Sunday, June 14, 2015

Winter Cheer–Cats, Books & Music

Talya – the blue princess

It has been a while since I last posted about the cats and their political stance. Lucky for them they are unaware of the truly awful Government ruling Australia at present and the general state of the world. No doubt, if they knew, they would think it only their due, that cats are the most popular topic on the Internet.

In their cat world all they care about is keeping warm, filling their bellies and maintaining their cool in the presence of other cats.  This of course involves the services of their human slaves as providers of food and warming pads.

Since winter has drawn in, Willy has taken to spending more time inside and has insisted on using my lap as his resting place. He’s a real burden, a heavy, though warm encumbrance, that certainly limits a person’s movements.  If you have cats, you’ll know how they suck you in. You put up with incredible inconvenience so as not to hurt their feelings and even apologise if you have to inconvenience them.

Willy is a smart cat and has us trained to lift him off the fence when he can’t be bothered getting down by himself. He sits on the pergola outside the kitchen door and miaows. When we answer the “distress” call we have to walk out into the back yard and wait by the fence, while he clambers over the roof, onto the shed roof, then onto the water tank, then the fence, whereupon he stands in a handy lifting down position, so we can get purchase under his belly and remove him from the fence.

 willy_june 2
Willy, looking for a lap to sit on.

I had the bright idea of buying him a cat bed as a substitute for my lap and found one that is self warming.  It has a space blanket layer that interacts with the cat’s body heat to create a snug nest, retaining the cat’s heat and warming the bed.  B thought I was mad to get it and doubted if the cats would take to it.

It arrived the other day and has been tried out by both cats, but Talya has now commandeered it for daytime use on the front verandah, and alas Willy still prefers my knee.

talya-cat bed
Talya in the self warming cat bed

The political situation between the cats is much the same; they still don’t like each other much, but don’t fight. They engage in stand offs where one cat will sit in the doorway to impede the exit or entry of the other cat. “Ooh, I don’t want to walk too close, he/she might jump me” you see them think.

Cat stand off – Talya is blocking Willy’s access to the door outside.

Monty the cat next door is always in our back garden, but the resident cats avoid him if possible. He’s super friendly, so it’s hard to shoo him away.

Monty – he doesn’t look too friendly here, but it’s an interesting pose.

My last post was about the problem with posting from Windows Live Writer to Blogger. This had something to do with Google+ security settings, which had not been taken into account by Microsoft. There was an outpouring of protest on both the Blogger forum and the Microsoft Live forum to such an extent that Microsoft and Google cooperated in working out a fix.

Let’s hope Microsoft will continue to support Live Writer as it’s the best blogging software there is. Creating posts in Blogger is a real pain it’s so clunky and user unfriendly.

all-the-light-we-cannot-see-9781476746586_hrAs usual I’ve been reading a lot of books, and lately have read some really excellent novels, one of them being All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr which recently won the Pulitzer Prize.  It’s an outstanding novel set in the second world war, about a German whiz kid boy Werner, and Marie Laure, a blind French girl. the narration alternating between the two as they grow up in those turbulent times and inexorably meet.  Everything written about this novel is true. Highly recommended!

A-God-in-RuinsI also really enjoyed Kate Atkinson’s latest novel A God In Ruins, a companion piece to her previous novel Life After Life.  It follows the life of Ursula Todd’s beloved younger brother Teddy as he grows up to become a bomber pilot in the second world war, and his life after the war.  Ursula Todd was the heroine of Life After Life and makes several appearances in A God In Ruins.  I also highly recommend this book. It’s moving and very funny at times.

sevenevesI’m currently reading Neal Stephenson’s Seveneves, his latest, which happens to be a disaster novel. In the first paragraph Earth’s moon explodes and sets the scene for what happens next. I’m barely a quarter of the way through the 800+ pages, but am gripped in the drama of setting up an ark of human heritage in space as the total destruction of  planet Earth draws closer.

I ordered my copy of the book from Barnes & Noble and it’s signed by Neal Stephenson, which is a big thrill as I doubt he’ll ever come to Australia.

sistersConcurrently on my Kindle, when commuting,
I’m reading a collection of short stories called Sisters of the Revolution. I supported a Kickstarter for this collection of speculative feminist fiction by women writers, and received both a physical and digital copy of it.

The stories are all interesting and diverse in subject matter.

The edition has a forward by my friends Jeff and Ann VanderMeer. Jeff won this year’s Nebula Award for his novel Annihilation, the first book in his Southern Reach trilogy. They are very strange novels, dark surrealist fiction. Annihilation is possibly going to be made into a film by Alex Garland (Ex Machina & Never Let Me Go). I have read the trilogy, but must admit found them a bit of a chore.  I’m so over weird fiction, hated all the characters and couldn’t care less what happened to them. I agree with David Mitchell, that characters have to be likeable to sustain the readers interest and sympathy – mine anyway.

On the music scene. I'm looking forward to seeing Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell at the Palais Theatre, St Kilda in a week or so. I ordered their new CD The Travelling Kind from Nonesuch Records, mainly because they were offering a limited edition autographed print with the CD. Another thing to be thrilled about – Emmylou and Rodney autographs, something unattainable in person for me.

travellin kind

Five days after the Emmylou & Rodney concert I’m going to see The Milk Carton Kids at the Athenaeum Theatre. I was really impressed with them when they toured here a couple of years ago, so look forward to their show. And in July my favourite singer-songwriter Ryan Adams is performing two shows at the Forum Theatre.

So despite winter’s chill, there are several reasons to be cheerful.

1 comment:

Ann ODyne said...

oh you sucker and we are all the same. that roof thing. yep. gorgeous photos though.
envious of your managing to see Country Royalty live, and Nonesuch always a good label.
wishing you all warmth