Wenesday Cat Blogging?

Time for another long-delayed update.

And this one's about Tigger.

Here's Tigger's story.

We live on a farm, on a road of farms. A few doors down, one of our neighbours has a large number of cats who roam free. Thus, the area has a lot of cats. And some bastard decided this was an ideal way of getting rid of a cat who was, no doubt, bought as a kitten as a Christmas gift for some child. He was obviously domesticated. He was completly calm around people and knew what doors are for. He kept trying to come inside the house and even managed it a few times, much to the consternation of Loki.

In this photo he had been around for a few months and we were heading towards winter. In fact, this was the day of the first, light snowfall. He is complaining about the white stuff falling from the sky.

Tigger caught worms from one of the other cats, so we managed to get him to the vets where a quick injection resulted in a dead worm on our doorstep the next morning.

As the weather got colder, it became apparent that he wasn't having a good time of it. So I built him a shelter.

You probably saw the how-to on this doing the rounds on social media. A tote, a styrofoam cooler, some straw, and a sharp knife and you get a little place to get out of the worst of the weather.

But winter got worse. Kentucky broke the snowfall record, and then broke it again in the same month. Temperatures fell as we suffered through the worst winter in decades.

The neighbour's cats had a barn to shelter in. Tigger had only the shelter I had made for him.

And he was not doing well.

Tigger was clearly sick. He had horrible diarrhea and was losing weight. His inner eyelids were visible--really not a good sign in a cat--to the point where he was obviously having trouble seeing. So we took the decision to bring him inside. We put aside a room for him, gave him a constant supply of food and water, and a litter box. He immediately knew what it was for. Like I said, he had spent time indoors before someone kicked him out.

We took him to the vet. The biggest concern was dealing with his diarrhea. The vet tried everything. Antibiotics did nothing. A steroid injection briefly dealt with it, but an extended course failed to clear it up. We tried probiotics, thinking that the antibiotics could have interfered with the bacteria in his gut. Nothing. Then I noticed another worm in his stool. The vet was astounded. The shot he had given Tigger previously should have protected him from worms for up to six months.

The vet administered another shot, along with two pills to give him before we went to bed.

The next morning his litter box looked like a plate of spaghetti. Huge segmented worms. Tiny whip-like worms. All dead. Two days later, Tigger's diarrhea was history. Within a week he was back to what we call "rude health" in my country.

In fact, he had bounced back so well that we were able to book him in to be neutered. After a week's recovery he was cautiously let out into the house proper, where he met Loki.

Things went well for a few hours, but we had to remind ourselves that Tigger is still barely an adult cat, wheras Loki is an old man. Tigger wants to play, Loki wants to lay in the sun and relax.

So Tigger keeps jumping on Loki and Loki reponds with a swift slap. No claws--yet--but sometimes it gets rambunctious and Tigger gets put in his room for a time-out.

We've progressed to the point of uneasy truce.

Tigger rarely gets a time-out, Loki is holding his own, and we have, apparently, now given forever homes to two strays.

Loki is still not sure about his new brother, but he's getting used to having an energetic ball of fur trying to play with him at all hours.

He's learning that he has to share the bed and the sunny spot by the back door, though his cat bed he defends with vigour. He has to share the back of the sofa, but he still sleeps pressed up against my side at night.

He's even found a few places around the house where he can take shelter from the mad ginger one.

He's not happy about it, though.

I have yet to capture them both in the same photograph.


It's been a while...

It has. I started this blog with the intent of publishing something every day. And, for a while, I kept it up. Then it started to slide and, eventually, I gave it up altogether.

But I am nothing if not consistently inconsistent, so I decided to come back. This may or may not last, according to my whims. And that may or may not be true.

So, what's been going on?

Well, I am still married to the most wonderful woman in the world. That's a small miracle, given the times, but even more so given who the most wonderful woman in the world is married to. How she puts up with me, I have no idea. I am, however, grateful that she does.

New book. Renegade. And I'm working on the next, called Scrapper.

Loki is still around, growing fat and lazy and ever more entitled and pampered.

We have a new Doctor, the magnificent Mr. Capaldi, who is perfect for the role.

I have a new job, which is significantly better than any job I've ever held.

I've lost weight, hair, and a tooth. Some visual acuity, too, apparently. On the gains side, my eyebrows are larger and more aggressive than ever.

Some things are better. Some things are worse. Some things are the same. It's called life.


The Ministry

So, if you go into the Ministry of Paranormal Research & Defence building and, upon entering through the front door, turn left and, just next to the potted plants, you'll see a gift shop. It has everything you'll ever need to proclaim where you stand in the war between humans and vampires.

You can get Jack's shirt from PAGAN, Marie's shirt from CRUSADER, and even a bear.

Actually, this could just be a tremendously self-indulgent act. See, I collect shot glasses and it recently occurred to me that, having bought the Hunter shot glass, I could change the design... over and over... and just keep making MPRD shot glasses for my own collection.



Okay, so Crusader is finally out. Huzzah! And so on and so forth.

On CreateSpace, on Amazon.com (Kindle and print) and Amazon.co.uk (only on Kindle as yet).

Oh, but no time to rest on my laurels. Renegade is a-calling.


Canadian Pagan!

So, Pagan is now available direct from Amazon.ca (clickety click here) and it's actually a direct buy, rather than through 3rd party sellers, which is more than can be said for Amazon.co.uk (here). The Kindle version on the UK site is now down to a silly 69p (here).

I'm available in France (here), Germany (here), and Japan (here) believe it or not, and based upon my limited international language skills, all three appear to be places where you can buy it direct. Everywhere apart from good ol' Blighty.

So... yeah.


Is There A Doctor In The House?

So, Matt Smith, huh? If you're not a Whovian you probably don't know who he is. In fact, if you're not a Whovian you probably don't know what a Whovian is.

Matt Smith replaced David Tennant as the Doctor on the longest running, and best, science fiction show in the world, Doctor Who.

Tennant, who is ranked by most as the greatest Doctor of them all, grew on me but slowly. Smith, a virtual unknown, I loved from the get-go. The very first episode was incredible. From fish fingers and custard to the most terrifying threat ever--"Basically... run"--it was all gold. And the sheer genius of an actor who is the youngest ever to play the part--28--who manages, more than most, to project those nine centuries of life out of the screen is just breathtaking.

And now I've seen the entirety of Smith's first season I have to say it just got better. Karen Gillan as Amy Pond is equal parts gorgeous, heroic and sympathetic. The stories are as deep and convoluted and satisfying as ever. Even the new TARDIS interior is pretty good. Okay, now I need to go buy another prop replica sonic screwdriver, but that's a small price to pay, I feel.

Two thumbs up.


Faith In Fashion

Remember, not so long ago, that it was the done thing to be all new-age-y and talk about 'homeopathy' and 'alternative' medicines? It was fashionable to pretend to be a vegetarian, buy anything with the word 'herbal' on the bottle, and eschew leather shoes for sandals made out of hemp.

Of course, after that came Kabbalah, which consisted of pretending to know what 'kabbalah' was and trying bits of red string around your wrist.

And now, it seems, we're on the downswing of Wicca. Modern Wiccans (generally referred to as 'fluffwiccans' or 'wikkans' in print) have little in common with traditional Wicca. Modern Wicca consists mainly of buying books by someone with an incredibly pretentious and excitingly dark name*, dressing like an escapee from The Rocky Horror Picture Show, telling people that you're a Wiccan as loudly and as often as possible, and pretending to understand what 'harmony' and 'balance' mean in respect of your hastily adopted religion. Once in a while you might want to light a pre-dribbled candle and place it on a fake skull, just to maintain proper witch-cred.

No, I didn't write this post to bash Wiccans (but then, what would they do about it if I had? Cast a spell at me?) nor to talk about those who select their religion from the pages of a fashion magazine. No, I wanted to share with you a nightmare.

See, sooner or later the people who treat religion as a fashion accessory are going to find their eyes caught by atheism. Yeah, atheism's not a religion. I know that and, I hope, you're smart enough to know that, but bear with me.

Atheism has many of the features that the religion-as-fashion-statement crowd look for:

It's likely to annoy the heck out of your parents, coworkers, friends and generally anyone you meet, which means you can think of yourself as dark and edgy.

It's not liked by the establishment nor the religious right.

It's not actually necessary to truly believe in anything.

There's no church (or equivalent) to attend when you'd rather be having a lay-in.

There's many books on the subject you can buy and fill your bookshelves with.

It's quite easy to be loud and in-your-face about it, with t-shirts, bumper stickers and jewelry.

There's money to be made from the t-shirts, bumper stickers and jewelry.

There's no required clothing, jewelry, or dietary prejudices, yet you may freely adopt any you wish and you don't have to give up a single thing you don't want to.

The list goes on. The point is, fellow atheists, they will find us sooner or later. Sooner or later a Hollywood starlet will opine "I believe in God, but I'm an atheist" and, at that point, there's not much left to do but head for the treeline. Our cries of dismay and challenge will fall on deaf ears.

But forewarned is forearmed, so maybe we can prepare. The children and our slower members might be able to find sanctuary in some religion until they leave. I hear that Unitarians are pretty open, and there's always Buddhism. For the rest of us, though, there's little hope. We'll have to endure the eyerolls and smirks, the sighs and knowing nods, as people judge us as trendy atheists.

Here's hoping that the religion-fashion victims find something else and miss us this time.

*For both first and last name, randomly select at least two words from the following list: dark, claw, silver, night, wolf, storm, child, moon, raven, crow, paw, tail, star, mage, spell.