Cats and Friends and other stories

This long and somewhat discombobulating week has contained one unique highlight: fellow Blogengamot member and blog-commenter Arabella and her husband came to town! I have to say, getting to meet longtime internet friends is awesome.

Plus, they brought me books.

I am SO EXCITED. And my shelves are nearly full again.
Being sensitive to feline ideals, they also brought a new toy for Maia. Maia was much less generous and spent the whole time hiding. Naturally, she later discovered the toy and claimed it for her own without hesitation.

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Writers' link of the week: Randall Davidson's Crucial Proofreading Tips. Plain good sense.

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Music of the week: Les Mis is coming out as a movie again. It stars Anne Hathaway, Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe... what do you think?

If you want to hear the whole song sung by a quality voice, here's an option.

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Random amusement of the week: Gender Genie. It'll tell you whether it thinks you write more like a man or like a woman. According to its secret divining algorithms, I blog like a man:

Female Score: 344
Male Score: 509

and write fiction like a woman, but only barely:

Female Score: 1562
Male Score: 1541

I'm not sure whether to be confused or offended or just thoroughly diverted, but there you have it. :)

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And now I'm going to try and scrape together the rest of my day into some sort of profitability. Happy weekend!


  1. How awesome that you and Arabella have gotten to meet in person--two of my most favorite blog writers/commenters in the universe! I'm very happy for the two of you, your husbands, and Maia. :) Would that there were a Star Trek transporter, so that the entire Blogengamot could hang out.... Thus far, I've only met Travis, when he gave a talk last October at the Harry Potter and Philosophy conference I organized at my college. And since it was a busy one-day conference, we didn't really get to talk much.

    I don't know how I feel about a new Les Mis film. I loved the one with Liam Neeson and Geoffrey Rush, so it would be pretty hard to top that for me!

    Thank you for some more adorable gratuitous cat pictures--and for the picture of the marvelous gift of a box-o-books! Why can't everyone give such a great gift?!?

    1. Yes, it was completely wonderful. Arabella and her husband are a lot of fun. Great conversation, great time. :D

      I love the Liam Neeson one, too! Read the book primarily because I saw that movie. The thought of a movie version of the musical--which I've heard, but never seen--is a mix of nervewracking and exciting. We'll see how it comes out, I guess.

    2. Those aren't gratuitous cat pictures. They're integral to the blog post. Jenna would have nothing to write about if it weren't for Maia being in the house & having to be appeased by visitors. :)

    3. Haha, George, you should've seen her yesterday. Lou's older nephews and niece came by, and they managed to find her squirreled away behind a box under the bed. One of them must have tried to touch her, because all of a sudden she barrelled out from under the bed, top speed, and vanished under the kitchen sink. Another nephew opened that cabinet door. To the great surprise of the rest of our guests, she bolted away past him, attempted to trip up the niece, and charged behind the couch, where she stayed for the remainder of the visit.

      She punished us, I believe, by mewing and mewing at every door in the house in the middle of last night.

    4. You can never be punished enough...according to cats. Although that is a hilarious story. :)

  2. Arabella here--finally home and at the computer. I can echo that meeting an Internet friend with whom I've corresponded for years is amazing. Jenna is exactly as you read her here and at the Hog's Head--warm, kind, funny, sweet,and keenly intelligent--and as elegant and lovely as you see her in photos. Even her voice was as I'd heard it in my head over the years.

    We met at her pretty home; Lou was down with a miserable bug, but got up to meet us and chat for a bit, mostly with Rick, while Jenna and I toured her peaceful back yard; her garden is coming along well. Maia wouldn't show herself (perhaps too busy planning world domination), but I did see the famous taped and wrapped plant, and the laundry room, site of The Vegetable Wars. I'm glad she's having fun with her new toy.

    Jenna, Rick, and I enjoyed a great lunch and conversation at a charming cafe connected with a beautiful independent bookstore in Bellingham's historic downtown district. (In a happy coincidence, I bought the first three Harry Potter hardcovers at this bookstorewhen when Rick and I visited Bellingham eleven years ago.) After we perused the YA bookshelves together, Jenna treated me to an amazing book light--six LED lights across!--and a fridge magnet that says "Yay! Tea!" Given that books, tea, and good reading light are essential at our house, "Yay! Jenna!"

    Jenna, I'll soon be sending photos that Rick took of us. Thank you for having us, and we hope Lou is feeling better by now.

    Thank you, Carrie-Anne, for such a kind comment. It would be a dream come true for the entire Blogengamot to meet. Imagine that conversation!

    On Gender Genie, I submitted two of my newspaper columns, both humorous. They first identified me as a female writer and the second as a male. Their word selection criteria seems rather arbitrary.

    1. It was a blast, Arabella, and thanks for your lovely (and complimentary) description of the events. You two are welcome out here any time. :) And I'll look forward to the photos.

      Oh, by the way, Lou says the yellow stuff that grows along the highways is Scotch Broom, and that it's a noxious weed around here. Pretty when it blooms, but annoying for the whole rest of the year.

      Lou is feeling better. Now it's my turn to get sick. Blegh. I hope you and Rick don't catch it.

      The Gender Genie word analysis seems totally arbitrary! I wish it were explained somewhere, because I couldn't for the life of me figure out how the highlighted words were masculine or feminine in nature.

  3. Thanks to Lou for the plant identification. I tried looking it up and did see Scotch Broom, but couldn't get close enough to the bushes zooming by to detect flower shape. It's funny what we call noxious or pests. I think dandelions are the most cheerful things and I love them; Rick sees lawn takeover and spot weedkiller treatment.

    Wow, sorry you're now sick, but hooray for Lou feeling better. If we caught it, at least we caught it from great people!

    How does Gender Genie determine based on words like "the" and "at"? But I'm happy with style that doesn't automatically say, "you write like a girl." :-D



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