This is Artemis, our little monster. She has over time collected a series of nicknames. For a while we would say her name by stretching out the syllables which became “Ar-tea-moose!” Then over time the general stupification that comes along with having a cat left us just shouting “Moose!” like we had had a few too many to drink.

Sleepy Moose is Sleepy.

  You’d think by all these pictures of her napping like an angel that she was, in fact, and angel. But oh no, you would be very wrong. She is most certainly an adorable little monster. She figured out that the quickest way to wake up her father when he’s sleeping on his back is to leap up onto the bed and falcon kick him in the balls.

  This along with my general love of tummy sleeping is what leads me to never feel safe when I’m on my back. The monster is lurking and she will strike when you least expect it. Moose is a very audible cat, singing to nothing in particular, arguing with her reflection in our sliding glass doors, or just chirping like a crazed bird whenever she wants to play and even while she is playing.
  Moose the Third!

  Naturally Artemis is a little huntress. She loves to murderize all sorts of things like toys or…you know, her fathers socked feet. Sometimes I’ll come home and slip my shoes off just to have her bury all 10 of her front claws deep into my feet, kneading them with great delight as her tail goes full peacock.

  Another of her nicknames is Marshmallow, for the simple reason that when she hides all her legs under her body she looks a bit like a slightly burned marshmallow. I don’t actually have any pictures of that on hand, after a quick glance the vast majority of pictures I have are of her sleeping on or around me.

  She is not our only cat, most certainly, there is another that follows me like a shadow.


  This is Venus, our little slice of darkness. Occasionally I call her as much “Come here Darkness” I’ll say, which surprisingly she’ll listen to quite often. Then again sometimes we merely need to lock eyes, or I can stretch, or the chair can squeak, or I can yawn.

  Honestly she doesn’t need much reason to come rub up on me or to figure 8 around my legs. I can’t count the amount of times I’ve nearly fallen down the stairs because she bolts out to rub my legs and forms a wall just at tripping height for me.

  Love or cold calculated attempts on my life, I am not entirely sure sometimes.
  She's coming...

  What’s that Artemis? Do you see something in the Darkness?

  Oh sweet mother of god where did she come from! [The cardboard is to protect my PC cords from these two. They >love< munching on electronics. Kind of a problem.]

  That’s a situation that happens all too often. She’s utterly silent most of the time, letting out little chirps or squeaks of excitement when she sees we are up for giving tummy rubs or even just a little bit of cuddle time. Otherwise she lurks, hiding in any crevice of darkness available.

  Sometimes you’ll look out into pitch black and see an even darker spot, in that spot two little golden orbs will begin to glow and that is when you realize…you are being watched.


  Other times she’s not as stealthy. Taking the more blunt approach to wanting to hang out. These are some of my favorite times. Games are fun, movies are neat, and music is nice. But there is never a time when I wouldn’t rather be giving Venus a good cuddling. She’s my little sweetheart.

  Occasionally when I’m rubbing her belly she’ll get really excited and start to bunny kick and give me a nice chomp. If I flinch in any way she’ll immediately stop and start licking the spot she hurt. It’s cute and I appreciate her concern.

  Artemis by contrast will go in for blood and flaunt her success after the fact.

  Venus has a few nicknames naturally, just like Artemis, I call her Darkness, Shadow, Black Bean, Venusaur (oh so clever), and occasionally I call her Scoots.

  Our little hole in the floor has an unfortunate condition that makes her very susceptible to stresses. She’s not dissimilar from me in that respect but she has to content with very long fur. So if her digestion goes wild and we aren’t there to help her clean up, our floor suffers the consequences. It’s very very rare and the orange pet cleaner stuff seems to take care of it in a jiffy.

  I knew this when we adopted her and I’m glad she got a home with humans that understand. She’s so painfully sweet that I couldn’t imagine her being with someone mean.

  Both of our cats despise any kind of combing. Helping groom them is about as easy as shaving a grizzly bear. They will try to eat whatever comb you are using and will kick and punch the crap out of you until you stop. The tantrums are adorable.     

  Venus sheds a bit like a Husky, large patches of fur leave at one time. They’ve both been to the vet and have clean bills of health but I must admit long haired cats are incredible shedding machines. If we could figure out a way to convert cat hair into gasoline I suspect we’d be set for life.

  I’ll leave you with a couple more sleeping pictures of our kids. Venus in her default “Here’s ma tummy” stance and Artemis in her “I love my tail more than anything.” stance.


  She is such a long kitty cat. She’ll take belly rubs for basically as long as you’ll give them. [The shiny thing is my 3DS Stylus. I was playing Etrian Odyssey 4 and Venus told me it was time for belly rubs.]


  Moose is incredibly attached to her tail. She will groom it for ages on end and it never seems to be perfect enough for her.

  So there you go. That’s my little cat update. Artemis, Moose, Marshmallow, Monster, Venus, Venusaur, Darkness, Black Bean, Scoots, or whatever other random word flies out of our minds while playing with these two, their names might change but their sweet crazy quirkiness maintains.

By | 2013-06-23T23:15:17+00:00 June 22nd, 2013|Journal|Comments Off on Moose and the Darkness walk into a room…