Thursday, November 30, 2006

Ode to a nameless cat.

I would be remiss in my spinsterly duties if I didn't feature my kitty friend early in this blog. My sister and I got her from the Humane Society a couple years ago when we lived together, and my sister gave her the lovely name of Sophie. Unfortunately, the cat turned out not to have the lovely soul required to bear such a lovely name. She's kinda like the cat version of Carol Channing on speed.

So a year ago when my sister got married and left me with the furry infant substitute (and went off to have a real live infant), I decided it was time to un-name the cat and start over. She has since been nameless. Some days I think it's pointless to name her at all. She's the only kitty in the apartment, and she never came when we called her name anyway, so why bother calling her anything but Cat? Other days I enjoy giving her a different name for each of her different moods, and she has many, most of them bizarre. She has been Zippy, Fido, Bimberly (courtesy of Sharon and Emily), Chinchilla Zest, Monster, Geraldine, and The Baroness von FuzzyBuns (or The Baroness von Whatever-seems-appropriate-at-the-time). Some people are very disturbed that I can't be bothered to name my pet. I'm sure she doesn't mind, but I don't like being thought of as a cat-abuser by those who visit me.

So if you're bored at work or are trying to avoid writing that term paper, here's a task for you. Come up with the perfect name for my cat, and I'll send you...a bunch of plastic rings from the tops of milk jugs. The cat thinks they're great fun, and I'm sure you will, too.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

One more schmo with a blog.

Recently I explained to a friend why it would be a very bad idea for me to have my own blog. For starters, the world is glutted with wiseguys like me seeking their 15 minutes o' fabulosity on the Internet. I told her (with some pride) that I was determined to set myself apart from the rest of the herd by being the only person on earth to resist the urge to broadcast my every hiccup into the void. For me, a blog would be just another time waster, I said to her earnestly. Just another ego trip, careening toward the oblivion called Nobody Cares About The Funny Thing Your Cat Did Last Night, So Go Do Something With Your Life Already, Spinster Girl.

So why am I here? Good question. For starters, I need an outlet, and writing is my outlet of choice. Why not a journal, then? A deep, dark Dear Diary in a padlocked box under my bed? Because I like attention. And I'm of a confessional nature. And I like to be told I'm funny/intelligent/insightful. Of course, there aren't enough readers left in the world to fuel one more vanity blog. I don't pretend that I'll get noticed or that I particularly deserve to. But I like the idea that I can attach my anguish/boredom/puzzlement to a cyber balloon and send it off. Maybe it will pop and fall into the ocean unread. Maybe it will get caught in a tree and birds will make a nest out of it. Or maybe it will fall on the head of an innocent pedestrian who just for a moment will become my captive audience. It is that last possibility that has brought me to this otherwise pointless blog.

In keeping with this realistic view of my newborn blog, I have named it "A-sitting on a gate," from the White Knight's poem in Alice Through the Looking Glass, one of my favorite books. The Knight tells of how he pretended to be interested in an old man he met, who was sitting on a gate. Over and over he asked the old man about himself and then proceeded to daydream about his own plans and ignore everything the old man said. It is the perfect poem to describe most blogs I've seen, and certainly my own. See what you (You?? who are You?? do You even exist??) think:

I'll tell thee everything I can;
There's little to relate.
I saw an aged aged man,
A-sitting on a gate.
"Who are you, aged man?" I said,
"And how is it you live?"
And his answer trickled through my head
Like water through a sieve.

He said, "I look for butterflies
That sleep among the wheat:
I make them into mutton-pies,
And sell them in the street.
I sell them unto men," he said,
"Who sail on stormy seas;
And that's the way I get my bread -
A trifle; if you please."

But I was thinking of a plan
To dye one's whiskers green,
And always use so large a fan
That they could not be seen.
So, having no reply to give
To what the old man said,
I cried, "Come, tell me how you live!"
And thumped him on the head.

His accents mild took up the tale:
He said, "I go my ways,
And when I find a mountain-rill,
I set it in a blaze;
And thence they make a stuff they call
Rowland's Macassar-Oil -
Yet twopence-halfpenny is all
They give me for my toil."

But I was thinking of a way
To feed oneself on batter,
And so go on from day to day
Getting a little fatter.
I shook him well from side to side,
Until his face was blue:
"Come, tell me how you live," I cried,
"And what it is you do!"

He said, "I hunt for haddocks' eyes
Among the heather bright,
And work them into waistcoat buttons
In the silent night.
And these I do not sell for gold
Or coin of silvery shine,
But for a copper halfpenny,
And that will purchase nine.

"I sometimes dig for buttered rolls,
Or set limed twigs for crabs;
I sometimes search the grassy knolls
For wheels of hansom-cabs.
And that's the way" (he gave a wink)
"By which I get my wealth -
And very gladly will I drink
Your Honour's noble health."

I heard him then, for I had just
Completed my design
To keep the Menai bridge from rust
By boiling it in wine.
I thanked him much for telling me
The way he got his wealth,
But chiefly for his wish that he
Might drink my noble health.

And now, if e'er by chance I put
My fingers into glue,
Or madly squeeze a right-hand foot
Into a left-hand shoe,
Or if I drop upon my toe
A very heavy weight,
I weep, for it reminds me so
Of that old man I used to know -
Whose look was mild, whose speech was slow,
Whose hair was whiter than the snow,
Whose face was very like a crow,
With eyes, like cinders, all aglow,
Who seemed distracted with his woe,
Who rocked his body to and fro,
And muttered mumblingly and low,
As if his mouth were full of dough,
Who snorted like a buffalo -
That summer evening long ago
A-sitting on a gate.