Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Unbridled talent

Proof that if you practice long enough with a hand-knit green dinosaur finger puppet, you can achieve great things. Note that Schroeder displays an artistic eye and an appreciation of parallel lines. Good kitty.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Blog stats

A friend has started blogging about her family's sabbatical in Germany, and recently she mentioned that her blog gets a lot of hits from readers in Russia. How does she know? Blog stats!

I've contemplated writing about blog stats for a while, but have avoided the topic because it feels a little like I'm spying on my readers--which, frankly, is what blog stats are all about. Since there are only five or so of you out there who read this site regularly (how do I know? Blog stats!), I figure it's about time you know that the internets are tracking your every surfing move. Yes, Big Brother is watching you. Whether Big Brother actually cares what you do online is another question, but you might want to keep Big Brother in mind when you surf for drugs, grenades, fertilizer, and other illicit items.

Sometimes I spy on you too, dear readers--whoever you are. I know your ISP addresses and the countries wherein you surf.

Thanks to blog stats, I also know what Google search terms bring up my blog. I am pleased to report that in the past week or so, my blog was

* the #10 hit for "geeky cat toys"
* the #7 hit for "bsgrinder"
* the #3 hit for "mobius strip joke"
* the #2 hit for "trumpet spit valve condensation" and "nominalization justice kennedy"
* and the #1 hit (yay me!!!!) for "how to build a klein bottle out of clay," "top ass playing cards," and (naturally) "might oughta should."

Apparently I write about varied and far-reaching topics. The fact that my posts come up in Google searches doesn't mean anyone actually reads them though. How do I know? Blog stats.

Of course it comes as no surprise that my blog shows up in image searches for things like "diatoms," "radiolaria," and "klein bottles," but I find it interesting that my photos are pulled into the lineup by less obvious search phrases, which recently have included:

* "ceramic chicken of illinois"
* "chisel pottery with void"
* "glass worm lumber defect"
* "sneak peep"
* "twinkly candle holder"
* "trammel of archimedes what was its purpose"
* and "virginia bullshit grinder."

I am only slightly disappointed that my most popular posts have been on Radiolarians and Diatomaceous earth (these posts presumably disappoint science-minded colon-scrubbing surfers looking for useful information), followed by Bifocals (ditto; incidentally, I gave up wearing my bifocals shortly after I bought them, since I could achieve the same effect by just smearing Vaseline on my regular glasses). Next in line are Men in Lederhosen (gotta love 'em!), Kissed by the kiln, Correspondences with the Tooth Fairy, Chickens for the Cure, 2011 (note that Brunhilde, Desdemona, and Roxanne are still looking for a new cause), The Two Towers: a recitation on females therein (this one got a lot of hits because my famous filmmaker activist sister posted it on her Facebook page. I remain quite proud of my poetic prowess; I'm also a fan of the far less popular post, Grammar at Bag-End), Wheel thrown and altered in obscene heat (no, no, it's not what you think--people get there by searching for "wheel thrown and altered," not "obscene heat"), and Cone 6 wood firing.

Of course, if you click on any of those links, Big Brother and I will know.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The new bedtime routine

I thought curiosity was going to kill the cat, but instead it looks like curiosity is just going to break a lot of my pottery. Suffice it to say that I have never before heard a crash like the one young Schroeder produced in the kitchen yesterday. Farewell, nearly perfect green cereal bowl; alas, we hardly knew thee.

Fortunately, the finger puppet dinosaur is a good distraction for all of us. If we can't keep Schroeder out of trouble, maybe at least we can tucker him out playing fetch. We suspect he might have been a dog in a former life, but the jury is out on whether he was a very very good dog or a very very naughty dog, and on whether coming back as a cat is a step up or a step down.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Introducing Schroeder

After sweet Miss Maggie B died on December 2, Homer Wells became very needy. He started following us everywhere: into the bathroom to brush our teeth, into the bedroom to get dressed, downstairs for breakfast, upstairs to find a jacket, back downstairs to look for keys, into the kitchen to unload the dishwasher, to the front door to zip up a backpack, to the computer to check email, and on and on. Thus, after an appropriate period of mourning, we decided to alleviate Homer's neediness, and we brought home Schroeder, a 10-month-old pound cat who spent most of his formative kitten-brain-development months in a cage. It turns out that when you release a cooped up adolescent cat with ear mites into a 1850-square-foot house, he does a lot of frenetic, wild-eyed bouncing off the walls, 24/7. Needless to say, Homer is no longer needy; "resigned" is more like it (to his mature and patient credit).

Schroeder was so bouncy--and bitey--that for awhile, I thought we'd chosen the wrong cat. Two events this week helped him finally calm down: a second round of ear-mite pesticide at the vet's, and the discovery, high up on that dresser he finally managed to bounce onto, of a green and yellow hand-knit mama-and-baby-dinosaur finger puppet. Schroeder has spent the last three days killing that finger puppet over and over again, and when it comes back to life, day or night, he's ready to do whatever it takes to kill it once more. Half an hour after we go to bed, he leaps from the floor, lands half an inch from the only two precious eyeballs I possess, and proudly dumps the finger puppet on my cheek. Over and over again. "You've made the right choice," says his heroic and self-assured posture, as he impatiently awaits our praise.

Miss Maggie B was a dutiful cat. For the nine and a half years she lived with us, she guarded E every night as he fell asleep, after which she'd come back downstairs, relax with a glass of red wine, and get back to the hard work of looking ravishingly beautiful and begging for canned food. It turns out Schroeder has taken on some household responsibilities as well. In addition to boldly killing finger puppets, he routinely knocks the cover off the shower drain, snakes a paw down as far as he can reach, and ruffles around a bit, until he retrieves all the hair and accumulated gunk we hadn't known we were missing. Thankfully, he doesn't leap into bed with it and drop it on my face. Homer, now that I think about it, hasn't ever had a regular job, unless you count training us to carry him into the bathroom when he needs to poop (at which he has been quite successful--but then, we're pretty motivated students). Perhaps the right of Top Cat, which Maggie was and Schroeder now is, is the consequence of a solid work ethic.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Chickens for the Cure seek new cause

The runs were fun, but Desdemona, Roxanne, and Brunhilde are sorely disappointed that Komen for the Cure has cut off grant funding to Planned Parenthood. They're clucking about finding a new cause where they can set up egg production. Suggestions?