Monday, February 18, 2013

Drat this infernal illness!

Despite being so ill since about January 12, I've been making good use of my time. Although there is a great deal written here, you will find this post to still consist more of colors than anything else.

feb 009 - How is this
Yes, even pretty colors!

Writing has been difficult for over a month now, due to the constant congestion and brain-frying inflammation from a particularly bad bug that's been going around. (I mentioned the start of this illness in this post about hypno-awesomeness -- speaking of which, Rachel's wrist has healed, so she's beaten me in recovery time.)

It's true, most of my photos are not of an intellectual nature, but they are worth a fair amount of words. For example, the words that would be coming from these creatures that have occupied the living room:

feb 004
Example words:
Heather (front): Why do I get the feeling that there's... a third cat?
Christina (middle): Invisible Cat is... invisible.
Dilly (top): My hazardously long fur... it has a flavor.

Although my angry immune system has made thinking difficult, I've been taking a nootropic called Piracetam on my better days since January 23. With the help of choline capsules (which I've been taking anyway for deficiency reasons), I've only noticed positive effects -- and more of them compared to Ritalin!
` Hence, on those days when I've taken Piracetam, my schedule has been fairly packed. On other days, I've spent more time needing to rest and/or recreate.

For example, on February 2, I went to a fairly dark room to play with arcrylic paints for the first time ever -- explains a lot about the color scheme, doesn't it?
` Why did I choose a dark room? Because in there, $15.00 gets you a beer and a small canvas with paints -- and I didn't even drink the beer! Hard-core, right? Yes, now all the pieces are starting to come together!

Here's what it looked like as I was painting at the table -- minus all the cognitive reframing exercises happening off to my left:

feb 007 - Painting along at Mind Unwind

I had Christina's lean build in mind, and her poochy mouth, although in order to make it look more like Batman, I painted very small ears.

feb 094

Of course, the very non-Batman-like patches of color were inspired by Vada, who now has a square of unusually dark fur (orange and black) -- can you spot it? She's on her way to truly being our patchwork cat, assuming we occasionally shave off more squares of fur:

feb 039

Knowing this, it might surprise you to hear that the next day, when fluff-for-brains Dilly got lost near the house for a few hours, someone told me that the painting looked almost exactly like her. Surprised at this choice of cats to compare it to -- Dilly being so hazardly long-haired and all -- I asked why.
` The reply was a syllogism that went something like, "It's a painting of a cat, and she's a cat, therefore it looks like her." That one really threw me for a loop. What do you think, Dilly?

feb 087 - Dilly is so bendy
Sounds logical to me!

feb 012 - Dilly likes it!
Heather: How can you think that painting looks like you?
Clearly, it's supposed to be me before I developed an eating disorder!

Besides painting that one time (so far!), I've been out and about a great deal, have seen a few movies (away from my computer) and have been spending time with many folks who are important to me. Here's hoping that I didn't give any of them my respiratory infection.

When I haven't been either napping/staring blankly in blahdom/amusing myself, I've had many quite productive, Piracetam-fueled days. Granted, I don't consider there to be much intellectuality in cleaning and battling with everything from Under-Paint Mildew in the shower to Single-Pane Aluminum WindowMold, but it was all my brain could handle at times.
` (Also, thanks again, single-pane aluminum windows!)
` I've even finished a few books, and during two not-very great days I read Stephen King's On Writing and had it back at the library by the next day. Even when I'm at my computer, much of my time is spent gouging my way through emails, of which there are always too many.

Sorry, have I gone too long without a gratuitous cat photo?

feb 017
Our crazy landlords don't own the entire house --
these three have claimed the living room!

A significant part of this productivity is also from the time I've set aside (almost) each day to do a few small-but-effective things for life improvement (besides physical rehab). One of those things is taking at least fifteen minutes to learn or re-learn some piece on my piano.

It's taken a while, after years of intolerable living situations, to stop feeling that playing a musical instrument is a reason to dislike oneself. Now that I've been practicing consistently, the first piece I managed to get all the notes to is a highly abbreviated version of Franz Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2.
` If you've never heard of this song, it's more than likely that you've heard the music itself many times. In fact, the original reason for learning it was probably my aspiration to be more like characters in 1940's cartoons.

If you want to know what exactly I've learned, you can use this video of Adam Gyorgy as a reference: the version that I had available to me as a kid doesn't begin until 4'59", goes to 5'57" and then skips ahead to 8'07" -- a transition that you may notice is quite smooth.
` So, what I have learned so far is about a minute and a half of an 8'41" piece. The next step, of course, is learning all the rest!

Wait a sec -- cat picture?
feb 019
Although Heather is still the Incredible Shrinking Cat,
she still has enough weight to throw against the other three --
probably all at the same time! 
Not only am I also re-learning some of my own original compositions, but am most of the way through my own arrangement of the Star Trek Generations Overture. (Note to self: Watch the movie to see what all that music's about.)
` And, for the first time, I'm learning the opening theme to Edward Scissorhands, a piece so iconic that over twenty years later it's still used in movie trailers. As it's necessary to make up the arrangement as I go along, not having previously done so, it's going a little more slowly than the others.

And now, for a picture that's completely different -- looking at the distant Seattle skyline and Cascade mountains from a rooftop parking lot:

feb 020 - From the top of a Safeway

Also, for those fundamentalists who think that my life involves following Satan, I have taken this photo just to fuel their paranoia:

feb 021 - SATAN(tan-tan-tan)!!!
Also, Baphomet totally equals Satan, right?

It's not so bad, though, because when you sell your soul to Satan, or whatever it is you're supposed to do, you are rewarded with the most delicious chocolate ever!

feb 022
It's so delicious that the label is printed right on the chocolate itself!

And, in case you haven't seen enough photos of Christina and Heather:

feb 024 - Christina and Heather
I gotted the top bunk!

This month so far, although we're continuing to wallow in fog, we've also been getting more sun, and so the fog burns off at some point during the day. Now much of the time, we only experience half-fog, so that it is only us hill-folk who get full-on sunlight.

feb 038 - the sea of fog recedes

Also, for whatever reason, the tea roses are blooming in February:

feb 041

Did I ever mention that Puget Sound is full of Buffleheads? And cargo ships...

feb 057

Also, it would be fair to say that I believe in ferries making a good contrast to show the scale of other boats:

feb 059

In Strange News, on the 12th, I was downstairs, pedaling our crappy exercise bike, and couldn't help but notice a streak pass behind me and out the cat door. A little while later, whilst in the living room with Lou Ryan, I saw a Strange Cat creep up the stairs, eyes wide and watching me, pee on the wall, and then streak back down the stairs!
` Lou Ryan, who was ridding his muscles of tension so that he could move around better, didn't know why I was screeching for him to just turn around and look behind him and so didn't, but we determined that the cat was probably Hercules or a similar-looking neighborhood cat.
` I let Vada know about this by placing her near that spot on the wall, and she threw a fit, snorting and hissing at the other cat. To take her mind off of this troublesome fact, I sprinkled some catnip onto the stairs and she began carpet-surfing right in front of the other cats.
` The other three gathered around, slowly, as though she were some sort of freak of nature. Speaking of which, Lou Ryan notices another sign that Heather (who we still call "Fatty") is continuing to shrink.

And before you criticize me for this next video, I think that sometimes it's fun to act as un-spontaneous as possible. It's just that poor Christina does not agree.

This kind of thing probably explains why she spends so much time up here:

feb 071 - Christina's perch has a tail hole
Really, I'm sure the cat tree has always been her spot since before she'd lived here.
After all, she was the only one small enough not to break it...

Of course, when I'm feeling more spontaneous, I tend to visit places like that one where I did the paintering. Perhaps I could even sell some painterings there if I learned arcrylic better, in a better learning environment than a dark, noisy bar?

feb 076

Did I mention how many flowers have been blooming this month?

feb 078

Maybe that's because the only snow I've seen this year has been up in the mountains:

feb 085
The Olympic Mountains, as seen from my car, whilst driving down a hill near my house.
(I wasn't the one driving...)

Have I mentioned enough times that the Incredible Shrinking Heather's legs are becoming progressively more visible? Even when she's turned slightly away?

feb 089
She has the same horrified expression on her face, 
even without so many rolls of fat around the edges.

She was surprisingly agile to begin with, but now (despite her anxiety), she's been doing a great job at keeping the other cats in line. Vada doesn't like this one bit, since she now lives with a cat that she can't beat up. This is the reason that we say that we have three and one cats, rather than four cats.
` Generally speaking, my photos follow this same tendency, although in this one, I got all of them in the frame! And guess where Vada is?...

feb 100

Dilly, by the way -- sneezing at the bottom of this picture -- has had some sort of respiratory infection, much like myself. Lou Ryan took her to the vet today -- as I was really not feeling up to it myself -- and said that the veterinarian was impressed with her behavior.
` I was not, however, too sick to watch the first DVD on the inherited DVD player and huge flatscreen TV. It was the movie Dark Shadows. With all the criticisms I've heard about it, I found it to be funnier than expected.

Well, I'm about out of words. As that was the last photo I've uploaded this month, I'll have to shut up about them, and then come back when I have some more words. I do have a change in plans for this blog, so stay tuned for something awesomer than another paintering!


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