Monday, 28 November 2011

More Two Photos

I have some more photos of Two, which Steph sent me. It is fun to look back at them because Steph and Dave visited only about a month ago but Two was so much smaller then. She is growing like a weed - actually I'm worried she is going to be a big cat. I want her to stay tiny forever!! She is just so cute.

Click the links to see the photos on Steph's Photography Blog

Two and I are the featured photograph for the first post of her blog's new feature called Straight Out Of Camera (SOOC) Sunday. She posts an image as she took it (straight out of camera) and then the final image after she finishes the alterations in Photoshop. It is really fun to see the, often very subtle, changes. She also gives a quick how-to about the applications, which so far have been way too advanced for me. I really need to step up my photography and Photoshop game.

Steph makes the best digital photo collages. She did one for Two, however has not sent it to me yet - though I do have copies of all the pictures it contains. I love the collage though. The little picture at the bottom right is probably the best for showing her true-to-life personality and appearance (when she is being quiet and sweet.) I absolutely love the picture with her around my neck, the fact we are looking in different directions is cool and she is just so pretty. The other photo of the two of us, at the bottom right, is hilarious and super gangster - "What are you lookin' at? Don't you mess with us!"

Right now, Two is again at the foot of the bed. She is lying on her side attacking and chewing up a piece of paper. She will chase crumpled up pieces of paper and also plays an interesting game of cat-fetch with them. She will bring them back to you so that you can throw it, she then chases it and brings it back, this can go on for quite a while. However in true cat fashion, there is no way to command her to do this and she decides when to play it.

Friday, 25 November 2011


I have heard back from my supervisor and second reader - my MRP passed!! I am finally finished my Masters, the paperwork is started for my graduation. It feels so strange to be in Toronto and not have any more school. I think this whole program has been one of the hardest things I have ever done, at some points it literally nearly cost me my sanity. Wow! It is over. Done.


Thursday, 24 November 2011

Today's Advice

Adjusted from a commercial for "Kourtney & Kim Take New York" . . .

You should not have to learn that your husband is in another country via Twitter.

Oh, the Kardashians . . .

Monday, 21 November 2011

Cute But Confusing

Two was doing this again just now at the end of my bed. She doesn't do it all that often, but when Steph was last visiting she captured it perfectly. I can't really figure why she does it or what it is she is doing, but she just basically flings her back legs around in the air for a while.

The Multiplicative Inverse Of Two
By Stephanie Beach Photography


I'm tired. I can't think of a post. I just wanted to wish everyone a great week and hope that I have time soon to get all the blog post ideas I have typed up. Best wishes!! (Christmas is coming!! Tim's was playing carols tonight.)

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Tim's Shift - Saturday Morning

Why right now sucks a little bit.
See yellow circles below.
(Click for larger image.)

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

So Close

I am finishing up my MRP, finally. It is taking some fine detail work as I go through each line and review each comment made by my two readers. It is slow going but I will have it done by Friday! Kristen has a countdown going for me on the whiteboard above our stove - "Freedom: MRP done in 3 days." I have "carrots" waiting for me too, things that I will reward myself with upon completion. One of them is sitting down with The Sears Wish Book and going through it page by page to make my Xmas List. The other might be a trip to the Dominican Republic - however, I won't even allow myself to research that until this paper is done. I am in the home stretch. Light at the end of the tunnel. Nearly there. Or any other cliche phrase you can come up with!

Monday, 14 November 2011

Crazy Tree

----- from Facebook
Photo Courtesy of Pakistan the Only Choice

"This was taken in Pakistan after the floods and given the scale of damage the floods did; this photo is truly amazing. Here's the story that goes with it - The Spider Web consumed trees! An unexpected side-effect of the flooding in parts of Pakistan has been that millions of spiders climbed up into the trees to escape the rising flood waters. Because of the scale of the flooding and the fact that the water has taken so long to recede, many trees have become cocooned in spiders webs. People in this part of Sindh have never seen this phenomenon before but, they also report that there are now far fewer mosquitoes than they would expect, given the amount of stagnant, standing water that is around. It is thought that the mosquitoes are getting caught in the spiders web, thus, reducing the risk of malaria, which would be one blessing for the people of Sindh, facing so many other hardships after the floods."

Find A 'Mo Bro'

It is Movember again and, just like last year, I donated to this great cause. The Canadian campaign raised $22.3 million in 2010. The funds raised went directly to Prostate Cancer Canada. It is such a great cause and such a cool idea - visit the website to find out more.

Friday, 11 November 2011

A Kitten Nap

Two Doesn't Let Me Rest
"I only lay down for a second!"
5:00am - All Night Marking
Self-Portrait Online
By Christine Sweeton

Aged Or High?

Throughout both my Masters and Undergraduate work I have had many 'all-nighters.' Recently, I discovered that I really enjoy working at night with jazz music playing. I have never been the type of person who can listen to music or watch tv while doing homework. In High School, Teri used to do her Math work while watching tv and I never understood how she did it - I would just sit there with the text book open on my lap doing nothing. Anyway, I discovered this year that jazz is perfect. There are rarely lyrics to distract me. It is soothing but not in a 'put you to sleep' way. It also creates some nice background noise so the quiet doesn't freak me out.

Kristen, coming home late one night and discovering me up working on a paper with jazz playing, mocked me a little. I have to admit, it does make me feel old. My grandfather absolutely loves jazz. We get a lot of local radio stations through cable, so I listen using the tv. I listen to Jazz FM 91. According to the station's website: More than just a radio station, JAZZ.FM91 is Canada’s only broadcaster and registered not-for-profit charitable arts organization dedicated to enriching the cultural, educational and community experience of their audience. The station began life more than 60 years ago as CJRT-FM, Ryerson's university radio station, broadcasting an eclectic mix of educational programming, classics and jazz. Then in 1996, it was transformed - embracing the concept of an all-jazz format within a non-profit, educational context and highlighting diversity and musical sophistication. This is all very nice, but still makes me feel old.

Then, tonight, a song came on with lyrics - these are quite rare. It is quite late and I am running on sugar and caffeine, soon to be infused with 5-Hour Energy Drink. I swear I didn't know if I was sleeping or awake. The song was just ridiculous. I kept listening to see if it was somehow a metaphor for something larger, but it didn't seem to be. At one point I actually questioned if I was high. Seriously, this is a song? From 2008 too! Yeah, I just don't get it. Click the video below to listen.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

A Ginger Female

Two is a little ginger kitten. Actually she isn't even that little anymore but she still is a she. When I first got Two, Kristen kept saying, "I thought ginger cats had to be boys" and I thought since she was a dog person she didn't know what she was talking about. Well, I took Two for her second vet visit a couple of weeks ago and the vet was very excited to see a female ginger cat since they are so rare. In fact the vet double checked the sex even though the previous vet had already confirmed. I decided to I should look into this female ginger thing.

In order to explain this we need to consider kitty genetics. All cats have 19 pairs of chromosomes, and like humans, cats have one pair of sex chromosomes. These are the ones that make them male or female and they also play an essential role in determining their colour. Like humans, in female cats, both sex chromosomes are X making females XX. Males are XY, the Y making them male. The gene which makes a cat ginger (or orange tabby) is located on the X chromosome. This gene is a recessive gene, meaning it will be overrode by other colours. So, to be ginger, a cat has to have ginger gene switched to "on" on ALL X chromosomes. For a male, this is not hard to come by, because males have only one X. But since females have two Xs then its harder to come by one that has an orange gene on each X. So about 75% of ginger cats are male, and 25% are female. It's just a matter of odds.

Turns out that Kristen was onto something. So it is uncommon but not really rare. However, I have learned to pay attention to Kristen's cat knowledge now. She had also mentioned something strange about calicoes having to be female. I thought I should look into this too.

It turns out that a ginger female is different than a calico (or tortoiseshell) male. To be calico, a cat MUST have two Xs. That is almost impossible for boys, as they are XY. That is why almost all calicoes are female. However, occasionally there is a rare genetic mutation that makes a cat XXY and it appears to be a boy. It can be calico, as it still has two Xs. Since it is a strange genetic mutation they usually end up being sterile.

So, Two is not a not a genetic "slip up" like calico males, she has just "beaten the odds" by being a ginger female.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Other People Write My Thoughts

JennB really should start her own blog - though as a public servant and a very private person it probably wouldn't work very well. However, she is often sending me awesome things to post. If she isn't going to blog than I hope she is writing a lot, she is a significantly better writer than I am. I know this because she edits my work and understands things about the English language that still boggle my mind - even after she explains them for the third or fourth time I still don't understand. Also, we have tossed around the idea of writing a novel together a few times, and her ideas are stellar. I still really love this plan, mainly because I think it would let me get rich and famous on her coat tails.

JennB obviously reads Always Standing so is really good and identifying things that I would want to share or discuss. Her latest offering is from Hyperbole and a Half and is both sadly true and absolutely hilarious at the same time. "Adventures in Depression." The few drawings with the little character lying on a couch are my favourite. The quotes that accompany those hit home - hard.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Steph's Many Hats

Steph got to be on TV the other day - she (or her hat) got caught on camera while she was on location as both as a participant in an awesome engineering project and as a journalistic photographer.In Ottawa on Friday, they started tearing down the South Side of Lansdowne Stadium. The company that Steph works for, as an environmental engineer, is involved with the project. One of the senior principals of the company requested that she come on-site to take some photos for them. CTV was part of the media who were also covering the event. So during the news for a split second you can see a white hard hat behind Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson (see red circle) and that is Steph! She was too short to get seen. However, I am very excited for her professionally - both as an engineer involved in this interesting endeavor and as a professional photographer attending a media event. Congrats Steph!!

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Two Helps Out

Binx and Two are very different. However, I guess all cats can be annoying around computers because both Binx and Two seem to drive me crazy. Binx once contributed to Always Standing by doing her own Blog Post - she was very social, for a cat, and quite connected to many of the people who read the blog. Today, Two decided to help me with my MRP. She actually contributed to an area of the paper that does still need a lot of work. Two is a smart little kitten so it is fitting that she would be interested in academic writing:

Sharpening My Mind

A while back I bought two used games for the Wii. (Noah has lent Kristen and I his Wii so we have one at Bayit now.) The first one I got was Mario Party, which Steph had shown me and I loved. Kristen had also heard of it so we played it often. Basically it is a boardgame - on the Wii. The second game was Big Brain Academy. I often asked Kristen, and others, to play with me but she never wanted too. I finally convinced her and she loved the game. It is lots of little mind games to do with memorization, visualization, etc. I can really feel it quickening the way I think. In fact, when I did testing with the Wii Fit, I get much lower age scores now because my mind is faster.

I like the idea of warming up my mind, so now before writing I usually play a game or two of Freecell. These are my current statistics, not very good - I hope my writing is better!

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

I'm Going To Lose You

I try to post at least every other day on Always Standing, ideally I post once a day. After my flurry of kitty pictures you may have noticed that the postings have trickled off, as have the visitor numbers too. My excuse is threefold: MRP, Illness, and Cottage.

I will be submitting the final draft of my MRP before the end of the month so have been working full steam ahead on that. I also have been sick off and on lately. I seem to get sick around Halloween a lot, a couple of years ago I had a cold and as a kid I often didn't feel well, but thankfully never had to miss out on trick or treating. Lastly I have been visiting my parents at The Cottage a bit more frequently which means less time spent on my computer.

I promise to pick up the pace soon and hopefully that will mean my visitor counts pick up too.