Wednesday, January 31, 2007

What's My Name?

No, I don't mean me. I know my name pretty darn well, and so should you by this point, given that it's at the end of every post and at the top of every comment. If you want to get technical and all-inclusive, with even the confirmation name thrown in, it's Karen Christine Genevieve Funk Blocher. At various times I've also used the nicknames Casey and Foole, and the pen names Casey Jensen and K.C. King, but that's not important right now, because this isn't about me.

It's about that princess in the two excerpts from The Mâvarin Revolutions in the fiction blog, so consistent and persistent in their utter lack of feedback or, for all I know, readers. That's okay. I don't expect more than a few of you to read it, much less comment. But I do have a minor problem with the excerpts, and the book they'll be in, and the two books before it, particularly Another Mâvarin. The Princess needs a better name. Here comes some quick background, and then the specific question and possible choices.

See, in Another Mâvarin, Cathma and Rani discover that there's a different version of Mâvarin in a parallel world, another reality. In this other world, King Jor married the evil Lormarte instead of good Lady Genva. He still had two kids, a boy and a girl - but, as in the Mâvarin of the first book, all is not quite as it seems. Unless I change my mind again, the official Prince and Princess aren't the King's kids. He knows this, and legitimized the Queen's children to avoid scandal and keep her happy. Meanwhile, he has two kids of his own, who theoretically have no prospects as potential monarchs. But that could change....

Now, Jor's real children in the first book are named Prince Carli and Princess Cathma. The imposter princess in that same book (don't ask) is Masha. I've been calling the Princess in the other reality Cathma Masha, because she has aspects of both characters. In the story her official name is Cathma, but she took on the name Masha as a minor act of defiance.

But Cathma Masha is a very un-Mâvarin thing to be called. These people never use middle names. So I need to change this. Also, the names Masha and Lok and Van came from Lokvi, the imposter royalty's real father. All are derived from the name of one of the gods, Lokvanishmu. Lormarte wouldn't be inclined to name her kids after a god unless she had a very good reason, e.g. Lokvi's dying request.

Here are the choices I've thought of:
  1. Just Cathma (Jor's choice)
  2. Just Masha (at her real father's dying request or something)
  3. Cathma with a nickname Masha, given by her real father
  4. Princess Lora
  5. Princess Cath
  6. Princess Carla and Prince Cathmi
  7. Princess Carma and Prince Cathli
  8. Some other variant on the original names.
Those of you who do read fantasy fiction, what are your thoughts?


Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Lights of the Museum of the Weird

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Snap a picture of a really interesting lamp or light fixture.

Well, let's see. I've already shown you folks the vintage turquoise and salmon pole lamp, the flower power night light, and the lamp full of Happy Meal toys. But if you think that's about it for lighting-oriented exhibits here at Casa Blocher, the Museum of the Weird, you're underestimating our weirdness quotient rather badly!

Somewhere I have some experimental photos from 2005 of one of our weirder vintage lamps. I can't remember whether I ever used any of them; they were for past entries about color and texture and hard-to-identify images. If I turn one up quickly enough I'll throw it in here. If, not, well, I'm sure your life won't be blighted too badly by its absence. (Aha! Found them!)

Here's another vintage lamp, which currently sits next to the Moses carving and under the Cugat painting in the front room. It's not plugged in; I don't even know whether it works. But it's still pretty neat, and in nice shape for a 50-year-old lamp, don't you think?

I don't quite know what the deal is with this old western-themed lamp. I suspect it was hand made. It came from a yard sale about ten years ago. It's dusty because it's on top of a room divider, not plugged in and not very accessible for cleaning. The truth is that we have more interesting old lamps (and some interesting newer ones also) than places to use them.

The rest of these are all of one or both of a pair or vintage hanging lamps in our den/tv room. There were rather hard to photograph adequately, but these three shots are kind of interesting anyway. This first shot is of one of the lamps as reflected in a vintage mirror.

This second one shows both lamps, plus the mod yellow-base lamp in my office.

And here is a better idea what the lamp as a whole looks like.

I'm still having rather severe sleep deprivation issues, so that's it for tonight.

1:31 AM, as the rain begins

Monday, January 29, 2007

Adventures of a Church Photographer

Technical note: if you're having trouble getting this page to load, try the following:
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The above notice is because several people have reported problems getting the Round Robin Photo Challenges blog to load properly since I added the code for the calendar and Eventful. They are on this blog, too, so I thought I'd throw in some generic advice in case anyone is having trouble. I upgraded the RR blog tonight to the new kind of Blogger template with the widget modules, which should help. The Outpost has been on the new template style for about a week now, maybe more. Please let me know how both blogs are working for you. Thanks!

Today was one of my periodic "sleep or die" days. After four hours' sleep the night before I went to bed from 4:30 to 9:30 PM. I'm still sleepy and exhausted, and I have a sore throat, maybe allergies or maybe the beginning of a cold. So I'm not really up for a lot of cleaning or blogging or fiction writing tonight.

Still, I've been asked to select thirty to forty photos of St. Michael's for the church directory, which I'm in charge of putting together. I haven't done much work on it yet, and I promised to start this weekend. You'd think I'd have a bunch of pictures ready to go, but it's not true. See, I normally edit photos for the web, no more than 500 pixels wide, usually less. For the church directory I need the highest number of pixels per photo I can manage. The photography studio's brochure actually says "no digital photography," but that's clearly insane. I'm sure they put that in so people won't give them low-res images.

Proscovia is in charge of the acolytes, including me.

But they do have to be printed photos, so I need to prepare decent versions of my original images in standard dimensions. I decided to start by taking a bunch of new photos with my new camera, specifically to get the best quality I can manage for the directory. The pictures on this page are resized for the web as usual, but I have large versions, too.

Getting a decent shot of the choir is always a challenge.

One of my ongoing problems is taking well-lit pictures inside the large, rather dimly-lit church. For the shot above I used the ISO setting that's supposed to take decent pictures in low-light conditions. It's not perfect, but it's not terrible, either. I'll know more about whether it's adequate to the purpose when I get these printed out.

Our verger, Toni Sue, is a friend of mine.

And that's another issue. I tend to edit photos so that they look good on my laptop. Experience has shown me, though, that photos I post here look significantly darker on a CRT (traditional desktop monitor, or cathode-ray tube). Judging the right tone balance for printed photos will be something else again. When Toni Sue was baptized in 2005, I took a few photos afterward and printed them out on my $50 printer. They looked terrible! I'm going to have to do some printing on my newer, better printer using photographic paper, just to get a good idea what's likely to work when I get them printed at Walgreen's or wherever.

The entrance to St. Michael's church is
half-hidden behind a tree-lined walkway.

And on top of all that, there are issues with just physically getting the shots I want. The photo above, for example, is probably the best I'll get of the entrance to St. Michael's. There are mature trees lining the path to the church door, and there just isn't any angle in which the trees don't block part of the view. I was pleased to find this angle this morning, after trying just about every vantage point I could think of over the last couple of years.

As for the photos I already have, the ones that aren't already resized, most of them are too dark or too grainy or both. The earliest ones were taken on the old Sony Mavica, which didn't have he resolution of modern digital cameras. Plus they're scattered in my folders of "My Pictures," on a whole series of CDs as well as my computer.

Guess I'd better start digging. But not tonight!


Sunday, January 28, 2007

Entirely Different Distractions

Starting the "Revolution" on paper

I did get the end of that scene from The Mâvarin Revolutions posted over on Messages from Mâvarin, not at 4 AM but in the early afternoon. When I mentioned this to John tonight at dinnertime, he said, "I don't even know what that [The Mâvarin Revolutions] is." See, this book is so new, at least past that someday-I-hope-to-write-this stage, that my own husband had never heard of it until today. For the record, it's the book that comes after Return to Mâvarin, which is the last volume of the Mages of Mâvarin trilogy (although it's all one story), which in turn follows Heirs of Mâvarin, my first novel, which is now in its 12th month in the Tor slushpile. Not that I'm complaining. As I've said before, I'd rather it be Still Under Consideration than Definitely Rejected.

Fayubi, King Jor and good Chinese food (not shown)

Anyway, I got the scene with Will and the Princess finished, and later this afternoon, just before my haircut, I started working on the next scene over a plateful of egg foo young. And why not? Both Heirs and Mages were primarily written in restaurants. Why shouldn't Revolutions emerge the same way?

But tonight I decided to check Making Light, and see what these people I want to be my editors have been up to lately. That's when I found a blog entry about a woman who promoted herself as an Editor on the Inside when she wasn't, basically to promote a $595 pitch conference she's involved with. As is usual with ML entries that uncover someone's scammy or scummy activities, the revelation was followed by uproar and uproariousness. At last peek the comment count stood at 750, of which my only comment is at #745.

Now you know what I did all night instead of Wikipedia, laundry, dishes, selecting photos for the church directory, cleaning my office, or typing the scene in which Fayubi visits Jor.

I'll try to do better tomorrow. Meanwhile, here's a nice picture of Tuffy that I didn't post last night. Tonight at dinner, John and I discussed Tuffy's age (which I just looked up - she's nearly 11 years old), and whether she's a Good Dog. John is of the opinion that Tuffy just isn't affectionate enough for his taste. Also, I don't think he's ever forgiven her for tearing up a couch, a loveseat and a strip of wallpaper when she was five weeks old.


Saturday, January 27, 2007

Reality, Edited

When I was in high school, I bought a book of cartoons by Gahan Wilson, called I Paint What I See. The joke behind the title is that the artist in the cartoon - much like Wilson himself - is drawing truly bizarre stuff.

The path of light is real. The colors and perspective are not.

I thought about calling tonight's entry "I Paint What I See," but it would be misleading. Despite my interest in photography, I'm not a very visual person. Unless I'm actively looking for a photographic subject, I'm not observant when it comes to the sights around me. Nor am I good at visualizing. Maybe it's my fairly extreme myopia. Maybe it's because I'm usually too busy living in my own head to glance outside it, or maybe it's simply that my brain is better at sounds and concepts than sights and spacial relationships.

Also, being no good with eye-hand coordination, I'm not good at drawing and painting from scratch. I'd much rather take a photograph. If the result is a little dull or boring, PhotoStudio will help me liven it up a bit, adjusting tone and color, and even adding special effects.

Here, for example, is pretty much my first sunset photo with the new camera. I lightened and darkened and saturated until I liked what I saw. Does it accurately represent last night's sunset? Not particularly. It's more interesting than the actual view was at Fifth and Wilmot, where I was experimenting with low light photography of the St. Michael's exterior.

Tuffy herself is pretty much an accurate
rendering. I just played with the background.

Mind you, I didn't edit any of these photos to match a picture in my head. I did it to create a picture I could then see on the screen. For me, it's not I Paint What I See. It's "I paint in order to see."

That's why I hired my friend Sherlock to draw Rani and friends back in 2004. I wanted to see these people in my head, and give them faces at last. I only had rote description of each, but I had Sherry draw and redraw them all until they looked right to me.

Speaking of Rani and friends, I had an idea today for another scene in the new Mâvarin novel, the one that comes after Mages. Heck, I've got whole strands of plot threads spinning themselves in my head these days. Question is, can I finish that scene I started a week and a half ago in the Messages from Mâvarin fiction blog? Probably. Can I do it tonight, bearing in mind that it's already 3 AM? Umm, not so sure about that one. I guess we'll "see," won't we?


Thursday, January 25, 2007

My Mom Dressed Me Funny

Weekend Assignment #149: Reveal Your Teenage Fashion Disasters! Yes, whether it's big hair, Nehru jackets, acid-washed jeans or an ill-advised tattoo, let us know what about your style as a teenager you would change today.

Extra Credit:
Are you kidding? Pictures, baby!

As some of you may have gathered over the years, I loved my mom very much, but in many ways she drove me crazy. One of our major sources of disagreement, and the one that caused me the most trouble in school, was the question of what constituted appropriate attire for a teenage girl in the suburbs. Her position on this subject was far from my own, and even farther from the norms at Eagle Hill Junior High and Fayetteville-Manlius High School. My mom was always in favor of me dressing in a ladylike manner, although she didn't put it quite that way. Unfortunately, her idea of feminine clothing consisted almost exclusively of what was available in Lane Bryant mail order catalogs. In short: polyester was the order of the day - nay, the decade. I didn't even own a pair of jeans until Joel's mother bought me some during my trip to Bethesda in 1972.

The staples of my pathetic wardrobe in elementary school were jumpers (mostly plaid) for school, and stretch pants to wear at home as "play clothes." In junior high the polyester pants moved into the school, to the derision of my peers. A blue or red sweater vest completed the ensemble. As the result of my frequent protests, the blue stretch pants with the line down the front were eventually replaced by other polyester pants (one of them was houndstooth), and polyester pantsuits. The one in my senior portrait above (which was taken in the spring of my junior year) was a relatively benign version. The worst pantsuit was textured turquoise doubleknit polyester. I think it had epaulets. I liked the color, but when my 65-year-old English teacher praised it I knew for certain it was horribly wrong.

Another staple of my wardrobe, especially in junior high, was the culotte. I liked the fact that it wasn't a dress, and yet I was allowed to wear it to school. This one was dark navy with white polka dots. Around my neck I wore a peace symbol on a leather strap. I liked this outfit just fine until I posed in it one day for a newspaper article about a dangerous puddle near my house. I had erected a warning sign asking drivers to slow down, since people were constantly stalling out after driving through the huge puddle. Kids at school accused me of wearing a dress to play in puddles.

Here's another item I actually liked: my blue velvet cape. But I wouldn't wear such a thing now. My mom was a great believer in capes and caftans, shawls and ponchos.

Dang, I miss her.


New Camera: Day 2

I've had a total of eight hours of sleep over the last two nights combined, so I'm going to rush this entry and go to bed. I wanted to get my next installment of the Princess and Commander Masan scene written and posted over on Messages from Mâvarin, but that's going to have to wait. Friday is probably a better night to schedule that, when I can stay up all night and sleep into the afternoon the next day.

As I mentioned last night, one of the main criteria I used in selecting my new camera (a Sony Cyber-shot) was its purported ability to take decent photos in relatively low-light conditions. Tonight I put the camera to the test in this respect. It didn't work any miracles, but overall I think it did rather well.

This first shot was taken at lunchtime, of chicken tortilla soup. It's a flash shot using the macro setting.

Dusk in the Unnamed Largish Company parking lot. The flash photos came out better than the low-light settings I tried. I played with the tone and saturation levels on this, but I almost always do that anyway.

One of the big frustrations I've had with past cameras is the difficulty in taking a good picture of Tuffy after dusk. The house is never brightly lit, for various reasons (older house, broken fixtures, sixty-watt bulbs), and when I use flash, her eyes get that awful shiny reflection that ruins the shot. Sometimes I color them brown afterward; this makes the shots barely usable. Since I pretty much only see Tuffy nights and weekends, I miss out on a lot of potential dog-blogging.

Can the Sony Cyber-shot help me with this problem? Well, a little bit. This was taken without flash by the light of a nearby sixty-watt bulb under a vintage lampshade. I've adjusted the levels quite a bit, but the colors are still off, it's still a bit dark and the focus is just so-so. Still, it's a nice mood piece, and I like the fuzziness of the background.

Okay, I played with this one quite a bit - for tone and saturation, despeckling and cropping - but even the raw version of the photo was rather striking. I love the shadow the dragon is casting here. This shot simply would not be possible with flash.

You may recognize these props from Halloween, and from one of the "mess" pictures from the Monday Photo Shoot. I have them stored in a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory popcorn bucket. I've tried many times to photograph this faux skull, but it always comes out looking very odd when I use flash. This is the best representation of the way the thing actually looks that I've managed to date.

1:14 AM. I've done worse. Good night!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

A New Camera, Macrobial Dolls

It's Round Robin Challenge time again! John Darrow of "Personal Effects," has come up with a truly challenging topic his time: "Macro." He further suggests arranging four 200x200 px shots into a composite, each minishot with a specific theme: texture (T), color (C), reflection (R), and newness (N), arranged in this layout:


Unlike Steven of (sometimes) photoblog, who is an expert with macro photography, I barely knew what it was when this challenge came up. Turns out "macro" is the term for the close-up setting (or lens, or both) on a camera. I think a macro lens on a non-digital camera is a large lens for taking pictures of small things. It's a paradox: outside the field of photography, "macro" means big, and "micro" is small!

Still, it's a neat idea, and a good chance to stretch my photography skills outside my usual comfort zone of landscapes and sunsets. And it was a great excuse to finally do what I've wanted to do for months: I bought a new camera tonight! It's a Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W100, with 8.1 megapixels and an ISO of 1250 for taking good pictures in low light conditions. That's important for me, because of all the pictures I take inside St. Michael's as semi-official parish photographer.

It took a while to charge the battery, so I got a late start on taking the actual pictures. I decided to use the composite photo suggestion, and went with dolls as my subjects. Here are a few of the shots I took along the way:

Three Skipper dolls and a Skipper case "reflect" each other.

My newest doll, a Happy Meal Lucy Pevensey from a little over a year ago.

And here's my finished composite:

Texture: molded plastic "hair" on a vintage drink and wet doll
Color: Casey and friends in their mod outfits
Reflection: Skipper, Skipper, Skipper and Skipper
Newness: Lucy and the Wardrobe from December 2005

Now, if you're interested in joining in on this Challenge, you're more than welcome! Check out the Round Robin blog for details, and don't be intimidated if you're not sure about this macro stuff - it isn't hard, and it's a lot of fun. (At least it is for me, so far!). Steven and John have both posted some tips. Check 'em out! I'm looking forward to seeing what you come up with! And remember, any macro photography is fine for this. For most digital camera, that means using the setting with the flower icon to take close-ups of small things. Got it! Good!


Linking List

John - POSTED!
Personal Effects

Carly - POSTED!
Ellipsis... Suddenly Carly

Janet - POSTED!
Fond Of Photography

Karen - POSTED!
Outpost Mâvarin

Dorn - POSTED!
Through The Eyes of the Beholder

Nancy - POSTED!
Nancy Luvs Pix

Kerrin - POSTED!

Julie - POSTED!
Julie's Web Journal

Steven - POSTED!
(sometimes) photoblog

Linda - POSTED!
Blah Blah Blog

Gattina - POSTED!
Keyhole Pictures

Brad - POSTED!

Schelle - POSTED! Welcome, new member!
Fractal Myth

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Snow by Day; Not Too Fine a Mess

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Take a picture of a real mess.

It's all right for you to criticize some stranger's mess, but the ones around me are all pretty much self-generated. I'm not brave enough to show you the worst of them, but here are a few dishonorable mentions: unfiled papers and other stuff on a vintage chair...

And a corner full of stuff that used to be on shelves - and will be again soon.

Last night's snow delayed some of my co-workers getting to the office, but not me. The bridges around the city (over various washes and rivers, mostly), were almost all closed this morning, so people drove around looking for a way through. But all I had was a five minute drive up Wilmot Rd.

And this was the view on Wilmot this morning. Talk about snow on the mountains!

The view from the second floor. Too bad about the flagpole.

All morning snow was falling - not from the sky, but from the palm trees as the snow and ice melted. No more snow tonight, but a hard freeze. We had about two inches of snow Sunday night. For Syracuse that's nothing, but for Tucson that's pretty darn impressive.

With all the people struggling to get to work this morning, I felt a little guilty about enjoying the snow so much. Trust me: back in Manlius, and Syracuse, and later Columbus, OH, I was thoroughly sick of the stuff. But when snow only covers the ground a couple times a decade, it has definite novelty value. John said he saw a snowman on a car - a car in motion, mind you. And my Dad called from North Carolina to ask whether I'd made a snowball. I didn't, but John did.


Monday, January 22, 2007


Well, finally! Through all my attempts this winter to take pictures of snow on the Santa Catalina Mountains north of me, I've secretly (or not so secretly) been hoping for this unusually cold Tucson winter to produce some actual snow in the city, seemingly for the first time in five years or more. I'd almost forgotten what it looked like up close. Tonight I got my wish - and then some.

It started as we drove to Safeway around 5 PM. It had been raining, and John noticed that the rain was turning into snow - just barely. Anything that hit the windshield was already melted, but in the air...yes. It was big and white.

We pulled into the Safeway parking lot, and as we got out of the car we could see that the snow was really starting to look like, well, snow. As we shopped, I kept hearing the word "snow" coming from the mouths of both Safeway employees and our fellow shoppers.

Back home I took a few shots of snow in the sky and snow on my car. Then I drove to work, admiring the beautiful, rather heavy snowfall as I drove through it. I got to the office safely, only to realize that I forgot my security badge. I didn't really mind - it was a chance enjoy the snow a little longer. I wasn't the only one, either. At least three sets of my neighbors were outside taking pictures as I left the house again.

When I got back to work I parked right next to the building, partly because there's no competition for the space on a Sunday night (the lot was almost completely empty otherwise), partly for safety, and partly on the theory that the building would shield the car from some of the snow. By that time the snow was actually "sticking" rather than melting as it hit the ground.

It was almost 1 AM when I left the office again. I wish I could tell you it was a very productive evening, but I had a few setbacks I couldn't do anything about tonight. When I got outside I had to run the front and rear defrosters and wait. The windshield didn't have all that much snow on it, but what was there was icing up, and the windshield wipers couldn't budge it. The back window was also completely covered with snow and ice. I passed the time chatting about snow with a security guard who used to live in Buffalo. Seems to me a lot of people in Tucson are refugees from the "lake effect" snow I grew up with in Manlius. Not too surprisingly, I no longer know whether we even own an ice scraper; so I mostly relied on the sleeve of my jacket to brush away what I could.

The front yard at home at 1:05 AM or so was a winter wonderland. The plant in the middle is bougainvillea.

The neighbor's tree was also pretty neat-looking.

I just hope John remembers to start his car well before he needs to leave for work.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention - I'm happy to say I got the sixth-most votes out of seven candidates for the St. Michael's vestry. That means I was not elected, but I'm told that I'll probably either end up filling a vacancy when it comes up or be asked to run again next year. That's all right. At least I don't have to commit the time right now. Several people told me they voted for me. At the last possible second I even voted for myself - I was on the fence about it until that moment. Meanwhile, Father Smith wants me to choose thirty or forty of my best shots of St. Michael's, and have them printed for the parish directory. The photography studio specifically says "no digital photography," but we should get away with the full-size, high-res images.


Sunday, January 21, 2007

Today, Tomorrow (and which is it now?)

I spent all of today either asleep, watching Doctor Who or cleaning, mostly just dishes and laundry and Christmas stuff. Didn't make it out of the house at all. Sunday morning - about seven hours from now - I either will or won't be elected to the vestry of St. Michael's. I'm kind of hoping for not. I didn't even get the church website updated this week - which is completely my fault. Nobody sent me the file, although I could have retyped. Will people gather that I don't "deserve" to be on the vestry, or will name recognition alone get me elected? There are seven candidates and five slots.

So now I need to make sure the time of the church's annual meeting is posted properly, and go to bed. No pictures tonight, except for one I took at Christmas, no going on about Wikipedia or time management. Then after church tomorrow I absolutely positively have to go in to work.

See you with updates tomorrow night.


Saturday, January 20, 2007

Those Mountains Again

Yes, I took more pictures of the Santa Catalina Mountains today. This first one I've darkened quite a bit. Do you see why?

There's just a smidge of that ever-elusive Southern Arizona snow here again, and at the other end, over by Pusch Ridge, a rainbow. See it?

How about now?

I think I took this other shot from upstairs in Accounting. The rainbow was either gone or not visible from that angle. Still, I liked the cloud formation and the way the mountain looked. Too bad the flagpole is in the way.

So I edited it out.

I'm happy to say that I got eight hours of sleep last night. Even though it's 4 AM now (I've been watching Doctor Who on DVD, followed by a Diagnosis Murder / Matlock crossover, SG-1 and The Pretender), I fully intend to get at least eight or night hours tonight/today also, starting a few minutes from now. Unfortunately I need to spend a good chunk of the weekend at work. But first I will sleep!

And the point of my fried brain recipe, Paul, is that I worked very nearly an 11-hour day at the office on four hours of sleep. Yesterday, and again today, I barely touched Wikipedia. The sleep part is absolutely my fault, but that long stint at work is just how it is for me at this time of year. It's only going to get worse for the next month or two. Unfortunately, nights and weekends at Unnamed Largish Company is not something I'll be able to cut back on any time soon. In fact, it's just beginning.

Good night!


Thursday, January 18, 2007

Scalzi's Cheesy Question

the CheesemanWeekend Assignment #148: Cats. Cheese. There's only enough room on the planet for one of them -- and you have to decide which stays and which goes. Which do you choose and why?

Extra Credit:
what's your favorite breed of cat and/or type of cheese?

If the question stated that "There's only enough room in the house for one of them," I would literally agree with that proposition. I'm not a cat person at all. Never have been. I'm a lifelong dog person, cradle to grave, through and through. What's more I'm very, very allergic to cats. They give me asthma and everything. I'm only a teeny bit allergic to dogs.

I'm not allergic to cheese at all. Even if I were to unwrap, handle and consume a piece of cheese, I would suffer no ill effects.

Figure 1. Cheese.

Figure 2. Cat. (There is no figure 2)

Not being a cat person, I have a remarkably cat-free home, even without Scalzi's false dichotomy. I don't have plush toy cats, cat pictures, china cat figurines, cat books, cat calendars or catnip. I may have a weird little textured cat figurine that came in a $1.00 box of auctioned junk, but I don't know where that is. It may be a dog anyway. Oh, and I have cardboard Kliban cat ornaments.

So you see, losing the feline species would not impinge on my life one bit. It would actually enhance it, because I would be able to visit certain friends without getting ill ten minutes after I walk in the door. Losing cheese would be more of a problem. John and I both like cheese. It's low in carbohydrate, and frankly, there are quite a few dishes that don't taste nearly as good without it.

However, John Scalzi specified the whole planet in his question, and I'm not so selfish as to deprive Steve, Sara, Sarah, Linda, Steven, Carly, Dan, Anita, Jacob, Pat, Julie, John Scalzi and a zillion other people of their cats. I would rather give up cheese than not have Elvis and Pickles and Lopsided Cat and the rest out there in the world...far away from me.

Favorite cheese: cheddar
Favorite cat: Cheshire (all smile no cat)


P.S. Two entries tonight. Scroll down.