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Neko Atsume Live: Achievement Unlocked


I petted Scrawny last night. I won’t say she was happy about it, but consent was sought and received, without bloodshed.

She wasn’t up for it this morning, though. The fact that her response was silently scooting away from me on the bench rather than hissing or running away can be considered progress.

The lesson to be drawn from this is that in The Glorious Future, we should be careful not to let catgirls go feral.

Porch Cat: Whitefoot


I’m working from home today (one of those “look up from laptop and notice it’s already 3pm” days), with the windows open to catch the breeze, and I noticed Whitefoot walking along the back fence. Guessing correctly that he was headed for my porch, I was waiting with both wet and dry cat food, and despite Scrawny’s mostly-silent disapproval, he held still long enough for me to get a picture.

The surprise was that he isn’t the cat I thought he was all this time. The one who hung around on the porch two years ago had a white soul patch and only two white feet. Now that I’ve seen Whitefoot in good light, there’s very little similarity.

Scrawny, by the way, has moved onto the padded bench right by the door, which is a small show of trust. It puts her within arm’s reach when I come outside, and she doesn’t retreat nearly as far.

Porch Cats: Scrawny, Tubbs, Smoky


I’m up to five regular visitors, and the most common ones are getting comfortable enough that they don’t vanish over the fence when I open the front door. Instead, they wait to see if I’ve got a bag of food in my hand, which has allowed me to get a few pictures with a real camera.

Scrawny

Queen Of The Chairs, she’s out there almost every day now, and has become bold enough that she’ll let me get within three feet as she waits for the food and water dishes to be filled. She doesn’t like me, and will hiss if my hand gets within about a foot, but she’s the boldest of the lot.

Tubbs

Like his Neko Atsume namesake, he’ll eat everything that I leave out if nobody beats him to it, and I often see him making the rounds from porch to porch. Fortunately, he seems to have a lot of places to visit, so most days the other cats get food.

Smoky

I’m stunned that he refrained from fleeing long enough for me to get even one in-focus picture.

Whitefoot

Terribly shy, and mostly comes around after dark, so I’ve just got night-vision footage from the Arlo Pro cameras. Part of that same litter I found two years ago, and the first to spend a few days lounging on the chairs. That’s still the only decent picture I have. Update: finally got a good picture, and it’s not the same cat.

Caramel

Scrawny claimed his chair during the day, so he mostly comes by at night now, when nobody else is around. The others all seem to get along if nobody challenges Scrawny for the chairs, and I’ve got lots of late-night footage of them just hanging out together on the porch. Still no good pictures of him, just the one where he was hiding in the bamboo.

What’s missing in all of these pictures is any hint that they’re housed anywhere. They’re healthy, but they don’t have any tags or collars, and after the rains ended, Tubbs was pathetically grateful for the self-refilling water dish I put out. And they’re not socialized; Scrawny is the least skittish, but reacts violently to any attempt at contact. In his kittenish days, Whitefoot sat on the chair and purred, but now vanishes in a heartbeat if I start to open the door.

Neko Atsume Live


Ever since I first got the back yard landscaped with lots of plants and ground cover, it’s been a popular daytime hangout for the neighborhood cats. After I had the front porch extended and put some chairs out there, I discovered a group of young cats who liked that even better than the back yard.

Some of them still come by occasionally, and I’ve gotten used to the sound of disappearing cats when I open the front door.

Recently I decided to install some cameras outside the house, mostly to watch for package deliveries and solicitors, but also to keep track of porch cats. I went with the Arlo Pro kit based on a friend’s recommendation (actually, he has the older Arlo; I went with the Pro because it adds local USB storage). Good hardware, easy set up, usually-quick notification of events (~5 seconds), iOS app is a little flaky and sometimes falsely claims that my system is offline. I like it enough that I’m probably going to add some more of the first-gen cameras for the garage and rear entrances after I’ve had it for a month or two.

To reliably detect cats, I had to set the porch cam to the highest sensitivity, which unfortunately generates occasional false positives due to wind hitting my bamboo, but I’ve caught two of them so far, one of whom I hadn’t seen before.

Orange cat has been a regular daytime visitor since he was half-grown, and always sits in the left chair, which gets plenty of sun. He used to sit in the bamboo pots, but gave that up after I added them to the drip system:

New cat comes mostly at night, always sits on the right chair, and vanishes instantly when I open the door. I’ve got some low-res night-vision shots of him, but the best picture I’ve managed so far was a quick out-of-focus snap through two panes of glass as he was making his escape through the back yard.

Clearly I need to hide a camera in the bamboo, so I can get close-up shots with better focus.

“Wind, blow!”


Soon after I bought my house in Salinas, I had a large, heavy potted plant go flying, because it was near a window, and it can get kind of windy down here. Since all that wind also gives it the cleanest air in California, I generally don’t mind.

Last night and this morning were something that hasn’t happened in the 16 years I’ve lived here. Gusts up to 60 MPH, taking down trees all over the county (including a large one at the end of my street, which admittedly was only planted a few months ago), and since today was trash day in my neighborhood, sending garbage and recyclables everywhere.

Waze estimated at least a 100-minute delay on every feasible route to my office, and when in the afternoon it thought things had cleared up on a back road, it turned out no one had told them about the latest downed tree.

No flooding in my area, at least, but I did lose an 8-foot section of wooden fence that apparently vibrated apart, and my patio umbrella will be the star item in the next visit by Junk King. Its 30-pound base was dragged ten feet before it reached the gravel and fell over, snapping the supports.

Some assembly required, French Ikea edition


When my family was visiting back around Christmas, I whined a bit about the previous year’s gift of a full set of large, heavy dishes to replace the lightweight, indestructible Corelle Ware that I was quite fond of. Not just because I didn’t need more dishes, but because I was already low on storage, and my brother had finally sent me my grandfather’s full set of monogrammed bar glassware. I said “what I really need is a good sideboard”, and twenty minutes later Mom called me over to show off several options she’d found on Wayfair.

The Parisot Ethan 6-footer was the one that fit best into the style and color of the rest of my kitchen, and they said it would be in stock on January 9th. So I figured that a few weeks into the new year, I’d have a place for my stuff.

Then the in-stock date got pushed back a few weeks. Then a few more. Then a few more. Finally, at 11:40am on April 1st, I received an in-stock email from Wayfair. At 7pm, I noticed the notice, placed the order, and was told it would ship on the 5th and arrive on the 12th. On the 5th, the ship date was revised to 5/16. On 5/17, the ship date was revised to 5/31. Mind you, I was billed on 4/1.

On the morning of 6/6, FedEx rang the bell and dropped off two large boxes containing a flat-packed sideboard and a small assembly pamphlet. (fortunately, Wayfair had a PDF of the assembly doc online, so the extent of the work required was not a surprise)

The “open first” box contained the instructions and a bag of parts. After carefully sorting and counting, I confirmed that they’d gotten it right:

Parisot Ethan sideboard assembly

(not pictured: drawer sliders, glue, and actual furniture components)

I did have to run out for replacement wood glue, though. The bottle I had was really old, and one of the two little tubes they shipped was punctured by a screw. Note to Parisot: next time, put the pointy things and the liquids in different baggies.

They estimate two hours, but I suspect they don’t include unpacking and sorting in that…

[Update: and done! Except for leveling the doors and drawers. And moving the bookshelf full of cookbooks that’s sitting where it needs to go. Etc, etc.]

Treat and Trick 2015


October 31st, the one day a year that Hello!Project costumes are not scary:

H!P Halloween, Mizuki Fukumura

Don’t worry, tomorrow they’ll be back to normal:

H!P Everyday, Chisato Okai

Meanwhile, I’ve got the promise of a cloudless sky for tonight’s candy-grab, so I stopped at Costco and picked up 75 pounds of supplies. I’m kind of bummed that this year’s non-chocolate assortment has replaced a lot of the standard goodies with things like Haribo, Hot Tamales, and Swedish Fish, though; I blame multiculturalism.

On the bright side, I’ll eat less of it. Or just eat from the chocolates, anyway…

[Update: 65 pounds out the door, last batch of little monsters at just after 9pm. A surprisingly traditional assortment this year, including one group of quite lovely young Japanese girls. In Japan, they’d be old enough for bikini DVDs, but since we have no U-12 idol industry, they went with the more American witch and princess looks.]

Halloween monster report


A few Iron Men and Captains America, zombies male and female (including an undead prom queen), a pirate girl who could have been quite sexy if she’d been old enough for her taste in clothing, a lovely princess a few years shy of kissing her first frog, a teen witch who bought her stockings and heels at Fredericks of Hollywood and the rest of her costume at Toys R Us, and the usual assortment of ghosts, vampires, dinosaurs, ninjas, bears, cats, hungry teenagers, etc, many of them barely old enough to lisp out a “thank you”. The youngest were invariably accompanied by rather attractive mothers dressed up as Suburban MILFs.

[young teen girls with black-framed glasses in relatively normal clothing was a big thing this year; they looked to be dressed up as something, but beyond “cute nerd girl”, I couldn’t guess]

Since the neighbors at the end of the street started putting on a haunted house a few years ago, I’ve bumped up my candy supply. I give out large handfuls, so I figured 40 pounds wasn’t going to cut it this year, and bought 11 five-plus-pound bags at Costco. I had maybe a bag and a half left at 8:30. If they’d kept coming for another half-hour, I’d have been out.