Catching Up on the Petblogging


I haven’t done much petblogging here at the Whatever recently — I’ve sort of migrated that sort of action over to By The Way, where it seems somehow more apropos — but I understand that many of the Whatever readers who do not avail themselves of my AOL Journal stylings yet yearn to see the furrier members of the Scalzi household.

So here you go: A semi-rare picture of Lopsided Cat and Kodi in the same frame, out enjoying a day together. Lopsided Cat and Kodi do in fact get along tolerably well; they’re not as close as Kodi and Ghlaghghee are (the two of them will often nap together), but they seem to have a good working relationship, and Lopsided Cat takes the occasional chase by Kodi in stride, dutifully sprinting for a while before ending the festivities by turning and giving Kodi a light swat on the nose. Everyone gets some exercise; everyone’s happy.

As an aside, there’s something about Lopsided Cat’s expression in the photo that reminds me of president William Taft; I can’t explain why, and even if I could, I’m not sure I would want to.

Look at Me, I’m Working. Yeah.

I’m supposed to be being a lot more productive this week than I have been, but I think I have some excellent excuses. Sunday my Web site imploded and needed tending. This leaked into Monday and then into Tuesday. Today everything’s groovy with the Web site, but Athena was home today due to a teacher’s “service day,” and aside from the distraction she provided both of us were kind of sick — a low-grade upset stomach and headache fever. This called for a nap, which seemed to do the both of us a world of good.

Tomorrow I’m going to start getting caught up — I swear — but tomorrow is also Athena’s karate class, and that’s another three hour divot in the day (I’m not even allowed to watch her in class because parents distract the kids from listening to the teachers; I fill the time mostly by reading in the car). Friday? DSL installation, which will require another chunk o’ time, and Athena’s participating in our small town Pumpkin Festival Parade, so I have to be there for the appropriate camera action. Saturday? Family gathering, which will involve driving for an hour, eating about sixteen pounds of food, and then racing back home before the peritonitis hits.

Somewhere in all this I have to write a chapter in the Science Fiction film book, and add several reviews. If I don’t, I may have to beat myself in the head. Which won’t get the writing done, but at least then I’ll have head trauma as an excellent excuse for not getting around to it.

Not that I expect this really to be a problem. As I get older I sometimes feel I’m not writing as quickly as I used to, although if I’m going strictly by sheer volume of output, this is clearly not the case. I think it may be more of the case that recently I feel more easily distracted by other things; sometimes it takes longer to get started writing, which feels like it taking longer to write.

A lot of my current twitchiness — aside from various technical and physical woes — boils down to schedule changes. Which makes me sound like a damn creature of habit, but, well. My biggest problem at the moment is getting used to having Athena in the house in the afternoons again; for the last couple of years Krissy picked her up from her day care at the end of the work day, so I had from 7 to 6 pretty much to myself. Now I have 8 to 2:30. I need to enforce a little more writing discipline in those hours, since Athena (not unreasonably) feels like she deserves a little dad time after school, and I’d like to be able to deliver on that without worrying overly that there’s some work I need to be doing.

That’s my personal project for the rest of 2004: Stay reasonably focused during the work day, so I spend guilt-free time with my kids and don’t feel like distractions are going to be the death of me (or my career). Let’s hope it works, or otherwise I will have to resort to the head trauma trick. And no one wants that.


I’ve got nothing of any use to say about the vice-presidential debate. I keep trying to generate a head of steam about it, but it’s a no go. Even the big post-debate talking point on the Kerry-Edwards side, in which Cheney’s snark comment about never having met Edwards before was countered with a picture of the two of them standing side by side, fills me with an overwhelming sense of not caring. These guys jab at each other for 90 minutes, and this is the big gaffe? Wake me when it’s November, people.

Don’t confuse my lack of excitement with apathy; you know I’m voting. And I cheerfully cede the point that some certain number of undecided voters may have gotten something out of the debates, and that the party faithful on both ends will use this as a fetish around which they will flagellate, as required by their faith. Good for them. But, being one of those super-committed but non-fanatical voters who needs no convincing at this point not to vote for Cheney’s boss, I approach all of these pre-vote preliminaries with a distinct lack of interest. Unless Dick and John pulled out knives and danced around slashing at each other just like those guys in the “Beat It” video, this show wasn’t meant for me.

I’ve also made the executive decision that I’m not going to bother viewing Presidential debates two and three. Living as we do in a media age, I fully expect that any particularly juicy slip, gaffe, zinger or (heaven forfend) substantive policy point will be exhaustively essayed, like highlights of a football game, and at the end I will have the transcripts, which I can read in a matter of ten minutes, thereby freeing up all that debate time to do something more useful with my life, like do math with Athena or taunt my cats with bacon. Mmmmm, bacon.

I really do wish I cared more about the debates; I feel like I should. But I gotta tell you, I’ve been racking my brain to imagine a scenario in which I don’t vote for Kerry, or even possibly where I might vote for Bush, and it’s just not happening. I have to get way out there — things like Kerry saying at the next debate that he plans to fill his administration’s highest positions with pederasts, koalas and Babylon 5 fans (or some unholy combination thereof) and then address the United Nations dressed only in yogurt and aluminum foil — before I begin to waver in my convictions. It’s just not likely.

That said, honestly, what do the debates hold for the likes of me? I’ve got science fiction movies to watch. I think on Thursday I’ll watch Invasion of the Body Snatchers. The 1956 version is 80 minutes long. Just long enough to avoid the debate. Coincidence? Yes. But a happy one. I’ll take it.