This archive contains entries concerning my beloved cat Tigger, who, incidentally, somehow seems to have his own website...
One week till the movers come! We’ve got a lot more done now, thanks to the help of Aven’s parents, whose summer home is relatively nearby in Nova Scotia, and our old friend Emily, who came for a visit on the way to a wedding. Pretty much everything is done now, except for some last minute odds and ends. Our helpers were particularly instrumental in packing up the kitchen, which is a very fiddly and time-consuming job. We’re certainly a lot further on now than I thought we would be. Somehow packing up this time seems much easier than last year. Anyway, here’s another picture of Tigger ‘helping’ us pack:
We’re making much better progress on the packing than I thought we would be by now. The books and office are all done now, the pictures and decorations are done, and we’ve made a good start on the clothes. The biggest job remaining is the kitchen.
There’s nothing like packing up your belongings to demonstrate how much stuff you have. As it turns out, we have a lot of books. We figure the books represent the largest part of the weight of our stuff (which is what counts in terms of moving expense). These sixteen boxes represent just some of our books:
Fortunately, as you can seen in this picture (and this one), Tigger has been ‘helping’ us pack:
Tigger was briefly hobbled recently, due to blisters on his feet. The vet said it was probably the result of his FIV. This would be the first actual symptom of the disease he shown. He’s been put on anti-biotics and an anti-inflammitory drug, which seem to have had a very quick (blisteringly quick?) beneficial effect on him. Perhaps he was playing it up a bit to get sympathy, knowing how pathetic he looked limping around everywhere. He certainly did have us waiting on him hand and foot for a few days there (which we kind of do anyway I suppose). Anyway, here’s a picture of him back on his feet again (as well as some of him not so much on his feet here, here, here, here, and here):
First of all, there are some new books on my bed-side reading pile. For my birthday, my wife gave me the three follow-up books to Thomas Cahill’s How the Irish Saved Civilization (about which I have yet to write): The Gifts of the Jews, Desire of the Everlasting Hills, and Sailing the Wine-Dark Sea. She also gave me Alton Brown’s Gear for Your Kitchen as a Father’s Day present. So I have a lot of reading to do!
Next up, Jeffrey Miller’s Murder’s Out of Tune, one in a series of mystery books about a crime-solving cat named Amicus Curiae (‘Friend of the Court’). Having the narrative centred around the cat was in interesting technique, though it seemed a bit precious at times. I’m not sure if Tigger was inspired to go around solving crimes with me either. The novel is set in Toronto, and while I at first found it fun to catch all the Toronto references, I think Miller overdid it a bit — he seemed to revel in the local detail. The plot revolved around the murder of a member of a jazz quartet obviously based on the Dave Brubeck Quartet. The fictional quartet was led by the piano player who received all the fame in spite of the fact that the alto sax player wrote their most famous number, a relationship clearly modelled on Dave Brubeck and Paul Desmond. I found the writing style a little distracting at times, a little too self-conscious. So all in all, I don’t know if this book is for everyone. If you like cats, if you live or have lived in Toronto (especially if you know the Toronto legal buildings), or if you’re a jazz fan, you might get a kick out of this book, but otherwise I don’t think it will change your life.
The next couple of books on the list, Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway and M.A.C. Farrant’s Altered Statements, were for one of the classes I was teaching this past term. I hadn’t actually read Mrs Dalloway before; as an undergrad I read To the Lighthouse and some of the Virginia Woolf selections in the Norton Anthology. And I had never heard of M.A.C. Farrant before. Though I didn’t find Mrs Dalloway personally resonant, it’s an excellent book for exemplifying early 20th century prose fiction style and stream of consciousness writing, and I certainly intend to continue to use it in survey classes. As for Farrant, she is a British Columbia-based post modernist writer. Altered Statements is a collection of short narrative pieces bordering on the surreal, sometimes funny, sometimes shocking. While it was an interesting example of post modernism, again I’m not sure that it resonated with me.
Well, that’s all for now. I’ll write more about my reading later.
The past few weeks have been very busy for a variety of reasons, so I’ve got a bit behind in my blogging. As a result, I have a backlog of entries saved up which I’ll hopefully finish up and post over the next couple of days. Here’s Tigger sitting at my computer checking to see if I had updated my blog yet:
As I mentioned before, the next book on my reading list was No One Noticed the Cat by Anne McCaffrey, pictured above with my cat Tigger. Actually, the only reason I read this book was because my wife, who is a big McCaffrey fan, got it out from the library, and since I’m such a cat fanatic I decided to read it too.
It’s actually more of novella than a novel, and only took me a short amount of time to read. It was reasonably enjoyable and diverting to read, but it did remind me of why I’m not a big fan of such fantasy books. They have no grounding in reality and yet are so clearly patterned after an unreal, romantic notion of a nondescript, mythical past. What turns me off even more is that such books often take themselves far too seriously. And in this case, there wasn’t nearly enough cat in it. I didn’t enjoy this book nearly as much as I did Terry Pratchett’s The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents, which didn’t take itself too seriously and contained an awful lot of cat.
Recently I read The Unadulterated Cat, written by Terry Pratchett and illustrated by Gray Jolliffe. It’s an amusing look at what cats get up to, and it contains perhaps the most astute statement I’ve ever read about them:
What other animal gets fed, not because it’s useful, or guards the house, or sings, but because when it does get fed it looks pleased? And purrs. The purr is very important. It’s the purr that does it every time.
Definitely a book I would recommend to any cat owner.
Although I’ve now read two Terry Pratchett books (the other being The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents), I’m not really a Pratchett fan (as my wife is) — his writing is very good and I thoroughly enjoyed the two I’ve read, but I still have no burning desire to read more. The main reason I’ve read the two I have is because they are about cats, and anyone who knows me can attest to how devoted a cat owner I am. The book I’m reading now is No One Noticed the Cat by Anne McCaffrey, another of my wife’s favourite authors. Again, I don’t imagine I’ll become an Anne McCaffrey fan; I’m just reading it for the cat.
I think my beloved cat Tigger would definitely qualify as a “real unadulterated cat” according to Pratchett’s definition. Sadly, however, after his vet visit on Monday we got the news that Tigger has been adulterated by FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus). Though this doesn’t mean he is in any immediate danger — at the moment he’s perfectly healthy — it does mean that he will have health problems in his future. I don’t think I can express here how distressed I am about this, but I’m sure you can all imagine. Anyway, here’s a picture of Tigger engaging in one of his favourite pursuits — sleeping in a bag:
Yesterday was Tigger’s birthday:
Hmm, perhaps I won’t comment too much on the fact that we celebrate our cat’s birthday — he’s very beloved. He was a little confused (perturbed?) that we put a candle in his food, but once I blew it out, he enjoyed his wet food, which he doesn’t get very often, kitty treats, and catnip toy. If only my own birthdays were so straight forward.
Here is a picture of my cat Tigger:
(Thanks to one of my students for the link.)
As proof that anything can be played on a ukulele, Brook Adams has put online a number of mp3s of himself playing songs ranging from James Bond theme songs to Jimi Hendrix’s Purple Haze, from various Beatle songs to the Spiderman theme, and from Monty Python’s The Galaxy Song to my personal favourite, Henry Mancini’s The Baby Elephant Walk. Definitely worth a listen.
And now for a gratuitous picture of an adorable Tigger:
My cat Tigger needs some sympathy today as he had a rather hard day.
First of all, he came in without his collar having lost it somewhere this morning. Then later in the day, after we put a new collar on him, he came in covered in mud having clearly been in a fight with another cat (you can read about his last such encounter in my wife’s blog here and here). We did an initial check to see if he was hurt, and he seemed okay, just dirty. So we decided to try to wash him off. We’ve never bathed him before, so he’s not used to it, but he was so coverd in mud that we felt we had to do it anyway. Well, needless to say, he was not pleased, but nevertheless he recovered from the ordeal fairly quickly.
It was only later that we noticed he was moving about somewhat tentatively, obviously a little sore from the fight. Upon closer inspection we found a small cut above his front left leg. We’re keeping a close eye on him and won’t let him out again until after the vet has a chance to see him on Monday. As can be seen in the picture above, and these two as well, he’s sleeping it off now. Also, if you look closely in the two pop-up images, you can see his wound. Poor boy! Proh dolor!
Update: You can also read my wife’s acount of Tigger’s day here and see some more pictures of an adorable Tigger convalescing.
Well, I’ve put this off long enough. While it is no secret that music is a great interest of mine (I play a number of instruments and even started a music degree as an undergraduate), it may not be common knowledge that over the past year I have become quite devoted to the ukulele.
I found out that there were two other types of ukes availible at our local music store, and I couldn’t resist. I bought a baritone ukulele, a lower-pitched ukulele made by Hilo, and a guitalele, a six-stringed ukulele made by Yamaha. If only I’d had these when recording the Folk Brigade material!
As it turned out, the guitalele came with a cloth carrying case, but the other two didn’t, and so, rather than buying cases over the internet, I decided to make cases:
The plaid one in the middle is the guitalele case, and the two black ones are the ones that my wife and I sewed out of black denim and grey fleece for the lining. Here you can see a closeup of the inside of one of the cases.
The surprising thing is that I’m not the only Old English scholar with a ukulele connection. Although he doesn’t play the ukulele himself, Roy Liuzza plays in a band called The Rites of Swing that features a ukulele. I haven’t heard any of their music, but I imagine it would be great.
In addition to the Ukulelia weblog linked to on the sidebar, another site I’ve found useful in my exploration of all things uke is the ezFolk Ukulele Section. I’ve even fuelled my uke habit by putting together my own book of ukulele transcriptions. My latest plan is to do some digital recording on my computer of Gershwin songs played on the uke. I don’t know why, but somehow it seems appropriate. Maybe when I do get around to doing this, I’ll put clips up on this blog for you all to hear.
As a side note, the original ukulele I got for my birthday came in an oddly shaped cardboard box, which strangely enough is the exact right size and shape for Tigger:
I’ve taken to calling him my furry ukulele. I’ll never be able to take away these boxes because he’d be so upset with me. Here are a couple more pictures of the furry ukulele to bring up the cuteness quotient of this posting.