Sunday, July 22, 2012

Genius Pets and Sammy

I've grown up with pets. Before Jazzy there was Tigger and Sammy and PJ and before them there were guinea pigs and a rabbit and a hamster, birds, horses and other dogs and cats. What I have noticed is that there is a distinction. Some critters are smarter than others. 

A whole lot smarter.

Take Tigger, for instance.

That's him in the picture there. Yes, he's very skinny. Yes, he does not want for food. Yes, we've taken him to the vet. Yes, the vet says he's fine. Really. He's just skinny. Like that person you're required to hate because they can eat a whole cake plus ice cream and never gain weight while you can't even look at a slider without gaining ten pounds.

Tigger is a freaking cat genius. He sets traps. He knows exactly how to execute them. He (and this is important in some universe) profiles his victims! That's right. He knows exactly what his intended targets are going to do next and attacks them. And he's still a cuddle bug. 

Mom has the giant plastic tumblers and she fills them with water and leaves them all over the house. You'll never go a day without finding one. Neither will Tigger. 

Tigger had a thing for sticking his face in the water and drinking as much as he could reach. The second he couldn't get to any more, he'd crouch down and start batting at the cup. Bat bat bat bat. Then he'd knock it over. You'd think this was because he figured out that he could get more water out of the cup if it just wasn't in the cup anymore, but he'd walk away. Almost as if he was saying "Yup. I'm smart. Deal with it." 

When Sammy was a kitten Tigger sat down behind a wall in our open floor plan home. He started flipping his tail up around the corner. He flipped his tail and waited. And waited.

And w a i t e d...

Until Kitten Sammy came barreling down the dining room and pounced on his tail. The second he did so, 


Tigger bopped him on the head. This was all he'd intended to do in the first place. He'd intended to get that kitten and show him who's boss from the second he'd sat down at the wall. 

PJ is equally bright. PJ is a poodle/bichon mix. The poodle is an incredibly smart breed of dog, the bichon was bred originally as a circus dog, and then as a companion dog for sailors. This means that we have a super smart dog who loves to get attention. 

In that picture he's actually saying "I could calculate special relativity for you, but you need to be watching or I won't do it." 

PJ will only do something twice if you trick him into it. Like sticking his head into one of Mom's ubiquitous tumblers. He'll stick his head into an empty one a couple of times and shake it around trying to get it off, but then you try to get him to do it again and he shoots you a look. It says "I think we've established that there's nothing in the cup. You are aware you're being outsmarted by a dog, right?"

But Sammy... Sammy's a different story entirely.

Yes, that photo is of a different cat. That's Sammy, my mom's orange tabby. No, he and Tigger are not of the same litter. They are not brothers, and the did not come from the same momma cat.

The only similarities between Tigger and Sammy are that they are both orange tabbies, and they are both cats. 

You see, Sammy's really really dumb.

There was this line from a cartoon I watched when I was a kid and one of the characters said "If brains were gasoline, he wouldn't have enough to power a motorcycle around the outside of a penny." That kinda describes Sammy. When it comes down to it, he's not the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree. When Sammy encounters the tumblers, he stares down into them and tries to figure out how to drink out of them. He hasn't learned how to bat them over like Tigger. So Tigger comes by and... bat bat bat. Water all over the counter and floor for everyone!

He's also really ornery. Okay, he's ornery to the rest of us. To Mom, he's Mr. Lover Cat. He absolutely loves my mother. The rest of us... well, we're obstacles in his path of getting to Mom. 

When we play with the laser pointers, Tigger plays for a minute, then realizes where the little blinky light is coming from. Sammy will chase that sucker for hours. The most fun thing to do with him is make the laser pointer light run under a bookshelf or the entertainment center or something and turn it off. Sammy will watch, intent on catching that darn light once it decides to show its stupid face!

Meanwhile, Tigger and PJ are looking at Sammy and going "Idiot." 

See, Tigger's like that kid you might have gone to school with who was four years younger than everyone else, but was also graduating class valedictorian and flat out didn't care. It's not like he was even trying. He just sat back and knew he'd get an A on that math test you'd studied your tail off for and were hoping for at least a B, and he didn't even crack a book. 

That kid was irritating, but you probably didn't have him in school. If you did, you hoped he'd either tutor you, or be the person you'd get paired with for the science fair project. If he was either one of those, that kid was your best friend. Mostly because now you got to mooch off his brains and if you were nice to him he might stick by you because you're his friend so you're guaranteed a good grade on every group project for the rest of the school year.

On the other hand, Sammy is like that one person we all know we're going to have in our class. We know after graduation they'll be either working at Wal-Mart or finishing every work sentence with "Ya want fries with that?" And it's not for lack of trying. They try hard to be smart and study for their tests, but the reality is that they're about as dumb as a bag of rocks but that's okay because they know it and they know it's probably funny. 

If they're nice, you don't mind because, hey, the world needs more nice people. If they're obnoxious and that person who doesn't know they're dumb and acts like you're the idiot in the equation, all you want to do is slap them or otherwise make them look very, very silly. You might have, I don't know.

It's most evident in their behavior when strange critters come to stay with us. 

A family friend's dogs came to stay for a weekend. They liked to chase cats. Sammy would jump up on to the ottoman and try to claw their faces. Since Sammy has no claws, it's pretty obvious how well that worked out for him. 

Tigger, on the other hand, realized that Mom had left a full tumbler on one of the tower cabinets of the entertainment center when she went to answer the door. So he waited until one of the dogs walked over and looked up at him from the floor. 

Bat bat bat bat...

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Things I Notice That Bother Me Slightly

1) When you stick your nose and smell an empty bottle of root beer, it smells an awful lot like bubblegum.

2) Everyone I know seems to think Stopped Clock Illusion isn't a real thing.

3) I always need less yarn than the pattern calls for. Like two or three skeins less.

4) A bad parent is someone who doesn't make their kids buckle their seatbelts in a car, but a good parent is allowed to let them run rampant on a train. FYI, this is just as dangerous as riding in a car without a seatbelt.

5) Pets are animals that live in our houses and get free room, board and massages simply for being cute.  (This is especially true of cats.)

6) Math.

7) Whenever someone on the train asks me who I'm knitting something for and I say "myself" I get funny looks.

8) Whenever someone asks me to knit something for them and I say "no," I get even funnier looks. Double points if they offer to pay for the yarn.

9) Somewhere out there someone will look at my list and say "Why on earth would you make a list of things that bother you?" And I'll answer "Because it's funny." It probably isn't but meh. I didn't have any other ideas for a blog post.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

An Indulgence

I want more yarn. I really really want more yarn. In fact, I am willing to buy a whole sweater's worth of yarn, even though I have two sweaters on the needles, a shawl, an afghan, a pair of socks, and the hexipuffs. Oh yeah. You knew that already. It's that none of those are the sweater I really want right now. What I want is grey cotton. 

Last post I mentioned that a machine made sweater had become my favorite, and it was also falling apart. Well, I've been looking at mill ends again. I freaking love mill ends. It started with my Raindrop Cardigan. If you don't know what mill ends are, allow me to explain.

When a yarn company makes yarn they have a bunch of leftover bits that don't fit into the balls and skeins they sell. However, throwing this yarn away can mean a huge loss of money since it can be yards and yards of little bits of yarn. So what companies do is sell mill ends. They tie these leftover bits together and sell it at a discount since there's more knots and occasionally variations in the color where one bit of the dye ran out and changed the color of the yarn before they could stop the machine and put more dye in. This is, incidentally, where the term "oddball" comes from since sometimes you can get an entire ball in the dye lot that is a different color. 

So, yes, there's drawbacks to mill ends. However, there are also some pretty awesome benefits. Like that fact that you can get yarn for a quarter of the usual price. Usually this is really freaking fancy yarn. Yarn that sells for $10 and $12 a skein for $3-$4 a piece. Same yardage, same yarn, same quality. But it's mill ends. It's like a perpetual sale on yarn. 

And now that I'm saying it to myself, I'm on my way online to get more yarn!
Creative Commons License
Help, The Stash is Attacking! When Yarn, Knitting and Growing Up Go Terribly Awry by Kimberly Lewis is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at