Monday, February 28, 2005

One day to go

This year is not a leap year, so February only has 28 days in the month. That makes tomorrow 1 March.

According to my vetinerary records, my birthday is on 1 March (as are most cats born in March, as humans at the time of their birth tend to forget the exact date, hence the vetinerary practice).

I will be 15 years old tomorrow. I'm not a kitten anymore.

I forgot to mention my big long brush last night.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Where is ALF?

First appearing in 1986 on sitcom television (until 1990), the alien called Gordon Shumway from the planet Melmac, masqueraded as himself and was dubbed ALF for 'Alien Life Form' by the fictitious Tanner family.

He was last seen in 1996 in a telemovie called Project ALF.

Gordon/ALF had a particular fondness for cats, in particular as a snack.

All cats should get their humans to find them an ALF doll (if still available) and then bury it in your litter tray.

ALF aka cat-killer!


Today was a much more pleasant day. I managed to go outside a few times. Neil and Emily came by for a quick visit (I think to retrieve a bicycle). I really wanted my human to sit on the couch and watch television all day, but he was cleaning the oven and doing other chores. I thought Sundays were for spending time with me!

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Our Mary is home!

Australia's own princess, Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Mary of Denmark (formerly known as Mary Donaldson of Hobart, Tasmania, Australia) is back in Australia with her husband Fred for a royal tour. Oops, I mean her husband, HRH Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark.

Their Royal Highnesses, the Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Denmark visiting Australia

Many Americans will also fondly remember one of their own (the late) Grace Kelly who became Her Serene Highness Princess Grace of Monaco.

I hope they also have some cats living with them at the palace.


Today was another warm day. It was also a sad day as it is 26 weeks now without my brother Fatty. My human still misses Fatty very much. I try to make up in some way by meowing/talking more, but it is not quite the same as Fatty's strong loud meows. And we no longer hear the bell of his collar.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Utilitarianism and happiness

I like sharing interesting stuff that I read.

Here is another interesting article from Prospect magazine which is British.

Happiness is back.

The US Declaration of Independence states "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

Two points:

1. At that time, slaves had no rights and were not considered to be equal.
2. What is "pursuit of Happiness" supposed to mean?


Today was another scorcher. I managed to get some ham in the morning.

Merlin's human Kim came over tonight. They had baked lamb leg (cut into pieces which had been marinaded in honey and soy), baked corn cob (in foil), and steamed carrots and asparagus. And a fair amount of vodka! I sat on Kim's lap for a little while, and then my human's. I also kept an eye on a cricket and a moth outside which were attracted to the light.

I did, however, have lamb for dinner (but it was not marinaded). All is forgiven.

It's late, I am going to sleep now.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Is the United States a Christian country?

I read a lot for a cat. Napping all day and night can be boring, so I think a lot, and read lots of interesting things. I even have good discussions with my human. Sometimes he is a bit deaf though and completely off the topic. For example (when he gets home from work):
Keiser: (meow meow miao) Do you realise that petroleum is a very inefficient source of energy?
Human: Really? What did you do today?
Keiser: (miao meow meow miao) I was listening to a very interesting story on the radio about renewable energy sources.
Human: Okay, okay. I'll feed you in a second.

I am sure many cats will be able to relate to this.

I recently came across an interesting article in The Nation, a magazine that has been around since 1865.

The article is about God and the United States by Brooke Allen, Our Godless Constitution. It is worth a read.


Today was another warm day. I have retrained my human. He knows I only eat a small nibble in the morning (that is why I only have half a tin of processed cat food for breakfast, between 20 to 40 grams). I leave room for my real breakfast when he makes his lunch. This morning he gave me some leftover cooked ocean trout for breakfast. The yummiest part was the skin, so nice and chewy.

Tonight he cooked lamb (which he sliced thinly and stir fried with gai laan, bok choy and asparagus, with some soy sauce, black beans [whole and as a sauce], shiaoxing rice wine, and served with steamed rice). He did not give me any lamb. He knows it is my favourite. I will have to think of a way to punish him. Yes, I will eat my chicken wing very slowly and drag it all over the floor...

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

a choo! bless me!

No I didn't really sneeze. If I did, I would bring my human luck.

According to Italian superstition, to hear a cat sneeze is considered to be a good omen.


I went outside briefly this morning as some washing was being hung out. Today was a warm day and I spent most of the day listening to ABC Radio National. I thought the Religion Report was very interesting. Some Christians have taken offence to particular depictions of Jesus Christ. I wonder whether Buddhists are offended by the use of the Buddha's image as garden ornaments?

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

I am a lucky cat

Yippee, my human is home again.

I pretty much ignored him, to give him two hours to think about what he did wrong (that is to dessert me) but now I am on his lap while I write my diary entry.

I am sorry that I have been slack with my diary. My human leaving me was terribly disruptive, a lesson I hope he has learnt.

But now I miss Emily and Neil. They also loved giving me cuddles.

The suitcase is in the study again. I wonder if I can destroy it somehow.

Anyway, my human told me he went to Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea to visit my other (in absentia) human.

He told me about the little cat that visits Kopi Haus (the cafe) at the Holiday Inn hoping for a scrap of food from the lunch and dinner guests. This makes me appreciate that I do have humans who look after me and cater to my whims. Many cats are not so lucky and live on the streets.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Vale Arthur Miller

I wish to acknowledge the talent of one of America's greatest playwrights, Arthur Miller who died recently.

There are not many people in the English (and feline) speaking world who have not heard of his plays such as The Crucible and Death of a Salesman, two of his most popular.

Most newspapers in the English speaking media have carried obituaries honouring Arthur Miller


It was fun snuggling up in bed with Em and Neil. I wonder if they will stay again tonight?

Sunday, February 13, 2005

A milestone, nay a kilometrestone

I have reached over a 1000 views (hits) on my Catster page. Woo hoo!

That is a kilo of hits. Kilo comes from the Greek word khilioi meaning a thousand.

A kilo is also used in metric measurements throughout the world except in the United States (although they are used in science and engineering, like NASA, Boeing, etc and in research laboratories where it is standard, and in trade and commerce).

Actually, this is not strictly correct. The US might not use metric measurements for everyday use - petrol/gasoline, milk, water, etc in litres, highway distances in kilometres, etc but metric is official in the US. You might be interested in an article by Russ Rowlett about this.

There is even a metric conversion program within the US government called Toward a Metric America.

In all sports at the international level; swimmers swim distances from 50 metres to 1500 metres, the marathon is 42 kilometres, weighlifters lift kilograms of weight not pounds, etc etc

Isn't it time the rest of the United States speaks the same measurement language as the rest of the world?


I went outside again today and supervised the potting up of some bearded irises (purple). I also had a big brush today.

Steak doesn't agree with me, and my human said that sometimes what you really enjoy eating, may not always be good for you. Humph! So I am back to chicken wings.

I have a feeling that my human is going to leave me (again). The suitcase in the study has disappeared, and he has been acting really strange today. I am trying to figure out what I have done wrong that makes him want to leave me.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

My essay on post-modernism by Keiser the cat

If one examines neocultural nihilism, one is faced with a choice: either reject social realism or conclude that the goal of the writer is deconstruction. Therefore, many theories concerning the role of the reader as observer exist. The subject is contextualised into a Sontagist camp that includes culture as a totality.

The main theme of la Fournier's critique of Debordist situation is a self-sufficient paradox. But the closing/opening distinction prevalent in Gibson's Count Zero emerges again in Virtual Light, although in a more mythopoetical sense. Lacan uses the term 'social realism' to denote not, in fact, deconstruction, but subdeconstruction.

However, Abian holds that we have to choose between neocultural nihilism and neotextual dialectic theory. The characteristic theme of the works of Gibson is a self-falsifying whole.

Thus, Baudrillard's model of social realism suggests that narrative must come from the masses, given that consciousness is interchangeable with truth. Bataille uses the term 'Debordist situation' to denote the common ground between society and class. In a sense, several narratives concerning the postcultural paradigm of reality may be discovered. The subject is interpolated into a social realism that includes sexuality as a totality.

However, Sontag uses the term 'Derridaist reading' to denote a materialist paradox. The main theme of Sargeant's analysis of social realism is the bridge between society and sexual identity.

What a load of crock right? Yep, I didn't write that. You can find more of this here - refresh the page for a few more examples. I was thinking of enrolling in college and studying by correspondence. If I hand in a couple papers like that, I might end up with a PhD. Dr Keiser.... I like the sound of that.


I went outside today and laid on the lawn for a few minutes and sniffed around the quince bush. I also had a lot of visitors today. Declan and Nell came over (Declan is going to Brussels and Paris on a business trip and came to borrow a guide book on Brussels). Then Nina's human Oscar (who is the husband of Deborah - who is in Brisbane this weekend) brought his offspring Hugh over who mowed the lawn. Then Emily and Neil came over for a quick visit. I begged everyone to stay longer with loud meows, but I guess they were all busy.

My whining and moaning from last night finally paid off. I had rump steak for dinner tonight!

Friday, February 11, 2005

Arms control

I am a bit concerned about the violation by North Korea of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, although technically they withdrew from the treaty in January 2003.

The announcement yesterday by North Korea of the development of nuclear weapons for self-defence only adds to the tensions on the peninsular and the north east Asian region.

The dynamics of the shift in influence in the region will be interesting to observe.

A chip off the old block. Dear Leader, Kim Jong Il: contender for tyrant of the year


Merlin's human, Kim came over tonight and I enjoyed sitting on her lap. They had thick sirloin steak seared medium rare in truffled butter served with mashed potato and sweet potato with seared asparagus splashed with balsamic vinegar. I had a little bit of leftover steak! I was offered some fresh cooked tuna but turned my nose at it (didn't feel like it) and had my usual wings.

This morning I was feeling skittish so I played ping pong ball with my human before he went to work. It was a lot of fun - he would roll the ball on the floor towards me and I would bat it with my paws, that is unless I wanted to catch it and hide it under my chin.

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Thursday, February 10, 2005

Keeping your computer clean

I like to keep my computer in tip top shape. I ask my human to vacuum up loose fur that I drop around the keyboard, and to clean the screen on the monitor.

I also have a program, available from the internet to clean the inside of the screen. CLICK HERE to clean your screen, if you have broadband. This is really important as dust can also build up inside.

I was thinking today about post-modernism and Jean Baudrillard who is Professor of Philosophy of Culture and Media Criticism at the European Graduate School in Saas-Fee, Switzerland. If you have any thoughts on the work of Baudrillard, I would be most interested in your opinion (or that of your human).


Today was a so so day. My human told me that he's bought me some new towels for my spot on the couch, my spot in the study (when I am not sitting up typing), and my basket (when it is too hot to sleep in bed) to replace the inexpensive but really old Target ones. I really don't know what to say... I've checked out the new ones and they are definitely not plush pile Egyptian cotton. They are just more inexpensive (supermarket) bargains from Coles... sigh... I guess I will just have to dream about plush luxury Sheridan towels.

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Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Happy New Year (Year of the Rooster)

Today is the first day of the Year of the Rooster. I think it is a good year for us cats, especially if we call it the Year of the Chicken!

The Chinese zodiac (year) was introduced in 2637 BC by the Emperor Huang Ti. One legend is that Lord Buddha invited all of the animals of the kingdom to come to him before he departed from Earth, but only 12 came to bid him farewell. Lord Buddha honoured them each with a year in the order that they arrived. The rat first and and the pig last.

We cats were not so honoured with our own year, as we were too busy being worshipped in Egypt.

To celebrate the new year nevertheless, all cats should have fresh chicken for dinner.


Today was a very pleasant day, not too hot and not too cold. Unfortunately, I did not get a roast chicken, or KFC (which I know is too greasey for me, but tastes so yummy). I did get fresh chicken wings (which is usual for dinner Wednesday to Monday).

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Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Happy birthday (joyeux anniversaire) Jules!

Today is the birthday of Jules Verne (born 1928, died 24 March 1905). Monsieur Verne's imagination was well ahead of his time and he wrote some exciting tales of adventures.

The more popular of these include:

Voyage au centre de la Terre (1864)
De la Terre à la Lune (1865)
Vingt Mille Lieues sous les mers (1870) and
Le tour du monde en quatre-vingt jours (1872)

M. Verne was in quite distinguished company in Paris with Alexandre Dumas and Victor Hugo amongst his acquaintances.

Verne's works are translated into 148 languages, making him the most translated author in history.


Today was a warm day. I spent most of the day inside listening to the radio, and even that was boring. I did have some ham in the morning. Today is Shrove Tuesday (in France known as Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras), but I don't think many people ate pancake around here or had a parade. Carnival is a religious celebration celebrated in many parts of the world in association with Lent. Why can't we have a party too?

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Monday, February 07, 2005

Some music to my ears

Today I listened to the radio again - ABC Classic FM, and napped on the couch inside.

One of my favourite opera composers was on in the late afternoon, Gaetano Donizetti, with a short piece (Quanto è bella) from L'elisir d'amore. It is a comic romance, and very easy to listen to.

Donizetti was a prolific composer with 65 operas. One of his most famous is Lucia di Lammermoor. We have the full recording at home (the best one with Pavarotti and Sutherland), and I sometimes meow-ask if I may listen to it.


This morning I looked at my brother Fatty's photo on the spot (bottom shelf of the kitchen bookcase) where he used to eat Science Diet light cat biscuits. The space has been taken over by cooking magazines. It has taken me ages to finally notice his photo frame there. I think this made my human very sad. But he gave me a quick cuddle.

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Sunday, February 06, 2005

cat calendar anyone? not Tintin!

I wish to lodge my displeasure that the almost annual cat calendar (in the study where I write up my blog) has given way to a Tintin one this year. This has been happening the last few years now what with Turner paintings, or English Setters (a dog breed). Once upon a time, a cat calender took pride of place.

Not only that, but Tintin has a dog called Milou (Snowy in English) - not a cat. I think my human likes Tintin too much. He has all the books (I tell him they are comics and he glares at me), a watch, various old diaries, a telephone address book, the DVD box set... where will it end? He even went to the Tintin shops in San Francisco, and Brussels! What gives? At least there is a cat shop at Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco - where my little blue mouse toy was bought.


Today was another very pleasant day. It was not too hot and not too cold, so I napped for a bit on my piece of carpet on the deck outside (but secure and under cover - you can see photos of me on the deck above). I also had a big long brush, some ham in the morning, and went outside to chew some grass while the sheets were being hung on the washing line.

Neil and Emily came over in the afternoon today and they watched the first episode of 'Lost' (we are 13 weeks behind the US) and I sat on Emily's lap. They stayed for a quick dinner of hokkien noodles with teriyaki chicken and Asian greens (bok choy and gai laan).

It was a very lazy day for both me and my human. That's what weekends are for!

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Saturday, February 05, 2005


Today I have been listening to really groovy music from Bollywood numbers. Bollywood is a term coined for the Indian film industry centred around Mumbai (formerly called Bombay), hence the name.

I really like the song Rang Rang from the film 'Bollywood Hollywood' (2002) directed by Deepa Mehta. I have also been listening to songs from 'Haasil' (2003) by Tigmanshu Dhulia, 'Jodi Kya Banayi Wah Wah Ramji' (2003) by Raman Kumar, and 'Khel' (2003) by Yusuf Khan. Bollywood films are mostly musicals, and the song and dance numbers in them are really really cool.

Best of Bollywood CD cover

Bollywood films are now gaining in popularity outside of India, especially in the UK where many British people are of Indian, Tamil, Bangladeshi, and Pakistani background. Indeed the Indian contribution to British culture is significant, a legacy of British colonialism in India. Not just from words such as shampoo, bungalow and pyjamas, but also in the national cuisine. Chicken tikka masala is Britain's favourite dish. It was a curry created in Britain by Bangladeshi restaurants for the British palate, however, most pub drinkers nowadays follow up their drinking sessions with a hot vindaloo!

Bollywood is now global. The Guru (2002) was an American film (directed by Daisy von Scherler Mayer) with Heather Graham and Marisa Tomei which paid homage to Bollywood traditions. Bollywood rocks!


The rain stopped today, and I managed to go outside briefly to chew some grass. I also cuddled my human for a few hours while he watched movies and tv. I also had a nap on his tummy when he fell asleep! What a perfect day.

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Friday, February 04, 2005

The Eyre Affair (after Jane Eyre)

My human has been reading out to me The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde. The book was published in 2001. My human has been slow getting around to reading it.

The book is about a literary detective called Thursday Next who is after a mastermind criminal through an alternative 1985 and through the pages of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë.

I don't know the entire story as my human reads aloud to me most of the time, but sometimes he reads quietly and forgets to read out loud so I miss out.

Anyway, it is pretty exciting stuff with portals between (that alternate) reality and literary fiction. For example, Next (she is pretty cool) goes into the Jane Eyre novel and lives in Thornfield Hall and interacts with the characters except for Jane Eyre who is narrating (so that Next will not end up in the book itself).

It's all pretty neat, kinda like a book within a book (instead of a movie within a movie - like Woody Allen's 1985 film The Purple Rose of Cairo).

I can't wait to hear about the next instalment of Thursday Next's adventures in the next book, Lost in a Good Book.

Come to think of it, I haven't had Homer's Iliad read to me for some time. Maybe my human is learning Greek so that he can read the original in classical Greek to me! That would be exciting.


Today was also cold and wet.

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Thursday, February 03, 2005

In space no one can hear you scream!

That was the tagline for the 1979 science fiction horror film 'Alien' with Sigourney Weaver.

Weaver plays Ripley, one of the crew of the Nostromo, a commercial space ship freighter. The crew are awaken from a deep sleep by a distress signal. I won't spoil the film for anybody who hasn't seen it by going into plot details.

Ripley had a cat on board the ship called Jones. Luckily, Jones survives along with Ripley. Go Jones!

Jones with Ripley (Sigourney Weaver)

In the 1986 sequel 'Aliens', Ripley and Jones are finally rescued after 57 years of deep sleep. Ripley then returns to the planet to help out, after some problems occur at the colony which has been set up there. Thankfully, Jones the cat remains at home. Ripley rescues a little girl called Newt, and survives along with Corporal Hicks (part of the para-military team she was advising).

A further two films in the franchise were made and released; 'Alien3' in 1992, and 'Alien Resurrection' in 1997.

They are no doubt one of the finest examples of the particular genre. Scarey - which means that when my human watches them, he needs me on his lap to protect him!


I had some ham this morning. Today was also a very very cold day. I was very skittish and managed to play with a ping pong ball with my human before he left for work.

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Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Mrs Chippy the cat

Mrs Chippy was a cat who travelled to Antarctica.

Mrs Chippy and Blackborrow.

Mrs Chippy travelled with her human, Harry McNeish who was a carpenter, on the ship Endurance which sailed to Antarctica as part of the ill-fated 1914 Antarctic expedition with Ernest Shackleton.

Mrs Chippy quickly became the ship's mascot (she must have adopted all the humans).

The ship became stranded on pack ice, and Mrs Chippy perished along with the sled dogs when Shackleton ordered them shot. A five person team managed to leave and returned to rescue the crew five months later. McNeish never forgave Shackleton for the shooting of Mrs Chippy.

A statue of Mrs Chippy was erected last year on the grave of Harry McNeish in Wellington, New Zealand.

It was much cooler today. I woke up my human around 6.30am by my skittish running around, so he got up and watched tv.

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Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Another cat

On 11 December I mentioned very briefly, Lewis Carroll and Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and asked whether Alice dreamed the whole thing (at the end of the book).

I did not mention the most obvious connection of that book to us felines. The Cheshire Cat. Here are some quotes:

The Cheshire Cat only grinned when it saw Alice. It looked good-natured, she thought: still it had very long claws and a great many teeth, so she felt it ought to be treated with respect.

"Please, would you tell me," said Alice, a little timidly, ... "why your cat grins like that?"
"It's a Cheshire Cat," said the Duchess, "and that's why.

I think that just about sums it up. Well, except for some of the clever things that the Cheshire Cat says, but you'll have to read the book to find out.

There was a thunderstorm today.

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