Monday, May 18, 2020

Yet Another Set of Pandemic Updates from Leia the Cat

April 25: Apparently, the human is having vivd and disturbing dreams. Today, she explained that in the event of a zombie attack, my job is to "create a diversion." I already have a plan in place for a zombie attack; it does not involve the rescue of mentally disturbed humans who are late with breakfast.

April 26: More meteorological excess last night tempted the human to sleep past my breakfast time. She discovered that she still has plenty of bandaids, and that my breakfast is not to be delayed for thunderstorms.

Update from Spike the Other Cat: very scary storm. I cried and cried and peed in the hallway. Mommy yelled but then I got snuggles.


Update from Natalie the Human: Both of these cats are damned drama queens. I miss my students. They may occasionally complain, but they never pee on my stuff.

April 27: The human slept on and off most of the day murmuring listlessly about "barometric changes" and "sinuses." While this means I regained control of my territory AND had a warm place to sit throughout the day, experience has shown that she and Spike will do something embarrassing and energetic at 3am tonight.

April 28: The human has been working on the cat warming machine all day, but she has also been sneezing, loudly, the entire time. I have three times attempted to make her desist by placing a gentle paw across her face, but this has not improved the situation. More aggressive methods will need to be enacted if things do not improve, as her "allergies" are disrupting the peace of the household.

April 29: The human rescued Spike from a very small spider today, which had provoked him into huddling in the corner and crying. Instead of killing the invader, however, the human placed it outside the domicile, explaining that "spiders serve an important ecological niche as they are necessary for the creation of new superheroes." Had I been quicker, I would have killed it dead.

April 30: After taking out the trash (again, with the stupid "Danger Zone" song), the human put herself in "time out" for tracking mud across the floor that she had just mopped. She also instructed herself to leave wet shoes on the front porch, "or heads will roll!" I miss the cleaning lady; she does not sing or shout at herself.

May 1: Today I was a bit bored, so I entertained myself by hiding between the shower curtain and the shower curtain liner until the human walked near enough for me to tap her on the foot. Her screams were gratifying.

May 2:  The human spent many hours typing on the cat warming device today, muttering about grading. Her only pause was a bizarre rant on the topic of "why it's always the starboard coupling, answer me that that? I know you can't; it has to be a design flaw--so much for 24th century engineering." I took her lapse into madness as an opportunity to steal the cheese off of her sandwich.

May 3: The human left the domicile today! Unfortunately, within 30 minutes, she came back.

May 4: Today the human was punished by the fates for not sharing her chicken with me, as she spilled a 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle on the dining room floor. Note: humans are pretty disgusting when they cry.

May 5: Another hailstorm, another overly dramatic breakdown on Spike's part.

May 6: The human attempted to bond with us today by discussing the best food to be found in the Detroit airport as well as a gathering place called "Bilbo's Pizza." I do not know what either of these has to do with medieval studies, but I do know that I am not receiving my customary Five Days of Intense Spoiling by the Neighbors which I look forward to each May. I am VERY unhappy.

May 7:  Today the human complained that she didn't have any wine "bad enough" for the traditional wine hour. Honestly, this pandemic has clearly given her brain damage.

May 8: The human, whose cleaning skills are rather weak in the best of times, attempted to dance with a mop last night while cleaning the floor of Spike's vomit. Naturally, she crashed in an undignified heap. After much overly dramatic shouting, she spent most of today in Spike's chair with her right rear paw elevated and encased in a bag of frozen peas. Worse yet, when she does bother to move, she does so with the assistance of two long sticks, one of which came close to crushing my tail!

May 9: The human left the frozen peas on a stool within reach of Spike for ten minutes. I spent the afternoon in the front bedroom out of range of both the rolling peas and the swearing.

May 10: The human seemed lonely today, so I made sure that I sat on at least one of her body parts at all times, including when she was using the bathroom. In spite of this affection, my dinner was 22 minutes late.

May 11:  Today, when I was trying to groom myself in peace, I was subjected to a rant from the human on the theme of "Why Starting a Sentence in an Essay with the Phrase, 'I Don't Mean to Be Offensive, But...' Should Result in a Grade of -2000." I do not care about student essays, but my human earned a D- today for lack of dignity alone.

May 13, 8am: I did not update yesterday because the human was boring.

May 13: By Bast's holy tail, what is Frozen 2, and why is it on continual loop?!

May 14: I have finally established that the front bedroom is Mine every afternoon--no humans, no orange cats--Mine alone. I need a few hours of solitude each day to preserve my sanity.

May 15: Someone sent the human Star Wars socks. The human attempted to see how they would look on ME, a decision she will regret at her leisure.

May 16: The human spent several hours this afternoon wearing a blue head covering and watching something she called "classic baseball." Then she sighed deeply and took a long nap, allowing me to do my nails in peace.

May 17: The human went outside today to "do battle with invasive species," and Spike ran out onto the front porch. After much drama, he ran back in, carrying a mouse he had caught. Instead of killing it, however, he released it into the house. Eventually, I had to bestir myself from my afternoon nap to kill it myself and deposit it in the human's slipper. Neither the human nor Spike expressed any appreciation, of course.

May 18: When the human took out the recycling today, she let a fly into the house. While I used the bug to contemplate the brevity of existence and the relative nature of time and space, Spike broke a glass, pulled down the bedroom curtains, and killed something called an "ipad mini." The fly left the domicile unmolested when the human brought in the mail. It's been over a decade, and I still do not understand why this household needed a second cat.

Friday, April 24, 2020

Yet Another Series of Pandemic Updates from Leia the Cat

April 16: Today was bright, and I was able to nap in the sunbeam in front of the door to the domicile. That allowed me to witness several humans leaving packages on the front porch. All of these humans wore masks. While I appreciate the effort, even with face coverings, humans are graceless and ugly compared to cats.

April 17: the human attempted to convince Spike and me that we had to walk only on pillows scattered across the living room "to avoid stepping in the burning lava!" She grew quite alarmed when we did not play this ridiculous game. I thought about indulging her. Then I thought again.

April 18: I do not know who Billie Jean is or why she demands the "moonwalk," but if I meet her, I will vomit a hairball onto her shoes. My human, incidentally, now appears to be limping.

April 19: Today was a relaxing day except for the half-hour lecture the human gave me on the uses and misuses of the apostrophe, a subject both tedious and unnecessary for an evolved creature such as myself. I have to admit to being surprised that this sort of thing passes for knowledge among humans.

April 20: the human engaged in something called a "primal scream" today. I engaged in clawing the bedroom drapes in response.

April 21: Spike incurred the wrath of the human today by standing in a bowl of pasta sauce to more effectively steal cheese. After a bath in the sink <shudder> the hair dryer was inflicted upon him. It did not go well. During all of this chaos, I, of course, ate the cheese.

April 22: the human heard something on the loud screen today and kept typing "face masks for cats" into the cat warming device and promising to protect us from the apocalypse. She was twenty minutes late with my dinner, however.

April 23:  the human "sang" the song "Danger Zone" by the execrable Kenny Loggins in preparation for rolling the garbage can to the curb. I am giving her my butt for the rest of the evening.

April 24: last night, when she SHOULD have been asleep, the human began stalking back and forth, pausing only to floridly display a single claw on each hand. This is a hostile gesture among her kind, here aimed at someone recommending "lysol injections" and "uv light to fight viruses." Today, I persuaded Spike to nap ostentatiously in a sunbeam, just to mess with her.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Pandemic Updates from Leia the Cat, 2nd Week of April 2020

April 8: The human has cleaned and organized the room referred to as "home office" today. She appears to have done this by moving all of the mayhem and flotsam from that room into another room. I really do not understand human behavior.

April 9: The human had three "meetings" at which she spoke into the cat warming device. I attended the third, interposing myself between the screen and the human and receiving adequate head scratching as a result. While I prefer the human's undivided attention when I demand it, the praise I received from the voices coming from the cat warming device was surprisingly gratifying.

April 10: Today the human sat around reading books. And more books. Finally I sat on the books and received appropriate attentions. Then she nudged me aside and went back to books. I do NOT approve.

April 11: The human attempted to lecture me today about sleeping and rolling around on the cat warming device. Apparently, this sends messages that no one can decipher. I will, of course, continue to do as I please.

April 12: The human arose from her bed at 3am last night, went into the dining room with a basket of old cat toys, and encased six of them inside egg-shaped plastic vessels. Then she wandered around the house depositing them in various locations. This morning, she attempted to persuade Spike to "find" the "kitty Easter eggs." Spike did not find them. I did not participate.

April 13: Today has been a quiet day, not because the human has finally left the domicile, but because last night's storm appears to have traumatized both her and Spike. Frankly, they were both equally useless today. I, of course, am not affected by meteorological drama.

April 14: The human cleaned the dining room floor today, which surprised me, as she has been astonishingly slothful. Having moved the chairs into the living room, she lost whatever mind she has left, draped blankets over them, and invited Spike and myself into her "fort" for "reading and self-care." The human is clearly completely bonkers. I will confess, however, to taking a peaceful 45-minute nap in the "fort."

April 15: The human spent most of today talking to various devices and drinking brown liquids. Eventually, I had to knock several devices to the floor to make room on the human's lap for petting and napping time. Attempts to retrieve the devices were met with claws.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Pandemic Updates from Leia the Cat, First Week of April 2020

March 31:  It is the middle of the night. The night belongs to me! This must stop. The human has covered her face with half a paper plate and is angrily shouting with some horrific, terrible musical soundtrack. I do not know who Andrew Lloyd Webber is, but I hope someone drops a chandelier on HIM.

April 1: The human fed us on time today, spent the morning cleaning, uttering only minor expletives about "damned internet connection," and then has spent the mid-day typing into the cat warming machine. Is it possible she can be domesticated after all?

April 2: The human woke up at an acceptable time today, but provided the wrong flavor food, something to which I had to draw her attention by knocking over her glass of iced coffee. Twice. FINALLY, she become aware of her error and provided a tuna substitute. Acceptable. But I expect better service tomorrow.

Update from Spike the Other Cat: Mom doing puzzles. Puzzles are yummy. Need to be washed first, though.

April 3: The human has started a new and somewhat worrying behavior. She has been asking the throw pillows "which ones of you would like to live in the bedroom this week? Is anyone unhappy with this sofa? Who would like to move to the loveseat?" She also praised the dishes for coming out of the dishwasher "all sparkling and ready to meet the world!" It is possible that her lack of contact with others of her kind is dangerous to her mental health.

April 4: A better day today. The human was quiet and productive, providing treats and even sharing her dinner with us. Has she adapted to her confinement? Or is this merely a lull?

April 5: The human is now referring to her living room chair as the "command chair," and she spent 25 minutes today explaining to Spike that his "position is at the ops station" and pointing at the loveseat. She also berated me for "falling asleep at the conn!" I am relentlessly ignoring her and hoping her hallucinations pass quickly.

April 6: Not much to report today. The human did not exit the dwelling, but did open all of the windows and shout "the outside be inside!" far too loudly. I was able to nap in the breeze.

April 7: So many boxes have been delivered! But am I allowed to keep any?! No! The human keeps slicing them into uselessness and removing them from the domicile. The orange cat and I do not agree on much, but we concur on the outrageousness of this behavior.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Pandemic Updates from Leia the Cat, March 2020

Pandemic Updates from Leia the Cat, March 2020

(with the occasional comment from Spike the Other Cat)



March 15: The human is acting suspiciously. She pointed at the alarm clock and laughed, then cleaned out the refrigerator. Something is not right here.

March 16: Odd behavior continues. The human fed us late today, and we had to check to make sure she was not dead. She has stacked towers of gooshy food next to the cabinet and cleaned the oven.

March 17: The human seems determined to erase my scent from everything in the house. Is this why she is not leaving the domicile during the day? Or is she trying to take command of my territory? I am concerned, very concerned.

March 18: the cat warming device which the human kneads with her claws and stares at regularly has taken on a new function, for the human now periodically speaks to it...and IT SPEAKS BACK. The human may be practicing witchcraft. She was also late with my breakfast again.

March 19: the human woke up and fed us at a reasonable time today, then proceeded to move boxes around for several hours. I am aghast to report that most boxes were CUT OPEN and taken out of the domicile, rather than being placed strategically around my territory. This human is very badly trained.

March 20: the human behaved acceptably last night, providing a warm place where I could bathe and do my nails, but this morning she pulled out a Device of Evil Noise and fed paper to it for an hour while Singing Aloud. I may need to recruit the Orange Fool into my new behavior modification plan.

(March 20: update from Spike the Other Cat:  Mommy home.  More pettings.)

March 21: the human persists in not leaving the domicile. I thought she was attending to my needs properly when I scented the chicken flavor wafting through my territory, but neither my Significant Looks nor the Orange One's desperate pleas persuaded her to share her bounty. Bereft, the Orange one deposited a hairball in the human's bed.

March 22: if the human is going to stay home, she WILL learn to behave properly. I will knock over a fifth glass of iced tea if she has not learned from the first four.

March 23: the crisis intensifies. I thought the human was finally leaving the domicile today and returning to her usual habits. However, just as I was feeling relief that my tactics had borne fruit, she picked me up, deposited me in the mobile prison cell and took me to the vet! I will not detail the indignities I endured there. I'm not sure how much more of this I can take.

(March 23: Update from Spike the Other Cat: my sister went away today. It was sad. She came back! I jumped on her. She smacked me. Now I am happy.)

March 24: the human is STILL here, and she is really getting on my nerves. Not only does she persist in talking to me and to the orange cat whenever she sees us, even if I am clearly set upon other business, but she also talks to inanimate objects. I do not know if she has always been this way or she is going slowly mad, but if I hear her call, "Missing coffee cup, where are you?" one more time, there will be blood.

March 25: Things improved slightly yesterday, as the human installed a new light-and-noise machine under my supervision. The orange one attempted to hand tools to the human, but because he does not have opposable thumbs, this resulted in tools rolling under the sofa. I took great satisfaction in watching the human crawl on her belly to reach things, mewling pathetically the entire time. Such theater makes our joint confinement much more palatable.

(March 25: update from Spike the Other Cat: Fun!  Fun!  I help.  Chase tail.  Help more. Nice nap.)

March 26: the human attempted to nap through dinnertime yesterday. While I respect the nap as vital to the mental health of any being attempting to struggle through this universe, I have had enough of late meals. I climbed upon the human's head and spread out my fur. She awoke in a panic and promptly provided the appropriate wet food. Honestly, we could just avoid this kind of unpleasantness if she budgeted her time more effectively.

March 27: She has put BOOKS in my napping spot! Fortunately, I am not so old and weak that I cannot clear my spot myself. Loudly.

March 28: the human is determined to remove my scent from ALL of the fluffy blankets. I am determined to sleep in the basket where the un-felined blankets are folded until one of us surrenders to the inevitable.

March 29: the human did not feed us until 10:00 AM! I do not feel at all sorry that she slipped in cat vomit leaving her bedroom. She simply MUST LEARN.

March 30: Things have escalated here. Last evening, during what is clear Feline Dominance Time, when humans are supposed to be asleep in their dens, my human, may her fur be forever tangled, turned on the Loud Noise Machine and began singing the songs of her kind while gyrating through the house. Periodically, she would spot Spike or myself and exclaim, "Hands up, Kitties! It's time to rock this pandemic!" My nerves are shattered, absolutely shattered.

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Rise of Skywalker: Likes, Dislikes, and Don't Cares

Ah, so I have received two requests that I get off my derriere and post my thoughts on Rise of Skywalker.  I warn you: some of you will be disappointed.  I do not care that much about continuity or how the force works or anything in Star Wars.  Star Wars has never felt like real science fiction to me, and I don't expect or demand much from it.  I like it to have strong female characters (who don't "die of a broken heart") and some mildly cool scenes that don't center around the edge-of-your-seat tensions of a trade embargo.  I appreciate the increased racial diversity in this recent trilogy, and I detest Joseph Campbell-style jungian-lite symbolism, so my childhood was not "destroyed" by Luke getting all crotchety.

So here is a list of my Likes, Dislikes, and Things I Don't Care About in this last film.


  • Rey calling Leia “master”
  • Poe and Finn wondering if Rey uses the Force to change them into friendly dinks like she does with the stormtroopers
  • Leia’s lightsaber
  • Chewy’s genuine devastation when Leia dies
  • Chewy finally getting his medal
  • Poe having to admit he was a spice dealer and Finn harassing him about it
  • Threepio just being Threepio, film after film, as if he’s the way Anakin accidentally brought balance to the franchise
  • Finn trying desperately to hold onto Rey and help her against Kylo Ren
  • Kylo Ren finally dying
  • Rey hearing the voices of all the jedi
  • Rey using two lightsabers, Ahsoka Tano-style, to destroy Palpatine
  • The last scene on Tatooine
  • Babu Frik


  • Avoiding a romance between Poe and Finn and substituting a blink-and-you-missed it kiss for two other characters instead
  • Rose’s character not getting enough screen time
  • Luke and Leia not telling Rey she’s a Palpatine even though Obi-wan and Yoda not telling them they are Vader’s kids totally screwed them up for decades
  • Kylo Ren getting redemption
  • Kylo and Rey kissing—ick!
Things I Don’t Care About Because This Is Star Wars and Things Have Not Made Sense Since “Parsec” Was a Measure of Time and the Death Star Could Be Destroyed with One Shot No Matter How Much They Tried to Fix These Things Later, This Is Not Real Science Fiction Please Get Ahold of Yourself

  • The Millennium Falcon skipping around in lightspeed or whatever
  • Palpatine somehow finding enough kyber crystals to make a thousand death star lasers
  • Threepio not just piloting the ship to the place described on the knife if he can’t translate sith language
  • A “dyad in the force”
  • Palpatine hanging from a big hook

Friday, December 27, 2019

The Mandalorian, Episode 6

Well, while many people are viciously arguing about the Rise of Skywalker, I have returned from a visit with family in the mood to review another episode of the Mandalorian.

Mandalorian 6:  “The Prisoner”

Opening with a shot of the ship, which looks a bit like a waffle iron.  Or maybe a retro iron?  Oh, that reminds me of Hardware Wars!  Does anyone else remember Hardware Wars?  That was funny stuff.

Okay, this guy has lots of hair…he is Santa?  Hagrid?  No, his name is Ran.  He speaks with false casualness, like a drug dealer or a mob boss.

Ah, the “ship is part of the deal.”  Or not.  Whatever. “Mando” is going to do a “job” for this guy; jobs for him are “target practice.”  They did “crazy stuff” back in the day.  Wow.   This is not a subtle performance.  Apparently, the Mandalorian was a bad guy in his youth and hung out with bad company, like Henry IV or Han Solo.  Except both of those characters had a sense of humor.

The Mandalorian does not have a sense of humor.

 Okay, so this Red Guy, a Devaronian (his species was first seen in the Cantina bar, in the original Star Wars) seems to have just insulted the Mandalorian’s manhood.  Xi’an, a Twi’lek, has sharp teeth and a sharp knife, and I think this is supposed to be sexual tension.  And…Red Guy calls the Mandalorian “tiny”—that was definitely a penis joke.  Or a penis reference, anyway.  

There are no jokes here.

There is a bug guy droid named Zero, and they are all going to break someone out of a New Republic prison ship; so now they’re going to be bad guys for real.  But it’s okay because…the prison ship is manned by droids?  Oh, right, the Mandalorian hates droids.  Even though he looks and sounds like an automaton. 

I’m starting to wish R2 would show up and zap the Mandalorian a few times.

They find Baby Yoda and think it is a pet.  The Mandaorian does not correct them.  He does not want to draw attention to Baby Yoda, obviously.  Can these mercenaries resist the cuteness of Baby Yoda?  No one can, not really.

Several minutes of boring posturing gives me time to look up how to spell Xi’an’s name.  Then we get to the ship, and the bug droid disables various security measures, letting our…um…our villiains break into the ship.  It is sleek and white inside, completely the opposite of every single ship on The Expanse, which, frankly, I’d rather be watching.

Here is one of those tiny rolling droids like the one Chewbacca growls at on the Death Star.  The red guy shoots this one, activating security defenses and proving, once again, that intellect is not highly valued among these characters.

The Mandalorian gets to shoot some droids, indulging his major character trait.  Woo-hoo!
So there is a person, a human person, on this ship.  And our villains immediately begin to make fun of his clothing.   I did not see that coming.  To be honest, it’s pretty ugly; that is not a fashionable shade of blue.  

After the vicious sartorial taunting, they start arguing among themselves while the guy in blue tries not to wet himself.  The Mandalorian tells the others they can’t kill the badly dressed, as he is not a droid, and he himself only enjoys the killing of droids; they argue until Xi’an knocks out the unfashionable human, but he sets off a beeper that will signal the New Republic.  This means they are running out of time, so they start some fires and blow stuff up, and finally get to the right cell.

Inside is Quinn, Xi’an’s brother.  He does not seem worth all this trouble.

Okay, now everyone has spit up and is hunting each other through the ships.  Quinn is obviously an asshole like the rest of them.  The dumb devaronian tries to take off the Mandalorian’s helmet, which we know won’t happen.  It appears that we are now watching an elaborate game of hide-and-seek; even the nice white corridors of the New Republic ship start to flash red, which is kind of annoying.

Bug droid meets baby Yoda and aims a blaster at him, while Baby Yoda lifts his little hand to lay some force action on his ass. He looks at his hand curiously when the Bug Droid is shot, but it's the Mandalorian fulfilling his primary function again…bummer.  Some force blasts would be fun.

The Mandalorian takes Quinn to the hairy guy; everyone else is probably dead.  As will be these guys since the Mandalorian left the beeper / homing device with them.  Yes, here comes a squad of x-wings to blow them up.  Mandalorian gets paid. He flies away and lets Baby Yoda play with a little knob or something. 

The last scene shows all of the bad guys on a New Republic prison ship, so the Mandalorian did not kill them after all.  And…that’s the end.

Another reviewer has said that this seems to be a show about nothing, with no arc and not enough character development to be interesting episodically.  I confess that so far I agree.

Except for Baby Yoda. Baby Yoda is cool.  The next episode features Pig Nolte again, though, so maybe it will be better.