Sunday, April 18, 2021

Toilet Training the Cat: Week 2

The demand for follow up on the situation with toilet training the cat has been unprecedented.  

Literally, some of you asked me how it was going. Strangers Co-workers People who are friendly with me at the office sought me out just to find out asked about it while waiting for the microwave.  It's been a whirlwind, taking me back to the days when snowblowers were all the rage. I have been looking into public relations firms to handle the inevitable media coverage.

The question that you're all asking: "Was this week toilet training your cat better than last?"

Me explaining to my wife how things are going.

Look, toilet training your cat isn't something that's going to happen overnight. or over a week.  Or even two weeks (apparently). Rome wasn't built in a day and it was founded by twin brothers raised by a wolf so you can only imagine what the toilet training situation was like there.  

The experience so far was not an overwhelming success, but I can't dwell on the past. I have to stay positive and learn from it. Instead of saying the cat didn't use the litter box 3 days in a row, reframe it as the cat didn't use a bathroom fixture for more than half a week! (I assume that he peed in the shower on the same day he pooped in the sink, because I am an optimist training a cat to use the toilet.)

There aren't a lot of famous cat training shows in popular culture, but if there is one thing I know from watching "The Littlest Hobo" and "The Dog Whisperer" (and that one episode of "Highway to Heaven" with the kid living on the streets who just wants to feed his kitten...) it's that animals can sense your moods and will react to your energy. I believe cats can as well, they just don't give a crap. Except, you know... when they do.

You have to be flexible and adapt your approach. I mean, it would be insane to do the same thing over and over expecting a different result, right? 

The bathroom had not been fully cleaned since becoming the litterbox room and had been abandoned by the more cultured and discerning bathroom user and given up to transients and perhaps more than one cat and/or racoon(s). That is how my wife described it to me when it was her turn to clean the litterbox. She used other words but since she cleaned the bathroom too I am placing her in as positive a light as possible.

The cat gave it his seal of approval to our combined efforts. Not only did the cat use the litterbox every day, but the bathroom (and by extension the rec room/my office) was also a much more pleasant space. 

I put the bottle of bathroom cleaner in the sink just to be on the safe side.  "He won't use the sink if there is something already in the sink," was my flawless logic. Yes, last week I did end up throwing out a bottle of soap that was a casualty (it was easier to do that then to try to clean it and confront my laziness). By using my expert forensics skills I determined that the way the poop covered the bottle was indicated that the cat knocked it over after doing his thing. 

If anti-vaxxers worked in forensics

I went to bed on Wednesday basking in the knowledge that we had hit the halfway mark of the week and how wonderful it was to only have to worry about things like my child, work, and a global pandemic. 

Don't get ahead of me.

I checked the bathroom the next morning and nothing was amiss. "Ah ha, everything is fine here," I said in a moment of hubris. "I could clean the litterbox right now, but since I am going to the office I will clean it upon my return home. Huzzah, for I am a skilled planner and master of my domain."

I believe I understand this reference.

Imagine my surprise when I returned home after a busy day doing business to discover the cat had also had a busy day doing his business. 

Daughter in French Immersion is paying off in a big way

My flawless plan utilizing the bottle of bathroom cleaner?  The bottle was totally clean, but had shifted position.  Again, using my expert skills (I don't know why I'm not a sexy highly paid forensic scientist), the only reasonable explanation is that the cat used the bottle as reading material while he pooped.  

After giving everything another thorough cleaning, I wrapped the entire sink in plastic wrap. My daughter provided some signs that I think really helped everyone.

Bonus shot of the bottle of cleaning stuff/reading material

Posted above the litterbox

After tallying up the results for this week, I say that it was more successful than Week 1. This week, I begin to raise the litterbox.  I cannot possibly fathom a way in way in which that could go wrong.

Final note: for anyone who doesn't know me personally, I know I'm not using that "Seinfeld" reference correctly. Please understand that this was a joke and that my knowledge and love of "Seinfeld" is rivaled only by my passion for sports.

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Toilet Training the Cat: Week 1

Why?  Why would I toilet train the cat?

We adopted a cat from the SPCA just before Christmas.  He is an adorable black cat. We've never had a playful cat before - of our previous cats, one was an assassin who was more interested in drawing blood than chasing a toy and the other was afraid of everything and would hide if you tried to play with him. Basically, brand new cat in every way.

His litterbox is in the rec room bathroom. Why not put it in the storage area of the basement?  You generally want the cat litter to be away from you as much as possible because of odors, but experience has taught us that also makes it even less pleasant to change the cat litter.  Boo hoo, I have to walk all the way to the basement and all the way to the furnace room to change the cat litter, wah me, I know. Don't judge me.  

I now spend a lot of time in the rec room because that's where I've put my home office. Bad news that it's inconvenient to use the bathroom closest to me, but good news I am motivated to change the litter because the odor prompts me to. This is healthier for the cat, healthier for us, and I don't hate doing it.  It's just a thing to do.

So why have I decided to toilet train the cat?  

Since we are environmentally conscious people, we started using a recycled paper based litter that is a little more expensive than the regular clumping clay we would have used before.  We go through it a little faster than the regular litter, so we're spending about $25/month on cat litter.  I was changing the litter last week and realized "wait, that's $250 a year that we're spending so that I can spend time scooping poop and pee up?"

The money by itself, not enough. But the money + the litterbox next in my space all day + general laziness? That's right up my alley.

After doing the intense research of the most advanced anti-vaxxer, I determined there are basically 4 steps to training the cat to use the toilet.
  1. Gradually move the litter box closer to the toilet
  2. Gradually raise the litterbox until it is the same as the toilet
  3. Gradually move the litterbox onto the toilet
  4. Gradually reduce the amount of (flushable) litter in the litterbox while slowly opening up a hole in the bottom of the litterbox until you do away with both.
It's simple and easy!

Started strong.  Moved the litterbox closer and closer to the toilet all week, and no problem. This is going to be a breeze because it turns out that our adopted cat is a genius.  

The fact that the cat has understood that I want him to not poop in the litterbox is pretty amazing.  I mean, we're only a week in and he's achieved so much.  He figured out the goal, but has slightly misunderstood the target.

Is it my fault that the cat now poops in the sink?

I finally got the litterbox next to the toilet.  It's not my fault that the only way to get it next to the toilet is also next to the sink. It's not my fault that the litterbox is now halfway between the toilet and the sink.  I mean, come on, that's the fault of the people who installed the bathroom in the basement without consideration that the future owners would be toilet training their cat in this room.

Okay, maybe that first time was my fault. I moved the box back a bit and that should take care of that.  

Except now he's doing it all the time. 

Then today he peed in the shower, which is nowhere near the litterbox. I feel that he is perhaps just confused by my reaction to his pooping in the sink. 

I am unwilling to give up. This is a battle of wills between the two of us and I am bigger and mostly smarter than this cat. 

Stay tuned for week 2, when I may make more poor decisions (both for continuing this exercise and also misusing memes).

Sunday, February 7, 2021

Super Bowl LV prediction

In the grand tradition of what I originally used this site for, here is my prediction for the Super Bowl this year.

The Chiefs have years of hardship on their side, honing their warrior spirit to a fine knife edge. They also know not to trust anyone flying flags on a boat coming to them. 

But history has shown us that they don't do well against tall ships, and they aren't exactly known for their seafaring abilities. In any other year, the Buccaneers would win without really having to do anything and the Chiefs would drown. 

But this isn't any normal year. 

Conditions on tall ships are not great for social distancing and hygiene was never the strong point of Buccaneers. Plus, they are all about fighting against government agencies and doing whatever they want.

On the other hand, the Chiefs have a strong sense of community. Also, not being in Florida, they are all more likely to have seriously taken the scientific and medical warnings of how to stay safe. They also have some well documented experiences with terrible diseases.

Finally, the world saw what can happen when the First Nations peoples work together in the 2020 presidential election.

Chiefs win. And then they hopefully can retire the name and find something less awkward for me to make stupid predictions with.

Also, something about Tom Brady.

Sunday, December 6, 2020

Profile Picture

I originally started this blog as a joke about predicting the outcome of sports games while not knowing anything about sports.

I never thought, of all the things that I'd predicted, that my profile picture would be the one that hit closest to truth.

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Cop Dream/Nightmare

I had a dream I was a new police detective.  I was assigned to a more experienced partner who was going to show me the ropes.

We go to a suspected criminals home, don't remember what he was supposed to have done, but we were there to check on him. His car is in the driveway and we approach it from either side. 

I look in through the passenger side window and don't see anything out of the ordinary. Then I hear the sound of the drivers door opening and look up to see what my partner is doing.

I see my partner and realize I'm in trouble. My partner is Michael Shannon.  I am probably going to die unpleasantly soon.

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Covidiots of FB

Here's one I've been seeing around FB.  Rather than type it out every time I see it, I'm just going to do it once and link to it when I need to!  Feel free to link to it if you'd like.

Copied from a friend’s FB page!
🤷‍♂️🙄😳🤪 covidiots . . .
Hostess: ok, I can seat you at this table right here (4 feet away), but I will need you to wear a mask to the table.
Me: what happens when I get to the table?
Hostess: you can take off the mask.
Me: then it is safe over there?
Hostess: yes.
Me: are those fans blowing above the table? Is that the air-conditioning I feel? Is the air circulating in here?
Hostess: no words. Confused look.🤷‍♂️🙄😳

What you think you did: proved the safety measures put in place make no sense and triggered someone to start thinking for themselves.

What you actually did: proved to the employee who has no choice but to follow the rules that have been put in place because her paycheck depends on it that you're going to be one of those tables. Do you really think that she doesn't know that the air circulation in the closed environment is likely going to cause an outbreak? Of course she does. She's in that environment every day. And guess which person she is now concerned is going to cause that outbreak? Yep, the person who is vocally questioning the rules.

Her reaction isn't confusion. It's "If it wasn't for my kid I have to support, I'd give this person hell and quit right now." 

Also, if you've ever considered that being rude to the people who literally handle your food is a good idea, you should watch the movie Waiting.  

Back to the post:

Why is there plastic on the payment keypad?
Cashier: to protect people from Covid.
Me : but isn’t everyone touching the plastic keypad the same way they would the regular keypad?
Cashier: no words. Confused look.
Me : Why Don't you pack the grocery bags anymore?
Cashier : Because of covid 19 to reduce the spread of catching or spreading the virus.
Me : But a shelf packer took it out of a box and put on the shelf, a few customers might of picked it up and put back deciding they Don't want it, I put it in my trolley then on the conveyer belt, YOU pick it up to scan it.. But putting it in a bag after you scan is risky??
Cashier : no words, confused look 🤷‍♂️🙄🤪

What you think you did: proved to the Cashier that they are being foolish believing that any of these things are going to protect anyone.

What you actually did: proved to the Cashier that you are clueless and self-centered. 

Here's a fun experiment! You'll need two things: your laptop and a big bottle of spray disinfectant.

  1. Spray your laptop with the disinfectant. Really get it in there, concentrate on the keyboard but don't forget the screen. Even if you don't believe that covid is real, your actual job depends on you spraying the living crap out of that laptop. 
  2. Wipe the keyboard and screen. Don't worry if this accidentally triggers an error message or reboots your laptop, just keep going.
  3. Do this every 5 minutes for 18 hours.
  4. After 18 hours, does your laptop still work? It does?  Okay, now repeat these steps for the next 6 months straight, do not stop. 
  5. Imagine if there was only some way to prevent all that spraying and wiping from interfering with the sensitive electronics, like some sort of protective plastic cover.
That's the clueless part. 

Do you really think that the Cashier, who does this for a living, isn't aware of the number of touchpoints every product they have to handle has gone through?  Do you think they aren't aware of every single person in that supply chain?  That's not a confused look they're giving you. That's them hoping that you aren't any part of the supply chain, and that you haven't been picking up and putting down products all through the store.

They have to have faith in the supply chain and in customers not handling the products.  And they can touch each product once. When you do get to a store that bags, watch them. Count how many times they have to touch each product vs your bag. Your bag wins every time, and every time they touch the bag, they increase the possibility that they are transferring Covid to you.

Do you know why some stores won't allow their cashiers to put things in the reusbags you bring? It's not to prevent you from getting Covid from them.  It's to prevent THEM from getting Covid from YOU.  Yes, you.  So thanks for pointing out to them that their lives are meaningless.

Back to the post:

Server: (holds a tray out the window with a bag of food for logical friend to grab)
Me: why is my bag of food on a tray?
Server: so I don’t touch your food because of Covid.
Me: didn’t the cook touch my food? Didn’t the person wrapping my food touch it and then touch it again when placing it in my bag? Didn’t you touch the bag and put it on the tray? Didn’t you touch the tray?
Server: no words. Confused look.🤷‍♂️🙄🤪

What you think you did: showed that drive-thru person who's the boss.

What you actually did: showed that drive-thru person that you have no idea how food safety works, nor the fact that these rules pre-existed Covid.

Yeah, the person who made and handles your food may have touched it.  Guess what they have to wear on their hands?  Gloves.  Guess what they have to constantly do?  Wash their hands.  Guess what they have to do?  Limit the number of times your food is physically touched by skin.  

They are trying to save you from the possibility that someone in their establishment has caught Covid and is passing it on. 

Back to the show:

Society; you must sanitize your hands and wear a mask or a face shield
Me; I always sanitize my hands, but if we are all wearing masks, and they protect us from the virus why are the numbers increasing?
Society; because people are not conforming.
Me; according to Hinshaw, 97% are complying so you are going to tell me the 3% who are not, it’s their fault? Wouldn’t that mean that your mask is broke?
Society; no words confused look🤷‍♂️🙄🤪

What you think you did: COSTCO? More like SHEEPLECO, right?

What you actually did: Proven that you are unaware of how protective and safety measures work.

People are dying in car accidents every day, therefore seat belts, air bags, speed limits and laws on how we drive vehicles are meaningless. 

Condoms prevent 98% of unwanted pregnancy and the spread of STD's. So might as well stop stop using those because 2% of the time they may not work.

Facemasks, shields and hand sanitizers are all way that we can help prevent the spread of the disease. But even with those measures in place, is it possible that someone could still spread it?  Sure. Just like everything else, there's a chance. But I bet if you ever find yourself in a situation where a car runs a red and hits you, you will probably wish that you had all that fancy schmancy safety equipment.

And, then:

Society ; If you cough or sneeze do it in your elbow or sleeve,
Also society : Don't shake hands or hug anyone or you will spread the virus..
To greet people do an elbow tap instead.
Me : Elbow tap ? Isn't that where you tell people to sneeze or cough? into their elbow? Now you want people to tap each other with that elbow wouldn't it be safer to sneeze into elbow and shake hands like we did before Covid
SOCIETY : You are not allowed to stand and drink at the pub or pokies you have to sit down.
But at the shopping centre you are not allowed to sit down, all the chairs are roped off.

What you think you did: proven that you are the last free thinking person who can use logic.

What you actually did: proven that you are totally unaware of how society, and the world, work.

First, that "vampire sneeze" came into effect years ago.  Waaaay before Covid. 

The elbow tap?  That was at the start of the pandemic. Nobody is telling anyone to use the elbow tap anymore. Everybody is doing the "don't touch anyone, and if you could touch somebody you are too close" rule now.

Why? So many reasons.  

Our knowledge of how things work change.  Remember when time was measured by the sun?  We have atomic clocks now.  Remember when we all thought it was okay to have unprotected sexual relations with multiple people?  Remember when there was a very high probability that the mother and the baby would both die during childbirth because doctors didn't believe in washing their hands?

But also because people are resistant to change, especially behavioral changes. If you think they aren't, just watch the next time that a new stop sign or traffic light is installed. It takes weeks for people to start noticing that they can't just blow through those intersections.

WHY ARE YOU GOING TO BARS RIGHT NOW? You know how many lives are ruined because of bad decisions made by drunk people in public, and you want to add Covid to that? You know why you have to stay seated in bars?  Because drunk ass people can't be trusted not to move around.  And the more you move around, and yes, I'm talking about your drunk ass in particular, the more you are exposing yourself to the very real possibility that you're going to catch and/or spread this disease. 

You know why you can't sit in stores?  Because stores don't want to pay for disinfecting that seat every time you leave it. Small businesses are already crumbling because everyone is buying from Amazon.  You think they can afford to have someone disinfect a chair every time you move? Because that's what they'd have to do to stay open. Why do you hate small business?  


Who thinks this shit up?
Life is hard for logical people right now. We are being raised without the ability to process and execute logic
Common sense is not very common

You.  You who are spreading this garbage and thinking that you've proven everyone is overreacting and people are silly for doing these things.  You are thinking this shit up and you should be ashamed.

And so should you for spreading this. You are not thinking logically. You are thinking narrowly. 

Notice that none of the people in the examples given in this post are people who are involved with the decision making process. In fact, all of them are probably making minimum wage and hating it. Do you think that everyone trying their best to follow and keep up with the rules loves it? I have never woken up on a Monday morning and thought "Boy oh boy! I can't wait to go through the guidelines again and hope that my 7-year-old daughter is going to be safe all day!  I sure hope that there's something new to do!"

But I would one million percent do this every day if it means that my friends and family are still going to be healthy and alive next week, next month, and next year.  

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Horton Wasn't the Only One to Hear a Who!

My whole life is a lie.

Okay, maybe not the whole thing. Parts of it. Small parts. Parts that I didn't know I had. No, wait, that doesn't sound...

If you haven't read the book "Horton Hears a Who" (and I'm going to segue here to say how interesting it is that I only had to type 'Horton' and my auto suggest came up with the rest of the title; I find that fascinating and terrifying), the premise is that an elephant named Horton hears a very small sound and discovers a civilization of microscopic creatures called the Whos. He is the only creature in the jungle to believe that the Whos exist, and all the other animals spend the book trying to get him to admit they aren't real and also killing the Whos.

It all boils down to the phrase "A person's a person, no matter how small", which is repeated enough that you understand that this is an important lesson, but not so often that you wish Uncle Ben hadn't died so Spider-Man would stop flashing back to it so often.

It's a heartwarming book and I don't really remember it growing up. This was probably because my parents have good taste and realized it wasn't a great book. Oh, call the police, I don't like a Dr Seuss book. Face it, it's no "And to Think I Saw It On Mulberry Street". It doesn't matter what I think anymore because my daughter loves it, so I'm putting my time in now hoping that I won't have to read Twilight later.

So, imagine my surprise when I discover that there is a shadowy element to this book. A single line that changes everything, and puts a darker spin on almost everything that happens to Horton. Before you read any further... SPOILER ALERT.

Here's a page from around the middle of the book:

This is the first time that the Mayor of Who-ville has identified himself as the Mayor and as a Who. Previous to this, Horton's just sort of yelling at this tiny voice coming from a speck of dust. 

The next page introduces us to a bunch of monkeys called the Wickersham brothers. They are in league with a really mean kangaroo for the duration of the story, doing the kangaroos dirty work. 

They are very mean monkeys. But they're even worse than your kid thinks.

The conflict of the story centers on the fact that only Horton can hear the Whos. It's right there in the title. None of the other animals can hear them, so they believe Horton has made it up and punish him for it. Really terrible things. It's a whole big thing. And through all the trials and tribulations, Horton keeps going on with his claims that he knows the Whos exist and that they deserve to live.

And right through to the end, the Wickersham Brothers (and cousins, etc) are right there, persecuting poor Horton. Because nobody can hear the Whos except for Horton.

And the Wickersam Brothers.

They MUST have heard the Whos. Because Horton never says "Who" or "Mayor". Only the Mayor of Who-ville says that.

The Wickersham Brothers know the Whos are real, but they participate in the persecution of Horton along with the other animals because it's fun. Only after the Whos finally prove their existence to the Kangaroo do they stop. The final scene of the book is a picture of Kangaroo and Horton bonding over a shared goal of protecting the Whos. But there's no Wickersham Brothers.

The real lesson of the book isn't what Horton keep saying over and over. And it's not that if you believe in something hard enough your belief will eventually win over others. And it isn't about perseverance in the face of adversity or the power of knowing yourself or any of that.  

I think the real lesson of this book is sometimes people will do bad things to you because it's easy and it's fun and confronting them head on will only make it worse. Sometimes, the only way to get people to stop doing bad things to you is to get allies and to know you are not alone. The minute the Kangaroo expresses belief in the Whos, the Wickersham Brothers disappear.

That or monkeys are just a bunch of jerks.