Ground Hog Day – 2016

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2016 — -6˚C / +21˚F — Sunny & bright, clear, and colder than yesterday in Atlantic Canada @ 9:11 am — Birthdays today: Close Friend Lisa and Cousin Lyn in Connecticut πŸ™‚ & I think our friend Angie ( nΓ©e Shean ) up here has a birthday too – πŸ™‚ —


I don’t know if this will be readable – but a friend impressed me by doing this on an obsolete computer with an obsolete operating system and an obsolete photo program.

— Draelen Shantivarta ( ‘Somewhere out west’ -) managed to download a screen shot from the game that several of us are still working on, and, using a G5 Mac running OS X 10.4-something which supports OS 9 “Classic”, where he used Photo Deluxe, a program from the early 90’s, to import, trim, and write every line ( one at a time ) then drag and resize the text (one line at a time). & to tell ya the truth, the screen shot looks like icebergs are floating close to shore somewhere.

Bernie and Barbara.

Barbara Walters interviewing Bernie Sanders before anybody had any idea that he could do so well in Iowa

— A lot of people were buzzing this morning about how well Bernie Sanders did in the Iowa Caucus yesterday. He started out polling in single digits and ended up in a virtual tie with Hillary Clinton, who is backed by big money and a powerful political machine.

Caucus Results

Hillary received 49.9% of the Democratic Votes tallied in yesterday’s Iowa Caucuses, Bernie received 49.5%? That should scare a lot of the wrong people. And six of the delegates were awarded by a coin toss?

— Hillary’s supporters were tweeting up a storm yesterday while Bernie had Michael Moore and a handful of activist celebrities ( including Susan Sarandon ( “Dammit – Janet!” ) and Wil Wheaton? – ( Wesley from Star Trek Next Generation? ) Plus a lot of dedicated grass-roots people. Exit polls cited by the BBC said 84-91% of voters under 30 years old voted for ‘The Bern’

California Bridge over shallow water stream

– This is in California? Wow –

— & As for me, I think I’d like to be in a nice warm place like the photo above right now. The person who tweeted it said, “California”? Must be upstate, north of San Francisco?

Water falling lazily around an old castle somewhere?

– And I have no idea where this is, but I do believe I could live there and love it. –

— Looks like the inspiration for the Elven City of Rivendel, as portrayed in The Hobbit & The Lord of the Rings Movies.

Bridge over a river somewhere.

– And this is another beautiful, intriguing place that I think I’d like to at least visit –

— I think my friend, Draelen, knows more about where this photographer/Tweeter is from, I think he told me she’s from Germany – But wow – what a beautiful world we live in. I think somebody tweeted a photo of Leonard Nimoy as Spock with a quote that went something like, [ understatement alert ] “Anybody who would destroy their home planet – is illogical.”

— I spent yesterday doing carpentry stuff, reinforcing the wobbly legs to a computer desk, and then brought an overheating iMac back from its most recent ‘near-death-experience’, caught up with a couple of friends on effbook and twitter, and watched ‘Supergirl’ and ‘X-Files’ before making sure computers were still okay and hadn’t blown up yet and forgot to take one of my medications. ( And No – I’m not one of the people doug otterson cited as needing to self medicate after seeing the photograph of an upright black cat playing a guitar – πŸ˜‰

— And – I’m still wracking my brains over how to handle difficult passages in a novel that I’m trying to finish.

— Happy Ground Hog Day!

~~~~~ Jim

Found a box we hadn’t opened since we moved here :)

Sunday, July 26, 2015 -( 15˚C / 59˚F & raining in Atlantic Canada @ 9:59 pm Atlantic Time πŸ™‚ )-

2nd Prize for Comic Short Story 'published' on GEnie in 1991.

Cathi stumbled upon a couple boxes we hadn’t opened since we moved here in 2013 – I found this πŸ™‚ in one of them.

— And this:

3rd Prize certificate.

3rd Prize Certificate for another story I ‘published’ on GEnie

— So, yup, I won second and third place in ‘Comic Short Stories based on Multi-player Games’ that were interactive and live on GEnie in 1991. (( “No brag, just facts-” ? )) πŸ˜‰

~~~~~ Jim


Sunday, July 19, 2015 -( 16˚C / 61˚F @ 10:45 pm in the dark and damp here in Atlantic Canada )-

Messy office.

This ‘Office’ is technically transitioning from ‘completely freaking messed up’ to ‘I just might be able to find something I’m looking for in here’.

Yes, we had a weekend. Of course it rained, but- We got things done, and moved forward into a more optimistic state of mind, no matter how many idiotic bits of political lies and rule bending b.s. the current administration is bombarding us with constant commercials on just about every station in Canada, and maybe especially New Brunswick and a couple other target areas. If it wasn’t for the fact that they are so obviously lying and trying their damnedest to get away with immoral bull [ chips ] by playing their propaganda clips before the election has actually been scheduled – which is unethical, immoral, not quite fattening, but should be illegal, and will probably help convince the majority of Canadians who are not brain dead to vote the morons out of office that much more quickly… I might be able to shudder and shrug my way through it. But the evil sonuvaguns are trying to convince vulnerable people that if any of the other parties get to form the next government they will steal the candy out of their babies’ mouths, take away their pensions, and, in general, peel the skin from their bodies as painfully as possible, and set their private parts on fire. The politix of fear are alive and well and Canada.

Pallets, lumber & garbage can cover.

Pallets (& plywood) R us. I got a little bit done, pulling nails out of interesting pieces of lumber that used to hold three decent pallet together to form shelves for plant sales at a nearby chain type hardware and lumber store. They do have Home Despots up here, but this is a more local franchise. The thing on the far left is something I built out of plywood and 2x2s to discourage the local racoons from messing with our garbage. That’s my white hat reflected in the window.

We got out and about on Saturday afternoon after a pleasant brunch. & After grabbing a couple necessities (like food?) at the nearby supermarket, we stopped off at a ubiquitous hardware chain store and stumble upon a couple goodies, like stain for our projects on sale. πŸ™‚ And we were checked out by one of the most friendly and pleasant young cashiers we’ve ever encountered there.

And then I convinced Cathi to check out the free pallets one company leaves out in the hopes that they won’t have to pay somebody to haul them away or whatever business they’d have if nobody came along and took advantage of the free pallets.

What we found there this time was three surprisingly good pallets and one smaller pallet with split pieces but a couple good two by fours. So Cathi said she was happy we checked. We also found the last of the season’s small potted herbs for sale for $.24 each. I think we got two small plastic square things of lemon balm and a couple other intriguing plants, one was peppermint? some kind of mint and the other had tiny light purple flowers.

This morning Cathi went around and planted the herbs along with the ivy she brought home a couple days ago-

Ivy surrounded by grass, climbing a fence.

You probably can’t tell with a casual glance, but there is some newly transplanted ivy in the center of this photo. I told Cathi I’d like to see some ivy and she found some in the bargain/closeout section of one of the stores she frequents. We had nine little pots of English Ivy, which I hope really likes the climate here, and when we set them on the outside porch they thrived, sort of said, ‘thank you’ and now there are something like 4 plants around Jassper’s fence and a couple more in not so easy to spot places. But Yum- They should enjoy the rain we’re supposed to get in the next several days.

And, beyond my usual feeling like I’ve lost my mind, we did okay. – It had rained overnight, and it’s supposed to rain every day for the next four days? At Least?

— As long as you don’t dwell on the fact that, for a promised interview with a local Author I was trying to get an old mac computer to work with the old free version of ProTools and when I struck out with the best computer I still have here for that option I tried to wake up an older G3 (“cute”) MacBook and which, for all its 640 megs of RAM started up and charged the nearly dead battery really well, but when I tried to restart using Mac OS 9.2.2 the hard drive with that operating system had a coronary and played dead. I tried another external Hard Drive with a similar Operating System, but it was even worse. — When I took the worse HD into the office here and connected it to another Mac, that other Mac saw it long enough to know it was there, but when I tried to ‘verify’ and then repair the danged thing, it disappeared and said it was beyond help, but I should back up what I could and then it wouldn’t mount the danged thing and reformat it. But if it ain’t mounted ya can’t back anything up- bluddy idjits- so I tried repairing it again a couple times with the disk utility and it finally gave up trying to tell me it was too far gone (or too old, or too riddled with planned obsolescence???) to fix- well, surprise surprise, it fixed it enough so it would mount. I then tried backing up files. First the routines thought it might take an hour, then a couple hours, then 16 hours. So I went to bed & when I woke up and checked it, it looked like it had been backing up nicely for several hours and then hit a bad file with a name that was about two miles long and full of heiroglyphics- and the only thing it had actually backed up was a stupid icon. grrrr. So I spent most of today manually backing things up one file at a time.

All the time I was gnashing my teeth and backing up stupid files etc. Cathi got up quietly and went outside and transplanted things, thinking it would be raining later.

Garden gnome hiding in ferns.

I wanted to upload a photo of Cathi on her Gazelle, but I need to straighten it out so I’ll upload the photo of a gnome hiding in the ferns by our stone wall.

— And there a very interesting story at that says France has a law against planned obsolescence. πŸ™‚

~~~~~ Jim

Friday the 13th is a Monday this week.

Monday, July 13th, 2015 -( 21˚C / 70˚F — Sunny & Pleasant @ 10:45 am in Atlantic Canada )-

odd things on a blue background.

It took me forever to scan this stuff into the form you see here. After installing the software that came with the scanner the scanner refused to work with the computer it worked with fine before we found the disk and installed it. So I scanned it to another Mac, and the pictures kept trying to tip to one side or another and the other little things kept moving. Finally I just said the ‘heck’ with it an kept the last scan.

Yeah, it’s been a tough morning. I woke up aching all over, put the garbage and recycling out, had problems with the scanner after installing the software it came with on a computer that it worked fine with before I installed its software. Fed Jassper, fed Moe, fed me- Sighed a couple times-

I think my graphics/workhorse computer should be officially pronounced dead. It craps out without doing anything now. Planned obsolescence? May those who plan such schnarr things suffer from everything they ever need in the future falling apart when they need it the most. And if those morons manage to re-incarnate in the past, may the same curse follow them there?Β  Okay, now that I’ve voiced my ire, I can probably forgive them. I don’t think you’d want to be Bill Gates at the Pearly Gates if St. Peter called me over to consult on whether you could go to Heaven, or be condemned to the other place. I’d have to think long and hard about that one.

— Sigh–,

Cathi’s back to work. I ache all over. It’s a Monday.Β  and yes, to quote Pogo “Friday the 13th is a Monday this month.”

~~~~~ Jim

Talkin to Mom and Cathi’s found her first novel :)

Monday, July 6th, 2015 -( 19˚C / 66˚F @ 12:59 am in the dark up here in Atlantic Canada )-


The Lighthouse on the Green in Fredericton, one of our favourite Ice Cream, seafood and sandwich places- We’ve had our second visit of the season, and it ice cream is sensational, as ever. πŸ™‚ Photo taken in September 2013.

Talked to Mom and Sharon (my sister) tonight via Skype. They’re in Alaska. And I’m on the other side of the continent. I tried to take a couple screenshots of the conversation, but in my hurry, I pushed the right keys on the wrong computers and then wondered why the pictures didn’t take. -duh!- Both Mom and I felt slightly under the weather for part of today. I thought my problem was going through a box we haven’t opened since we got here and maybe breathing in mold or something. After I ate something for dinner and chilled for an hour or so I was fine. Maybe the electromagnetic atmosphere around mother Earth isn’t feeling all that great and sharing her blahs with us sensitive human beans. πŸ˜‰ Anyway, I had a very nice talk with Mom and my sister and we’re hoping we can talk again on Friday when we may experience fewer interruptions. πŸ˜‰

& recently – Getting ready to clear 757 photos from the card in my camera, I uploaded those to a backup computer and founds lots of yummy stuff from the past five years – much of it might only have been on the backup computer, which now has a couple lovely screenshots that were not of me and mom skyping happily earlier tonight. I’m thinking some of those older photos should be on a History page here in this Archives blog

For right now, let me say that the Lighthouse on the Green here – the above photo is from a stormy day two years ago – is charging $2.00 Canadian $’s for people to climb to the top and look out over the city- proceeds to benefit SPCA Fredericton πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

Al Fresco

This is a shot of the Lighthouse on the Green’s ‘Dining Room’ taken on September 27th, 2013. See what you’re missing?

— Achy but optimistic in Atlantic Canada –,

~~~~~ Jim

Found some more old photos

Friday, July 3rd, 2015 -( 14˚C / 57˚F @ 11:59 pm Atlantic time – in the dark here while we’re using “Startup Repair” to see if the windows 7 machine might still have some life ahead of it.)- Nora K.’s and Matt Kantrowitz’s Birthday today. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

— Not all of these photos are in perfect shape, but wow, we had some beautiful cousins and friends-

Wallet sized photos

Our cousins, April, on the left and Jamie on the right. Jamie signed her photo with “6th grade” in 1984. There is a bit of dust on the photos that wouldn’t go away.


people and dogs posing in the shade.

Nora K. – I think in her back yard in Putney, in September of 1984 – Me on the right with Harley (who became ‘Charles’ when he grew up.) – more or less on my lap, he never was much for sitting still anywhere, and I don’t know if I ever knew the dogs’ names or who they might have belonged to. This photo is a bit fuzzy because of the weird finish.

Normal woman with tall, hairy guy.

Nancy A. – Cousin Lori’s friend, who I never knew all that well, but I rememer her birthday is July 16th? I look like a refugee from a rock band like Three Dog Night. This was some time in the 1980’s.

Two young women with annoying shadows.

Cindy G. and Denise M. (Now Lavery) – Two young women from the post office we used to work at in the 1980’s- in very bad lighting.

Nice looking young woman.

My friend, Lyn, in the late 1970’s, in Rutland, Vermont. The photo was in a plastic sheet for years and that might be what caused the strange lights or whatever that are dancing in front of her here. Looks like a special effect- fairy dust being sprinkled on her or something.

Me in my Navy uniform, around the time I graduated from boot camp.

And, me – from a nightmare I once had that I volunteered to serve my country and was subjected to the demonic company of ‘superiors’ who had been thoroughly warped by the insidious mindset of the military industrial complex. I survived, I think. This might have been a photo taken by a shipmate on a destroyer tender.

— It took me over 5 hours and an incredible amount of grief to get these photos scanned and then loaded into this blog from this computer. The computer played dead, and just before I buried it or chucked it into the nearest river, it said, ‘hey wait a minute, try running a ‘Startup Repair’ program.’ That may have worked. Meanwhile I scanned the photos into a G5 Mac because I was expecting to talk to my sister and mother using Skype and the Yummy MacBook was waiting for them to come on line. Which they never did. And the only other available computer that could do the job was the G5.

— But WordPress no longer likes G5’s because Apple, which, before they made deals with the devil- and/or Bill Gates and company – had been real good about making sure that all the latest and greatest software etc. would run on older Macs. But then the devil, Bill Gates, and the ‘Breedy Gastards’ of this world went out of their way to make sure a whole lot of planned obsolescence was built into anything worth having so people who should be relaxing and enjoying their lives have to be slaves to the demonic economic system we’ve been living under lately- oh never mind- So after I got an older version of “Mail” to work on the G5, then had to restart it because the danged thing would not allow me to ‘compose’ any email- and then I had to add another account because it couldn’t send anything from the original email account I set up with that app. And then, when I got the email message I sent to a gmail account that I can use on this stupid Windows 7 machine, six images came with six ghosts of themselves and I had to download 5 of those images twice because the ghosts insisted I wanted broken graphics for this = should have been really easy = project here. And the sixth image- I had to download three times to get it right.Β  Grumble, grumble, grumble – But anyway – Here we are. It’s almost six o-freakin clock on Nora K.’s birthday (I forgot her new last name- shame on me. But her husband’s name is Jim and he plays a guitar. Or at least did when I met him.

— Can I scream now? Or should I just chill? Lemme try to chill, sit back and smile and think I may have plowed my way through trials and tribulations that were hurled at me by the forces of schnarr, designed to ruin my outlook on life, liberty, love and the pursuit of happiness – And I came out on top. Or should I sit down and count my fingers and toes to be sure I’m still more or less all here?

( Um, I needed to update this a couple times do to spelling errors and schnarr like that there- )

— ( Laughing to myself at 6:00 am )

~~~~~ Jim

Planned Obsolescent Schnarr –

Friday, July 3rd, 2015 -( 22Β°C / 72Β°F @ 11:45 am under sunny skies on our side of the river here in Atlantic Canada )- -My friend, Greg’s daughter -Kyla-‘s birfday πŸ™‚

Domino, looks like he was complaining about something or other- IN May of 2013

Domino, looks like he was complaining about something or other- In May of 2013

— Okay, let’s see. I can’t say this morning got off to a rough start because I’m still up since last night. The computer I rely on the most, the one I’m writing this on right now, is going blind on me- if I’m doing any graphic-heavy 3D stuff- the monitors suddenly go black and say “hey- we’re not connected to anything-” and since I got this computer specifically to work on completing my game world, and the game that’s supposed to happen inside that world- this is disconcerting. I better look up the spelling on that one, it doesn’t look right. Must be okay, the spell checker doesn’t like words with dashes attached to them, but ‘disconcerting’ passed their test.

— Planned obsolescence –Β  Do you think that anybody who ever thought it was a good idea to make sure stuff fell apart more sooner than later so they could sell more stuff should be drawn and quartered in public? I mean why wait until these mudder fuppers die and have to face their karma in their life reviews? For the same reason that judges are all going to be in big trouble when they have to explain themselves to the Man who told them “Judge not- that ye be judged-” It’s not my place to condemn ice holes for making everybody’s lives miserable? -Shrug- But every once in a while I want to be there when one of those ‘persons’ is in dire need of a quick ride to a hospital and the parts he so cleverly had his engineers make out of plastic instead of aluminum the way they had always been in the past- fall apart and the ice hole has to die alone in his vehicle because his clever designs worked so freakin well? I mean the height of this revenge type thinking would be, the poster child for planned obsolescence opens the door of his planned obsolete automobile, falls to the pavement and gasps for help and some homeless guy whose life he ruined comes over to him, blind drunk, opens his zipper and pees all over the slime ball while that evil ice hole gasps his last breaths and dies in an extreme state of fear. Grumble grumble grumble —

— But- on a lighter note – I did download over 750 photos (not all of them worth keeping) onto three different computers last night while dealing with computer catastrophes. The stupid ‘We know better than you do what you want to do’- routines inside one computer decided that I wanted all 757 photos to go get lost somewhere on a cloud, and told me my drop box was full. So I swore at that computer and told it to take those photos down from the flippin cloud and put them in a nice new file on my desktop. When it – obviously scared half to death – did what I told it to, I discovered a couple lost gems in that flippin cloud, that I never wanted anything to do with in the first place. No danged cloud has any business grabbing my stuff like that. And, oh yeah, the nearly lost gems on that should be lost cloud? – the above photo of Domino the Bengal Cat was one of them. Yum.

— And now I should belatedly get my posterior to bed. I’m going to skype with mom tonight, and she’s delighted to be able to see me and hear me when I do that. And now that I got my grumbling done, I won’t have to darken our conversation tonight with angry thoughts about ice holes who so freakin cleverly design things to fall apart a long time before they need to. – I won’t say, “May they rot in hell.” Because we’re already there, so how about, “May they open their eyes and realize they’ve created a living hell for themselves right here and now.” – Shrug. I often think I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy, because I don’t collect enemies and sort them according to how rotten they are to their cores- But- Waking up in hell is a blessing that us truth-seeking ‘Angels-In-Training’ wish upon ourselves so we can continue our mission to manifest Heaven on Earth. & No, it’s not too late to keep trying to do that.

— Yay?

~~~~~ Jim (who tortures spelling checkers for fun, and has the poetic license to prove it can be done.)

Multi-Cultural Festivities and Canada Day

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2015 -( 25Β°C / 77Β°F – Muggy and bright @ 6:26 pm in Atlantic Canada )-

Face Painting at an Asian Indian booth.

Face Painting at an Asian Indian booth.

— We got our first dishes of Lighthouse on the Green Ice Cream of this summer and then wandered across the street to where they were having their annual multicultural festivities. They don’t have their home made ice cream at the Lighthouse this year. πŸ™ But they still have yummy stuff.

Gaelic guy in a kilt showing off his drum.

We talked to this guy for quite a while about Bhodrans and Celtic-Gaelic things. He reminded us of the upcoming Highland Games, where there will be drumming and suggested I might bring my drum and join in. While Cathi was distracted nearby, the guy realized that he did know her from somewhere, when we first got here, before her group got their new building, they worked in the same building across the street from the big shopping centre up the top of the hill in Fredericton.

— As we wandered around, Cathi began to listen to her inner gourmet, and no, we did not walk around like Jassper might have, drooling from both sides of our mouths. As I was eyeing the menu at an Indian (Curry etc.) booth, Cathi glanced toward the booth beside it and the man behind the counter caught her attention, “It’s chicken and rice-” So we got to sample some Iraqui food. I wondered how the local Iraquis might get along with the local Iranians, or how Hindus might get along with Islamic people, or if there are any problems like that at all around here, where we have this convenient common enemy- the cold, ice and snow in winter?

Cathi with flowers and a bridge.

Cathi wasn’t sure she wanted to stand there and let me take her photo as we were heading back for our vehicle. That’s Fredericton’s interesting foot bridge behind her, one of the city’s nicest -paved- walking trails would be on her left -our right- along this side of the Saint John River. There are just as nice walking trails on the North Side of the river, too.

— Later on this summer the city of Fredericton will host a world class Jazz and Blues Festival and several other events I can’t remember right now, but they’re all worth seeing. ( We survived the big ‘Rib Fest’ last month – I had a grilled cheese and turket sandwich while she had ribs and after we stood in line for almost half an hour she got disgusted with her favourite rib place because they wouldn’t take a debit card and it cost us something like $2.50 and another ten minutes to use the nearest ATM machine and stand in line again. )

— July First is Canada Day in most of Canada. People in Quebec have a bigger celebration of their own later on, and Newfoundland has a somber rememberance of a nasty battle in World War One in which way too many Newfoundlanders lost their lives. Something I didn’t know before I came up here, Newfoundland didn’t become part of Canada until 1949.

— And Cathi has been investigating a bunch of do it yourself web pages and has become fascinated with, among other things, what people have done with wooden pallets that most companies throw away. The pallets have to be checked out, often de-bugged with bleach or something like that and sanded down and painted or stained, but some of the examples of lawn swings and day beds as well as patio furniture are amazing and look like professional workmanship and you’d almost never guess they were made from ‘waste lumber’. We”ve been checking around town lately and come up with a couple good spots to pick up unwanted, -Free- pallets, and have a nice starting supply for her first week off this summer. & Now she’s slightly worried about somebody in the neighbourhood complaining about the junk we’re trying to keep hidden behind the shed etc. There will be more photos coming when we get cracking on her projects there. πŸ™‚

— Yay! & This summer has been buggy, with aggressive mosquitos so far, but it’s been unusually cool, and that is fine with me. I have relatives who thrive in heat that makes me want to fall down in an icy lake and chill until Autumn, but I am not a real summer person.

— sigh–,

~~~~~ Jim

Hacks, Extortion, & Schnarr like that

Thursday, June 18, 2015 -( 16Β°C / 61Β°F & Sunny with scattered clouds @ 9:30 am in Atlantic Canada )- TodayΒ  might be Paul McCartney’s birthday.

Screen shot of a world builder character.

Kaelyn planting flowers in the hills of Aerendel. Jim W used this screen shot for his new twitter background, Kaelyn got lost behind the tweets. – Oh, When you’re building a gaming world, you need to have a builder character in the area you’re creating and/or improving. That’s where Kaelyn came in. She’s a world improver.

— So we had a problem with a web provider. They claim our site was infected because we hadn’t purchased their security service, we did, but they wanted us to purchase their premium package which costs twice as much per year as their quoted price from their yearly hosting package.

—The odd thing is, they shut down our site on almost the same day as a guy who wrote a book on cyber-security fraud and extortion, claiming the U.S. Government is involved in a conspiracy to grab total control over everything on the internet. Part of this alleged plot involves cyber-security firms that appear to be a private industry on the surface but were found to have deep ties with the US Government when the author dug deeper.

— We contacted the author with a fairly wordy play by play description of what we were told and he told us to scrap the web provider and go with somebody bigger, who has more to lose if they’re caught with their hands in your cookie jar and somebody sees the US Federal Trade Commission pulling their strings behind the curtain. He suggested GoDaddy? We gotta think about that. Meanwhile, if any of you want to see what happens when extortionists shut down a web site for thinly veiled attempts to extort $189.99 per year above and beyond the $131.88 listed ‘renewal’ price. They’re currently claiming an introductory rate of $15.00 for the first year. If you’re considering going with a company that calls itself ‘Fat Cow web hosting’, think again. Look them up on your favourite search engine and visit their propaganda page on the web. Then look at and pay attention to all the error pages they plastered on any page to ‘aerendel dot org’ that comes up.

— Shrug, check back here in a couple weeks or more to see what we decide to do.

— Thanks,

——— Jim d’Aerendel ——




Domino March 4th, 2001 – May 3rd, 2015

He wasn’t the most engaging of cats. I was a little afraid of him at first. A Bengal. Part of a new breed created by mating Domestic Tabby Cats with Asian Leopard Cats. It is, or at least was, illegal to own a Bengal in the state of Connecticut. But I wasn’t in the state of Connecticut any more.

Bengal cat sneaking up on a tissue box on the floor.

Domino, attacking a very dangerous tissue box

He was a third generation Bengal and cost the first lady who loved him over $500.00. He was not her only cat. When Domino’s lady died and husband, who was not a cat person, didn’t want him. Another nice lady rescued him and paid $50.oo. But Domino wanted his first lady back, and he protested by pooping and peeing in inappropriate places. The second nice lady offered him free to a good home, saying she didn’t have the time and energy to deal with training him.

I picked him up while Cathi was at work. I didn’t meet the nice lady who had rescued him. I met her young woman assistant. We had a bit of a laugh, Domino was hiding in plain sight, with his face behind a curtain in a corner and the rest of him plainly visible. He came with his cat carriage. I carried him out to our second hand Mazda van and secured him in the back seat. I talked to him all the way home. He pretty much ignored me. But somehow I knew he was extraordinarily intelligent.

After I got home, the woman who had rescued him gave me a call to ask if everything went all right. Yes, it had. I told her I had the impression he was very intelligent. She sounded surprised and said, “Yes, he is-” and went on to explain that she just didn’t have the time and energy to potty train him. She’d been assured that he’d been all through that and had passed with flying colours.

He was larger than many cats, taller and weighed sixteen pounds most of the time he was with us. And he was strong. I built a bionic bird cage for Cathi and her kids’ budgies ( ‘Parakeets’ to youse USAtians, πŸ˜‰ ) And watched him many times, jump up on the outside of the aviary (Three feet deep, five feet wide, six feet tall, with tree branches securely screwed in place inside.) When a couple of the birds thought they might start a family, Domino wasn’t going to let that happen. Any time the pair started acting amorously he would jump on the outside of the cage and rattle it severely. It was built around a two by three frame with a solid half inch plywood back and roof. When Domino climbed up on top and tried to grab any bird who strayed near the ‘wire cloth’ heavy duty screening stuff, I went to the nearest home hardware store and bought and had them cut three pieces of acrylic longer than his reach, drilled and installed the acrylic in place and then he couldn’t get his claws through the ‘cloth’/ heavy screening. For their part, the birds learned quickly that he could not get through the ‘cloth’ and I could swear they wagged their tail feathers at him teasingly. We bought the birds a happy little house for them to build a nest inside, but nobody ever laid any eggs. Maybe Domino prevented that.

But yes, he still missed his first lady. And he was almost inconsolable, until we brought out the brush. He loved his brush so much he fell off his futon couch when I brushed him, quickly recovered, looked at me with a dark, “You didn’t see that-” threat in his eyes, but then melted at the sight of the brush and flopped around and even fell off the couch more than once during a session. But he still wasn’t happy. And he still peed and pooped- ruined his futon, made me become very careful about where I sat down to do any computing after sitting in very wet chairs more than once. Ick.

We had heard Doreen Virtue on the radio a couple times. One of her talks was about animals’ guardian angels. She explained that she’d appealed to one of her cats’ guardian angels when the cat was out on a very steep roof and in danger of slipping and plunging to its death and had been surprised that the cat turned and happily came right to the window and jumped safely inside as soon as Dr Virtue thought about appealing to the cat’s guardian angel. The first job I could get when I was finally able to work up here in Canada with permanent resident status, was cleaning a bank. My step son had special needs and wanted to join cub scouts. Cub Scouts said he could join if I became a cub scout leader. Meetings were on Wednesdays. I told my boss that Wednesdays might be a problem, I might have to start much later than usual. He asked if I wanted help on Wednesdays. I said sure. I met a helpful and diligent young man named Derek and on one of the first Wednesdays we worked together, we discovered a bat loose in the bank. Derek called our boss. The boss nonchalantly said, “So what’s the problem- Kill it and try not to make a mess of it, clean up whatever happens-” And I didn’t want to kill it. Derek didn’t want to kill it. I thought I’d try Doreen Virtue’s advice, called out to the bat’s guardian angel, explained that we didn’t want to kill it, we wanted to get it safely out of the bank, and found a small brown lunch bag, followed the bat into the next room it flew into. It flew into a series of cubby holes, on the lowest level of those cubby holes- I placed the bag in front of that cubby hole and the bat walked right into it. I carefully closed the bag, tried to speak soothingly as I carried it outside with Derek by my side, making sure he had my keys in his hands so we didn’t lock ourselves out, I put the bag down on a potted tree at the edge of the parking lot. A young couple was intrigued, asked what we were doing. When they heard the word, “bat” they hurried away with their hands up for protection. The bat flew away. The young couple hurried away in the opposite direction and I thought things went well.

So I tried to ask Domino’s guardian angel what Domino wanted or needed. I received the vivid impression that Domino was trying to tell me, “I want somebody to play with- another cat.” I told Cathi and we got Domino a friend. The first friend was too young and too timid and didn’t know how to play rough and tumble cat wrestling games. And before she was with us for three months, we found her dead on the bathroom floor. No bloody mess, she’d died of a heart attack. When we blurted out that Sasha had died so quickly the next time we brought a friend to the animal shelter, one of the women in charge heard us and told us she would write us a voucher good for a free replacement. The person who was with us asked if there were any animals available now, and most of them were being watched and evaluated and screened for diseases and so on, but one who seemed likely to pass was this orange guy they were calling ‘Morris’. Does ‘Morris get along with other cats?’ “Well, let’s see-” they opened his cage and carried him around and let him say hello to several other cats and nobody hissed and everybody seemed happy and our friend asked to hold him and he gave her a big hug and okay, we want this guy. He had to be ‘fixed’ first, but if he was this easy to get along with before he was fixed, he would probably be a wonderfully laid back friendly cat afterwards. Then he caught a cold, then he was okay, we were told to come pick him up. They thought it was a good idea to keep him segregated away from other cats at first, but this orange guy would have none of that. He and Domino got on perfectly well from the first time the orange guy escaped from the bed room. Orange guy cried and reached for his new friend under the door and Domino sat there and waited for his next escape and then showed orange guy around, they wrestled and played and Domino was one happy cat. Most of the time.

Domino loved chasing what we in the states had called a super ball, and up here in Canada they are called ‘bouncy balls’. He would leap and run and play as impressively as the world’s best short stop ever could. It was kind of sad when he outgrew that. He just one day looked at a bouncing ball and shrugged, looked at me with a kind of, “been there, done that- what else is new?” expression.

We tried to communicate. He had some very interesting ‘meows’. When we took him the the vet to get a shot, I sat with his cat carrier on my lap and said, “It’s going to be all right, we’re going to go in the next room with that nice lady and maybe she’ll give you a shot, maybe it will sting a little bit, but we’ll be fine-” and he loudly and distinctly moaned, “No- No- Noooooooo-” He gave the orange cat his name. We were calling him Tigger, he did have subtle stripes. But Domino called out “Moe- Moe- Moe-” and Moe came happily prancing out of somewhere. And the next time we called out, “Moe-” the orange guy appeared with a big happy smile and that was that. The name stuck. A lot of the time he would turn to me and silently mouth something and nod his head, I’d mouth it back and nod my head. Sometimes he would respond to that, by looking like he was rolling his eyes and thinking, ‘There is absolutely no hope for humans-‘

Okay, this is getting longer than I thought it would. Domino died last Sunday, during a full moon – just before midnight. I have been devastated. I’m taking this harder than I took any death in this life. Maybe because I saw him suffering near the end. Not much suffering, he refused to eat. He turned his nose up when offered his favourite greenies. He did drink, he complained, he moaned, and walked around meowing loudly and I thought he was saying good bye to everything he loved, and then he walked in front of me while I was meditating – he moaned once, flopped down on his side, breathed easily for a couple minutes and then stopped breathing. My mind’s eye saw him looking at his body curiously. I called for angels and archangels, and prayed they could give him the choice of springing back to life with full health, or going on. I felt him say, “I’m sorry, I have to go now-”

Yesterday I realized I could look at some of things he loved without falling apart completely myself. Today I embraced the idea that even though he was not in the centre of things, and spent a lot of time hiding out, slinking around behind us and running away when we noticed him there, this cat had a presence that I sorely miss. I could believe that he was a guardian angel disguised as a cat.

I’ve been assured that one of these days I’m going to see a cat and either hear outright, or somehow know, “You knew me as Domino- take me home and let’s resume where we left off. I’m in charge- you got that? As long as you realize that I’m in charge we should have no problems at all-“

~~~~~ Jim