Thursday, December 31, 2020

Spackle Puss (2006-2020)

Spackle Puss (the cat) 01 (2006)

Our beloved, unique, demanding little kitty Spackle Puss passed away in her sleep Sunday night.  Leslie and I are saddened at this loss.  Spackle has been a daily part of our lives for over 14 years.  We've begun to notice many small emptinesses caused by her absence - most especially at dinner time.  She was a tiny cat yet always first in line (and very hungry and very vocal about it!) whenever food was being prepared.  

Spackle Puss (the cat) 03 (2006)

Click on pictures for enlargements.  Hold your mouse over them for a very brief description plus the year the photo was taken.

Spackle Puss (the cat) 05 (2006)

Spackle Puss (the cat) 08 (2006)

Of course Spackle has been part of Mixed Meters' essential ongoing coverage of our pets.  In 14+ years I've taken lots of pictures of Spackle.   This post shows mostly previously unposted pics.  If you have plenty of time to kill you can review all previoius MM posts tagged "Cats".  Here's a Google search for previous pictures of Spackle

Spackle Puss (the cat) 22 (sunlight 2013)
Spackle Puss (the cat) 24 (2017)

Spackle Puss (the cat) 30 (on floor 2019)

Spackle Puss never spent a day of her life separated from her twin brother, Crackle Pop.  They were inseparable at first although their relationship became less cordial as they aged.  We chose them from a litter of five.  Here's the introductory blog post about their arrival.   

Some pictures of Spackle and Crackle together:   

Spackle Puss (the cat) 02 (Leslie holds very young Spackle (L) and Crackle (R) by the nape of the neck August 2006)

Spackle Puss (the cat) (top) 10 (with Crackle bottom) (2006)

Their markings were so similar that they were often hard to tell apart.  She was smaller, softer and had no tabby markings.  And she had several unique habits including the desire to lick human skin - often quite painfully for the human.  Also she drooled a lot - sometimes leaving an annoyingly large wet patch on your clothing.  Despite that, she was a cute kitty.

Spackle Puss (the cat) (facing camera) 11 (with Crackle 2006)

Spackle Puss (the cat) (foreground) 14 (with Crackle 2008)

Spackle's most unique marking was the light colored stripes behind her ears, along the edges.  The name 'Spackle' was suggested by one of the ladies in the cat rescue group who had said the ear coloration reminded her of actual spackle.  We never understood exactly why.  Spackle just seemed like a good name for a cat and it inspired her brother's name.  We added the "Puss" to make her full name "Spackle Puss" because both Leslie and I like to name things.

Here are some pics that show her ear stripes:

Spackle Puss (the cat) 17 (on staircase ears 2010)

Spackle Puss (the cat) 20 (rear view 2012)

Spackle Puss (the cat) 21 (on staircase ears 2013)

Spackle Puss (the cat) 27 (in a box ears 2018)

Yes, that last picture shows Spackle in a box.  How very catlike.  Here are plenty more pictures of Spackle hunkered down inside of things: 

Spackle Puss (the cat) 29 (in a box 2019)

Spackle Puss (the cat) 26 (in Bag 2018)

Spackle Puss (the cat) 15 (on a scratching box 2008)

Spackle Puss (the cat) 18 (in a bag on a bed 2012)

Spackle Puss (the cat) 31 (in a box 2019)

Here is a very short video (with music) of Spackle Puss in (and out of) a box:

Spackle, in a box by David Ocker - © 2020 (42 seconds)

Here is Spackle wearing a musical vest.  Clearly, she's not too happy about the music.
Spackle Puss (the cat) 06 (in vest)

Here is another of Spackle in a box.  This picture shows artwork by our friend Albert Marsh.
Spackle Puss (the cat) 28 (in a box 2019)

Here is Spackle after indulging in some cat drugs.

Spackle Puss (the cat) 19 (with catnip 2012)

I found a number of pictures showing her with computers.  I guess Spackle felt that humans needed help in their work. 

Spackle Puss (the cat) 16 (between 2 laptops 2009)

Spackle Puss (the cat) 12 (at computer 2007)

Spackle Puss (the cat) 13 (with music - a score by Christopher Rouse, I think - 2008)

Spackle Puss (the cat) 34 (with computer & microscope 2020)

Here's one of my first YouTube videos.  It shows Spackle Puss hunting a hummingbird on my computer monitor.  (All our cats are indoor only.  Spackle never spent even one moment of her life outside hunting real birds.)

Re: Birds Who Don't Know The Words by David Ocker - © 2007 (151 seconds)  (No music in this video.)

And now . . . another Mixed Meters Meta Moment: a picture of Spackle watching the video of herself hunting a video of a hummingbird.  

Spackle Puss (the cat) 36 (Watching Herself Watching a Hummingbird 2007)

Here are three shots of Spackle with Leslie.  In the first one, Spackle seems to be checking Leslie's worm IDs.  Leslie started referring to Spackle as her 'supervisor'.

Spackle Puss (the cat) 33 (Supervising Leslie's work 2020)

Spackle Puss (the cat) 32 (sleeping with Leslie 2019)

Spackle Puss (the cat) 07 (being held by Leslie 2006)

Finally, here's Spackle's last picture, about a month ago.  Spackle had decided she was comfortable sleeping on top of a shelf of ring binders.  She could watch Leslie at work from this spot.  By this point she was all skin and bones and it was clear that she didn't have much time left.  

Spackle Puss (the cat) 35 (on binders - last picture 2020)

Leslie and I are so sorry to see you go, little kitty.  I hope you enjoyed your stay with us, whatever that means for a cat.   We enjoyed having you around.

Rest in Peace, Spackle Puss.

Saturday, October 31, 2020

Waiting For The Election

The last presidential election (in 2016) ended with a very bad result.  We are told, as citizens, that if we don't like our elected representatives then it is our right to replace them at the next election.  We've had to wait four long seemingly endless years for that opportunity and now it's right around the corner.  Just a few days away.

The waiting has been torturous.  To measure it, right after the 2016 election I installed a countdown clock in the right column of Mixed Meters.  It listed the number of years, months and days until we the people could turn Donald Trump into a loser.  Wouldn't that be nice.

As the election date loomed closer and closer, it has become clear that the counter widget is a few days off.  Hey, this is just a blog.  At Mixed Meters close is good enough.
Two days until the presidential election
Almost every day this year I've been obsessively reading news articles about the election.  If you're in the U.S. I think you know what those articles are about:
  • Trump wants to suppress the vote, 
  • Trump told a bunch of lies, 
  • Trump has a chance of winning, 
  • Trump might steal the election, 
  • Trump will ruin the country even more in a second term.
By this time next week maybe we'll know who the winner is.  I sure hope we will.  The waiting might be over after four endless years.  I find it hard to stop thinking about it.

Today I needed an escape.  So I took my camera outside into our backyard and driveway and shot some pictures of whatever I happened to find out there.  It was sunny and warm, but not too sunny and not too warm.  Just right.

To start, here are some close-ups of a fence.

Turn this thingee to hold the gate in the fence open

Two shades of green and fence hardware

Though a hole in the fence post.

We built this fence 13 years ago when Chowderhead came to live with us.  It has deteriorated quite a bit.  Time does that.  

I took pictures of Leslie's carnivorous plants.

A carnivorous pitcher plant

Two pitcher plants

A fly living dangerously on a pitcher plant

This fly actually flew into the pitcher plant while I watched it.  Pitcher plants are designed so flies can't escape from them.  It flew down about an inch before it realized the danger it was in.  "Holy shit," I heard it scream, "I better get the fuck out of this dangerous place." and it flew away.  Maybe it was actually talking about politics in the United States in the year 2020.

I took some pictures of plants which don't eat insects.

Yellow and white flowers

California Aster

The curly cactus

The last one - the curly cactus - is one of my favorites among all of Leslie's plants.

And I took some selfies.  You'd have done the same, I bet.  I kept seeing my reflection in windows.  I look pretty unhappy in the first one because I was thinking about Donald Trump.  It's hard not to think about Donald Trump these days.  Not thinking about him was the whole idea behind this post.  I'm not doing too well. 

The lines on my forehead are reflections from something inside the house - possibly our microwave.  Also, can you say 'double chin'?  I thought so.

David Ocker - angry selfie

David Ocker - laughing selfie

David Ocker - selfie 1

David Ocker - selfie 2

The last three selfies also show more pitcher plants.   Leslie has a lot of them.

I even took one picture of Leslie looking out at me through a window.  Yes, I got her permission before I uploaded it.  Tomorrow is our 28th wedding anniversary.  Love you, honey.

Leslie peering out through the kitchen window

There is one more shot.  Our two ceramic backyard icons, another happily married couple, Irving (he's on the left) and Happy.  We bought them in 2004 in Los Olivos so they've been together for 16 years.  Irving appeared in Mixed Meters previously here.

Irving and Happy - garden ceramic heads

Only a couple days to go before the election.  Irving and Happy can't vote.  I hope you voted.  If not, do it now.  Right now.

If Donald Trump loses I will reset the counter to show the number of days until the inauguration on January 20, 2021.  After that Mixed Meters may not need a counter.  That will make me happy.

If the devil is victorious and Donald Trump gets re-elected, I will reset the counter until election day in 2024.  And we can all just cross our fingers that the nation survives until then.  Good luck, America.  We're gonna need it.

Here are a links to political news sites which I have found useful this year:

Friday, May 15, 2020

Arboretum With Peacocks

This post is about a short walk in a park.

Peacock feathers at the LA Arboretum

In this case the park is the Los Angeles County Arboretum in Arcadia California - Arcadia is one city east of Pasadena - a place where many pea fowl live and squawk.

Eucalyptus bark at the LA Arboretum

Remarkably the Arboretum has been open to visitors in this time of the Coronavirus.  Leslie and I took an hour-long stroll there several days ago.  In this time of shelter in place we were happy to get out to somewhere beautiful.

Matilija Poppy bloom at the LA Arboretum

On the same day we visited, the L.A.Times ran this article about how and why the Arboretum has stayed open during the pandemic.  (Quick answer: wide roads.) 

Dusty Miller bloom at the LA Arboretum

While we were there I took a few pictures.  Landscapes aren't really my thing.  (Click on these shots and somehow they get bigger.)

Spotted Gum Tree at the LA Arboretum

This tree-trunk face looks to have a third eye.  Or maybe it's a doctor wearing a head mirror.

Queensland Bottletree at the LA Arboretum - looks like a face to me

I also shot some video.  Later I added music.  The music is adapted from two old 30-Second Spots: Druella's Four-part Gossip Reel (which I composed Oct. 4, 2004) and Nothing to Wear (composed Oct. 5, 2004).   I'll let you guess which is which:

Arboretum with Peacocks by David Ocker © 2020 - 96 seconds

Leslie called it March of the Peacocks

Previous Los Angeles Arboretum-related MM posts:
Squawk! (a video about the noise peacocks make)
Water With Ducks (another avian-based video - wait for the Wagner quote)

Stay off the narrow pathways at the LA Arboretum