How to Pester Your Human

The blog Cat vs. Human is coming out with a book. Though I know I would probably enjoy it, it still reminded me of a few books that I saw on sale at a library a couple of years ago.

"The Basic Book of the Cat" seems normal at first. Scan down, however. There is also "The Cat Who Came for Christmas."

Many a cat book, there were.

In response to both the pending release of Cat vs. Human and the evidence of other interesting cat books, I did a quick search to see what other cat-related books I could find. Let's start off with a book geared toward humans.

Don't know what a cat is? What breed to have? What to feed cats? How to provoke them into scratching you relentlessly? This is the book for you.

Now, how about some books that are actually geared for your cat? There's, of course, the self-help/motivational book, "Who Moved My Mouse?"

After reading that book, your cat will probably want to personally advance its life and purchase this book as a means of research.

After a long day of work at its new job, your cat may come home and want a deep-tissue massage to relax its muscles and help it sleep for the remainder of the day. Thank goodness Chronicle Books came out with this publication.

And if that isn't enough, there is always cat yoga.

When Ursula Le Guin ran out of actual literature to write, she composed this, a "sleepytime picture book for the youngest cat-nappers."

Aching for a more historical approach? Try The Great Cat Massacre. You'll also learn the answers to other provocative questions such as, "Why did the wolf eat the child at the end of 'Little Red Riding Hood?'"

And, while you're reading about how Parisian printing apprentices hanged cats in the 1730s, your children can read about Cat Mummies.

Obviously, you'll be in need of more Cat Training Tips if your cat does this.
The Cat Who Sniffed Glue

Also, after putting stuff on your cat, you can teach him/her/it/them French!
The Complete French For Cats

Aaaaaaaaand, from the wonderful people who published Stuff on My Cat, there is also Wet Cats, Bad Cat and I Can Has Cheezburger?

And let's not forget the most screwed up of cat books ... The Cat in the Hat. Mayhem, he is. Look at that mayhem-making mammal, twiddling his thumbs. A thumb-twiddler is not to be trusted.

Why I Won't Be a Model Anytime Soon

I have a friend. (Actually, I have more than one friend, to clarify. However, in this post, I will be talking about one in particular.)

This friend...
1. ... has a daily fashion blog.
2. ... is awesome.
3. ... makes me feel bad about myself.
4. ... is a ninja with a camera.
5. ... is an awesome pop-culture fanatic/fashion queen whose ninja skills make me feel bad about myself.

I've taken a few photos with her that she later used on her blog. The first time, she snapped photos of me as well. She told me that this photo was a "detail shot," though I still believe she only wanted a picture of my chest.

And, since I wasn't good at the "stare meaningfully off into the distance without losing the aura of nonchalance essential to a fashion photo where you look like you are staring at something really important but really you're just focusing on how uncomfortable you are" thing, I grabbed an umbrella. And played in the fountain.

For my birthday, there was a group of five of us who met in Indianapolis for the day. We ate, shopped, thrifted, photographed and ate again. My friend, once again, tried to take pictures of me. I am an awful subject, let's face it.

First we tried walking down this set of stairs, but the perspective was "off."

Back at the top of the stairs, the lighting was wrong.

Thank goodness we were able to get a semi-okay picture of me in this amazing blue doorway ... of a bar. "Hurry up and take the picture!" I said through gritted teeth. "People with beer want to leave. Or get in. Something. Let the drunkards out!"

On the way back to the car, my friend suggested that I sit on this hideously dusty ledge. Awkward? Definitely. I sat on my leg to avoid the dust.

This was my reaction to "Damn it, Dawn! Take off your sunglasses!"

"Noooo ... briiiiiiiight..."

Round Three of Indianapolis Shoot: Dawn sits at table, doesn't look at camera, plays with salt shaker to avoid paparazzi-like friend.

"Okay, fine. I'll
try to look at you."

"This isn't working. I'm just laughing. I just want to play with my salt!"

"Okay, okay. I'm sobering up now. I'm staring off into the distance. I'm practice my soulful look that says, 'You know, I'm really thinking about having pancakes soon.'"

My friend says, "Your arm does NOT look natural!" She picks it up, shakes it vigorously, lets it fall to the marble table. "There! NOW STAY!"

What an awkward disaster I am. I really don't mind having my photo taken, I just need someone to tell me what to do. I also need to learn to stare off into the distance like this person. Or this person. Even this couple and this small child out-do me.

I also need to stop running into walls, chairs, desks, lamps, tables, kitchen drawers, TV cabinets and doorways. Perhaps my improved gracefulness will carry into the photos. If not, well, I'll always have material for making fun of myself.

The good part is that I do have one good "fashion photo" of myself.
One. Thank you, dear friend. I don't even mind that you slightly chopped off my forehead because, for once, I don't have Chronic Bitchface.

Of course, that moment didn't last long. Let's face it, I'm an a clumsy soul with orangutan arms and grasshopper legs. And, let's face it, orangutans and grasshoppers are not photogenic.

More photos here.

Band-Aids Don't Fix Loneliness

I've posted a couple of other "current obsessions" posts already. The first (which I threw together after a long night of doing research for costume design) is here. The other is something I put together just a few days after I got back to Iowa. I was lonely, wasting time on the Internet (unsurprisingly).

Ten days later, I say it's time for another.

First, I would like to start with artwork by
Steve Mills. He is a photorealist oil painter, and has sold nearly every piece he has painted. I have to remind you: these are
not photographs.

I've recently started following the blog 22 Words, a "collection of curiosities." Curated by Abraham Piper, 22 Words has been compared to "Frasier," as it "[tries] to be funny while maintaining a level of intellectual superiority." Posts are short, entertaining and often intriguing. 22 Words is where I found the picture below, and a link to Mr Whaite.

If the Johnny portrait isn't quite what you're interested in, Mr Whaite has also done Jim Carrey, Frank Oz, Jack Nicholson and Robert Downey Jr. illustrations.

While still at school, I saw an episode of "How It's Made." For most of the show, I didn't pay attention (if I have the T.V. on, it is usually just for background noise ... you know, so I don't feel lonely). However, I did watch Keridwyn Hershberger (that's a mouthful) make handmade soap. Her soaps, which are sold through the
Devonshire Incense and Soap Company, are entirely organic and are molded into perfect circles. Sign me up for a bar--excuse me--a cylinder of honey ginger soap. Yet another soap company that has been recommended is Sappo Hill, who offers three colorless, fragrance-free soaps. I know that the blogger who uses them has beautiful, beautiful skin (most likely because of the oatmeal soaps).
Devonshire_____________________Sappo Hill

At the moment, I am doing a lot of preparations for Vacation Bible School. This will be my eleventh year teaching, and I--for the seventh year, now--have kindergarten. The theme this year is Kingdom of the Son, a safari-esque journey through the Serengeti. Conveniently, the church I volunteer for also has a sister congregation in Tanzania, so I plan to turn this year into more of an educational journey for the 23 six-year-olds I have (so far).

I usually aim for high levels of interaction and application. So, on the fourth day--when the daily "theme" is GOD PROTECTS, I plan on teaching them about the natural dangers in Tanzania, including malaria. Part of our mission will be to talk about and make mosquito nets for the villagers as a form of ... wait for it ... protection against malaria-causing mosquitoes.

I've also decided to have the kids put together their own first aid kits, mosquito repellent included. And bandages. Safari bandages. Personally, though, I would like someone to make these beautiful fabric Band-Aids for me. They would be lovely on the daily cuts, scrapes, bruises and paper cuts I acquire.

I'll finish things off with 50 State Stereotypes. When I first watched the video, it had 520 views. It has jumped to 45,000 in the last few hours. Enjoy! There are many things that are true, I'm sure...


There are innumerable shadows that we bypass, their cloudy emanations simply replicating what we take for granted.

Shadows are melancholic images, composed poetry. They are muted, gentle, mellow. We walk past them daily, sometimes never noticing until the hours--and the shadows--are long.

They've distorted the blades of grass in my backyard ...

... evenly divided the wall of a gift shop in downtown Atlanta. They are next to us, behind us. Near and far, they begin beneath our feet and stretch hundreds, thousands of miles.

Sometimes, it is only the object itself that makes the shadow intriguing--a ghostly reflection of what we may find revolting in luminous sunlight.

At other times, a mundane walk though the cascading light destroys the intricate pattern.

Shadows are abstract, abstruse. We use aesthetic doubling such as "cover of darkness" to describe their potential to be frighteningly obscure.

Shadows blanket objects and paint them with an unrealistic dimness.

Shadows are made from seats ...

... stairs ...

... sunglasses.

These words, a hundred languages I can't read, seem salient, for they are doubled onto the sidewalk in an intricate pattern of numbers, deltas, characters, letters and omegas. They are illuminated by the late-afternoon sun, aglow with a shadowy representation of knowledge and culture.

It's like looking through a fuzzy window, searching for clarity in a fogged mirror. Shadows clog corners, darken days, dampen spirits. They blur vision, frighten us, heighten us. Sometimes we forget that shadows exist only because somewhere--above, around, near, next to--there is a source of light.

And, sometimes, we forget that they are a part of us, too, for they even come in the form of a shadowy past and indistinct memories.
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